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IndyEFI500

Building a new smoker

5 posts in this topic

So I have decided that my smoker affliction is raring up again and I need to build something new.  I have seen a number of smoke houses on the internet that are made of cedar and look kind of like an old outhouse.  Me being me thinks that would be funny in our yard ( the wife agrees if I just get something nicer looking than my old refrigerator smoker).  So here is my thoughts on how to build one.  Pour a floating cement slab.  Keep some ready rod sticking out of it for the next step.  Then build forms to pour concrete walls about two foot high or so.  The ready rod will help anchor the slab to the walls.  On one side of the concrete walls leave an opening to attach a metal door for stoking the fire and removing ashes.  On top of the concrete wall build an all cedar smokehouse about four to five feet tall.  Probably build it taller in the front and shorter in the back for a pitched roof.  Here is where I am debating on really what to do.  I generally only smoke with small amounts of charcoal and the rest real wood such as oak pieces or apple, hickory or what ever I'm in the mood for.  Thus I think two feet of concrete should be more than enough as a firebox but am debating on using cement backer board to line the inside to make it even more fireproof.  I am wondering if the cement backer board is ok to use in a smoker or if I should just skip it.  I also want this to be somewhat insulated as we don't have much in the way of trees to the NW side of where I am building this and want to be able to use it in the winter.  With my current fridge I can just move it to a calm area on the other side of the house but this will not be movable.  I have two pics of kind of what I am going for enclosed.  If I had a little more room I would love to build the one with the work table.  Let me know your thoughts, ideas, concerns. 

Cedar smoker.jpg

smoke house 2 - 15- 09.jpg

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It depends on the type of smoker you want to build. I casually refer to them as either cold smokers or cookers. A true cold smoker would move the heat source and smoke generation farther away from the house so that it dissipates the heat and pushes the smoke to the house at a low temperature.In these you can do sausages, hams and a wide variety of sausages and cured meats. 

 

The ones you show that have the heat right in or right under the house will work great as well. We used on like this for a few decades to smoke our deer sausage. They will often require you to watch them much more closely IME to keep the smoke going while making sure you monitor the temp to keep it from getting too high.

 

Either way you can make a lot of great tasting  stuff in them. You just need to understand what the strengths and drawbacks are to each and which is a better fit for what you want to do.

 

I would consider maybe making it a bit taller so you can get multiple layers in there. As you can see, you can have the heat source in there and still have wood interior. But that increases the odds of a fire if you let the fire get out of control. I would also check with your insurance especially if it is going to be within 50 feet of your house. many companies will have a setback for anything that uses wood to make heat and especially if it isn't UL listed. I found out the hard way with a Canadian made outdoor corn fed boiler I bought many years back. 

 

Personally I am torn between doing what you are doing and building a fridge smoker out of an old metal refrigerator that I can get from a friend for free. If I do that I will put in a pellet feeder and controller to run the feeder and control the temp.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

If it were me, and it isn't, I would offset the firebox.    That would (should?) allow better control of the temperature and smoke, and easier firing.    

 

Sort of the wood version of those big smokers made out of old propane tanks.  

 

http://www.pbs.org/food/features/bbq-with-franklin-season-1-episode-4-the-pits/

 

Edited by delcecchi

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Thanks for the thoughts.  I have tossed around the idea as well of an off set smoker.  The problem I have is in the size I want I can't find a heavy enough vessel without making one.  That would add to the cost greatly if I had to buy that much heavy steel.  I want heavy steel if I go that way as it will be residing on the NW side of the deck area and not much in the way of wind block in the winter. 

 

I am enclosing pics of my two current smokers.  "Big Sexy" was a 300 gallon fuel barrel that a friend of mine and I built.  We added dual fire boxes to it and have it set to do rods for sausage, a grill or a whole hog.  We use charcoal and oak slabs to fire it.  We can keep it as low as 125 for doing sausage or up to 400 for grilling.  We haven't tried grilling much with it but we are quite certain we could get more temperature out of it if we tried. 

 

The second is my refrigerator smoker.  This picture was not long after I first built it years ago.  I have made numerous changes to it now.  I do debate on making an offset smoke box for it and just keeping it instead.  Probably would save me time but I also hate to screw up something that works.  If I stay with regular or lump charcoal I can keep it pretty steady at 150 and have had it up to 325.  Now that I have switched to charcoal and oak chunks it is much harder to control. 

 

I have also thought about and like the pellet smokers but mine sit out  in the wide open and I don't want to be dragging them in and out of the garage all the time.  I have not heard of too many pellet smokers that can withstand being outdoors all the time.  If someone knows of one I'm all ears.  I really don't need to build another but it's been about three years since I built one and am kind of getting the itch.  Plus the wife says she would like something nicer in the back yard.  Let me know if anyone thinks of anything else. 

25126021080_e92cf1a297_c.jpg

IMG_0203.JPG

PurpleFloyd likes this

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How many hundred people/ dozens of people/ you gonna be feeding at a time?   

 

The franklin bbq book has a lot of writing and opinions about smokers, and how they should be made and work. 

 

I have no experience on a large scale or with offset smokers so won't opine on the issue.   

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