Bruce designed this based on a variety of factors and ideas, seen from other wood smokers. He wanted one that used only wood, no charcoal/gas/electric heating, and also large enough to smoke a variety of items.
Ours took a couple of weekends, working on and off, to pour the cement base, lay the block foundation, assemble the stove and attach into the foundation, then build the house and add the roof. The stove barrel and hardware for it and the door all came from eBay but the rest we purchased locally at Menards. This is a labor of love for us, we did it all and are incredibly happy with how it turned out!
The barrel has been seasoned to remove all manufacturing paint on the interior, as well as burn off as much exterior paint (it has been repainted with high temp stove paint). The initial seasoning of the barrel also allowed for the inside of the smoke house to be smoked, allowing the pine car-siding to be dried.
The inside of our smoker uses untreated pine for the studs, walls and roof. We opted for an inexpensive metal roof to cover the top, and found a dryer vent for the stack (must less expensive than a regular stove cap).
Our first try at smoking was a challenging one, smoked cheese, using hickory. We used Kroger brand sharp cheddar, swiss and mozzarella blocks. Heated the stove to get a bed of coals and the dampered it down to start the smoke. Bruce kept the temperature at about 100 degrees on the lower rack, and the cheese smoked for about 2 hours.
I am very happy with the results, especially for this being our first attempt! We didn’t melt it, turning the inside into a gooey mess, and smoking it for 2 hours gave it a good flavor. The softer cheeses were harder to keep from softening more and slightly cooking, even at a low temp. The mozzarella took it the worst, though we anticipated this too. The swiss came out great as did the sharp cheddar.
Next time we do cheese we’ll likely shorten the smoking time, and I hope to try other cheddar varieties, plus a Gouda.