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Thread: Homebuilt Smoker

  1. #1

    Default Homebuilt Smoker

    Built this a little over a month ago. Beats the heck out of my Little Chief. I can do about 15 reds at a time, it has 4 racks and currently uses propane. The moon on the door was my wifes idea and I thought it was a good one, as long as somebody doesn't try and use it for something other than smoking. Took me a whole weekend to build and cost roughly $225 less the burner.

    Smoker Aug 2010 001.jpgSmoker Aug 2010 003.jpg

  2. #2
    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Nice! I plan on building one of them next spring... I will be drawing up this winter!
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

  3. #3

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    How does the propane work / hook up??

  4. #4

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    If I didn't know better, I'd say we used the same plans I built this one in June '09 and love running larger batches of fish, sausage, jerky, etc through it vs. my older, much smaller Brinkman. Nice touch with the crescent moon on the door. My friend who helped me build mine sketched me a 'crescent moon salmon' but I haven't gotten around to wood burning the pattern onto the door yet. They also double nicely as a dehydrator, here's a load of morels I dried in mine.

    Attachment 39959Attachment 39960

  5. #5
    Member fullbush's Avatar
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    Hey what kind of wood did you use? It looks like tongue & groove pine 1X6 maybe its cedar but it seems kind of light colored. I'd think cedar would be more durable if your gonna leave it outside.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by fullbush View Post
    Hey what kind of wood did you use? It looks like tongue & groove pine 1X6 maybe its cedar but it seems kind of light colored. I'd think cedar would be more durable if your gonna leave it outside.
    I used 1x6 T&G pine. I didn't use cedar as I was unsure if the wood would impart any flavor / aroma on the fish. I covered the outside of my smoker with several coats of polyurethane and try to keep it covered when not in use to keep weathering to a minimum.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by shearej View Post
    If I didn't know better, I'd say we used the same plans I built this one in June '09 and love running larger batches of fish, sausage, jerky, etc through it vs. my older, much smaller Brinkman. Nice touch with the crescent moon on the door. My friend who helped me build mine sketched me a 'crescent moon salmon' but I haven't gotten around to wood burning the pattern onto the door yet. They also double nicely as a dehydrator, here's a load of morels I dried in mine.

    Attachment 39959Attachment 39960
    Try again.
    Attachment 40205

  8. #8
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    P1000024.jpg

    Built this one last year and used the heck out of it this summer.
    Ended up putting a propane hater in the bottom to keep the heat and smoke consitent.
    BK

  9. #9
    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Is propane better than electric?

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    Thumbs up Very nice smoker

    Nice work, thats beautiful; thanks for sharing that.

    I'd recommend nonstop smoking without any food products involved, until the inside is covered in a glassy black substance (smoke, but in solid form). That is when your new smoker will be at its best; after being fully seasoned.

    Never clean it; sanitize the racks with a certain temperature for a certain duration (you decide; this is a personal issue) before each use.

    Also, a nice addition might be dowels across the very top, and possibly also periodically like in the middle and bottom too. Stuffed sausages can be hung. Also if you clean your salmon with the tails of each fillet still attached to each other you can hang each pair of fillets during the smoke; that's a very old-fashioned way to hang your fish in your smoker.

  11. #11
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Family man said it best. I burned alot of smoke through mine before putting anything edible into it.
    I also have a few dowels in the top for hanging sausage and pepperoni sticks.
    Propane worked best for me to due to the size, I was able to regulate the temp better.
    With the larger smoker you can get everything done in one batch and only takes a day, much easier.
    BK

  12. #12
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    what type of racks are you using in it? made at home? purchased? chicken wire? That has been a big sticking point in my creation of a homemade smoker.

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    Default expanded steel

    Quote Originally Posted by smpow View Post
    what type of racks are you using in it? made at home? purchased? chicken wire? That has been a big sticking point in my creation of a homemade smoker.
    Not sure about him, but I've used stuff I believe is called "expanded steel" for racks in homemade smokers. The bad thing about it is that its edges where you've cut it is really dangerous/sharp, so me and my buddy made steel L frames (like a picture frame but from L shaped steel) to hide the bad edges and to stiffin it up.

    Once they're seasoned well they won't rust, but until then make sure to not get them wet.

    I've homemade 2 smokers before, both taller than I am; one large enough to smoke an entire pig whole, and one that doubled as a very large outdoor grill. The first one I put on I beams so I could forklift it out'a there someday, but it weighed many tons so I left it when I sold the property. The next one I poured a pad and just laid up cinderblocks all permanent like, knowing in advance I'd leave it someday.

    Worked great, all. But none were as easy to operate as my present Smoke Vault. Though small (24" wide), I'm lovin' that one now.

    One smoker I had came with a house I bought; an old 1800s built pioneer home with a smoker same age; half built into the ground. It was a large room that you walk inside of and build a fire in there. Checking the meat was like walking into a burning building so I bought a WW2 gas mask to use.

  14. #14

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    Sorry I haven't responded to any of the questions, I don't get here much anymore. The wood I used is 1x6 TIG pine and it was stained with a cedar colored stain by my wife, only on the outside. My racks are made from expanded metal and I bought some L shaped aluminum L for the edges so I wouldn't get stabbed by those pointy ends.

    I am going to buy a Bradley Smoke Generator and install an electric burner, the propane worked fine but going this route with the electric heat and generator will be more efficient. I didn't burn any wood in mine prior to using it and my reds came out fantastic, the best I have ever made. I'm planning on smoking some brisket and some pork chops down the road and probably a turkey as well.

  15. #15
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    I used racks from a fridge. Just had to cut them down a touch on each side.
    If you need some, go to the dump and ask if you can grab a couple out of the fridges they have for disposal. Scrub them up good and your in business for free. The fridge racks usually have less spacing between them than a oven rack which makes it easier to put small items on.
    I did 40lbs of brisket this fall in ours in one batch and they rock!
    Another note...I split my door in two pieces so I could add chips to the heater w/out opening the big door letting out all the heat and smoke, works great. The bottom door is hinged on the bottom so it needs no clearance below to open and acces the chip pan.
    BK
    Last edited by bkmail; 10-16-2010 at 15:52. Reason: add to it

  16. #16
    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Very nice smoker Ak hunter.
    Your even consistent heat makes it a professional model.
    Like the moon door.

    For racks on mine, I bought a new 4X8 sheet of 1/2" expanded metal (Wasilla steel).
    Cut to size with circular saw, abrasion steel cutting blade.
    Ran them thru the dishwasher (don't tell my wife )
    Coated with cooking oil, cured them in the smoker,
    I still hit the tops with "pam".

    I like the idea of adding a propane burner. that would help allot.
    I may do that next year.
    Now I use a 12 cast iron skillet & charcoal briquets.
    Hickory (store bought chunks) & local dried alder.

    Mine is plywood & 2x2s. but works pretty good.


    more pics here:
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...i-R?highlight=

  17. #17
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    Default another nice one

    Quote Originally Posted by mudbuddy View Post
    Very nice smoker Ak hunter.
    And very nice smoker you have too there mudbuddy. (+1). Thanks for the picture.

    The smoke stains on the outside show its been well used, and I like the simplicity of your door latch (piece of wire) and your louvers (one nail and one little chunk of plywood, each).

    Simple, effective, and get the job done.

  18. #18
    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    I really like the ideas I get when looking at mudbuddy smoke house. Make a smoker then while at the cabin or out dipnetting at Chitina set up the smoke to run fish through fresh. Bring home smoked fish instead of fish to bag and freeze. How long does you larger smoke houses take to smoke reds? How many can you get in your smokers?

  19. #19
    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Thanks FM. I might have built a better one if I'd seen AKhunter's before I built mine.
    I like his design & it looks great.
    His is a "Pro" model.

    Mine has
    6 racks, 4 fillets/rack, for Kenai reds. (I learned to not crowd it)
    For smaller loads, I cover the rack just above the ones with fish with plywood.
    Time depends on weather but typically if I start early, it's done before dark.
    I rotate the racks, the bottom gets hotter.
    16 - 20 hours is an estimate & it kippered good. Some smaller ones get done
    sooner, "taste testers" . Thicker ones a little longer.
    Adding a gas burner (or electric) would be a good improvement. (less work adding briquets)
    The stuff I can in jars, gets 1 hour of heavy smoke, no brining, then in the jars.
    (stays a little moister & get some smoke flavored canned salmon)

    I stapled 2 layers of tin foil on the inside bottom walls around the pan of charcoal for fire safety reasons.

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    Default no brining for canned?

    Quote Originally Posted by mudbuddy View Post
    Thanks FM. I might have built a better one if I'd seen AKhunter's before I built mine.

    I rotate the racks, the bottom gets hotter.
    16 - 20 hours is an estimate & it kippered good.

    The stuff I can in jars, gets 1 hour of heavy smoke, no brining, then in the jars.
    (stays a little moister & get some smoke flavored canned salmon)
    Naw, yours is great too.

    I also rotate the racks. Upper to lower, and front to back, both. No smoker is perfect, except maybe my one buddy's but he's like the pro of all time (and single, so he's got tons of time to play with that stuff). Also, my Smoke Vault is less than its best when I drop the cast iron wood tray down to right on top of the fire to do fish; makes for small spot only for the heat to rise.... i.e., uneven.

    Me too bottom is always hotter, though that surprised me at first; heat is supposed to rise, ya know? This means of course that closer to the heat source is hotter because circulation is so good that at the top the heat just escapes instead of gets caught? So maybe I should close the top vent more than I am? I'm guessing this is so, and will try this next time.

    Mine is well kippered in only 4 hrs though; so likely I'm going much hotter than you.

    Do you mind sharing why no brine for canned salmon? I've not done that. I brine equally for canned, but don't worry so much about fully kippering because the canning process of course cooks it fully anyway. I do what I do for the flavor, but please give me a reason and I'll try a batch of smoked & canned without brining; always looking for new ways.

    Thanks in advance.

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