Smoke house ideas

Discussion in 'Smoke Houses' started by bookem, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. bookem

    bookem Smoke Blower


    I have an opportunity to purchase these plywood boxes.  They look like 7/16" or 3/4" plywood.  They're only $20 each, and I'm thinking I could invert them to make a smoke house.  I've looked at a lot of the builds on the site, but when it gets right down to the nitty gritty, I'm a little lost at where to start.  If I did invert them, it would be 4x4x8.  That seems like it would be pretty big for an amateur.  I thought i could line the bottom with hardibacker or patio blocks to protect from the heat.  As far as the heat goes, I'm open to suggestions on propane or electric burners.

    Would I be able to do hot and cold smokes with this, or is it going to be too large for hot smokes?  If I were going to do hot smokes, how large of a heat source would I need?

    Thanks for your feedback.

  2. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That would be huge by most home smoker standards.  Most plywood box smokers are used for cool/cold smoking with the smoke generation source piped in from the side to get smoke in w/o much heat.  Hot smokes and plywood are generally not a great combination because you don't know what kind of toxins are in the glues or wood itself.  Those can contaminate your food under heat.
  3. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    we have some members who hot smoke in plywood smoke houses. Most either use a small hot plate or a gas banjo type burner for the heat source.

     Either way i would line the first couple of feet w/ either cement board or brick just to be on the safe side .(don't want any fires).

       For cold smoking the smoke needs to come from an external source . that way you get the smoke but not the heat.
  4. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Personally I think you would be better off with a smaller smoke house. 4 X 4 X 8 is huge. to heat this I would think at the very least you would need a turkey fryer, and that would have too run full bore.

    I built a smoker that was 4 foot wide 2 feet deep and 4 foot high, and never came close to filling it up. I used LPG as fuel source with 3 burners from a old  furnace, later switched to natural gas. It was built out of 1/4" steel plate double walled fire brick lined. Took for ever in a day to pre heat but once it was it would hold heat to no end. 

    Yours is 4 X as big something to think about.

    1 thought I do have is you could get the crates and break them down and build a smaller smoke house with the wood. 

    Just my $0.02
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  5. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have a 3 x 3 x 6 smokehouse and use a propane stove burner that is 35,000 btu's for it:


    It has 3 different cocks on it so you can fire up only what you want and cold or hot smoke with it, and I also have from Todd Johnson the Amazen units that I've used alone in it and it fills up the chamber wonderfully cold smoking!  

    Check out my build by clicking on "Smokehouse" below, and for Todd's wonderful and amazing "A-Maze-N" unit, see "Dixee Chicks" too!
  6. bookem

    bookem Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the feedback.  If I just used this for cold smoking, what temperature is it typically going to?  I think I saw 160-180 or so.  If I used the A-maz-N, could I use that right inside of the smoke house or would it create too much smoke?

    I do think I'll cut it down and make a smaller unit.  Maybe just get one unit and cut that in half and invert it.  That would give me a 2x4x8, but I could cut the height down too if I needed.

    Pops, I saw your smokehouse build, how hot have you had temps in that unit?  Now that it's seasoned is there less concern about toxins being released from the heat?
  7. gersus

    gersus Smoking Fanatic

    That is pretty awesome, and a great price! If you could cut it down to 2x4xx4 I think it would be great! 

    I ordered one of the Northern tool burners like Pops and it is supposed to be in today. I can't wait! My unfinished 'house has snow on it right now but it's supposed to warm up this weekend so hopefully I can get some work done on it and get it seasoned.

    If you decide to use that box keep us updated! I want to see it done!
  8. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  9. Built a 2 x2 by five feet tall and use an adjustable turkey burner (propane) for heat source.  Super insulated stucture so have to run burner on lowest setting to hold heat down.  Up to temp in 5-6 minutes.  I love it.  Owned a commercial smoker for 24 hours.  It was built incorrectly and spot-welds were already coming loose.  Have $300 in my wood structure lined with cement board.  Rape my wife, molest my children, kick my dog, steal my money,  BUT---don't mess with my smokehouse!
  10. bookem

    bookem Smoke Blower

    I finally went and picked up the boxes, they are 45x45x40".  Turn's out it's actually 1 1/8" plywood, so they are heavy duty.  Not sure what type of wood it is, but if anyone has any ideas on that, let me know.  Here's some of my ideas and pics.


    I'm going to cut it just above the 3rd band, that is about 24" inside.  Then I'd tip it on it's side and put it on casters.  After that, it would be about 45x24x45, which seems pretty wide for smoke in such a short box, so I was going to put a small divider make it closer to 36x24x45, with a 10" cabinet to put pellets, dowels, bacon hangers, etc.

    I'm going to use an electric burner to heat it with either AMNPS or cast iron pan for smoke.
  11. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I typically run the unit 225° to 270° or so.  Did the initial burnoff and the emissions lasted maybe 10 minutes at the most; absolutely nothing after that and have done more than 100 smokes on it now.  It just isn't a big deal at all.  The only fumes I smell are from the smoking wood I'm burning and trying to get to smolder and smoke, lol!  It is just exceedingly simple!  I did replace the drip pans yesterday, was at the Dollar store and picked up two turkey roaster pans, buckapiece.   Sweep it out now and then, but that's about it!  Biggest thing is catching the drippings successfully and it does that quite well and minimizes the chance of fire by not having grease dripping from anything.

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