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Smokehouse Plans...

Discussion in 'Smoke Houses' started by thebag, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. thebag

    thebag Newbie

    Hi all.

    I'm working up a plan for a smokehouse and need some professional opinions.

    I'm gonna start on the dirt, build a box 3 or 4 feet square out of cinderblock or retaining wall brick, 1 and a half or 2 feet high. Line the bottom with a few inches of gravel and that will hold my coals.

    On top of that I'll build a small shack something like an outhouse out of 2x4s and untreated boards, maybe a tin roof, maybe just boards. Maybe I'll shingle it, maybe not. I'll have a draft in the bottom side and  chimney in the top on the other side. Secure it to the brick with some concrete anchors and metal brackets.

    Then I might find some old oven racks to lay my meat on.

    I saw one guy who put insulation and drywall in his smoker. Is this necessary? I was hoping the outside boards would be enough...

    What do you think?

    Problems? Complaints?

    I take critisism freely so feel free to bash my idea. After all, if it won't work, why build it this way?

  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Please stop by the roll call and tell everyone a little about yourself so that we can give ya a proper SMF welcome.

      There are some members here who have built smokehouses . I'm sure they wont mind giving ya some advice. .

     If you are planning on doing cold smoke you may want to have a seperate fire box from the house .

      If you are wanting to smoke at higher heat and have the materials ,Insulating would not hurt.

     Don't know if it would be worth the extra cost if you have to buy everything.
  3. thebag

    thebag Newbie

    Okay thanks!

    What is the main point of insulation? To keep the heat in or to keep the outside from getting too hot? I plan on mostly smoking chickens, ribs and roasts, maybe some jerky during hunting season... I live in Southeast Virginia so winter temps aren't too bad. I wouldn't be out there in the freezing cold anyway!

    Thanks again!

  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I built a smoke house for cold smoking.  I've had zero problems and produced some great bacon, sausage and cheese out of it. 

    My only concern is that if you build your fire directly under the smokehouse with no way of protecting the wood you will have a structural fire.  At 250 degrees you can expect some fat to drip into the fire and if you are not careful all your hard work is up in smoke.  

      There a many members here that have more experience building hot smokehouses that can give you better advice.     You may want to read some of Cowgirl's posts.  I know she built a similar smokehouse and she does a lot of qview and posts a lot of information. 

      What type of floor are you building or is it just open to the roof?  You may consider extending the cinder block higher up the wall to give you a bit of fire protection.  Concrete Wonderboard would also provide some protection if nailed to the 2x4 walls.  Do you know at what temp asphalt shingles turn to tar?  I used asphalt roll type material on mine and at even low temps of under 150 degrees the tar starts to melt away and down the outside of the smoke house.

    You may visit the LSU Agcenter website.  I found some very helpful pdf files detailing the construction of various sized smokehouses.  If you want I can email the ones I have to you if you PM me your email address.

  5. billybones

    billybones Smoke Blower

    Sounds like a good plan. Not sure why you would want your coals to go on gravel. Seems like it would be a pain in the neck to clean up the ash.
  6. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    First off welcome to SMF there Dan. I also would like you to go to Roll call. Now for your cook shack I would not have a dirt bottom fr if you get any wind the meat will be covered in dirt. I have asked my son and he even says that dirt doesn't have a good taste. I would also use a tin roof but make sure that it has a plywood before the tin. You don't want to heat up anything galvanized it's not a good thing either. What are you looking to use for a heat source??? if your looking to use charcoal or real wood you will need a way to tone down the air flow also. So you have alot ahead of you so I'm sure that there will be some good folks coming around soon enough that have exactly what you want. Like Al said check out Cowgirls blog she's really good with those things and then there's Jerry he'll be around soon too. But you also might want to look into the build section here also and you'll find some tips there too.
  7. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I built a smoke shack a year ago. It's a little bit bigger than an outhouse. I had an old crate at work that I turned into a smoker. I took 2x4's and framed it up and added insulation on the inside and lined it with tin so it wouldn't catch on fire. On the outside I sided it with tongue and grove wood. it looks really nice but the thing is HEAVY. I was hoping I would be able to load it on my trailer and move it around so I could take it places but that isn't happening its staying where it is. I would agree with these guys I would highly suggest you put a floor in it. Also if you make sure it is insulated very well it makes it so much easier to control temps in both the winter and in the summer. I live in ND and I have smoked in -30degrees without any problems. Oh wait I did have one problem. It was soo cold out my propane wasn't working very well I had to keep shaking the tank. I use a turkey fryer burner for a fuel source and then put a cast iron pan with a lid to hold my wood chips. I drilled holes in the lid of the cast iron pan. I used old stainless steel shelving racks for my smoker racks. I will see if I can find my post of my build. Looking at other people's smokers really helped me out to give me a bunch of idea's.
  8. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Here are some pics of my smoker hopefully it can give you some idea's. I tell you what. I thought I would use this smoker all the time but its soo big that I only use it a few times a year. It just seemed funny to put a few small items in this HUGE smoker so I build a UDS and I use that more but it is awesome when I have a lot of stuff to smoke and you can put it all on one smoker. The main reason I made mine was for our sausage. We can fit  a few hundred lbs at a time. 

    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  9. cowgirl

    cowgirl Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Here's my smokehouse... http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/2008/01/building-cold-smoker-smokehouse.html     I use mine for cold and warm smoking.

    One thing about wooden smokehouses.....you need to keep an eye on the inside temperatures. Don't want to get them too hot.  If youi're going to use it for hot smoking, you might consider lining and insulating the inside.

    Good luck with what ever you build. [​IMG]
  10. thebag

    thebag Newbie

    Wow guys! Thanks for all the help! It's good to hear from folks who know. Cowgirl, it's almost like dejavu looking at your smokehouse! Except I want my coals directly unter my racks inside the cinderblock. With the gravel floor, I would just use my shop vac to get the ashes out after they cool. Al, good idea, to extend the block higher. Also I'll put my waterpan over the fire to catch grease drops. I guess insulating is a good idea. I'm pretty lazy though and I like to skip steps as you guys can probably tell from my no floor idea. If I could make it without walls it'd be done already. Thanks again guys. I'll be sure to post pics and reports so you can see what I come up with.


    Oh yeah! If I put plywood in it is the glue going to heat up and vaporize, poisoning the food?

  11. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    There have been several people that have made plywood smokers in the past year but I can't remember what they used for wood. I don't have time to search for the threads now but do a search for Plywood smokers and you should find some posts.
  12. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would suggest putting some type of floor in to keep dust/dirt/etc. from getting stirred up into your meat. Old tiles, tin, cement blocks anything.
  13. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member