How to Build a Smoker
We have been planning to build a smoker for quite some time and this summer we finally had the time to begin the project. It wasn’t one of our quickest projects, but it certainly didn’t take us as long as the natural pool did!
I am breaking the ‘how to’ up into two posts because there is so much to it. Part 1 concerns the foundation and setting the blocks for the smoker and the firebox, as well as the smokepipe between the two. Part 2 will consist of the framework, siding, roofing and finishing of the structure.
A Foundation for your Smoker
We knew where we wanted our smoker. It would be most convenient near the kitchen, next to the deck and patio and it would make a nice ‘curtain’ in front of our air conditioning unit. After determining the size of smoker that we wanted to build, we laid out those dimensions on the ground to make sure it would work out well.
Step 1 – Prepping and Framework for the Foundation
We used 2×4 lumber to build a framework in which to pour the concrete. When the frame was built, we lined it up properly and drove stakes into the ground, screwing it off to hold it exactly where we wanted it while we poured. The next step was to dig it a little deeper around the inside of the frame, similar to the footing of a house foundation. We put chicken wire inside the framework for the concrete to grab hold of, much like how rebar works in large concrete projects. We also backfilled around the outside of the frame in order to cover any low places.
Step 2 – Mixing, Pouring and Finishing the Concrete
Since this is a small slab, we simply mixed the concrete in a wheelbarrow and dumped it in from one end to the other, working it as we went. My husband floated it himself as he was pouring and a few times after to give us a fairly smooth, even slab.
When the slab was completely dry, we removed the lumber and were left with a solid level base on which to build our smoker!
Building the Stone Base
Step 3 – Mortaring in the Stone Blocks
A little bartering got us a pallet of pretty, decorative blocks that were perfect for our project. We decided on two courses of the blocks for both the smoker and the firebox. We mixed up our mortar, a little at a time and laid it thickly onto the perimeter of the slab. Setting each stone perfectly level is very important in this part of the project, as the framework above will need a good level base.
As we continued around the perimeter of the slab, my husband laid the blocks and I added additional mortar to the inside along all of the cracks and seams. It didn’t take long to get both courses mortared in on both ends of our smoker project.
Step 4 – Preparing for additional elements
We left the far end of the firebox open and cut the blocks on the other end of it, as well as the bricks on the facing side of the smoker. The holes that we cut in the blocks were so that the pipe could fit in between the two sides.
On the open end of the firebox, my husband welded up a frame that could hold the cast iron door that we had on hand. It was old and rusty, but he cleaned it up and painted it black. (He rolled his eyes at my request for red… but it looks terrific anyway)
The pipe that we used was just a vent pipe that we picked up at Lowe’s. My husband cut it down to the dimensions that we needed and we slid it into the holes in the blocks, mortaring around it to make sure it would be sealed.
At the end of this portion of the build, I was so excited and ready to move on to the next step…framing! You can check that out in How to Build a Smoker or Smokehouse Part 2.
NEVER MISS A THING!!!
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