First Build Tons of Questions!

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by tnhollerbach, May 20, 2015.

  1. I am new to the forum and I have to say this site is great! Also thanks in advance to everyone who chooses to be patient with my many questions and for the knowledge you will share with me!

    I know I want to build my own smoker, I know that I want to smoke with wood. I know that I want to build either a small smoke house type of chamber maybe around 3' w x 3' L x 4' T. OR do a refrigerator conversion. I know I want a firebox separate from the chamber. that the smoke is piped in through some sort of venting system. those are some vague parameters, I understand but that's Kinda the Ideas I am leaning tword.

    Lets start with these questions.

    1. I want to have a wood source, I see a lot of builds using either propane or an electric element, is this standard on a smoker? Is it necessary?

    2. What can I use for a firebox? I see a lot saying not to use galvanized metal, I was considering a 55g barrell?

    3. If I choose to do a refrigerator conversion, How does that exactly work? would the inside not melt? I understand that you have to deconstruct it mostly to the shell but it looks like from what I have seen that most of the insides are still there, are they not plastic?

    these may be rudimentary questions and seem stupid and I would like to think I am a fairly smart person. I just want to make sure that I am doing this right. If  I put the work In I want it to work!!!

    Again, thanks in advance!
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A fridge build is a LOT of work.... a wooden smoke house is built a lot... for a fire box, you can go as small as a weber bbq kettle with a duct attached, or used inside the smoke house.....
  3. I think that I will stay away from the fridge build.

    what is better? Inside or outside duct in?
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Inside will transfer more heat..... outside may allow for cold smoking, depends how big the fire.... using a wood fire, it will be almost impossible to warm smoke foods, (70-160).... using briquettes and flavor woods will work.... using electric and flavor woods will work also... depends on the temps you are looking for, what type of smoking you want to do... etc.....
  5. I wont be doing any cold smokes right away, I will only be doing hot smokes to start out with to familiarise my self with the whole process and get used to it. Ill be doing things like Pulled pork, brisket, ribs, chicken, etc... to begin with.
  6. Another question while thinking about it, what type of metal sheeting material could I use to line or insulate the inside of the chamber? Say, something from a lowes or home depot?
  7. I built my smoker out of cinderblocks without cementing them together as I was experimenting with different shapes. Home depot or Lowes sells everything you need except the fire bricks and the metal. I bought a sheet of expanded metal for the rack and some heavy iron for the top cover. I had to have it cut in half and put some hinges on it so I can open one side at a time. It works great. I get it hot (around 350) load it up and let the heat out till it's around 225. Add small amounts for wood/charcoal as the blocks hold the heat very well.

    Easy to build, inexpensive and holds heat really well. You can build your fire box the same way next to it. I actually snake the coals and wood around can get 2 hours without adding more coals.

    Good luck.
  8. Budster, do you happen to have a picture of your smoker? I would love to see it?

  9. Here are the pic's. The opening in the front is where I add fuel. I think my top is 1/8" thick but it needs to be thicker. The heat tends to make the metal curl. That's why I have some blocks on top. This thing works so well my wife wants me to build a finished one my the house. One more honey do project.
  10. Budster I like that concept, I want to be able to make mine somewhat portable considering I rent. If i move i want to be able to take it with me without having to dismantle it or just leave it. If i was in a more permanent home i would def consider a build like yours. on a side note, where do you put your product? I didn't see any ducting to a CC where or how do you put your product in a take it out?
  11. The 2nd pic from the top shows the expanded metal that holds my coals, right up against the blocks to the left. Pics 3-7 show the top with a split sheet of metal. Looking at the unit from the front I usually open the right side and put meat on the grate. It's hard to see but I have have an old refrigerator grate that I use as a second place for more meat. One of the blocks are turned side ways for my chimney. So its heat on the left and food on the side. The blocks that you see in the front is part of the base that is under the unit. All in all I'm pretty happy with this thing. One day I might even cement it together.

    If you have a regular gas BBQ grill and want to impress your friends right away add a rotisserie to it. Get a pork butt or chuck steak, season them up over night, tie it up and on the rotisserie at around 300 degrees add 4-5 packs of wood chips in tin foil and cook away till 185 to 190 degrees. Mop it once or twice and in less that 4 hours it comes off. It really tastes great. If you could figure out how to get a rack if ribs sitting on something higher that the grates (to keep it away from the heat) I bet you could use your grill to do ribs with the foil packs.

    Good luck and keep on smokin.
  12. Alright so after going back and forth on a wood build and a refreigerator build, I thought that I had decided on a wood smokehouse type build. BUT I happen to come accross a SS single door commercial refrigerator. SO I decided to get it and have a go at it. I understand that it may be a bit more work we go!!


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