Just Signed Up...

  • 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.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Original poster
May 2, 2007
Sacatomatoes, CA
Hello to you all,,
I'm from Rancho Cordova, CA and new to smoking. We live right on the American River, just about midway between Sacramento and Folsum, CA. The river has runs of Salmon, Steelhead, Shad and Stripers. I'm 61 and make my living as a free lance digital illustrator. I am about to build my own electric smoker.

I have a question regarding that...Can I use wood instead of metal for the smoker? I'll be doing mainly fish and probably won't go above 160 in the smoking process. I was thinking of using an oak wine barrel because I can get one easy enough, and a hot plate as a heat source ...What do you think?

Cheers, Ron
Welcome! You should find all your answers here. I am new to smoking but have found a great deal help and answers to all my questions . The folks here are truly awesome. My confidence as grown just from their help and the research that this site provides. Good luck!
Welcome to the SMF. I love your area of California. Used to hang out around Folsom Lake in the 70's when I was stationed out in the Valley.

If you will look around the electric smokers section of the forum you will probably find the answer to your question, but I don't think you would have a problem if the temp stays as low as you mentioned.
welcome to SMF... and yes you can use an oak barrel for smoking... but i can guarantee you will get the smoking bug and want to smoke more than fish...i did..lol

Welcome to the SMF RonB. Great folks here so jump right in the smoke is thin and blue!!

Glad you found us.
Welcome to SMF.
Bet that shad don't taste very good smoked.
Welcome, Ron!

Already answers are piling up at your doorstep! I do believe that a wine cask will make an excellent smoker for low temp applications.

So. c'mon in. Look around and post your questions in the appropriate area. We're here to help and we're all friends!

Welcome to SMF, RonB. What an idea, bet it will also turn out some great grub, with a little close supervision on the top side of the temp. range if a person had a mind to do so.
Wow, thanks for all the replies, a great group here!!
I've been lurking around and reading...it would take months to soak up the information available on these forums and various links.

Great pics, that's kind of what I had in mind. After reading more about it I think a wine barrel smoker can be used at higher temps as well. The ignition point of most wood is 525 F. I saw plans for a propane grill made from a wine barrel laid horizontally and cut so one half formed the hinged top like a standard gas grill.

bbq bubba...
Depending on where you live the cost of shipping a barrel is around $50 or so. Where I live used French Oak wine barrels from either red or white wine sell for $30 and up. They are very clean, not old or funky.

I'll keep you all informed as to how the project is going.

Cheers, Ron
It won't be long before there is more than salmon in there. I would get a little nervous with a wood barrel though. While you may not get above 160*, you could lose a chunk of wood or you could have a fat drip that will cause an actual flame. I have a small electric and was smoking beef ribs one time, I opened the door and had a full blown fire goin on in there. BTW if that happens, don't try spraying it with your apple juice/JD mixture to try to put it out...
I think I had almost a back draft effect going on. Anyway, something to consider, you might wind up with wine barrel smoked flavor!

Welcome aboard!!!
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Hot Threads