Dear all, First off I'd like to introduce myself - I'm UK based and currently in the early stages of planning a brick smoker for my back garden. I'd like to thank everyone who has posted photos and information, this site has been a gold mine of useful information. As I mentioned im still planning but had a couple of questions that I was hoping some of your experts could help with. Due to space constraints Im planning a a vertical smoker with the firebox directly below the racks and shelves with the items to be smoked. Is there a minimum distance between the fire source and the bottom rack? I'm aware you don't want to get the food too hot and wondered if there was a rule of thumb for this distance. On the subject or vertical or offset, is one better than the other? I'm planning on lining the fire box with fire bricks - on the base, do you need to mortar the joints between the bricks or can they be loose laid? If they do need mortar will standard stuff do or does a special mortar need to be used? Thats it for now, thanks in anticipation.