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Any Wine Barrel Smokers out there?

smokinz28

Newbie
9
10
Joined Aug 26, 2013
Looking for input on problems with wine/oak barrel smokers. I myself have built a smoker from a wine barrel, it was an easy fun project and I have had a few successful and a few unsuccessful smokes since then. I'm wondering if anybody else has built them and what problems have you encountered.

For me the biggest problem I had was that after a few smokes the oak barrel staves started to shrink and spearate a little. I have screws in every stave and every barrel hoop but the separation is mainly where the lid closes. Because of the gaps I was losing temperature and smoke. To rectify this loss I lined the smoker with aluminum foil with great success.

Smoking with a wine barrel is very challenging at maintaining temperatures so constant monitoring is required, not that I mind baby sitting the smoker with a cold one on hand.

Lets here from the winos.
 

java

Smoking Fanatic
318
17
Joined May 30, 2010
where do you find wine barrels?

i would like to build one of these for my cold smoking.
 

smokinz28

Newbie
9
10
Joined Aug 26, 2013
I have found used wine barrels on Kijiji and at the local wineries. I live in the Niagara area which is chock full of wineries. Some wineries will sell off the barrels after 3 or 4 seasons. People buy them up to make planters and furniture, I made the smoker out of one. A used barrel should sell for $60-$70 but I find they are more expensive on Kijiji. Ebay has them as well but I imagine shipping would be a bitch.
 

timberjet

Master of the Pit
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Joined Jan 29, 2010
Hey have you tried filling that barrel up with water once in a while? That is what I hear keeps them tight. I have 3 barrels right now that I would like to make into smokers. I was thinking one for cold smoking. Also would you do your lid like that again or try to figure out a door on the side? Just curious as this is a project I am doing this spring.
 

smokinz28

Newbie
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Joined Aug 26, 2013
I think the only change I would make to the lid is to cut it between the top 2 hoops. If you look at the picture I made the cut between hoops 2 and 3 and there is quite a gap between hoop 3 and the edge of the cut, that is where it separates the most. What you can't see in the picture is the hatch I cut into the back between hoops 4 and 5 which I used to stoke the fire when the coal run low. I did try the water thing but found it more of a pain changing the water between smokes. You may think the wine soaked staves would add flavor to the meat but it didn't for me therefor I need to find something more permanent to line the barrel with as the aluminum foil doesn't last very long.
 

timberjet

Master of the Pit
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154
Joined Jan 29, 2010
 
I think the only change I would make to the lid is to cut it between the top 2 hoops. If you look at the picture I made the cut between hoops 2 and 3 and there is quite a gap between hoop 3 and the edge of the cut, that is where it separates the most. What you can't see in the picture is the hatch I cut into the back between hoops 4 and 5 which I used to stoke the fire when the coal run low. I did try the water thing but found it more of a pain changing the water between smokes. You may think the wine soaked staves would add flavor to the meat but it didn't for me therefor I need to find something more permanent to line the barrel with as the aluminum foil doesn't last very long.
that was what I was thinking to cut between the hoops also a bevel cut for a better seal like maybe a 30 degree angle or so. How did you get a good cut by the way? I was wondering if I need to make a jig or something. I wonder if a 30 gallon steel barrel would slip in there? 
 
Last edited:

ak1

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
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Joined Feb 23, 2010
I was thinking about making one, but my thought was to have a barrel big enough so that a steel drum would fit inside.
 

timberjet

Master of the Pit
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Joined Jan 29, 2010
 
I was thinking about making one, but my thought was to have a barrel big enough so that a steel drum would fit inside.
My wine barrels are I think 65 gallon. I will have to measure and see but I don't think a 55 gallon would fit just looking at it.
 

smokinz28

Newbie
9
10
Joined Aug 26, 2013
I used a battery operated circular saw to cut through. For a hard wood it seemed to cut through very easily. I think next time I may use a jig saw for a little bit more control. Before you make any cuts though you must drill the hoops at every stave and insert a 3/4" screw otherwise the staves will all fall apart when you cut the top or even a hatch. Screw choice depends on the look you want.
 

huneedo

Newbie
1
10
Joined Jan 31, 2014
Hi, I am new here but am currently building a wine barrel smoker and wanted to know if you had any solutions to seal it? Tin foil does not seem to last too long and I'd like to avoid soaking it every so often. I was thinking of high heat sealant on the outside...? Any thoughts or suggestions? Also, is there a solution for sealing the lid better? 
 

timberjet

Master of the Pit
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Joined Jan 29, 2010
I am kicking around the idea of A clay coating on the inside. Maybe clay or something like that??? anybody have any knowledge? 
 

smokinz28

Newbie
9
10
Joined Aug 26, 2013
You have me thinking now of what to do. Yes the foil does not last very long but works well. Maybe I will try to skim coat the inside with furnace cement as it is non asbestos and can withstand high heat. The only question is, how well will it bond to oak? I'm guessing that where is it pressed in the stave gaps it should be enough of an anchor to hold it in place. If the barrel will remain stationary then there should not be a problem but if it is rolled or jostled then it might cracked and separate. Maybe there is a more flexible high heat skim coat product out there. It will have to wait until the spring as it is too cold up here to experiment. Any suggestions are welcomed.
 

bzmancustoms

Newbie
1
10
Joined Jul 17, 2014
I haven't made on yet, but thinking you could line the inside with metal flashing (they sell 16" wide rolls at HD and Lowes) and it would last quite a while and more durable than foil
 

bobank03

Smoking Fanatic
946
33
Joined Jun 17, 2013
interesting thread. I am enjoying your ideas and I think they make an interesting looking smoker. Keep us posted on your solutions for the internal linings. 
 

5oakssmoker

Smoke Blower
102
11
Joined May 7, 2014
Very interesting thread, is there any reason you cut the barrel for the lid instead of just popping out the top and cutting a bevel on it?

Also, not sure how well it would work, and it would be a prep/cleanup pain, but we see them do it all the time on the Moonshiners shows, they use an oatmeal paste to seal their copper/wood works to keep the steam in, I'm sure that would work, you would just have to clean it out when done, and reapply for the next smoke. Would make for some interesting conversations while smoking with friends also hehe.
 

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