Hello, I am new to the world of smoking meat and would like to build my own concrete smoker. I have seen many versions of these but wanted to get some advice on some questions I had about doing this. - Does it matter if the fire area is offset or in where the meat will be? I don't plan on doing cold smoking if that makes a difference. I plan on using the smoker to cook and smoke meat to eat soon after cooking. - What kind of base is best for the area where the fire will be? I have seen ones that use fire bricks, concrete pad, sand, dirt, etc. - Is a chimney necessary for excess smoke venting, or is a hole/holes in the concrete wall enough for ventilation and air flow? I have seen some that have chimneys and some that don't. - I was not planning on using mortar on the concrete blocks so that I can replace ones that crack - will there be enough insulation without mortar? - for metal parts like the grate and the top, what kind of metal works best in terms of food safety? I appreciate any input from members, and thank you in advance for your answers.