Brick smoker - Compete how to

Discussion in 'Brick Smokers' started by wes w, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. steveparr477

    steveparr477 Newbie

    Hi Mchar,

    Unfortunately not.
    In the UK.

    Think I will just bite the bullet , and buy the 40% alumina bricks.
    They are more 'brick' shaped, and as Wes said, that has to be a good thing!

  2. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Either one of those bricks will do fine I think.   Last year I didn't use mine for about 4 months and it molded pretty bad.   To get rid of the mold I got it up to about 500F for about an 1 1/2 hrs. Then I scrubbed it down good.  I won't let that happen again.   I had forgotten to take the water pan out.

    I can understand the backache.  The brick from my project came from our house.  We remolded a house that was build in 1907.  The chimney was about to fall.  I cleaned about 1500 of them.   I ran out on the smoker and a friend of mine who is a mason had some 1800's brick that matched pretty close.

    I look forward to seeing your build.   If you get a chance, go into your profile  and add what part of the world your from.    People here are very helpful.   I've learned everything I know about smoking here.   Pretty sweet forum.
  3. Beautiful Smoker!  Thanks for sharing.
  4. dandl93

    dandl93 Smoking Fanatic


    I read your whole thread today start to finish.Great job.

    I am in the planning stages and have been studying up on smokehouses.I really like the brick buildn of yours considering every thing in this country is built out of block,brick or cement.

    If I may ask why did you not go with a off set fire box? I am just thinking with offset fire box you could do cold or hot smoking eaiser? Since we cant get bacon or ham here I sure want to have options with hot and cold.

    Thanks Again for the thread

  5. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you shelterit
    Thank you Dan,

    Well,   As an afterthought, I wish I had.   The perfect brick smoker would be a reverse flow.  Yes it could be done.  The biggest reason I say that is so I could smoke a whole hog.   I'm not sure if I posted my setup for cold smoking on this thread or not but I  took the side box off my chargriller and use it for cold smoking.  Its a hassle but it works for me.  

    Small fire in the side box.  Cool smoke in the smoker.   Temp usually runs about 70-80F.  All vents wide open.  Helps cool and keeps the smoke moving.

    If you have any questions you can't find in the thread please let me know.  I'm not a mason by trade, but I'll answer to the best of my ablity.

    Start a thread of your build once you get it going.  I'd love to see it.  I'm never to old to learn something too.

    Hope everyone has a great evening
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
    bama2dapi likes this.
  6. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you for the kind words mchar69.   I missed your post in the page change.
  7. dandl93

    dandl93 Smoking Fanatic


    Thanks for your reply and your help.It will be alittle bit before I start my build I am changing direction here in Colombia.I am selling some property that is close to town so I can buy a bigger farm farther out.I do not want to build on the farms I have now then have to rebuild again in the next 6 months.

    I will ask you how warm does the out side of your smoke house get when you are doing a hot smoke for long hours? This will help me design my outside kitchen and how far the smoker needs to be away.It probally will not matter since I will be adding a gas cook stove along side a wood cook stove and open wood grill in the outside kitchen.If I keep the roof high enough the breeze will keep it cooled down.

    I am glad with your response on the offset fire box on your smoker.I am stuck using all wood for cooking here lucky we have alot of fruit trees. I feel offset would be easier to control.

    Thanks again

  8. countryboy-q

    countryboy-q Fire Starter

    This is awesome!  I have some brick left over from my house and wondered about something like this.  I will definitely refer to your thread!
  9. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good evening Dan,

    The outside of the smoker doesn't get warm at all.  Not even warm enough to melt snow off it.  The brick do get a little warm around the doors but that's all.    I do think offset would be the wiser choice.   I really didn't think about it until I had mine complete.       Please post your project.  I'd love the see the outdoor kitchen setup.  Sound awesome!
    Thank you for the kind words countryboy.   If you have any questions feel free to ask.   I do my best to give the right advice.   My smoker is far from perfect.  I have posted what I would do differently  and what works and doesn't work.    I've very happy with it.    I usually fire it up about once a month just to sell BBQ.   Its usually all sold before I start.   Find you a good pork rub and a lot of hungry people.  :)
  10. Wes, Wow. You've got skills. Your design is the only thing I can find on the web that I can learn from for a project I have been asked to do. A long time friend of mine has asked me to build him a permanent smoker behind his business. He had a 7 foot tall steel box set up, but unfortunately folks thought they needed to take it one night some years back. Scrap yard likely paid for the steel that the crooks stole. So, he wants a brick smoker. 

    I'm in the planning stage and after reading this thread for a few days I've come to the point where I have a few questions. 

    Your metal specs. (I know your brother made everything for you but I'd like the detail on the frame(s). You said 3/4" angle with stretch steel added.)

    1.Did he just face the angle with flat steel to give you the 3 1/2" x 3 1/2 " angle?  I'm just gauging 3 1/2" by what I see in your photos.

    2.If so, couldn't I just use 3 1/2"x 3 1/2" angle?

    3.Door lock up. Anyway to describe the latch? 

    4.Any number on the hinge posts? 1 1/2" set out from opening?

    5. It looks like you had tabs/bar welded onto the frame to set into your brick work. Just one side?

    Masonry Specs

    1.Your face brick head joint at the opening plumbs with the on edge fire bricks in the fire box right? 

    2.Your shelf firebrick reveal for the metal racks you slide in? what's that number? 1"?

    3. You mentioned you'd make it bigger, 27" deep? or 22 1/2"? (three fire brick or 2 1/2 bond length?)


    You used a chimney flue, looks great. Think I could get by with a stove pipe that has a damper?

    Again, great build. 

    Thanks, Wyatt
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  11. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you  for the kind words Wyatt.   I'll get a couple pictures of the latch works today once it warms up a bit.
  12. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sorry for the delay, our son has been home from the Marines for a couple weeks.  He just got back from S. Korea

    1.  The door frames were made from 1/4in.x 3" angle iron.   By building the frames from the 3" angle I could also use the frame as a lintel  over top of each door without having to add a lintel to carry  the load.  On the inside of the door frames he also added flanges on brick layoff to tie it into the courses of brick.  More solid frame That will never work loose. 

    The shelf frames are made with 3/4 angle with stretch metal tacked inside for the racks. 

    2.  He used 3"x3".  The bricks did hang off the back a little.  If you have 31/2x 31/2  I would use it.  Won't hurt a thing.


    The door handle is made from 1/2 rod and tacked inside and out on a washer.  Flat flange on that to make the latch.  The outside is bent to whatever angle you want it to turn.  I bought the door springs online.  They are stainless.   You may want to get specs on the spring before you make the handle so you get it long enough for the bottom cap to hold it on.  If you google stove handles there are a ton of them out there.

    The catch is a 1/8th steel flange on a angle that will except the latch.  Bro did a great job here to give me 0 clearance around the doors and keep the handles a perfectly vertical.  Once installed and cured you can bump the flange with a hammer to adjust it in or out a little too.  You just don't want to  get to abusive or it could loosen the frame.

    4.  Not sure I understand the question.  The hinges are flush to the outside.   Bro cut down industrial hinges, welded them and ground them as flush as possible.   If you need a picture of a hinge let me know and I'd be glad to get one for you.

    5.  The flanges that layed between the brick  were two per side on the firebox and 3 per side on the oven door.    It worked really well.   No way these frames will ever work lose.


    1.  Yes.  I  tried to rotate the face brick and the fire brick as much as possible to tie both into the door frames.  Any void around the door frames I just packed with mortar. 

    2.   The firebrick exposure for the shelves are 15/8ths.   Thats more then enough to carry the racks.   For me the racks have to go in at a angle then lay them down.

    3.  I wouldn't make it any deeper.  Its a full arm reach for me to put butts into the back.   I would make it wider.  Not for more volume of meat, but for better air flow.  I would go at least another brick wider in the firebox and build the outside according.   You can really make it as big as you want, with in reason.   Once you get up to temp,  it will stay hot.

    I like the flue liner because I don't have to worry about it rusting out in 20 years.  You really don't need a upper damper.  I thought it was a cool idea, but it isn't needed.  Please remember steel and masonry don't mix under heat.  I had to burn mine out a while back because of mold.  I ran it at 500 for about an hour and half.  Yep, the upper damper cracked the top.  Its not a problem, but to me it looks bad.  No one ever sees it though, but I know its there.   You wouldn't need a 12x12 liner, you could get by with 8x8.  Just make sure you have as much air going out as you have coming in.  That makes for good draft.

    If you have any other questions or something you'd like to see, be glad to take a picture for you.

    Again, thanks for the kind words.   I found a few pictures on line and kinda went off my ideas and what I'd seen.  I thought it would be cool to document it for others to use.

    If you have a minute go into your profile  and fill out what part of the world your from.  Its very helpful  to know what region your in when answering questions about smoking.

    Hope you have a great day!

    Good to meet you Wyatt.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
  13. Wes,

    You need not apologize for spending time with your son. I am in his and many who serve's or served debt. Quite humbled you would even bother to help me while your youngest son is state side. Reading your tag line I see your middle son gave the ultimate sacrifice. My sincere condolences sir, Semper Fi God, Country, Corps, Family, Self. I never served, some friends who did and do.

    I went by your Facebook page and saw you are in West Jefferson. Beautiful area. I sell stone for a living and sold a nice job on house up there near the golf course. 

    The hinge question was not well phrased on my part. Basically I was trying to see how much overlap the door has over the 3x3 angle face as you look at it on the hinge side. Hinge posts set in from firebox opening looks about 1- 1 1/2". Which would give a 3/4 to 1" overlap I think. Like you said, this area is where it either seals or doesn't. 

    I really appreciate your time, photos, and comments. Hope you have a great weekend.
  14. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    We like it here pretty good.  The older I get the less I like the cold though.

    Thank you for the kind words.   I never served myself, but 2 of our boys became a part of the few. 

    If you ever get back this way,  let me know.  You probably drove within a mile  and half from the house

    The door laps the frame 1 in.  

    Glad I could help.  If you have more questions, just ask

    Hope you have a good week-end!
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
  15. Wes,

    I happened upon this forum last night, while looking for info and plans for brick smokers, and I read the thread from start to finish. Like all the others, I must say, your workmanship is impressive! I love the look of your smoker. It's design is in line with my thoughts and aspirations for constructing my own brick backyard smoker. I hope to build one that incorporates a lot of the features that you have in yours. I will be using this thread for ideas and principles with designing my own.

    I agree with your afterthoughts regarding the width of the smoker. It would be better to have a wider cooking area. I, for one, would like to be able to smoke whole or half hogs and the added width would be beneficial. And in that vein, I think an offset firebox would be beneficial however, I am not familiar with the concept of "reverse flow" so I guess I need to do a bit of research. The smoker I currently utilize is a portable cylinder style, like the ones that are most often found at hardware stores and the like, which feature a firebox on one side giving me indirect heat and smoke. Is this what is meant by "reverse flow"?

    I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

  16. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thank you Andrew

    I'm guessing you could build it as wide as you'd like as long as you lined it with firebrick.   A lot of people just use block.  The only problem with block is it absorbs moisture like a sponge.   When you build your fire all it wants to do is sweat.   Firebrick are so dense they don't absorb a lot of moisture.   They will take on some, but not a lot.   In winter, mine will sweat a little but by the time its up to temp,  the moisture is gone.

    I'm not real sure how you would go about a reverse flow with a brick smoker.   I'm sure it could be done, but I'm thinking it would be expensive.  On the flip side of that if you just run it straight out of the side box, your going to be so hot on one end there would be no way of keeping an even temp across the smoker.   It would be an interesting challenge though.  I'm not sure how you would incorporate steal and brick to make the reverse flow.   The steal would almost have to be freestanding inside the cook chamber to keep it from  cracking the mortar.  Interesting.  If you come up with a design, I'd love to see it.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask.   I won't tell you something I don't know, but I do love my smoker.  :)

    Andrew if you get a chance, go into your profile and fill out what part of the world you live in.  Its nice to know what climate you live in when giving advice.

    Hope you have an awesome evening!

  17. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just wanted to say "Howdy" Wes, it's been a while since we last talked.  Still loving that smoker of your's an am eternally envious  :)
  18. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hope your doing well  Dem.  Thank you for the kind words.   Its finally got warm here.   The smoke has been rolling.  :)
  19. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks Wes, and you are welcome.   What does getting warm have to do with smoking?  Won't that pit run in the snow ?  [​IMG]

    More than a little bit of smoke has been rolling here as well.    Actually made a dent in the meat supply from my freezers, but then Kroger had to go and get all kinds of stupid.   Little birdy told me that they were about to mark Pork Loins down to $1.50 per pound.     Jumped in my car, hightailed it to Kroger and picked up 18 of them, just shy of 100 lbs.    [​IMG]
  20. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    LOL!  Yeah, it does run in the snow, but in the summer I don't have to freeze my ass doing it. [​IMG]

    Dang,  now that's a lot of loin.  I'm bad to hit the butt sales pretty hard.   Pork prices are on the rise here.     We need to just stop buying and eat from the freezer for a year.   I think we're doing ribs for Memorial Day weekend.  Our son will be home for a long weekend.  Haven't done ribs in a while.  I love them too.  We do so much BBQ that we don't even eat it anymore.  I just smoke it to sell.  Yes, you can get tired of good BBQ.. :)

    One of my designs.

    I got into honey bees last year and building hives.   It keeps me busy trying to keep up with both hobbies.
    Last edited: May 13, 2014

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