Think this will work? Side barrel earthen smoker

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by phogi, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. phogi

    phogi Fire Starter

    I'm going to do the first run of my Earth pit side barrel smoker. I start with my char boil 22 inch cb grill.


    I remove the lid.


    I dig a few holes with a garden hoe. Three big one in the middle, and two smaller holes on the side. The side holes are a couple feet deep, and have a hole that will lead smoke into the big hole...the bricks are for covering the fire so that the smoke will go into the main chamber. The pipe you see is an air intake for the right side. I may install an intake for the other side as well, but I'm not sure if it is needed yet. I mixed up some mud and water to make the brickish outline you see around the big hole.



    This is what it looks like with the cover on.

    What do you think? Will it work? Trial run will be some chicken halves...
  2. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Anything is possible and Yes, I think it will work.

    Can't wait to see it in action [​IMG]
  3. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    :popcorn I'll grab a seat and watch
  4. Interesting...sure hope it doesnt rain!  Let us know how it all turns out.

  5. phogi

    phogi Fire Starter

    Rain is unlikely...I live in a high desert...I've lived here since early October and have yet to see enough rain to damage this build. I'm trying to decide if a tuning plate would help at all, not sure if I need it or not. Either way, chicken goes on tomorrow!
  6. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds like a plan

  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    As long as the Temp inside that thing gets up to 225*F you will be Fine...Good luck...JJ
  8. I don't know any thing about building smoke pits just yet.  So I can't say either way how it'll perform but the concept looks good.  I hope it works out for you.  I'm eager for the results. 

    Actually have a few pits in the back yard I've been holding on to for a while now w/anticipation of doing some kind of Franken Smoker build.  You just gave me one more option to think about "thanks"  I'm thinking the ground pit 'with all that free insulation" is a good idea that will help maintain consistant temps all year long.  Can hardly wait for the results.

    Good Luck,

    N2 BBQ
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  9. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Not only should this work but I am going to go out on a limb and say it will work.  I don't remember who it was but I think I remember us having a member from Africa a couple of years ago who had a very similar design.  Also a lot of old smoke houses were dug into the ground in the pioneers days.  as long as your fire can get oxygen this will be a success.
  10. frosty

    frosty Master of the Pit

    I agree with Ecto, and a lot of old smokehouses were dug inot a hill side.  There are a couple of videos on youtube on similar ideas.

    Go get 'em!
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  11. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

  12. big twig

    big twig Smoking Fanatic

    Interesting! [​IMG]
  13. phogi

    phogi Fire Starter

    Well, time to report back. Yesterday I smoked a chicken in the "earth smoker" as I call it. First I brined the chicken in salt and OJ. Then I rubbed it down with mustard, basil, pepper and a few secret ingredients. I started by putting a good bit of charcoal in the right hand hole. I gave the charcoal plenty of time to get grey ash on the visible pieces...then put the brick over the top. No significant increase of temperature was evident in the center chamber. Lack of Oxygen snuffed it out, despite my air intake pipe.

    So, I began a fire in the left side hole. This was more effective in creating an increase in temperature in the center chamber. So, I took the charcoal out of the right side hole, and put it into the other side. With lots of fuss and extra wood, I was able to get the center chamber temp up to 300. It took a long time before I was able to hold it at 250, and could only do so if I kept a lit flame. After an hour of warm up, it seemed to stabilize, and I didn't need to watch it constantly to maintain temp. Lots of stick burning, as charcoal alone didn't seem to get the temp high enough. Smoke was mostly white with occasional black, and seldom blue.

    I put the chicken on for three an a half hours, and my grill thermometer stayed between 220 and 260 pretty steady. I turned the chicken twice...finally I removed it to see this:


    It was a little crispy, on one side, with an inedible wing and leg...but the remainder was fully cooked, and FANTASTIC...flavor just exploded on the tongue. I'm quite tickled.

    Despite this success, I am going to slightly redesign the 'earth smoker.' I am filling the right hand hole entirely, as it was impossible to keep a fire going in it. The left hole is going to be moved closer to the main chamber, and I believe this will decrease the warm up time and, hopefully, allow a charcoal only run.
  14. It's a start. [​IMG]
  15. big twig

    big twig Smoking Fanatic

    Good 1st try, regroup, make adjustments and you'll have it running great. Thanks for sharing this whole experience, trial/errors/adjustments/success [​IMG]

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