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Brick smoker - Compete how to

bapilot2

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That's a cool little bee hive you've got there. How do you like raising bees? I've been toying with the idea ever since I spoke to a couple of bee keepers at the Texas State Fair this past year. It sounds like a fun, educational, and beneficial hobby in which to get involved. However, I hate getting stung! That's why I haven't done anything other than mull it over. - LOL

I did research "reverse flow" smokers and I see what you mean about the trouble in incorporating it into a brick smoker. There's just not a good way to separate and cause the smoke to reverse flow since the use of a steel divider is just about a foregone conclusion and requirement. But it is something to think about.

When and if I do start my brick build I may indeed pick your brain a bit. I have never done any masonry so the learning curve will be steep and will undoubtedly be fraught with mistakes and miscues. So, thanks for the offer.

Andrew
 

wes w

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Andrew,  there is a story as to how I got into beekeeping.   Thank you for the kind words.

If I can I would be more then glad to help you any way I can.  I don't use the forum a lot unless I'm researching a how to.  I do keep up with this thread though.    Masonry isn't hard, its labor intense  and time consuming.   I'm not expert by any means, but I do have a working knowledge of how it works.  All of my advise came from my brother who in 1973 won state and national bricklaying championships  his senor year in high school.   He worked as a brick layer for 10 years and is now a contractor in NC.  

If I can help you in any way, just let me know.
 

dandl93

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Wes W I wish you would hang out and share more info on this forum.With your smokehouse you have alot to share.I am still waiting to sell my home so I can move out to the farm and build my smokehouse with your idea and my changes for my area you are a plus to this forum.

Dan
 

wes w

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Thank you dan.

I feel I'm still learning.  I can tell you how to build a brick smoker, but I'm still learning the ropes of smoking.   I have a perfected smoked pork BBQ.  But until I can do ribs perfect every time,  I don't think I can give the advice to folks who are looking for the right answers.   Although I do smoke some mean wings.  :-)

I keep myself busy.  I keep up with this thread and search questions I have.   I've gotten involved with beekeeping.  Another hobby that take up a lot of time.

Hope everyone has a great week!
 

jim williams

Meat Mopper
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Joined Sep 25, 2014
Hello Wes down south, I am Jim of Lincoln, Nebraska.

You had built a chimney design smoker outdoors. I absolutely have the material and the time, minus a few items...and the very close design.

I cannot find cast or steel doors anywhere, So where did you get the doors? custom made by your brother??

Can you fill me in, desperate but not willing to pay big $$.

I will have the 'ol juke box profile, 2 shoulders and a head for the vent on the back side, along with two - 30" ( wide and 30"deep) brick counters to each side.

I truly appreciate any leads you can give me.  Take care! 
 

wes w

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Good evening Jim,

I guess its getting cool in your part of the country about now.  Been cool here in the mountains of NC too.

Yes, my brother did build the doors.   I have no clue what they would have cost otherwise.    He did use 1/8in. steel plate for the door itself.  The frame is 3in. angle.   The hinges he used were off an old commercial  steel doors he had.   He also made the shelf racks.

It would be worth asking around to see if anyone could help you out.   I also looked everywhere for prefab doors with no luck.   I couldn't find anything big enough for what I needed.

Love my smoker!    Post some pictures when you get started.   I don't care what anyone says, you can't beat the bricks when it come to smoking!   A flavor none other can duplicate.

I hope I answered your question, if not, we'll go at it again.

Wes
 

jim williams

Meat Mopper
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Joined Sep 25, 2014
Yes I was afraid of that.

I will custom build then.

Can you send me sizes or plans from your brother for reference only?

I am going 24" deep and 30" wide.


Also is your hot box straight up with a damper to control heat?
 

wes w

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Originally Posted by Wes W
Specs. 

  21in. deep

  19in. wide.

Firebox is 21 deep

20 in. wide.
Good morning Jim,

Here are the inside specs.  I used fire brick for the shelves as well.  Best I remember I offset them 1 1/4in.    Of course, you can make it as tall as you like.

You'll like it being wider.  You'll get better air flow when you pack it full.   I have done as many as 14 butts in mine, but its a full house.

Here are the specs on the outside finished product.  

Smoker:   54 across the front.  40 deep.

Specs for the door "openings".   Firebox,  20 wide, 16 tall.    Cooker doors 16x16.    Edit:  The doors overlap  3/4in best I remember. 

I really don't have any plans on this smoker.   I've been ask by many and I just haven't sit down to draw them up.   I layed my base to what I thought would work and  started up.   The fun part is that it all has to go up together.   Well, it wouldn't have to, but I did.  When I got to the top, I was done.

I think you said you were putting your firebox vent in the back.   You may want to keep in mind having to walk around your smoker every time you need to adjust the vent.   I adjust mine quite often.

I hope this helps.   

Edit:   Sorry, almost missed your last question.

The firebox  and cooker are straight up.  I use the water pan and steel plates as the baffle. 


Here is a picture I took while smoking kielbasa a while back.   I leave about 1/2 in open in the back and about 3/4in on the sides that you see.  I use a full size foil pan for my water pan.  It covers the middle.  If I'm running a full smoker I do have to rotate bottom to top about half way through. 
 
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jim williams

Meat Mopper
182
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Joined Sep 25, 2014
Hello again.
I am curious how the hot box is installed or the damper to control heat going up.
Is it boxed with a 12" opening at the top of hot box and a damper installed there?
I just don't see how it works inside the smoker. Is there a way to send pics of the entire inside to it is easier to understand?
My email is [email protected] for the pics.
Thanks for all the time you give me.
 

jim williams

Meat Mopper
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Joined Sep 25, 2014
Hello, Wes.

Jim again, can you shoot me some pics of the interior ?  I am on to what you are describing and incredibly we have the same taste and or ideas.

-Is there only one floor register (right side) for fresh air intake?

-Is there another vent in the middle back side when you add steel slats as a diverter?

-I need to see the very bottom cleanout on the right incorporated with the coal box just above. Is there a steel grate for ash and gravity drops to another level?

-Are you able to show me your levels of block and brick to follow interior design slightly???

-Is there a damper in your chimney?   

-How deep is the foundation 18"?, monolithic footing (12") good enough? Surely not a slab.

- What is the ash dump vents? ( I am new, sorry to waste so much of your time)

Thanks a million, smoking a chicken on my piece of tin right now...don't feel guilty just send me info. LOL.

I only desire 24"W x 44" deep counter top to each side with inset tile and sealed for non-porous surface for cleaning.

Thank you very, very much kind Sir!    Cell 402-310-2443

You will inspire me to complete this as I read your accomplishments you are a true outdoorsman cook! 
 
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wes w

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Thank you for the kind words Jim.  Did a run of yard bird today too  for a friend who had been in the hospital.   Just seemed right to feed there family.   I'll reply in the morning with your details and maybe give you a call.    Sir, no one ever bothers me when it comes to building a brick smoker.   Hope you have a great evening!  
 

wes w

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
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Joined Jul 31, 2012
 
Hello, Wes.

Jim again, can you shoot me some pics of the interior ?  I am on to what you are describing and incredibly we have the same taste and or ideas.

1.  -Is there only one floor register (right side) for fresh air intake?

2.  -Is there another vent in the middle back side when you add steel slats as a diverter?

3.  -I need to see the very bottom cleanout on the right incorporated with the coal box just above. Is there a steel grate for ash and gravity drops to another level?

4.  -Are you able to show me your levels of block and brick to follow interior design slightly???

5.  -Is there a damper in your chimney?   

6.  -How deep is the foundation 18"?, monolithic footing (12") good enough? Surely not a slab.

7.  - What is the ash dump vents? ( I am new, sorry to waste so much of your time)

Thanks a million, smoking a chicken on my piece of tin right now...don't feel guilty just send me info. LOL.

I only desire 24"W x 44" deep counter top to each side with inset tile and sealed for non-porous surface for cleaning.

Thank you very, very much kind Sir!    Cell 402-310-2443

You will inspire me to complete this as I read your accomplishments you are a true outdoorsman cook! 
Good afternoon Jim,

1and 7

I used Vented Ash Dump for my fresh air vents.   Yes, there is one on each side.  Some fireplace designs pull fresh air in from the outside and are built into the floor.  For the smoker, I just put them on the sides.  You simply mortar them in.  You have to prop something against them until they set up.


Here is a picture of the right side vent.  Below you can see the clean out door with a brick to hold it till it sets up.


Here is the void I left in the block for the air way.  Same on the left side.

Here is a link for the Vented ash dump.   http://www.northlineexpress.com/vented-ash-dump-94cioa-9230.html

2.  There are no vents in the back.   The two side vents are more then enough to keep a very hot fire.  By the end of a long run I usually have both vents closed.

If you mean the steel slate that the water pan sits on, no.  Its straight up the back.  About a 1/4 in gap in the back and 1/2in on the sides. 

3.  You'll have to incorporate the cleanout into the foundation.  


I used an 8in. clean out door.  I left a block wide void all the way through.   I had plans to put a pizza oven in the  middle, but after completing the fireplace and smoker, there really wasn't enough room.  I stepped the clean out down for the fireplace because it emits more ashes.    A small flat shovel fits perfect in the clean out. 


Here is a picture of the base.  You build around the hole for the clean out door.  Here is what you would want to use, or you can just leave a hole.  A door will help stop air from coming up though.

http://www.northlineexpress.com/cast-iron-ash-dump-3078.html

4. 


Here is the best picture I have.  You can see the clean out in the back and opening for the fresh air vents.

The first shelf that the water pan sits on is between the two doors.  You can't see it.  Its built the same as the other.


I left about 2in. around the firebrick and block.  Dead air space is good when trying to hold heat.  I also put fiberglass insulation in this void, just be sure and take the paper off it.  I didn't pack it in but made it compact.   In the picture I think you can get an idea how it went up. 

5.  I did put a damper in the top.  My brother made it also.  If I were doing it again,  I wouldn't have.  I used a 12x12 flue liner.  Way to big, but I wanted ti to match the fireplace.  You only need an equal amount of sq. in. air flow going out as you have coming in.  8x8 would be plenty to move the air through the smoker.  

I usually damper mind down till I get smoke coming out the doors and then open it just enough to make it stop.  

Here is the damper he made.  It works great but really not needed.



He took 2in steel tube and cut a slit in it with a plazma cutter.  Inserted a 1/8 flat piece of steel plate with a handle to the outside.  1/2 in short piece of tube on the handle so it moves free once you lay around it.  A steel plate over the handle area that you lay your brick over.   The slide is removed here in the picture .  You'll start your flue liner right off of the damper.

6.  My footing is 13in. thick with double runs of 5/8 rebar on a 1 foot grid.   Not sure where you are, but here the bottom of any footing has to be 16in. below ground.  If it freezes under your footing, you got problems.  Check in your area to see how deep you have to be to be below the freeze line.

If you have more questions just ask.   The main thing I can't stress enough is let it cure when its finished before you start a fire.  

Not sure about the outdoor cook part.   Been married 30 years next month.   A good reason to be outdoors.  :-)     I do love smoking great pork and bacon.
 

jim williams

Meat Mopper
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Joined Sep 25, 2014
Great instructions wes!
How does the ash get to the clean out box below?

Do you have a grate on the floor of the hot box? Just a open grate?

Hope that yard bird cheered your friend up. Take care.
 
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jim williams

Meat Mopper
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Joined Sep 25, 2014
Also wes, did you use a larger brick in oven for the racks? Made of clay correct?

I have access to 2000 brick but all with the 3 - hole.

P.s. footing in lincoln, Nebraska is 36" start diggin

I need to find solid brick?
 
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wes w

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Great instructions wes!
1.  How does the ash get to the clean out box below?

2.  Do you have a grate on the floor of the hot box? Just a open grate?

Hope that yard bird cheered your friend up. Take care.
3.  Also wes, did you use a larger brick in oven for the racks? Made of clay correct?

I have access to 2000 brick but all with the 3 - hole.

P.s. footing in lincoln, Nebraska is 36" start diggin

I need to find solid brick?
Not a problem for anyone serious about smoking in the bricks.   There isn't any info on the web and SMF doesn't seem to think we should have our own page.  I'm not going to start a rant... I'll just leave it at that.    There are many different way a person could build a brick smoker, but about all the rules apply.  

1.  When you pour your top over your block or top, you'll need to leave a hole all the way down to the clean out.   You simply open the ash door and with a fireplace ash shovel scoop it in the hole.  When it gets full, you shovel it out through the clean out door on the side.  If your not lazy, like me, you wouldn't have to have a clean out.  Simply clean the ashes out after they are cold into a bucket or put them in your garden, flower bed or through them around the yard.  

2-3.  The floor of the fire box has to be firebrick.   Even on a fire grate the floor will get hot.  You'll need to use firebrick in the smoker.   Probably not necessary, but  better safe then sorry.  Fire brick are designed to withstand heat.  Its the same brick you see in a fireplace.   They are very hard and very dense.   You will need full brick.  Not sure about your area, but the Lowes here  only sells half brick.   If you can find a masonry supply and get them there.  Here they are about a dollar or so each.

The ledges are the same brick laid flat.   The laying of the interior is a slow go.  You have to be patient!

2000 brick is plenty.    Only solid brick you would need are your firebrick.

A side note on the footing.   Make it about 8-10in wider then you need.  It will help it be more stable.  When you finish, your going to have a couple tons of weight sitting there.

Edit:  


I use the smallest fire grate I could find for the fire.   I also put a piece of stretch metal over it to keep wood ash from falling through when I need a very small fire toward the end of a long smoke. 
 
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jaez

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Joined Sep 3, 2014
Hi Wes,

I'm just starting in on a brick/wood hybrid smoker.  The firebox is going to be cinder block with a cedar wood smoking chamber above it.  I started laying the brick last week and found out that I really suck at brick laying... hah!  I'm pretty sure that the mortar joints are too big, I didn't get it level enough cause I was trying to hurry (and frustrated with the mortar), and it's my first build so I'm expecting it to not be perfect and will build a bigger-better version after I have learned what went wrong on this one.  Mine is going to use charcoal instead of wood and I am expecting a slow smolder to produce plenty of heat for smoking.

My only real question has to do with the heat transfer through the brick.  It looks like you have firebrick, then cinder block, then normal brick surrounding the firebox.  Can you feel any heat from the firebox on the brick around it or does the brick layers kill the heat transfer?  I'll probably have kids running around the back yard while I'm smoking stuff and don't want them to get burned by accident. 

I took a couple pictures when I started last week and will be starting a new thread to show it off after I get a little more into the project.  Waiting for the mortar to cure is going to be painful.  I'm probably going to try and build slow so that by the time it's complete the mortar will be cured and I can start smoking that day =)
 

wes w

Master of the Pit
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Joined Jul 31, 2012
 
Hi Wes,

I'm just starting in on a brick/wood hybrid smoker.  The firebox is going to be cinder block with a cedar wood smoking chamber above it.  I started laying the brick last week and found out that I really suck at brick laying... hah!  I'm pretty sure that the mortar joints are too big, I didn't get it level enough cause I was trying to hurry (and frustrated with the mortar), and it's my first build so I'm expecting it to not be perfect and will build a bigger-better version after I have learned what went wrong on this one.  Mine is going to use charcoal instead of wood and I am expecting a slow smolder to produce plenty of heat for smoking.

My only real question has to do with the heat transfer through the brick.  It looks like you have firebrick, then cinder block, then normal brick surrounding the firebox.  Can you feel any heat from the firebox on the brick around it or does the brick layers kill the heat transfer?  I'll probably have kids running around the back yard while I'm smoking stuff and don't want them to get burned by accident. 

I took a couple pictures when I started last week and will be starting a new thread to show it off after I get a little more into the project.  Waiting for the mortar to cure is going to be painful.  I'm probably going to try and build slow so that by the time it's complete the mortar will be cured and I can start smoking that day =)
Good evening  Jaez,

I'm excited for you man!   You got to take your time and take care of your back!   I do fire mine with a full chimeny of charcoal.  Quick heat to get everything warmed up.    Its wood from there out.

The outside of the smoker is stone cold.  It won't even melt the snow off it in the winter.  The only thing that gets hot are the doors and about 4in. around the doors where it is single layer of brick.   If you can keep the little ones away from the doors you'll be in good shape.   

I built my smoker just like a firebox in a fireplace.   No fire hazard  or heat outside the firebox.

Look forward to seeing your build.  I'm sure it will be awesome!

Wes
 

portsmokers

Fire Starter
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Joined Sep 30, 2014




This is my start im going to complete it with firebrick then have a 2 course of brick on the outside covering the firebrick. Im only do 4 racks stages and 1 for covering the spite fire from food. \ dripping pan .How do you think im doing .
 

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