Masonry Smoker build- complete

Discussion in 'Brick Smokers' started by adam c, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. adam c

    adam c Fire Starter

    Greetings folks!

    I've been a long time lurker here, but SMF has been my go to forum for all my bbq inspirations. When I decided to try building a smoker, I read every thread in the brick build forum. You guys are awesome.

    A few details on this build; I live in rural Missouri, so no building codes or inspectors to deal with. I have ZERO experience with anything masonry. This was literally the first time I've ever mortared two blocks together. My plan was to keep it simple. I needed straight lines and as few moving parts as I could manage.

    I'm building this on the concrete slab in front of my house. I decided to tie it in to a retaining wall. I figured that would help me keeping my lines straight and level.

    My original layout. I decided to put a lid on the fire box rather than a side door, a product of my aversion to moving parts.

    I completed the fire box and the base for the smoke chamber. I used cinder cap blocks for the walls of the fire box and for the base of the smoke chamber. The fire box was built with an 8x8" opening which will flow into the smoke chamber.

    Side view. I ran the smoke chamber onto the retaining wall behind it.

    Before I set the brick, I decided to add a grill section on the other side. The total length ended up just under 7" long. The fire box is 24x24, the smoke chamber is 40x32, and the grill section is 24x32.

    Building up the smoke chamber. I ended up four courses high, so 32" tall.

    Front view. The doors are a set of fireplace doors that I picked up on Craigslist for $100. They fit my opening perfectly!
  2. adam c

    adam c Fire Starter

    My original lid design. The stone is a 16x16 paver stone. It fit fine, but it leaked too much air around it.

    The grill side. 8" deep for the coals puts it at a great height for grilling.

    Fire box air flow control. I can take the brick out for wide open. The three hole air flow seems to work well.

    The chimney stack is a 3" furnace vent pipe. I left an 8x4 opening and filled it with mortar around the pipe.

    Redesigned lid. I moved the finish course of 2"paver stones in 1" which allowed the lid to sit on top. I ran a gasket roped around it and it seals off great.

    The smoke chamber interior. On my first run, I had air flow problems as the heat was venting straight up and the grill was cool to the touch on the opposite side. I solved the problem by installing a sheet of 26 gauge sheet metal with holes throughout. The grill sits 4" above the metal. My grate level temps are now even with the thermometer above the doors.
  3. adam c

    adam c Fire Starter

    Like most brick builds, this thing is more like a 4x4 V-8 than a Prius; not the most fuel efficient machine. I don't necessary want to run a full smoke for something small like a pork loin roast or smoking burgers. So I wondered what would happen if I set up a grill inside the fire box and used it like a bullet smoker.

    13" kettle grill cost me $14 at Walmart. I placed a 12" piece of sheet metal below it to act as a heat barrier and its sturdy enough for this grill to sit on.

    Small batch of charcoal...

    And some canned ham. I'm not going to use a real cut of meat for this experiment! That batch of coals kept the temp over 200' for over six hours.
  4. adam c

    adam c Fire Starter

    The finished result..

    Fired it up today for a pork loin roast and a small slab of ribs.

    Holding steady at 225'

    Thin blue smoke...

    The volume of wood currently burning to hold 225' temp.

    Pork loin roast smoked to 150' in about 5 hours.

    Beautiful smoke ring and super juicy!
  5. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Awesome build.  Thank you for sharing! B
  6. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I love it!   You did an outstanding job!    It not hard to build a brick smoker, it just takes time.   If you start with a plan, it will work.

    Look forward to seeing more awesome meat come out of your smoker.     

    I know firebrick are expensive, but it would help to hold heat meaning the longer your smoke, the less fuel you would need.

    Congrats on a job well done sir!
  7. adam c

    adam c Fire Starter

    Thanks Wes. I am a bit surprised by how easily the construction was. I still don't feel like I know how to mix mortar correctly.

    Regarding heat retention; I put the last two sticks of wood in at 6pm. The temp never went over 225, which was where I wanted it.  The smoke chamber temperature was still 125' at 2 pm the next day. The brick face has made a tremendous difference in the heat loss.
  8. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's cool thing about masonry,  it will hold heat for a long time.

    As you get used to how it wants to work,  you will love it even more.   The possibilities are endless.   

    Welcome to a flavor  no one can match.  Nothing can touch a wood fired smoker.
  9. adam c

    adam c Fire Starter

    Our local grocery store has pork sirloin roasts for $1.29/lb. I'm stocking up! I'm already looking for any excuse to fire it up.

    I am in a blessed position. We have 40 acres of timber, mostly oak and hickory. I've got an unlimited supply of wood; just takes a bit of labor to cut it and haul it in.

    My work horse metal offset smoker just finally gave up the ghost. It's over 20 years old. I decided I'd rather give this a try rather than spending the same money on another metal smoker.

    Even though my brick work is a bit lacking, I'm in love with this thing.

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