New Smokehouse build

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Original poster
Nov 16, 2020
Hello all! I've read a lot on this forum but this is my first time posting. I'm planning on doing a pretty decent size smokehouse build come the spring and I can't seem to find much on the size of the firebox to build to make a hot smoke smokehouse. Let me explain what I'm trying to do and then maybe someone can jump in and help me out. The plan is to build a wooden smokehouse 6X6X8 with shelves and drains. Going to put in vents up top to create the draw and a side firebox that will be below the smokehouse so the smoke/heat will enter through a 6 inch pipe in the floor of the smokehouse. Pretty much a classic design but everything I've seen talks about cold smoke and pretty low temps. I would like to get the smokehouse temp up to max 350 F for smoking large amounts of meat. So my question is how big of a firebox do I need to build to get those types of temps? The firebox we are planning to build will be made of welded 1/4 steel. In essence we're going to build a really big wood stove to whatever size we need to make this work. I was also thinking of insulating the walls and roof of the smokehouse with R-30 fiberglass with a cedar interior and T-111 exterior. I'm open to any and all suggestions.
350 F is a high temp for a smoke shack. Can I assume you are going to be using metal walls?

Your cook chamber is nearly 42000 Cu in. I would likely use a firebox opening of 175 in sq. and a firebox volume of 14500 in Cu

This will likely be enough to achieve 350 F temps. With door vents and dampers, you should be able to cold smoke with this set up as well.

My $0.02

JC :emoji_cat:
I think I'm missing something in your reply. My math has the volume of the smokehouse at (72 x 72) * 96 which gives me 500,000 cubic inches.
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I think I'm missing something in your reply. My math has the volume of the smokehouse at (72 x 72) * 96 which gives me 500,000 cubic inches.

You are correct. I multiplied for square inches not cubed inches. My bad... Early in the day... ;)
Why would you want your smokehouse to get 350? Smokehouse is made for low cold smoke and not to exceed 170 to smoke and preserve food.

350 you might as well get a stick burner.

my 2.5 cents

But GL anyways
A Stick burner won't work. I need to smoke an entire cow, approx 300lbs

I need to add some more context here I think. We are having a party come June of 2021 with over 50 people for a long weekend. We are going to get a cow and have it butchered so we can smoke it over the weekend in pieces. Once the weekend is over the plan is to use the smokehouse for cold smoking and maybe the occasional whole hog. So lets just say 98% of the time this will be used for cold smoking purposes. I just need a way to get the temp in the smokehouse to maybe 275 F ~ 300 F. What I don't want to find out is I've made my firebox too small. I would even take some basic calculations of heat transfer / thermo calcs to figure it out but I can't find anything like that online and figured this is where all the experts are. Maybe I'm just trying to fit a square peg in a round hole :emoji_disappointed:
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At the huge Amish festival in Kutztown PA they put a whole steer on a spit for hours, what a sight.
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I think you are going to burn it down! I had my smokehouse up to 240 one time and that was becuase I used plastic anchors in the block to hold the door. The door fell off and I lost control of the fire box draft. Changed to lead anchors and its been good since. The wood dowels under my drip pan pretty much gassed into charcoal.

Maybe you should build a brick or block house if you want it that hot. They will not combust if the localized area gets too hot. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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