Erected a 24" X 24" X 72" wood (pine-tongue and groove) smokehouse on top of a cindreblock foundation. Piped in an external firebox as heat and smoke source. Trial run was Saturday, temps in W. Michigan a ridiculous (for November) 22 degrees. I could barely get the interior temp up to 180 and needed a veritable inferno in the firebox. I could reach 185 -190 for only about 5 minutes before it would start to crash and even when I replenished the fire with addtional charcoal it would still fall to 155 before getting back up to 185, but theis whole up and down temp cycle was just about 20 minutes. This will not do.
I do want to stay with a charcoal/wood primary heat source because I've been smoking that way in a BBQ grill/smoker for years and just love the results. Needed another smoker because sometimes I get more fish than I could fit in my current arrangement.
So - What to do? Insulate smokehouse walls & the piping? Add a second pipe from firebox? As a supplemental source I ordered a electric element to try and get that extra 25 degrees I need (at least for fish, my primary meat) but don't want to go down a path that others may have tred before me
Luckily I didn't cannibalize my old unit to make the new house, because it's whitefish season and the fish are in. Smoked whitefish is the best thing I ever produced.