1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Chimney, no chimney, slat openings...?

Discussion in 'Smoke Houses' started by livinnlearnin, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. livinnlearnin

    livinnlearnin Newbie

    I'm researching small smokehouse plans on the internet right now, trying to come up with some ideas for building my own. One thing I've noticed is that some smokehouses have a chimney, some screened vent openings, and others just have small slits under the roof. I'd like to hear everyone's ideas on these, which they prefer for best function.

    Also, is it advantageous to make a double door front? One for the meat area and the other for the burners and wood chips below.

    I'll be making a wide variety of things in it, from jerky to roasts, to salamis and sausages, and all of those other great looking things that Jeff puts in his newsletters. Not sure how much that info makes a difference to anyone's answers.

    Thanks much!
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  3. livinnlearnin

    livinnlearnin Newbie

    Thus my forum name. I've got a lot to learn. I'm grateful for the endless information the internet and places like this provide. Thanks for clarifying that about the meats JJ.
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    LNL, morning and welcome to the forum....  What part of the world you livin' in....  makes a difference on building a smoker..
  5. livinnlearnin

    livinnlearnin Newbie

    Hola Dave

    I live in Uruguay. Summer is just around the corner with high 90s (+) temps. I don't know the exact humidity levels, but I've noticed it's much higher than back in Michigan, where I'm from. Can't use metal lids on salt shakers, because they rust quickly.

    A few minutes ago I saw a pic on Google of an insulated small smokehouse, and I'm thinking of making one for using during the winter months here. It gets super cold. No snow, but have been hit with frost a lot.

    Edit: Also, I live in an upstairs apartment and have a terraza that is bigger than the apartment. The smoker will be out there... buildings are totally cement and brick here. Construction is nothing like back home. They also have no laws about BBQs and such on upstairs levels. Of course, I'd never leave the smoker running without a watchful eye at home.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Morning.... with the humidity and cold, I would use side wall vents....    Keeps condensate from dripping on the food...  stacks, out the roof, will do that...   Slits are fine.... one of my smokehouses has very narrow slits for ventilation....  difficult to heat in the winter as they can't be closed easily....     In high humidity conditions...  Air flow, and lots of it, is a very good thing...  

  7. livinnlearnin

    livinnlearnin Newbie

    Mornin' back Dave

    Gotchya on the side vents. Makes perfect sense... would you suggest vents that stay open or ones with an adjustment?

    I'm thinking of doing two doors to help maintain the heat when checking the wood and fire. I also am mulling over how I could make a horizontal slat between those two levels so that prior to opening the bottom door, I can slip a divider in to keep the cold air from being sucked up into the food chamber... what's your opinion of going through the bother of making such a thing?

    Thanks much
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  9. livinnlearnin

    livinnlearnin Newbie

    Thanks for all of your input. You've been a big help.
  10. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hey LNL

    You are really ticking me off.  LOL

    Quote  "Summer is just around the corner with high 90s (+) temps"

    All my flowers have frozen off, there are no leaves on the trees, and I've had to scrape my winshield 4 times.  Morning temps here are about -10 C

    I would kill to live somewhere warm.

  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Gary...You need a nice winter home in the South Pacific!...JJ[​IMG]
  12. livinnlearnin

    livinnlearnin Newbie

    You have no idea how much I MISS SNOW!!! I would PAY to shovel it right now! LOL

    The winter temps here are cold like back home, but just no snow. This winter un día, there were small flakes blowing as I was walking downtown. It surprised me. But they were gone before they hit the ground.
  13. zootalaws

    zootalaws Newbie

    Hi Dave,

    We have very high humidity here on the equator, but never gets below 25C, even in the middle of the night. Usually it is around 30-35C during the day (85-95F) with 70-90% humidity (lots of rain!). We have more variation during the day than throughout the year - i.e. it varies about 10C during the day, but throughout the year the variances are only about 5c from 'winter' to 'summer'. Really, you could treat it as a permanent summer with periods of heavy rain.


    he box is quite small - 4ft high by 2ft on a side with a peaked roof. I was going to just leave a 1/2 inch slit at the top where the roof panels join. I have a 'sliding door' arrangement at the bottom to control ventilation, is that going to be OK? I really haven't managed to find any decent plans online, I was just winging it.


  14. zootalaws

    zootalaws Newbie

    Snow? I hate snow, and cold. Give me a nice 30C and gentle breeze all year long and I'm happy. The worst thing about living here is the length of the days. It's dark by 6.30 at night - every night. It gets light about 5.30am. Not much of a variation to that all year long. I do miss long summer evenings back home, sitting out fishing or round a fire at the beach till 10 or so.
  15. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mike, morning....  Go with small holes or slits on the bottom part of the smoker..  Use a skil saw for slits if you have one...  Netting for bugs...   The humidity will lower, in the smoker, when the temp rises.....   Higher temp, same amount of moisture..  YADAYADA...   

    What ever package you have, for putting together that "depiction" of your smoker, it is REALLY cool.... 3D vanishing point.... (at least that's what we called it when I took drafting... in the 60's)...... (Do they still call it Drafting ????)
  16. zootalaws

    zootalaws Newbie

    So no vents in the top at all? Do I need to put in a slider to manage the airflow like I have on the front, or is that not necessary? I have a ton of woodworking tools - routers and the like, cutting slots is no problem at all. 

    Did you mean something like this?

    And bug protection is a must - we have some pretty awesome bugs... and snakes, spiders, lizards, ants (I have counted 20 different varieties just round my house!). Keeping the little beasties at bay is a full-time job in the wet season.

    As to the design software, it's free - Google Sketchup, although it is no longer owned by google - it's now Trimble Sketchup Make, but still free.

    Look for Sketchup Make at sketchup.com - it's really easy to use. Probably the easiest 3D design tool out. 

    Thanks so much for your help, you are a fount of knowledge! If I can help in any way with drawing something, just ask. Or if you want to lean yourself, I have a great PDF on Sketchup for woodworkers, just ask and I will put it on my google drive for you to download.
  17. livinnlearnin

    livinnlearnin Newbie

    Where are you at zootalaws?

    I've got snow in my blood. Ok, well at least season changes I dig. And when everything rests for the winter, I prefer it covered with snow, instead of looking at dead things and dirt. I wouldn't be happy living in total winter-like conditions... You have quite different days than I have here below the equator. Not long from now it'll be light well after 9.

    DaveOmak - there are all kinds of programs now for doing those things. Depends upon if you are specialized in drafting, graphics, photography, movies, etc. But a lot of the programs will work in each field or you start a project in one and finish in another... I got my degree eons ago in mechanical drafting. Never used it. I ended up going to the George Ade University where I earned my Idiomatic Degree in Graphic Design and now I'm freelance. I use Photoshop, which is used across the plains of specialties listed above. Technology is really getting phenomenal now, allowing for some pretty amazing programs to work with.
  18. zootalaws

    zootalaws Newbie

    Borneo, on the equator. Hot, wet and full of bugs, just how I like it! (well, two out of three ain't bad :) )
  19. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Do to the temp swings you may want to consider a chimney with a damper.  This will allow you to control the draft.  Plan it so a container can be placed or hung to catch any drippings.

  20. livinnlearnin

    livinnlearnin Newbie

    I'm sure that's made for some interesting times and a whole lot of learning on your part!... btw, nice mock-up of the smokehouse. Looks like you use that program a lot. Wish the programs I have to use for my work were FREE. Lucky dog! =P