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homemade cement smoker?

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by davinci, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. davinci

    davinci Newbie

    ok-first i was going to make one from ss sheets, than find an old one on craigslist and insulate it with hardibacker. 

    But, after putting a patio in my back yard by myself, and working with concrete, i thought...

    plan out exact dimensions-total 6 panels.

    mix up some cement with fine sand and pour each panel with some wire mesh in the middle.

    THIS ISN'T GOING TO BE EASY and there are many other details (like getting the hardware in place before it all hardens) so my question is more related to how heat will affect a 3/4" thick cement sheet and will it radiate heat as well as i'm hoping?

    Does anyone have any ideas or is this completely ridiculous. 

    I really have considered just buying a cheapo vert. square smoker at HD and insulating it...but i want something more custom and with a little more room.   The cheap vert. smokers don't have the width for laying down a nice brisket-which is what i want. 
  2. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I don't know a whole lot about cement/heat, but aren't we talking about a possible explosion?

    I know you can blow a hole in concrete just by putting s chimney charcoal starter on it.

    There are a lot of guys on here who know about that kind of stuff.

  3. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Lots of work, and little BBQ time.

    Cement board is a "Heat SInk".  I use it to insulate between can lights and the floor above.  It is not a good insulator.

    If you're looking for a project, check out converting an old fridge.  There are some pretty good deals on Craigslist for commercial fridges.  Also found commercial ovens and warming racks.  Every major city will have a used restaurant equipment deraler, and you ma find a junk piece you can buy for scrap price.

  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Yes regular concrete will blow up. Even cement will to thats why you use bricks and a glass mixture of sorts in the mortor. That way the mordor actually turns into glass I think. Now I have built a fire on top of a concrete slab and it lasted about 3-4 hours and then blew a hole right thu it and threw pieces of concrete for along ways too. After all it's the air pockets inside the slabs that expand and blow out the concrete.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  5. 5lakes

    5lakes Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    If you really want a concrete smokehouse, you should line the interior with fire brick. It's a specially formulated ceramic brick that can withstand the heat. It's not really a good insulator, but should provide enough insulation to prevent a regular concrete or block exterior from providing a fireworks display. Thinking about it a bit, I would really hesitate to use poured concrete. Using regular blocks for the exterior would have air pockets to help dissipate the heat.

    I learned from a friend (concrete construction contractor), always have anything that will be covered or inserted in the concrete in place BEFORE you pour. Otherwise, you need to let it cure and then drill or cut out where you want to place things.
  6. davinci

    davinci Newbie

    thanks guys...wow...I'm REALLY glad I wrote this before actually building it.  I'm sort of embarrassed i didn't know that myself!! I guess back to looking at craigslist.

    the reason I'm avoiding the frig idea is because my wife scoffs at the idea of anything too big on the patio. 
  7. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Where do you live?

    I have 3 or 4 SIP panels that I'm tired of hanging onto.  4'x8' OSB both sides and insuled with foam.

  8. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    My firepit i made in my backyard has a concrete bottom and i have not had a problem and i have had some hot [email protected]@ed fires in it so i wonder why mine hasnt blown up? I built it before i knew about the explosion part.
  9. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I just finished a book that has lots of info about smoker builds, including concrete.

    " Meat Smoking and Smokehouse Design" by Stanley,Adam and Robert Marianski. (second edition)

    Got my copy off Amazon for 9 bucks.


     The second edition has been completely revised.
  10. mikedixon

    mikedixon Smoke Blower

     The local Amvets, here close to the house, has their smoker built out of concrete and concrete blocks. My brother and I built the door and hardware out of stainless for them. Their grill base is also built out of concrete, with a stainless "liner" and a stainless door on the front that we also built. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no problems at all.
  11. bamaboy

    bamaboy Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Hey there everbody,The explosion of cement and concrete is from moisture trapped/soaked in the concrete turning into steam.Steam is one hell of an explosive if trapped as in concrete.certain measures have to be taken to use concrete around heat.I was really wanting to build a brick and cement smoke pit on my patio also.But i am going to build a RF offset instead.yes there are fire bricks and mortar that can and should be used around heat but you get into alot of money doing it that way.hope this helps
  12. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would build out of concrete masonry units (cmu) and line with brick..
  13. davinci

    davinci Newbie

    I live in the Houston TX area.   I'm giving up on craigslist because i've been waiting around and every time one pops up iIm a day late and a dollar short!   For 20 bucks more I can get a brand new one to mess around with-I'll just have to deal with it being too small for a nice rack or brisket.  

    What is the best way to convert a cheap thin metal smoker to something worth smoking with (other than don't buy it in the first place)...hardibacker?  or some very heat proof insulation?   Should I be looking to radiate the heat (thick metal or hardibacker?), or insulate it in with insulation?

    I'm really just interested in vertical square smokers for the ease of modifications.
  14. My buddy has a a cinder block smoker that has a carbon steel firebox.  That may be an option for you if you have fab capabilities. 
  15. carolynmears

    carolynmears Newbie

    use something big- and cylinder shaped. (a bucket) use this to mix it, and then fill up a cardboard box with minimal cracks. let it dry, and then rip the box off. you now have a cement brick.

    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013