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Advice on building small smoke house/box

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'm starting to plan a build for a relatively small smokehouse/box. Not sure if I should call it a house due to it's size. I'm looking at building a plywood cabinet, about 24"w x 24"d x 36"h. Since I don't raise animals and butcher my own meat, my use of this will be limited to a few times a year, I'm sure.

I want to be able to smoke/cure bacon, sausages and the occasional ham. I live in Columbia, SC so the summers are pretty warm, usually near 90 - 100 degrees.

Knowing that I don't want to COOK in this contraption, here are my questions:

1. if I use a 3/4" plywood and seal all joints with a heat-proof compound, do you think it's necessary to insulate the walls of the smoker?

2. Would a 1,000 watt hot plate be sufficient to achieve up to 120 degrees in the box, maximum? Or would I be fighting to keep it constant?

3. if no on the hot plate for temp control, what would you suggest in a box this size?

4. Any other concerns you would have going into this project?

I want to place it in my garage, and vent it outside to keep it out of the sunlight when it's working. The garage has no heating/ac to speak of, so it's basically just a shed.

Thanks in advance for any tips or concerns!
post #2 of 7
You are going to want to use this then for just "cold smoking"?
Unless you plan on doing straight cold smoking with this, your temps MUST be above your stated 120 degrees maximum.
post #3 of 7
You should look up soem of the members here that have them. I know that chris (scpatterson) built a smoke house but his is 4'x4'x8' but he should have answers to your questions. There is someone here that I saw a thread yesterday had a small wooden smoker so look back a page or two and they were smoking bacon. The thread was question about smoking bellies.
post #4 of 7
I used the 3/4" plywood to build my upright smoker, I use a propane burner off of an old grill. I initially wanted to use the hot plate too but, I was only able to get the temps to about 140 max with a 1,000 watt hot plate. That does not include the water pan or any of the meat, which is why I chose to go with the propane burner. If you go with the propane I would suggest looking into the afterburners, check this site out http://www.gassmoker.com/index.htm My box is 48" tall by 26" wide by 24" deep. I built it to be able to smoke my sausages and also do large cuts of meat like pork butts, ribs, and briskets etc...
I did not insulate my box, I live in MN and have used it several times this winter. I dont have it vented out side so I had to smoke in the garage with the garage door half open for the smoke to escape. I am still able to get temps up to 350 degrees in the winter which is more than enough for what I do. If you wanted to solely use the hot plate I would not go any taller than 36". The taller you go the harder it is to heat all the space so, if you are just going to be using it for several cuts of meat and not doing sausage where you have to hang it you could actually go a little shorter if you wanted too. Hopefully this will get you started, good luck! PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #5 of 7
which burner did you use with your wooden box cooker
post #6 of 7
you might look at garage sales or on ebay etc. for a big chief smoker. close to your dimensions and the workd is already done. it is great for what it's designed for, which should be exactly whatr you will be asking from it.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
thanks guys, I'll take all of this into consideration. I have been reading all the smokehouse build posts, trying to piece together what's going to work best for me in this situation.

I have an offset smoker for all of my cooking needs, so this is really just for bacons, sausages and maybe the occasional ham if I get bold enough to go that route.

No hurry on this project, got tons of other things to keep me busy, but I like planning and over-planning. LOL
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