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Cedar Smokehouse in AR

papaluvsnana

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Hello Everyone! I want to start this thread by thanking atcnick for sharing the pictures of his smokehouse build and inspiring me to build one of my own. This has been one of the most enjoyable projects I've ever finished and will no doubt continue to get better as time and my experience goes on. I am in no way a professional builder and these pictures are merely meant to share what I did and possibly inspire someone else in the smoking goodness I have discovered!

This is my finished product:
 

SmokinAl

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WOW, that's quite a build!

Is the firebox under the wood pile?

Al
 

papaluvsnana

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Thanks Al and yes sir, the fire box is under the wood pile. I'll post pictures of my progression so you can see what's on the inside.
 

papaluvsnana

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My original idea was to build a pizza oven on tis stamped concrete slab a good friend of mine poured for me. You can see from this picture that it sat for over a year without any progress. When I stumbled upon the smokehouse build I saw on this forum, my slab found a new purpose! We pressure washed the slab and started with a based of fire bricks for the fire box.

    
I didn't and still don't have any formal plans for this smokehouse except for the one in my head...which wasn't necessarily a good thing and it took me longer to make progress this way. With a rough idea and minimal block laying experience my plans started to take shape. Instead of using metal pipe as I have seen others do, I chose to use a piece of 8" ceramic flue pipe that is 24" long. I was concerned that this may be a little too close and that I wouldn't be able to cold smoke, but that hasn't been an issue. I also purchased split faced blocks for a more rustic look.


The flue pipe is at a slight uphill angle. I only went 3 courses high with the cinder blocks and filled all four corners with redi-mix and inserted j-bolts to tie the base plate to. We have some fairly strong winds in AR from time to time and I didn't want my smokehouse to be in the neighbor's pool...


We also started around the fire box with some bricks to give it a nice look. Jumping way ahead, I used some red clay dirt dug from my yard to fill the entire space around the fire box and flue pipe to act as an insulator. I made some cob from the clay and straw to seal the end of the fire box around the flue pipe. I used refractory cement on all the fire bricks. Do you know how hard it is to find a Barrel Stove door in AR? As good fortune would have it, I went on a business trip to Wisconsin and found my cast iron door at Menard's for $35. I threw it in my checked baggage and was expecting to have to pay an overweight charge since the thing weighed 25 lbs. by itself but for some reason I got away with it!


The next step was to find something stout to cover the firebox with that I wouldn't have to worry about for a very long time. I came up with a piece of 1/2" steel plate that worked nicely! I placed some bricks on top of the plate and leveled it up with more clay.

 
Once this was done I poured a slab over the top of it for the wood storage area.


From here I began framing it up using treated lumber for base plates and 4 x 4 posts and spruce for the walls because it's cheap.


I couldn't wait for it to get completely finished before I started a fire in the fire box with the assistance of my little helper! The top of the slab only gets a little bit warm even with my hottest fires.


I covered the outside completely with Western cedar fence pickets from Home Depot and screwed everything together with deck screws. I also cut batten boards to cover the spaces between the fence pickets to minimize and leakage and so I could better control the air flow. I didn't make a chimney, but I left one of the roof boards loose and I use it as a slide gate to control the air flow. I completely coated all exterior surfaces with boiled linseed oil.


I hope this build inspires someone else to try a project like this on their own!  All together I've got about $400 in this little project but in my opinion it has already paid for itself! I have been able to smoke cheese by keeping the heat at 100 to 125 and cook brisket, ribs, or chicken at temperatures from 250 to 275. My son accidentally got the temperature above 350 so I know I have some capability up to that range.

Got smoke???!!! Thank you for looking!!!

 

worktogthr

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Really beautiful build and I love the step by step pictures! Points!
 

papaluvsnana

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​Thanks dirtsailor! I have had so much fun with this smokehouse! I wish I had done this years ago. I look forward to getting more information about my new found hobby from this forum!

Have you ever tried smoked Velveeta cheese? It makes the BEST cheese dip you've ever eaten!

 

papaluvsnana

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​Thanks Dave! I appreciate the compliment especially after seeing the advice you gave to atcnick as he was building his smokehouse. I consulted that thread numerous times as I was working out the plans in my head.

I still have some ideas about how to make improvements to airflow to better control temperature. I have a squirrel cage fan that I would like to install at the exhaust to regulate temperature. I hope to install a thermostat and rheostat fan control in the near future.

I'm finding out that I can easily maintain a temperature between 150 and 175 using charcoal and generating smoke with hickory pellets. I can keep it between 250 and 275 using real wood, mostly hickory and pecan. It is still a work in progress but I've had a blast!
 

daveomak

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Below is the "ultimate" concoction for controlling temps and smoke...   If the smoker is too hot, or the fire is too hot, you need a way to let the heat out...   The Fire Box should have an upper air inlet to add oxygen to  burn creosote BEFORE it gets to the transfer pipe and smokehouse...

 

SmokinAl

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That is just about the best looking, well built smokehouse I've seen on here.

I just had to give you a point for a fantastic build!

Al
 

papaluvsnana

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​Thanks for the suggestion Dave! I'm not sure how I could add this modification to my existing setup given that I made it fairly permanent. There are a couple of things I would do differently if I ever do this again. It makes perfect sense to have an air bleed in to regulate temperature that would allow steady combustion of the heat source without choking it out to lower the temperature. You must have some air systems experience in your background...
 

papaluvsnana

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​Wow! I'm flattered! There are some really great builds on here that I think are pretty top notch!

Thanks Al!
 

daveomak

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An air inlet in the top of the FB door could be done....   Air inlets in the lower portion of the smoke house...   Floor heat registers work pretty good.....


If you put an air inlet on the top of the door, may I suggest a 4-6" extension pipe, mounted on the door itself, so the air you let in does NOT feed the fire....  You only want the air to be used as secondary combustion to burn creosote AND an air supply for the smoker...   If you choke down the fire, the smoker still needs a good air supply...   I would use a chunk of 2" black pipe...  Drill an oversize hole in the door with a hole saw...  Weld the 2" pipe to a plate that is drilled for mounting...   use stove "rope" to seal....  oversize drill holes in the door for mounting screws...   do not tighten mounting screws..  steel and cast iron expand at different rates...  you do not want the door to crack...  otherwise I would tap the door with 2" NPT for the 2" pipe coupling to screw into the door..  I'm afraid the door would crack....  or you could use 2" conduit lock nuts to hold the pipe slid into an oversize hole...  


Anywho, there are some ideas if you decide you need to adjust stuff...     I sure do like your smoker...  very nice work.... 
 

wade

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A excellent step by step view of the build - Good job - points 
 

papaluvsnana

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​Dave, you definitely have some mechanical background as descriptive as you have been with your suggestions. 

Would I need to add a floor register to both sides of the smokehouse or is one side adequate? Would I need to put some sort of damper on the black pipe to adjust the air inlet?

If I close the slide gate on the top of the smokehouse, the temperature goes up and I presume that's because the heat has no place to go. I can completely close the door to the fire box and the lower air inlet and it still seems to stay burning fairly well. Its really easy to maintain temperatures from 275 - 300. I still have some learning to do with finding a balance between heat and smoke, but I'm still able to make some of the best tasting food ever!

I just finished smoking a turkey for the first time and it came out wonderful!

Thanks for the suggestions Dave. Any suggestions to help control air flow are very welcome!
 

papaluvsnana

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Thank you Wade!

I had to look up Woodchurch to see where you were from. I was stationed in the UK at RAF Mildenhall in the early 90's and my family and I had a great time in the UK! I don't remember seeing any places that had smoked meat, but I sure do love fish and chips!
 
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