The Concrete Block Smokehouse – a DIY approach

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As befits the American Way, when choosing to buy something new, we’re barraged with options, everything from the nearly disposable to the insanely expensive. Meat smokers are no exception. On one end of the spectrum, I could spend a few hundred dollars and get a barrel smoker, or a few hundred more for an electric smoker. As a renter, both sound awesome, but the price point was really out of reach; I was adamant that I save my dollars for purchasing more meat instead.

I’m in the middle of reading Stanley Marianski’s excellent Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages, a true classic of the sausage making world. Marianski’s book details a number of “backwoods” style smokehouses that seemed ideal for my budget. Included was the Concrete Block Smokehouse

image credit: http://www.meatsandsausages.com/

image credit: http://www.meatsandsausages.com/

image credit: http://www.meatsandsausages.com/

image credit: http://www.meatsandsausages.com/

The Concrete Block Smokehouse

Built with 16x16x8 standard concrete blocks, this DIY smokehouse is about as simple as it gets. Think adult legos.

First I needed to clear away the grass and make sure that my foundation area was more-or-less level.smokehouse groundwork

Then, you start building the walls of the smokehouse.

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Note that all blocks are stacked with the hollow sections facing up except for one block on the bottom. This one block will be the intake for the smoke, allowing the draw to enter and exit up the smoker.

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Continue stacking, alternating configuration so blocks overlap.

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Marianski’s plan calls for 6 levels of block, but I didn’t have enough loading capacity when buying block to get 6 more, so I made do with stacking 5 high. After finishing the Chimeny, its time to build the fire chute.

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The chute extends out from the single sideways block. Stack the sides so that smooth facing block sides are on the inside, channeling smoke into the chimney. The small broken concrete pieces are where I will build my fire.

The Concrete Block plans allow for two methods for hanging. Method one, you tie your meat onto sticks that you then lay across the top blocks. This is how I intend to use the smoker at first. Later I’ll experiment with staggering the blocks so a lip is created and I can insert a screen on grill grate.

Finally, a smokehouse isn’t complete until you give it a roof. I just used to old boards lying around our yard. They don’t make a very tight seal, which is exactly what I want, ensuring a great draft up through the chimney.

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More details of my first smoke to come, but for now rest assured, this thing really works! Excellent draw and heat is generated by this simple, affordable design.

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A peak inside the smoker. Flames are roaring through from the fireplace. The haze in this picture is due to all of the smoke.