How to Build a Smokehouse Out of Cement Blocks

Follow these plans to build a smokehouse out of cement blocks. With a little additional timber and roofing supports, you’ll eat well for life.

| November/December 2015 Updated 1/19/2021

  • Preparing the ground for the footer.
    Photo by Matt Gilara
  • Squaring up the first few layers of cement blocks.
    Photo by Matt Gilara
  • Building the layers of blocks up.
    Photo by Matt Gilara
  • Building the form and pouring the header.
    Photo by Matt Gilara
  • The header was placed with the help of a front-end loader.
    Photo by Matt Gilara
  • The next step is to build the roof.
    Photo by Matt Gilara
  • Framing and attaching the door.
    Photo by Matt Gilara
  • Gritty hangs his hams in his backyard smokehouse.
    Illustration by Brad Anderson
  • The completed backyard DIY smokehouse, made of of concrete blocks.
    Photo by Matt Gilara

I’ve always wanted to build a backyard smokehouse – primarily for smoking sausage, but also for smoking bacon, ham, cheese, poultry and venison. My goal was to construct a smokehouse with a lot more room than the smaller ones you can buy from big-box stores.

After spending some time talking to local farmers and collecting ideas on the construction process, and reading about different designs, I rolled up my sleeves and set about building a cement block smokehouse.

Tools

  • Chalk line
  • Level (2-foot or 4-foot)
  • Tape measure
  • Square
  • Trowel
  • Corner plastic line blocks
  • Wheelbarrow/mortar board
  • Hammer/nail gun
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Speed square

Materials

  • 200 – 6-by-8-by-16-inch cement blocks
  • 1 ton sand
  • 1 ton gravel
  • 5 bags (94 pounds each) Portland cement
  • Hydrated lime
  • 8 – 6-foot 2-by-6s
  • 5 – 10-foot 2-by-6s
  • 10 – 10-foot 1-inch-by-whatever-width (for nailers to hold the metal roofing)
  • 4 – 10-foot 1-by-10s
  • 6 – 10-foot 1-by-4s
  • 2 – 10-foot 1-by-8s
  • 2 – 8-foot 1-by-10s
  • 2 hinges
  • 1 handle
  • 6 sheets metal roofing (3-feet-by-55-inches)
  • 9-foot metal ridge cap
  • Metal screws, Tapcons and nails
  • 8 – 1/2-inch L bolts with washers and nuts

Following are the general steps I performed to make an 80-inch-by-96-inch cement block smokehouse on my property.

Step 1: Prepare ground for the footer

The area I selected for the smokehouse was filled with roots and rocks. I dug the footer by hand, and mixed my own footer cement. Make sure your footer is a little longer and wider than the finished area you require. (This will give you room to square up the bottom row of cement blocks.) I mixed 3 shovels gravel, 2 shovels sand and 1 shovel Portland cement in a wheelbarrow – just add enough water to get the consistency you desire – which made for easy pouring in tight areas. The footer was approximately 16 inches wide and 6 to 8 inches deep. The bottom of the footer was sitting about 24 inches below grade.



Step 2: Square up the first layer of cement blocks

After the footer was set up, I used a chalk line, tape measure and square to determine where the bottom layer of blocks should be laid. The bottom layer should have an outside dimension of 80 inches wide by 96 inches long. On top of the footer, measure the length of each wall. Get the rough layout as close as possible with some sort of mark for each of the four corners (before any blocks are laid). Measure from one corner to the other corner (diagonally opposite of each other), and record that measurement. Then repeat this on the other set of opposite corners. These two measurements should be the same. When those measurements are the same, you can chalk a line on top of the footer to show you where to lay your first layer of block.

Step 3: Layer cement blocks

Apply a layer of mortar cement on the footer for the first layer of block. I mixed my mortar cement by using 2 parts sand, 1 part Portland cement and 1/2 part hydrated lime. Add just enough water to get the mortar to the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Willie
10/13/2019 11:38:01 PM

I’m almost done with my smoker . It’s a 6by 6 . I’m getting ready todo the roof . After putting the plywood on do I use felt paper before adding the ten roof


graywolf12
3/16/2018 10:58:39 AM

Our smokehouse was wood with wood or tree limbs to hang the meaty on. The fire box was outside with a flat stone walled tunnel to take the smoke inside. I remember being told to go add a piece of wood to the fire box, and sneaking in to cut off a piece of ham to munch on. The meat, pork, was salt cured before being hung in the smokehouse. That was over 60 years ago, so memories have faded. There was no fat drippings on the floor as I remember it because the smoke was cool and not intended to cook the meat.


Bill
3/16/2018 10:39:10 AM

My grandparents had a smoke house built with lumber. The wood held the smoke smell forever, does the cement block hold the smell? How did you manage the fire/smoke box? Inside or outside? Meat drippings on the floor, how did you handle that? Scrub the floor? Was the floor concrete?






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