Want to build my own custom smoke house

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Dec 23, 2006
After running a charcoal smoker, and a GOSM, I am totally hooked now. I have the wife convinced into letting me build a smoke house in the back yard. I talked to the fire dept to make sure there are no restrictions, or regulations against doing this in our city. They gave me the OK and told me the only thing was I had to invite them up for the maiden voyage. LOL

So - with a custom home building background, and looking at lots of ideas here on the site. This is what I want to do. Please Please tell me you honest opinions and correct me if I am wrong about something. I probley will not build this til spring, and am totally in the planning stage right now.

Dimensions - 4' wide X 4' deep X 8' tall on the front X 7' tall in the back.

Foundation - Sitting on Cedar 4x4's on a concrete slab. For portability,

Inside walls to be Oak or Cedar or Pine Planks

Outside walls to be Cultured Stone

Barn style door on the front with black Iron hinges.

Fuel - Propane burner, or Nat gas if I can get it there. Also a 55 gallon drum or steel fire box sitting behind the house angling upward to the smokehouse. I would run double wall flu pipe from the box/drum to the smokehouse. This way I can use one of the heat sources or both if needed.

Wall construction - Paneling or planks on the inside. Insulation in the middle of a 2x4 construction. Tyvek backwards to keep the smoke in. Durock on the outside of the box, then cultured stone on the exterior. With a metal roof.

Digital and regular stats everywhere. Would like to figure out how to have a light on the inside and a flood mounted on the outside pointing twoard the barrell.

Dampners would be in numerous locations, and probley have numerous racks, hooks, and bracing in the ceiling enough to support a hog, or hindquarter.

So am I totally crazy? DO you think it will work? Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated. I am not sure on the insulation and tyvek or the 2x4 construction. I want it to look nice, and be very air tight. I live in Iowa and the temps here in the winter are a bastard. So any additional way of keeping the heat in and the cold out is a added bonus.

Thanks for your help.
For insulation see if Maxtherm rings a bell with anyone at the building center.Sposed to be good to 900* and foil encapsulated.Around $38 a 4x8 sheet.
Before you pour your slab, rough in a floor drain and let it leach into a 3'x3'x3' hole filled with gravel so you can take a hose to the joint and wash it down. Be sure and install a P trap on the drain so bugs and such can't come in.
Great post. Have always toyed with the idea of building my own home smoker.
I too am interested in your smoke house project. I have a small farm well away from town and have been thinking of doing the same thing. Can you draw up your plans and submitt them?
Also, if others have smoke houses, please send some pics so we can get some ideas.

Is there any plans anywhere that would describe or show what kind and numbers of vents, burners etc. Details, details, details.

I started building this one yesterday. Still not finished.
Seasoning it today with oak and hickory smoke. Drawing good with fire in the middle of concrete slab floor and the only vents are the holes around the tin roof top. Hole about the size of a large soup bowl in the middle of concrete slab.
It is 4x4x8 made of 2x4`s and 1/2 inch plywood. Not treated. Will have to paint it after I get the trim work done on the outside.



Are you just doing charcoal in the floor or is there something I'm missing?

What is your heat sources?

More pics please! Thanks
Here is the inside with the oak and hickory burning in the middle of the floor.
I still have to build removable racks to go inside.



Looks Good. A question though. If you want to add more wood you would have to open the big door which would let out all the smoke and heat. Do you plan on a small door or access to add more wood?
Thanks Cheech. :lol:
We can call it Smokey The Box. :lol:
I have the racks and baskets I want to put in it. Just have to see about how to mount them to where they are removable at times.

It don`t take very long for the smoke and heat to build back up after opening the door since you are not smoking at a very hight temp anyway in a smokehouse normally.
80 to 100 degrees for cold smoking and never more than 170 or so for hot smoking. Otherwise you just use your BBQ pit. :D
You said "there is a hole in the floor about the size of a soup can". Just curious, what is the hole for? In the pics, I see just a smokin fire in the middle of the floor. Also curious as to the "untreaded". All of the wood or just the plywood? Thanks.
So are you using charcoal in the bowl then your wood on top of that? or are you using embers to get the chunks of wood going? Looks good.
I said there is a hole in the middle of the floor about the size of a soup "bowl", not soup can.
I start my fire with about 7 or 8 charcoal briquets down in the hole and then put my wood on top of them as they burn.
Also the hole lets air get under the fire so it can breathe.
All the wood is untreated. You never want to breathe smoke from burning or smoking treated wood. It can kill you. :roll:
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