Brick grill and smoker build!

Smokers and Ovens made of Brick and Stone
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Cole Leffert
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First time smoker builder!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 12th, 2020, 2:36 pm

I have been wanting to build a smoker/grill for several years. I am going to have a lot of time and money in it and wanted to make it correct the first time. While doing some research on smoker designs I came across this web site and thought it would be a great place for some advise! I have just started the build. He is where I am at, at the moment. Also a pic of my constantly changing drawing of it and a pic of some of the cinder blocks laid out in my garage, so I knew how big to make my concrete pad.
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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by Dirtytires » June 13th, 2020, 12:30 am

Looks like a vertical smoker and a separate charcoal grill on an island....I like it. Nice to see the kids are helping out....I can’t pick up up a shovel without a helper. Must be something about dirt!

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Cole Leffert
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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 13th, 2020, 9:00 am

Laid my first cinder blocks. I'm glad I'm learning on the cinder blocks that won't be seen and not the bricks that will be seen!! There is definitely a learning curve to this!!
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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by Dirtytires » June 13th, 2020, 11:24 am

I’ve laid a few blocks over the years and have to agree that some people really make it look easier than it is.



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Cole Leffert
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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 13th, 2020, 6:09 pm

Slowly getting better... kind of!
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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by towtruck » June 13th, 2020, 11:06 pm

Nice! I used to lay block walls as a side job.There are lots of tricks to make it both fast and straight.....none of which you need to know on a small project like that. A big level and a torpedo sized level are all you need.



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Cole Leffert
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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 17th, 2020, 3:17 pm

Can you have to much insulation on a smoker? The smoker is going to be framed with 4x8x16 cinder block that will be concrete filled, then will have brick on both sides. Which will leave the walls close to 12" thick. There will also be fire brick at the bottom for around the fire itself. I plan on burning wood only. So will I be able to burn an efficient fire in the smoker and not get to hot or will I have to have a fire going on the grill side and just shovel some hot coals in? Thoughts?



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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by Dirtytires » June 17th, 2020, 6:44 pm

Hard to say....

The thick walls will be nice to keep out the wind and prevent heat loss but will take considerable time to heat up to temp. We generally have only our fire boxes insulated as you really do need some of that heat to bleed off. With your better heat retention, I would expect it to be more fuel efficient once heated up. With that said, it will depend on how big of a fire you will need to maintain temps. My assumption would be you would be able to use a normal fire in it as opposed to just coals but you will need to test that once completed,



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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 17th, 2020, 9:45 pm

So will the lack of heat bleeding off be a problem? If so is there something i can do with the design to help this or is it just going to be an issue of learning how to manage the fire? There is definitely going to be a learning curve with this smoker!



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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by towtruck » June 17th, 2020, 11:35 pm

I have seen pits made with an insulating layer between the fire brick and the face bricks...keeps the heat transfer down so your not heating the entire chunk.



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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by Pete Mazz » June 18th, 2020, 4:03 am

:yth:


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Cole Leffert
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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 18th, 2020, 5:58 am

Thanks for the idea! That would help with the warm up time quite a bit!



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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by dacolson » June 18th, 2020, 8:35 pm

Welcome Cole! This looks like a great build. Nothing says committing to a project like pouring a slab! Looking forward to it.
If this is anything like a rocket mass heater you won’t need much fire to keep this going once you get it going.


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Cole Leffert
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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 18th, 2020, 9:39 pm

dacolson wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 8:35 pm
Welcome Cole! This looks like a great build. Nothing says committing to a project like pouring a slab! Looking forward to it.
If this is anything like a rocket mass heater you won’t need much fire to keep this going once you get it going.
Thanks dacolson! Yes it probably won't take much to keep it going but it will probably take a lot to get it going. Luckily I have a woods to get plenty of fire wood!



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Cole Leffert
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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 21st, 2020, 1:16 pm

Got a little more done before the rain started today!
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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by andysmoked » June 21st, 2020, 2:55 pm

Nice work!


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Cole Leffert
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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 21st, 2020, 9:30 pm

andysmoked wrote:
June 21st, 2020, 2:55 pm
Nice work!


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Thanks Andy!



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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 21st, 2020, 9:39 pm

Things went a lot smoother this time! I had trouble with the mortar sticking to the block. I made it thinner, thicker and nothing worked well. I did some research and found that most premixed mortar is to lean (extra sand to make it cheaper). So this time I added some portland cement to the premix mortar and it worked WAY better!!!



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Re: First time smoker builder!

Post by towtruck » June 21st, 2020, 9:53 pm

lime makes it sticky and works well.



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Cole Leffert
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Brick grill and smoker build!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 22nd, 2020, 11:47 am

Started to teach my 9 year old son to lay block. He had a small trowel and helped put on the mortar. He seemed to be really having fun!



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Re: Brick grill and smoker build!

Post by towtruck » June 23rd, 2020, 1:35 pm

Nice.....he will always remember building that bbq with you!



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Re: Brick grill and smoker build!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 28th, 2020, 7:19 pm

I filled most of the cinder block with concrete and some of them with rebar also. Then added some more cinder block.
[attachment=1]20200628_193120.jpg[/attachment]
I plan on filling the grill side with sand, with in 3" of the top of the 3rd cinder block layer. Then pouring concrete flush with the top of the 3rd row. That would be where the fire would be for grilling. After that is poured I will start laying 1 more layer of cinder block to create the grill level and work area around the grill. Here is some cinder blocks just laid down to get an idea of what it will look like.
[attachment=0]20200628_194038.jpg[/attachment]
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Cole Leffert
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Re: Brick grill and smoker build!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 29th, 2020, 10:14 am

Will the 3" concrete pad on the sand be plenty strong or should I go thicker?



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Re: Brick grill and smoker build!

Post by Dirtytires » June 29th, 2020, 5:56 pm

Fine.....not holding any weight.



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Cole Leffert
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Re: Brick grill and smoker build!

Post by Cole Leffert » June 29th, 2020, 8:24 pm

Dirtytires wrote:
June 29th, 2020, 5:56 pm
Fine.....not holding any weight.
Thanks!



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