Best material for a Smoke House capable of hot and cold smokes? Some questions.

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Nov 3, 2013
Massapequa, NY (Long Island)
Let me start by saying that when it comes to building, constructing, fixing things, etc.  I am completely useless.  I can barely change a lightbulb.  Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration.  I have done minimal wood work in my day.  But I have absolutely no building skills, electric sklls, masonry etc.  But in steps my friend Bob...a talented wood worker and masonry guy who can do electric, build or fix just about anything.  We were tossing around the idea of building a smokehouse in my yard and since Bob can't resist a good project, he is in!  Now I am a man of many smokers, but all smaller home use kinds.  I would like something fairly large, (maybe closet size) to do large batches of smoked sausages, bacon, ham, cheese, nuts, and whole cuts of beef, pork, poultry, etc.   So basically I want something that is all in one.  Hot smoking, cold smoking, etc with a homemade feel to it.   I have some basic questions that go along with this brainstorm we were having.

1)  What material would be the safest, able to achieve varying temps, and the least expensive?  Wood, wood with a concrete base, brick?

2)  Have you all had success using either a pellet tube or tray in the bottom of the smoker for both hot and cold smoking?

3)  If I go with the propane burner as a heat source as I see many people do, how hot will a chamber this size be able to get?

If these are dumb questions I apologize.  Like I said...I havent build much in my life haha 


Well, I am watching this one.   I hope a smokehouse is on the build sheet for this winter.
i would use untreated wood... i wouldn't be too concerned about using woods with glue in them like untreated plywood, but that would be lower on my list personally... ceder would be first on my list since it will naturally be water, rot, and insect resistant. maybe pine next because it's cheap. metal would work good, but be more expensive than wood i think and i think metal tends to take in more heat from the sun so that might effect your smoking temp in a good or bad way. people would likely suggest to stay away from galvanized, i wouldn't because the temperatures you will be smoking at would be lower than the temps required to vaporize the zinc. i would do a stone, block, or concrete base, but i wouldn't build one i plan on moving... i don't think there is a necessity for such a base. a pellet tray or tube would work fine depending how big you plan on making it, but a propane heat source is something i would personally avoid... there are may well respected (and well deserving of that respect) people on here who do use a propane burner for heat, my concern would be burning up all the oxygen in the smoke house and putting the burner out... there are ways to mitigate that, but even then it's going to compete with the air for the pellet smoker. i would use an old wood stove personally, but if i wanted something more "set and forget" I'd look into electric elements.  depending on your heat source, you should be able to get into the low hot smoking temps if you wanted (say 225-240) with an uninsulated ceder smokehouse depending on the weather, but personally being able to get to 170 to do sausage would be the highest temp i would look for... i hate to fill the thing with the running fat from a brisket or pork shoulder. sure drip pans would work, but they spill and i have a Weber and an offset that are better designed for hot smoking.

obviously there are a lot of ways to skin a cat... this would be my way. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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