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HELP! Anyone know what to do with a built-in meat smoker in chimney?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Our house has a built-in meat smoker at the bottom of the chimney stack. I have no idea how to make this work! Basically, in the basement by the sauna are two doors that look a lot like ash-trap doors. I think you're supposed to build a fire in the one below and smoke food in the one above--there's a kind of grill in there already. You can adjust the airflow by turning a dial-like air intake on the front of the lower one.

Has anyone seen/used these?
post #2 of 19
A picture would be nice.

post #3 of 19
Sounds like a sweet set up, I would love to see a pic
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
The attachment feature of the boards isn't working, and my facebook acct is down for mait., but I'll try soon!
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yeah, if it doesn't smoke up my house instead! icon_confused.gif
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
post #7 of 19
You can use photobucket as a picture hosting site. Resize pics to 640 x 480 and use the "IMG Code" to post the pics here. Photbucket has free accounts. It sounds very interesting I'm sure many of us would like to see pics.
post #8 of 19
I see you got them up. By the way welcome to SMF. That thing is very cool with some checking to make sure everything is still usable and some work that would be very cool to use
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
I don't even know where to start! I'm not sure whether to light the fire at the top or in the bottom, even--or whether the bottom is just for collecting ash.

Thanks for the welcome! I've never smoked meat before, and throw in this strange contraption, and I'm double-lost!
post #10 of 19
It looks like a smoker. I would try and build a fire in the bottom, and measure the temp at grate level in the upper and see what it reads. Then it is all working. Give it a go!!
post #11 of 19
You may want to have it looked at. It looks like from one of those pictures that some of the fire bricks have come loose & fallen out. You would want to make sure it is safe to put a fire to it.
post #12 of 19
BEFORE STARTING ANY FIRE IN IT. Clean it out and use a flashlight to make sure that it hasn't been sealed off somewhere in the chimney. Check the firebricks the best you can to make sure they are in decent shape. Then you should have an idea of what you really have.
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure where those firebicks are even from--it's in the bottom one, which might be the ash cleanout or might be where I'm supposed to light the fire! The might have fallen from anywhere.

It needs a good cleaning with a wire brush, too, and an oiling...
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
I know it hasn't been sealed off. (I've had work done, and all the flues that connect to anything are functional.) No idea about the rest--just looked at it today!
post #15 of 19
If it were working properly I believe the fire would be built in the bottom and the meat or whatever our smoking would go on racks at the second level
post #16 of 19
I agree with what the others are telling you. If you have a chimney, then surely there would be a company in your area ( possibly a chimney sweep )
that can come look at it and inspect it.

I have seen similar set ups outside before, I have never seen one inside a house, pretty interesting if it works.

My only concern would be how close the "cooking grate" is to the fire area. in a UDS this is not an issue, but you will be dealing with much more draft and therefore the possibility of larger flames. It is definitely going to take some getting used to and some trial and error ( hopefully more trial than error ).......just my 2 cents

Anyway, good luck and keep us posted
post #17 of 19
TxBBQman beat me to it. It may sound simple, but the best of all worlds would be to have it inspected by a licensed chimney sweep. If you can't find one, ask around local fire departments, they are often the best source of leads. Having been a firefighter, I can tell you that it doesn't take much of an issue with a chimney lining to cause a fire in your home. It really isn't worth the risk.

That being said, having an indoor smoker would be ├╝ber-cool, and so it might be well worth the expense of having someone come and check it out for your peace of mind.
post #18 of 19

I would contact these folks and see if they are the ones that made it. If so, they can probably tell you all about it.
post #19 of 19
The house I grew up in, and my mother still lives in, has something similar next to one of the fire places. We never used it for any fire as the condition was poor. The bottom was where the fire would be and the cooking would happen in the top section. In the case of my mothers it was built as an oven with a brick floor. There is no direct fire from the bottom to the top so grilling was not possible. A fire would be built in the bottom section and the brick in the top section would get hot. In goes the bread or whatever. The shape of the top portion is like a beehive, and i believe that it was referred to as a beehive oven. How old is your house? My mom's was built about 1830. I ask this because maybe yours was built as an oven and over time the floor of the oven has collapsed into the fire pit, hence those loose bricks. Get a light inside and post some more pics of the interior. I am intrigued.
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