This fall I have started the build down here in SC…going to in corporate a low heat smoker under over in place of storage…bad idea?
Hi Scott, and welcome to the BrickWood forum.
Hey, interesting use for the space. Is this a separate unit that you plan to house in the base?
I think that’s fine. “Low heat” is the key, of course, but as you already know from building your base and slab, you’ve got a highly over-specced structure there.
I’m not familiar enough with smokers to know whether you still need some kind of venting system. What are you picturing for that?
Would love to see more photos as you continue your build. Good luck!
Hey Matt, thanks for reply. My plan was to build the smoker right into the bottom. When I built the base, I turned a 8x8x8 cinder block sideways for a rear vent. I’m having a door made to put in front and the door will have a damper to control the airflow…I think my logic works so we shall see. Worse case I stack wood in there!!!
That answers the question I had (or maybe the idea ).
I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. One suggestion: you might want to grab a tube of high-heat silicone mortar sealant and run a bead along the joint between the concrete blocks and the hearth slab. Usually we don’t worry about that area if there are any gaps, and it’s even desirable to have an air space or two for ventilation. But you don’t want ventilation; in fact it would be pretty alarming to see smoke coming out from UNDER your hearth, except at the door and damper.
And again, keeping your smoker fires low (and ideally isolated from the floor) is going to be important. The area above the hearth slab is designed for direct flame: facilitating it, containing it, and concentrating it safely. The area below the slab holds up your oven. You don’t want to do anything to compromise that.
I’d love to know if anyone else has done this and would jot a few lines about their experience.
Keep us posted, Scott!
This is one I’m definitely following -
I hadn’t thought about putting a smoker in that area…
As Matt stated, please keep us updated!
Well we (I) are progressing. Although it’s not perfect, I’m digging it!!! Got a little off on the the oven as I wasn’t perfectly perpendicular to form on a row but it will hide in the shell. Let’s hope my stucco skills are better than my mortar skills.
Hey guys, it’s been awhile…we have been enjoying the pizza oven as I’m almost done with the top. The smoker bottom is coming along, I just got the door to smoker so installed it today. Got to work on heat source as I was only able to get to 180 degrees. We need 225-250 steady. The smoker performs functionally correct. Just some learning curves. Up next wrap the base in stone tile!!!
Looking Good and I’m super interested in the smoker portion of the base! Please let us know how well it performs and what your thoughts are. Thx!
I like what you’ve got—the door looks super-snappy and I can already picture how nice that’s going to look when your tiles are in place.
You are the best judge of your heat capabilities, of course, and it sounds like you are really pretty close to getting what you need for a good smoke. I’m wondering if thermal linings along the three sides might help. (The roof of the smoker is already insulated by virtue of being the floor of the oven.)
The oven has lots of refractory material and insulation to promote high temperatures. The base has concrete, which is going to soak up heat energy.
If you still have trouble once you’ve worked on your heat source, I’d try adding a thermal break in the form of mineral fiber panels. They’ll add cost, so definitely try other things first.
Thanks for updating us Scott!
Hello Scott -
I’m getting a lot of email inquires regarding your pizza oven base / smoker door. Can you add any information about the door?
Custom Made? Type of Metal? Metal Gauge? Smoke / Exhaust Venting? Costs? Construction Recommendations or Suggestions? Handle? Design Sketches you can share???
Your idea is TOP-NOTCH and we would all love to know more!
Update today is I am still working on the temperature control and fire technique. I’m experiencing with lump hardwood and wood. The smoke and exhaust is working and expected and I have a damper at bottom of door and a 4” exhaust vent in the back along last row along top cinder block row. As I previously stated, I turned a block sided to create an opening. I am holding a steady 175-180 degrees and have peaked at 250, but won’t hold up there…
The door for the smoker was custom built after I engineered it with a good friend and owner of Noric Steel in Cheshire, CT, Joe Connolly. The Frame is made with 1.5 inch angle iron made from mild steel. I made it .250 smaller than the width, and 3 inches shorter than the opening then blocked up with a ripped 2x4. The frame has .500 holes around periphery to lag into cinder block. The door is .250 mild steel and I put two layers of 600 degree gasket to face of frame and mating part of inside the door. The handle, damper, and hinges were bought from a bbq supply house. Before install I primed all steel and wood, then coated with a coat of High Heat BBQ paint. I’ll update more as we go. I can’t comment on costs at this time. Started this on a napkin last summer
More to come,
I wonder if lining the inside three walls with half fire bricks would give you the added thermal capacity for and extra 50 degrees? You would lose some space but might be a use for some extra bricks you have laying around…
I’m going to wrap outside first and let grout and mortar cure then I’m going to start with the floor simply from the “adding firebrick to the firebox” results I’ve read, as well as time to allow cinders to dry up some. If that doesn’t hold, I’m going up the walls. I have plenty of room for probably 75-100 lbs of meat there anyways. Most I do is 10-15.
Yeah that’s a good idea - another thought I had was dry stacking full bricks on the back wall, which would add your thermal mass and square up your massive space. In my smoker, I only do about 20-30 # per event- plenty for me too!
I really like @AZDon’s ideas for adding thermal mass. As I think about it dry stacking would work just fine for firebrick because you have no structural requirements for those surfaces and you’re never getting so hot that you’d need the mortar for expansion. Even if you don’t have them on hand 15 of them won’t set you back very much compared to mineral fiber boards. (I’m backing off that suggestion because they need protection and you’d be introducing a potentially toxic substance into your smoker.)
I also think Don has more experience with smokers and yes, you’re looking for mass to absorbs energy and then release it back into the smoker. That would even out the peaks and valleys of a wood fire.
You are very fortunate to have a friend who can fabricate frames and doors for you! I’m eager to see what comes next with your project, Scott!
One last thought - some angle iron or strap plus fire bricks on the side walls could lead to positioning smoking racks at whatever elevation you would like inside your bodacious smoker! It would be as good as some of the pits I’ve seen in Lockhart, TX!! You got a great idea there, Scott - look forward to seeing the finished pit! And as always, thank you Matt for your stud hoss wisdom and your help with my oven!
Hey guys, hope all is well. I finally got a chance to start experimenting with fire broke inside smoker. I lined the floor with fire brick and it was a big improvement!!! I still think I’m going to go around three side for dirt 12 inches up the wall. I’m getting more confident this is the answer!!! Planning to smoke first rack of ribs weekend of 4/10. Wish me luck!!!
Looking forward to the results, Scott. That does look like a big improvement!
I’m seriously looking forward to seeing / hearing about your results!
We had a customer the other day ask us about adding a smoker to the base… so I sent her the link to this post.
This is a very cool addition!