Vertical Brick and Wood Smoker

Discussion in 'Smoke Houses' started by jaez, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. jaez

    jaez Fire Starter

    Hi all,

    I have some extra brick laying around my yard and was tossing around the idea of building a vertical smoker out of it, but I don't think that I want the whole thing made out of brick.  After looking at all the wood smoker builds, I think that I want to make a brick and cinder block firebox and then have the upper smoke chamber made out of wood.  So, on to the questions at hand...

    1) Is there a certain volume difference that I should stick to between the firebox and the smoke chamber?  I am thinking about having a 2' x 2' x 2' smoke chamber and not sure how big to make the fire box.  I'm going to be using coal to fire it since wood is damn expensive here.

    2) Is there any reason that I shouldn't use cedar fence pickets to skin the inside of the smoke chamber?  It would only cost me like $20 in fence boards to skin the inside, another $20 for the outside and a few 2x4's to frame it.  This will end up being cheaper than my char griller pos..

    I haven't been able to get anything done lately due to mentally planning out what I want to build.  If I don't start building soon I may go crazy.  I don't want an offset firebox after the char griller because of the pain in the butt it has caused me.  I know that a better insulated box would transfer the heat better, but I like the idea if a smaller footprint since my backyard is pretty small.

    Making your own smoker is part of the adventure!  Nobody to blame but yourself if things go wrong, and only you to praise when things go right =)

  2. jaez

    jaez Fire Starter

    So, I am thinking about using the brick to make the firebox.  Roughly 12" by 12" and about 20" high.  I think that I will top it with a poured concrete slab with a 6" diameter chimney hole in it to allow the heat and smoke up into the smoke chamber. I'll use a pan with sand in it as a diffuser above the firebox and then surround the whole thing with wood.  I'll probably have a 24" by 24" smoke chamber but am unsure how tall I she go.  Originally I was thinking that I would have 2 shelves in there with a foot clearance between them giving me a 24" tall smoker box, but now I am thinking that a foot might be overkill and lead to a bigger temperature difference between shelves.

    With a 24x24 cooking grate, I don't see a need for much more than 2 shelves... 8 square feet of cooking real estate is plenty for a small gathering of people, right?

    Should I worry about the temp on the roof of the smoke box?  I'm also wondering if I should locate the chimney on a side wall to allow a more even heat and smoke buildup or keep it on top for better air flow...
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would go at least 24x24x36" tall.... You don't want the meat too close to the opening between the FB and CC... With a sand pan about 6" above the opening, that will cut the height down to about 24"..... 6" below and 6" above the sand pan....

    Don't cut yourself short on hanging meat room.... Think about 42" tall....

  4. jaez

    jaez Fire Starter

    Thanks Dave for the reply!

    hah, I was trying to keep it under the fence height... Looks like that probably won't happen now. 

    I was planning on putting the first pan roughly 6 inches above the pan to give the heat a chance to disperse a little.  Do you think the firebox size that I have above would give enough heat to keep a 42" smoke box hot? 

    - Jaez
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm going to be using coal to fire it since wood is damn expensive here.

    I hope you are speaking of "charcoal"..... Coal won't work...

    How hot are you planning for this smoker.... It would/should be good to 200 ish. say.... Apply a light smoke to the food at around 140 ish. then finish in the oven..... You could supplement the heat with elec. or propane etc.... or use all briquettes and lump from your favorite big box store...
    I would NOT put an exhaust stack on your smoker.... drill a dozen or so holes under the eaves for air flow.. about 1" will work... and get corks to plug off holes you ain't using...
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  6. jaez

    jaez Fire Starter

    yeah, I was shortening up charcoal =)  

    This build is to be a normal smoker in the 225-275 range or possible more depending on how the cabinet can hold heat without bursting into fire.. 

    I cleaned off about 120 bricks to use in the firebox.  So far, the plan is to build a 12"x12"x20" firebox out of the brick on the corner of my patio slab (fire will be raised up about 6" to 12" above slab).  I'm going to pour a slab with a 6" diameter hole in the center to use as a cap for the firebox.  The hole will allow the heat and smoke up into the cabinet.  Above the hole will be a pan of sand to absorb and spread out the heat to the entire cabinet.  The cabinet will be built out of 2x4's and I'll use cedar fence pickets to seal up the box.  I'll probably cut a tongue and groove type of overlap into the boards to make a better seal.

    I'll just need to find a metal shop to make me a firebox door...

    going to try a dryfit test tonight to see how the firebox will look =)

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