Smokers come in all shapes and sizes, and they are designed primarily to cold smoke food items like hams, sausages, fish, cheese and other meats. There are hot smokers; however, these are more like slow-cook barbecues, meaning they add flavor to meat, rather than preserve it. Cold smokers add flavor and help preserve meat. Making a cold smoker from cinder blocks is a no-fuss way of building a smoker in the yard, which yields great results at very little cost.
Things You'll Need
- Large paving blocks
- 8-by-8-by-16 inch cinder blocks
- 4 strips 2-by-3 inch sheet metal
- 15-by-15 inch wire rack
- Threaded metal rods
- Oven thermometer
- 35-by-35 inch metal sheet
- Electric hotplate
- Woodchips or sawdust
Lay a course of large pavers in a square around 4 or 5 feet. If you already have a flat, heat-proofed area, such as a concrete or paved patio, where you want to install the smoker, then this makes pavers unnecessary.
Lay two cinder blocks side-by-side on the pavers or heat-proofed surface with the cinder block holes facing up and their 8-inch ends abutting.
Place another cinder block at right angles to the end of one of these, holes facing up, and another opposite it but with the holes facing outward. Place two cinderblocks side by side abutting the ends of these cinder blocks so that the blocks form a square on the ground. The cinder block with the holes facing outward will be the smoke entry hole from the firebox.
Lay two cinder blocks, holes up, over the side of the smoker with the smoke holes. Continue a second course of cinder blocks on top of the first, only this time all the blocks should have their holes facing up, and stagger the joints of the blocks with the first course to increase the strength of the smoker.
Lay another two courses of cinder blocks, which will make four courses altogether. On the fourth course, place a strip of 2-by-3-inch sheet metal evenly spaced on two opposite sides, which will be shelf supports. Lay a fifth and sixth layer of cinder blocks on top.
Lay two cinder blocks on either side of the smoke-hole block in the base of the smoker. Place another two cinder blocks abutting the ends of these two, then place four cinder blocks on top of these to create a tunnel to the smoke-hole block.
Place the wire rack onto the protruding strips of sheet metal in the top of the smoker. Lay lengths of threaded metal rods over the top course of blocks, and hang S-hooks from them. Place a piece of sheet metal over the top. You can use the rack to smoke larger cuts of meat and hang fish or smaller cuts of meat or sausages from the rods. The space between the rods and the sheet metal cover will allow adequate ventilation.
Place an electric hotplate about halfway along the firebox tunnel and put woodchips or sawdust onto the hotplate. Once you have turned on the hotplate, adjust the heat by moving it closer, or further away from the smoke-hole block. Use an oven thermometer inserted into the top of the smoker to check the internal temperature.
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