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Need advise on 1st Smokehouse build

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

First off I would like to say what a wonderful Forum Ya’ll have going here. I’m like a kid in a candy store.  I'd like to thank everyone that's posts on this web site for all the great ideas, inspiration and answers to questions.


This is all Yall’s faults! Seeing your Beauties!! I joined today and this is my first post. Please let me know if I have it on the correct thread.

I have been reading info on your forum for days now looking for ideas on Smokehouse builds. I don’t think I have actually seen this idea so I’m looking for suggestions. I am in the earliest stages of the build: Designs running thru my head, day & night.


I live in East Texas -USDA Zone 7b or humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification ) Cfa.

My goal is to build a Smokehouse to be used for either hot OR cold smoking, all in one enclosure. My whole build plan is going to be centered around using low cost materials, most of which I already have such as untreated plywood and lumber and scrap I can get from an appliance scrap yard. No auto gadgets or timers for now :icon_rolleyes:


I was thinking of using this Aluminum Slanted Display Rack as a frame. If slant is any problem let me know, I also have a rack same size with level slides. Rack dimensions are 29" W 18" deep, and 74" tall. I would be using the 29” for the front of smokehouse. I selected it because of the slant the rack rails have and I want to be able to slide rack out the door of smokehouse, if needed. 

I would like the option of sliding a box fan, on its side - horizontal in bottom 1/4, between the bottom door and the top door, for times that I would be making Jerky using it as a Dehydrator and be able to remove the fan and replace it with a burner or Hotplate for times when I need more heat. I also thinking of leaving the bottom open for cold smoking and when I want to Hot smoke, lift entire unit onto a 24 inch tall cinder block base and pipe heat into Smokehouse much like Cowgirl’s Smoker using an old BB grill or an old wood burning stove I have sitting around for heat/smoke supply.

I owned a small BBQ catering business for a while and I still own the BBQ smoker, I built from a 500 Gal propane tank, on wheels so I could use it for Hot smoking and use this build just for Cold smoking, but I would like to use this build for both, if possible.


I want to keep it as light as possible so it's somewhat portable if needed and for it NOT to be a permanent fixture.


Design similar to my rack I just found:

StratmooreFarms http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/111487/looking-for-ideas


Designs I based the look and function of My Smokehouse build on:


Pops6927 http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/88853/found-a-burner-for-smokehouse

jarjarchef  http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/136196/not-so-mini-smokehouse-build-w-pics

Hagisan  http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/135339/smokehouse-build


The Smokehouse I’m planning will sit outside away from anything susceptible to damage. Will use it for BBQ ribs, Pork Butt or Beef Brisket but mostly for some Jerky, Sausages, Slim Jims and Turkey legs, etc. My first thoughts are a propane burner with a cast iron pan for wood chips. Heat range up to 250 degrees. Will use old oven racks in it as well. My cooking chamber should be like 29" W 18" deep, and 16" tall, nothing set in stone yet. Also heat source area can be lined with tile. I want the “Old School” look, because………. Well-I’m Old School”  I’m thinking of using a full door in the front and placing my access/ash clean-out door in the back of Smokehouse, at the bottom, but that’s not written in stone.


Heat source is up for grabs. I have all the Oak firewood I could ever use on my property. I could use a small BBQ grill or an electric hotplate in bottom for cold smoking and for hot smoking maybe even a propane burner, or the brick square mentioned above. I’m going with DaveOmak’s ideas on no smokestack on roof top, just couple 4" x 8" Metal Floor Registers that open and close. One in the bottom front in the door and one on each side, about 6" from the ceiling or overhang.


My initial questions are:


Should Smokehouse be double walled or insulated for the area I live in? Maybe insulation would keep Smokehouse too cool in the Texas summer.

When used as a Hot smoker bottom 3rd should be heat shielded, would lining inside with R-Panel with insulation between it and outside wall be sufficient?

Would corrugated roof tin alone be useable to wrap the outside shell? Would it hold enough heat or should I use boards? I have plenty of both on hand.

Please forgive me for all the newbie questions and ideas. I realize that the Smoke builds are ever evolving. I’m the type that like to ask seasoned veterans about ideas before I implement the so I won’t have to wish I shouda, coulda, woulda on the Item I just got finished with. I went around for a year looking at other peoples BBQ trailers, snatchin’ ideas, before I started to build my own BBQ trailer.


Thanks, ahead of time, for ALL your ideas and information!!

post #2 of 3

Hey outlaw that almuminum frame looks like it would be awesome for a smokehouse!

post #3 of 3

I think the slanted racks would work great, seems to me like it would allow you to inspect your jerky or whatever alot easier than if you had no slant. With that cinder block and BBQ pit design for heat source i think that would also work pretty well and i even thought about doing that when i started my build last year but the whole time i had toxins in mind and i wasnt sure if heating cinder blocks would be harmful in anyway or not with all the chemicals that is used to make them. But it obviously isnt because there is alot of people out there who has used them and i guess they are all still kickin. The design is good because it raises your smokehouse above your heat source. I used a wood burnin stove on mine and i dont know that i really like it that way i sort of would like to get the fire a little hotter than 150-160 and with the wood burnin stove i really wasnt able to maintain anything higher than that, but it probably wasnt the stoves fault i probably just need to retain a little more of the smoke and heat by closing some of the gaps within the smokehouse. I have thought about using aluminum flashing or something like that to line the inside with but im not really sure what would be best, I am like you and want to keep my project low cost. I just read that you want your smokehouse to be somewhat portable you could always build this 4x4x7 that you have in mind to be more permanant and while you are experimenting with the full scale you could build something alot smaller to have on standby for portable weekend smokes.

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