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Outhouse Smoker Build

Nate52

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Joined Jun 22, 2021
Looking for some input on my smoker design.

First of all, I'm a DIYer and I don't weld, so I've been working on an idea for a wood sided smoker. I'm also cheap, so I'm trying to be as efficient as possible with as little materials as possible.

Here are some details on the plan:
-I found a plywood at Home Depot with a soy based glue, so there's none of the extra added nasty stuff. I've seen some varying opinions on if this even matters, but I've got three kids 4 years and under, so I'd rather just not take a chance.
-Using two sheets of plywood, I can make it about 6' tall, with inside dimensions of about 2'x2'.
-My primary heat/smoke source is a small charcoal grill. Kind of like a mini Weber. That will go in the lower section.
-I'll also going to add ports to give me some versatility. I'd like the option in the future to use an electric or propane burner. And I'm going to have another to attach a stove pipe for cold smoke.
-The inside of the structure will be lined with cement board for heat retention.
-Adjustable vents at the peaks at the front and back for smoke and one on each side at the bottom for air intake.
-I want it to be easily portable, so there will be wheels to move it like a hand cart.
-Dowels and grill grates will be adjustable through the entire height of the upper section.
-A piece of cement board can be used inside as a baffle if I need to shrink the size of the smoke chamber for any reason.
-There will be a shelf to the side

I feel like everything should work the way it should, but dimensions are my biggest concern. Is 2'x2' big enough for things like full racks of ribs, briskets, and turkeys? Would I be better off making it wider than it is deep? I could also do 2.5'x1.5' or anywhere between without having to buy a third sheet of plywood.

Please pick this thing apart and let me know if there are any details I might not have though of. I've been re-engineering this thing over and over for a long time, but I just don't have the smoking experience to know how practical my ideas are.

smoker sketch2.jpg
 

SmokinEdge

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Welcome from Colorado.
I would say you will be fine the way you are thinking. 2x2 can’t be far off from the MES that so many use.
When I built mine, it was stationary and I went 3x3x7. For what I do it works well and is none to big, but I do a lot of sausage and hams.
I’m not sure where you are geographically, but if it’s humid, I would suggest pro panel or steel roofing for lining the inside. Cement board holds moisture and can cause temperature problems. I lined the bottom 3 foot all around with hardi-backer and have no problem, but I’m at 6400’ with average humidity of 10-15%.
 

kilo charlie

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This belonged to my neighbor who passed away a couple of years ago. Clearly is hasn't been used since. ( His widow won't sell it to me haha)

There are 4 chains inside.. one in each corner with S hooks to hold the shelves. The shelves can be set apart for things like turkeys or just a couple inches apart for making jerky.

Just a propane burner in the bottom with a box for wood chunks.

It's plywood outside and lined with Cedar on the inside.

A small vent on the back near the top.

I've seen it run as low as 150F up to 275F

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SmokinEdge

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This belonged to my neighbor who passed away a couple of years ago. Clearly is hasn't been used since. ( His widow won't sell it to me haha)

There are 4 chains inside.. one in each corner with S hooks to hold the shelves. The shelves can be set apart for things like turkeys or just a couple inches apart for making jerky.

Just a propane burner in the bottom with a box for wood chunks.

It's plywood outside and lined with Cedar on the inside.

A small vent on the back near the top.

I've seen it run as low as 150F up to 275F

View attachment 501052 View attachment 501053 View attachment 501054 View attachment 501055 View attachment 501056 View attachment 501057
That is a great box. Sad it’s not being used.
 

kilo charlie

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Joined Sep 25, 2017
That is a great box. Sad it’s not being used.
Yea.. I'm not sure why she won't let it go.


And yours... that's amazing! I like the dowel setup and it seems to work great!

Do you have a screen behind the intake vent to prevent bug infiltration?
 

Nate52

Newbie
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Joined Jun 22, 2021
Welcome from Colorado.
I would say you will be fine the way you are thinking. 2x2 can’t be far off from the MES that so many use.
When I built mine, it was stationary and I went 3x3x7. For what I do it works well and is none to big, but I do a lot of sausage and hams.
I’m not sure where you are geographically, but if it’s humid, I would suggest pro panel or steel roofing for lining the inside. Cement board holds moisture and can cause temperature problems. I lined the bottom 3 foot all around with hardi-backer and have no problem, but I’m at 6400’ with average humidity of 10-15%.
I'm in the northeast. The humidity varies, but it can get get extremely bad at times. I'm wondering if different cement boards would perform differently. I know that some of them have wood fibers imbedded in them, but the stuff I'm looking at is just cement and a fiberglass mesh.

I'm hesitating to line it with metal. Anything that would actually work for heat retention and still be affordable is most likely to be galvanized. I'd just like to avoid going down that road. I'll research some other materials to see what else is out there.

I love your setup. The dowel setup is exactly what I'm going for.
 

Nate52

Newbie
6
5
Joined Jun 22, 2021
This belonged to my neighbor who passed away a couple of years ago. Clearly is hasn't been used since. ( His widow won't sell it to me haha)

There are 4 chains inside.. one in each corner with S hooks to hold the shelves. The shelves can be set apart for things like turkeys or just a couple inches apart for making jerky.

Just a propane burner in the bottom with a box for wood chunks.

It's plywood outside and lined with Cedar on the inside.

A small vent on the back near the top.

I've seen it run as low as 150F up to 275F

View attachment 501052 View attachment 501053 View attachment 501054 View attachment 501055 View attachment 501056 View attachment 501057
Its a shame to see that thign go to waste.
 

kilo charlie

Master of the Pit
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Joined Sep 25, 2017
Both the intake and exhaust are eve vents that are built with screen on the back.
Great!

That's a lesson I learned many years ago after I put some vents in a shed I built and ended up with a wasp nest! The screens prevented any further intrusions.
 

Nate52

Newbie
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Joined Jun 22, 2021
Can anyone give more input on the humidity issue with cement board?

From everything that I can tell, any masonry product is porous and will hold moisture. This includes everything from backer board to cinder blocks to ceramic tile. I've seen plenty of smokers on this site with backer board with no complaints. And who knows how many thousands of cinder block smokers there are out there.

How bad can backer board really mess with how it heats?
 

SmokinEdge

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Nate, I didn’t mean to suggest that cement board is a problem, rather that metal may be a better choice. Cement board retains moisture and is a thermal mass. If you line the whole inside, you could see longer times for the smoker to heat up and you may have to fiddle with the heat source more as the thermal mass radiates.
When I built mine, I cement board lined the bottom 3’ where the propane burner sets. I left the top 4’ bare wood. I don’t have any issues. People who have built both ways seem to prefer the metal lined. There is no real problem though with cement board.
 

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