or Connect
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Supplies & Equipment › Smoker Builds › Lemons to Lemonade
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Lemons to Lemonade

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've been stalking these forums for over a year now, and finally am needing some input. About a year ago we had two major wind storms hit our area, and unfortunately our house was a direct hit. My grandparents house was abandoned at the time, and was completely flattened. The second storm piled trees onto the back of the house, and to put it into perspective we had over 800 trees go down in both storms. While most people would be crying for Obama and FEMA help I saw an opportunity. Getting to the point I decided to build a smokehouse out of the recycled materials. Most of my projects like this get a good start and stop about 1/3 of the way into it so I'm going to need some support of this forum of how to convince my wife this is a "different project".


With that as the background this is what I'm planning on:


I have made and plan to continue to make smokies, smoked fished, landjaeggar, lots of fresh and cooked sausages, smoked turkey, duck, goose and want to do some rabbit ham and other ideas. Because of the diversity of products I want to make sure I have my thermostat and temperature controls right as well as the proper airflow and spacing. I'm thinking the most meat I would have in the unit at 1 time would be smokies so I thought perhaps 3" spacing between racks?


I will use 2X12's for the walls and roof because that's what my roof was made of. I've decided to make it oven rack width 26" and double oven rack deep 28" so I can cut down on the rack costs by salvaging the racks from discarded ovens. I will build it as tall as I can with the 2X12's available. I'm guessing it will be about 7' tall, and I plan on trimming it similar to our house so it fits the motif. Any input for lining, heat, fans, smoke, electricity, lights etc would be greatly appreciated. I think I have a good idea from the previous stalking, but am hoping someone who has already gone through this can chime in. It will be both hot and cold smoke capable, but what is the max temperature I can go with the wood framing?


 Here's the beginning:



Future Smoker



Grandma's House


Side note; thought I'd throw in a picture of the truck and horse trailer (attached to truck) hit by the 2nd storm.


Base = 8" concrete with a 4" drain/cold smoke pipe in the bottom. Unfortunately, I didn't have a backhoe so everything including tree roots were shoveled out. We live in North Idaho so I had to get below the frost line which really sucks because as you can see in the photo there's lots of rocks in the soil.


Pressure treat mudsill.


I intend to build up and slope the floor with some sort of either clay or ceramic. My concern with clay is because it will be wood walls I can't fire the clay to make it pottery and I don't know if just dry clay is a floor or not?. Any floor covering advice would be appreciated. I've read concrete will eventually crack because of the gravel expanding with the heat. I don't know if that is true or not?


I'll get the walls and roof framed in this weekend. I told my wife no more than $200 and I'll get it done. Concrete and 2x12 pressure treat was $48. I'm 120' from the closest 240v power so I'm thinking propane or wood is my only heat choice?


I am quite creative and capable of jerry rigging stuff so let me know of low cost ideas for the burner/heat. A buddy says he is going to send a Brinkman smoke generator so if he comes through that will help a lot even though I'll have cold smoke capabilities if I want to build and maintain a fire.

Edited by mtnlakeman - 6/17/15 at 5:08pm
post #2 of 8

It should be a nice smoke house. Keep the pics coming and the wife happy.

Happy smoken.


post #3 of 8
Sorry for the loss. I'd suggest trying multiple heat sources. By that I mean you can build in your fire box for wood/charcoal but also have it to where you could place a propane burner in it if you wanted to go that route. With having the line in for cold smoke, you could burn like a cold smoke and heat with propane and get the the effects of a propane smoker without fighting to keep wood chips in a pan. I hope what I just said makes as much sense as it does in my head.

As far as what burner, there's lots of people on here who have used one from Northern Tools with luck. Check the propane build section for links.
post #4 of 8
If you go propane I'd also recommend the northern tool burner. Since your smoker is wood I'd line the bottom 18"-20" with fire brick, floor and walls. Leave a 1" air gap between the bricks and the wood walls. Use refractory cement to set the bricks.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips on the burner. I like the idea of a possible real fire as haven't thought about that. Is there a good thermostat I should look at for the propane, and where do I find refractory cement? I live in in a town of 8,000 people. I couldn't find it at home depot, and we don't have a pottery store in town.

A couple pics showing some progress. Have to tell myself it's not like my other projects so am staying pretty focused.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Sunday's progress

Roof and chimney on.



Buddy sent the smoke generator. $40 in felt paper and nails so think I'm ahead of budget.



Had wiring, insulation, plywood, roofing, chimney from salvage. Another friend had some old freezer panels he wanted rid of so used them as an inner door. They are 3" foam so not sure it that will work?


Facia and Trim from the pallets they sent metal for my house on. Had to buy lathe for $72. Budget not looking good as we don't have any inside stuff yet, and I thought that was going to be the expensive part.


Building a door this week, and think hinges will blow my budget.


Questions now will be in regards to what do I need to do for air flow? How close should the racking be? I was thinking 3" so I can do a lot of smokies, but will the whole oven be the same temperature? I have a 4" pipe coming in from the bottom and a 5" pipe with a damper going out the top.


My thought is I will line it with cement board and then skin that with aluminum as I also had a tree go through our tent trailer so have some free aluminum sheeting. I will build the fire brick as mentioned up 2', but what do I do in the door area? I'm guessing make a stove face? Is there any risk a grease fire will make everything spontaneously combust if it ignites? I read where wood combusts around 450 degrees.


Any other advice before I get my supplies? I'm hoping to have it nearly complete this coming weekend.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
It's been awhile, but as with most projects the smoker is 90% complete. My nephew donated some stainless to line the inside, and I found some stainless angle to make some rack shelves. I tore apart a pallet and built some fish racks and have made a few test runs. I still don't have a permanent heat source, but tore out my gas heater from a tent trailer that also got hit by a tree so will use the valves and thermometer controller to run the system. My hold up has been I started building small cottonwood fires in a roasting pan and it holds at 160 with lots of smoke so I've been liking it to the point I stalled out.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Smoker Builds
SmokingMeatForums.com › Forums › Smoking Supplies & Equipment › Smoker Builds › Lemons to Lemonade