Earth Smoker Part 3

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by phogi, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. phogi

    phogi Fire Starter

    Well, I could not give up after I invested so much time in my little project, I decided to try again. The problem with the design was that it simply shed too much heat. I noticed that inside the firebox it was blazing hot, and that the roof of the firebox was warm, yet the cooking chamber would not warm up without an open flame. In my last design, I moved the firebox closer to the main chamber...but this did not work. While it was warmer, it was not warm enough.

    After putting in as much time as I did, I decided for one last attempt. This design moves the charcoal box directly under the grate, with a layer of firebricks above to absorb the heat and deflect the is like a cross between a reverse flow and an ugly drum smoker. Construction is not yet complete, but here is the design:


    The main variable at this point, is how deep the floor under the charcoal basket needs to be. I dug it extra deep then back filled it with loose soil, so I can move it further down if things get too hot.
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    It looks like the charcoal basket is sitting in the dirt. 

    Wouldn't you want air flow under the charcoal?
  3. phogi

    phogi Fire Starter

    I do have two narrow poles that sit on the dirt, elevating the basket off the dirt about a quarter inch. Think that will be high enough?
  4. I'm thinking 2-3 inches, this will allow more air to flow up and help your fire significantly.

    Although my design is sompletely different, I need/have flame all the time. I have that much distance between charcoal and bottom of fire chamber.

    I'd give it a try :)

    Take care

  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Phogi, morning.... I have been following for awhile.... I think the heat "problem" is thermal mass.... To explain... I built a smoker 4' x 4' x 10' tall out of concrete block with a poured in place concrete roof with hooks to hang big sides of deer etc.... I also smoked salmon and turkeys in it.... It was fired by wood in an external 30 gal. drum lined with firebrick....

    That monster would take 8 hours to preheat.... too much mass was sucking up the heat trying to get warm. Not to mention the moisture in the material that had to be removed to properly smoke the product.... It basically was a waste of time and money to build a smoker like that.... All that being said, once it was warm and dry, it did a beautifull job... I think it took a rick of wood to get warm though...

    I don't know how much charcoal it will take to heat mother earth... at least a bag or 2 and probably a day or 2 also.....

    Just my  2 cents from experience...    Dave

    PS... There are no mistakes, only valuable learning experiences.....[​IMG]
  6. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now this isone of the weirdest smokers that I have seen but build it and see how it works. I'm sure it will but I just have never seen one like it.
  7. diesel

    diesel Smoking Fanatic

    Where is the water going to go if it rains?  Or is this in or under shelter?
  8. phogi

    phogi Fire Starter

    Well, I fired it up today, again had the same problem....nice hot charcoal basket with good airflow, but the temps just wouldn't stay high I had to transfer my chicken to the grill...was still delicious, but, while it cooked, I decided to make one last design: JUST A HOLE IN THE GROUND. Basically an in ground Ugly Drum Smoker. I used the same hole I already had, just removed the firebricks that were above the charcoal. It's about 2.5 feet from the bottom to the grill. Right now the mudcrete is drying and will be ready for action tomorrow.

    Dave, I think you are right, the earth is just sucking up so much heat. My idea was that it would not need as much charcoal. So far, the opposite has been true. The ground seems to suck heat faster than a regular grill can radiate it, which makes sense when I think about it.

    As for rain, it does not rain here. If by some freak of nature it did, well, it is just a hole in the ground!

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