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The UglyBox Build

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Due to some circumstances I found myself without a smoker and decided to build one. After many hours of doing research I decided to build a vertical smoker using cinder blocks as a main building material. This would give me plenty of insulation, making it easier to keep my temps up during the cold Ohio winters. I started by digging down to 34 inches and pouring a footer to build on, I did not get any pictures of this. I then built up on that using cinder blocks, and then poured my cement pad to build the smoker on.

Pad is finished


I used some cinder blocks to get a feel of how big I wanted to build it.

Getting a feel for size


Then I started building using the cinder block and high heat mortar.

Starting to build it up now


A look down inside the build.

a look inside on the first day of building


End of first days build


Cinder blocks done and the bottom lined with firebrick.

The shell finished and the bottom firebrick is in


Firebrick done, starting with red brick the rest of the way up.

Working on the brick inside


Inside brick work finished, for now. In the spring I will take the bricks the rest of the way to the top, trying to get it usable this year and the temps here are getting colder.

Brick inside finished for now. It will get finished the rest of the way up in the spring during the make it pretty phase.


Using a cedar door for now, it should work till spring when it will get replaced by a steel door or something as good.

Using cedar for the door right now, will most likely replace it with steel later.


After a very long and hard wait the first fire.

First fire, looking good


The firebox door is in and looking good.

Fire Door Finished open


Fire Door Finished closed


The racks are done and ready.

The trays are finished.


Ready for smoking some food!

Ready for some smoking.



So that is my little UglyBox. The plan is in the spring I am going to finish the bricks inside the rest of the way up. Then use large flat stones to finish off the outside. I have smoked several items on it already and forgot to get pictures, but will be doing many more smokes on it and will get some loaded. Still doing some tweeks to make it run a bit better but so far so good.  


Please feel free to give me any feed back you might have I am open to some constructive criticism. 

post #2 of 8

Looks nice. I don't see any venting on your firebox door. Is there any? If not, plans for vents?


Also, I've been using wooden doors on my masonry smoker for 20 years now - wood actually works quite well - insulates MUCH better than steel! I used my new little infrared thermometer to measure the temps of various parts of my smoker the other day about 12 hours into smoking a couple pork butts and the steel fire box door was 400 degrees F while the wood top and doors hovered right around 90 degrees - it was in the low 80s outside.






post #3 of 8

Looks super. Where is the vent to the Hot box? Also, did you purchase or build your steel door? I built mine but didn't see anywhere to buy reasonably..


Happy Smoking Mr.

post #4 of 8
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post

Looks super. Where is the vent to the Hot box? Also, did you purchase or build your steel door? I built mine but didn't see anywhere to buy reasonably..


Happy Smoking Mr.

Are you responding to me (PianoV) or the original poster?

post #5 of 8

Sorry, To PV. It is awesome as I have not seen one like this before.

post #6 of 8

Looks good also MR. M I love brick builds before and after building mine.

post #7 of 8

Not a problem - I just didn't know.  Thanks for the compliments. The smoker sure seems to work very well. Smoked three slabs of baby-back ribs today - major YUM!!!



"Where is the vent to the Hot box?"


The fire box door has a slide vent on the bottom that really opens up a huge amount of area for air intake to the fire. And then I have one six (or eight?) hole vent in the upper portion of the door. I'm thinking of adding maybe two more vents of that type, but install them at the very top of the door. I think they will function better as a cooling vent that way.



"Also, did you purchase or build your steel door?"


Built my door myself. Started with a hunk of 3/16" plate and went from there. Seems to work very well!


Terry Farrell 


Tampa Bay, Florida

post #8 of 8

I personally don't see anything ugly about it.   Its what comes out that counts.    Your on the right track.    


If spring ever gets here I look forward to seeing it complete.   

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