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Brick built BBQ and oven

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MikeG.

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Just thinking ahead, does anyone have any wisdom for me as I design a brick BBQ and oven (we don't just cook pizzas in the oven, so it isn't a "pizza oven"....it's an oven)? How complex is it to add a small smoker? I've loads of room for it, so this thing can be all-singing-all-dancing.
 

AJB Temple

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I built one at a previous house. The build is dead easy as long as you create a proper chimney. In my case I had a walled garden and a collapsed building with a chimney still in place so that was the inspiration for the oven. You can get, usually dead cheap, old cast iron doors (ex bakery generally I think) from eBay quite often. Always make it quite a lot bigger than you think, as the fire part (allowed to die down) takes up a surprising amount of space and you really want a nice clean cooking area.

I wished afterwards that I had built in a spit. I also wished I had made an extended front apron to pull hot pans etc onto, rather than having to reach into the oven.

For hot smoking you absolutely must be able to regulate air inflow and outflow quite accurately.

It make a lot of sense to build in temperature sensors. You can buy them pretty cheap.

I will be building another one myself when I get time, but for now, for smoking etc I use an XXL big green egg in my outdoor kitchen. Very controllable for long smoking times. I find that using good quality charcoal helps a lot with temperature control, whereas in a brick oven you will usually use wood. Make it thick as long lasting residual heat is key.

You can get kits, but I have never tried one.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I was going to build/have one built this summer, but it's gone out of the window. I said to the boy a couple of days ago that I'd like to build in a smoker, but more importantly it'll have to be designed to double up as a forge. :D
 

MikeG.

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AJB Temple":hqp7url1 said:
.......You can get, usually dead cheap, old cast iron doors (ex bakery generally I think) from eBay quite often.........

I wished afterwards that I had built in a spit. I also wished I had made an extended front apron to pull hot pans etc onto, rather than having to reach into the oven.

.......For hot smoking you absolutely must be able to regulate air inflow and outflow quite accurately..........
Great ideas. Thanks Adrian. Did you have a separate place for smoking, or was it just the oven?
 

Trevanion

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Mods seem to have deleted Osvalld's thread on building a BBQ, It's a shame because I reckon it was probably the most conclusive guide on how not to build a BBQ :lol:
 

Droogs

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When I get my phone back from the repair shop (pwr socket) I'll put up a cracking book that is "free" on kindle all about building both hot and cold smoker BBQs and smokehouses
 

AJB Temple

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Mike,

I built the smoker chamber as an adjunct to the main oven. Just a side chamber. It was not a perfect design, but I was starting with a thick garden wall at the back and a chimney stack. So I built two chambers (much the same as the US design for cylindrical BBQ / smokers really, where the fire is on one side (my baking/ pizza oven and fire chamber) and the smoker on the right of it. I used a shutter to redirect smoke for smoking cheese, meat, fish etc.

I would stress it was not an ideal design. I think if I were to do it again (as planned) I would think about having the smoker chamber above the oven chamber. In essence just a double floored chamber. Smoking needs a long, slow process.

For me smoking at that time was of secondary importance. Still is really. As I will keep the XXL big green egg for smoking cheese, fish, meats, etc I will probably just make a wood fired oven for baking, pizza and meat next time. You don't need the cast iron doors for pizza, but you do for bread.

If you read the artisan bread books, they are very clear that the oven is unimportant for baking (wood fired adds no flavour) as long as you can hit the temperature. I actually bake in cast iron pots as that creates steam, then remove lid for the last 20 minutes to get colour. The advantage of using cast iron / Dutch oven, apart from the steam obviously, is it evens out extreme hot spots.

Pizza takes 90 seconds max. Meat will slow cook on residual heat for 2 hours or 4 hours or whatever you want.

I also think that in these ovens, the type of wood makes no difference. The US BBQ books discuss Mesquite, Hickory, Apple, et al, but in the oven the wood is largely burnt away when cooking starts and the heat is in the bricks. It does make a big difference in the smoker side though if you direct the output that way. Hence the need for a choke.

Best of luck with it. Lots of fun cooking this way. Adrian
 

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Well, I can offer the following as an example, probably more as a 'how not to' guide.

I built this at our house in Sweden, largely as an exercise in what might be possible - there are many considerations that I knowingly ignored. It still worked, but could be made much better.

First start with a solid base, culled from stones dug from the garden.

Oven 1.jpg


Then build a floor for the oven - bricks from an old chimney, cast in situ concrete retaining wall. Insulated underneath to restict heat leakage.

Oven 2.jpg


Now start to build the oven. I used leftover granite paviors. Not the best choice, but free. I tested some by heating them first to see what the likelihood of them fracturing was. Of course proper fire brick would be the thing to use. I made a pivoting arm to guide the shape (and bear in mind I had never done any block laying before, so don't judge my mortar work too harshly).

Oven 3.jpg


A former for the opening.

Oven 4.jpg


Construction goes on.

Oven 5.jpg


And on. You can see how the pivoting arm helps angle the blocks.

Oven 6.jpg


A polystyrene former to close off the top. You can see the chimney slot over the opening arch.

Oven 7.jpg


Et voila.

Oven 8.jpg


Now to fire it up.

Oven 9.jpg


I'll continue in another post as I think I reached the limit for photographs in this one.
 

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Phil Pascoe

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I was sixteen, in the Scouts. We had a visiting Swedish group camping with us, one of them was a 19 y.o. trainee baker. Some of the best cakes I've ever eaten came from his mud oven.
 

MikeG.

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One of the things I'd like to do is to contain the fire in a steel tray, which could be moved about for the convenience of loading and lighting it, and pushed out of the way at the back if cooking directly on the floor of the oven. I can't see why that wouldn't work. Can anyone see a flaw? I also want the chimney at the back, so I can see the need for a short element of horizontal flue to get the smoke across to it.
 

Phlebas

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So, where was I? Oh yes. Embers raked to the sides ready for cooking. I used birch wood, and fired the oven for about an hour to heat it up. Oh, yes, I fired it up at a low level several times before using it in anger (well not anger as such. Not even mild tetchiness). And I'm not sure I have a photograph of it but there is a tightly fitting wooden door to retain heat whilst firing up - soaked in water for obvious reasons.

Oven 10.jpg


And a pizza just after putting in.

Oven 11.jpg


And the finished product.

Oven 12.jpg


And bread.

Oven 13.jpg


Oven 14.jpg


Now, what would I do differently. Well, insulate the structure properly. It lost heat too quickly. Other than that it worked amazingly well. The proportion of the opening to the dome size is quite critical for good firing. From memory about two thirds is what I used. The chimney opening worked well, but might have been better if it was extended upwards a bit to get a better draught.

Well, hope that helps.
 

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Droogs

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The traditional way was not to contain the fire in anything as you should have an oven rake to push/pull the embers to whatever part of the oven you want to. also when baking/roasting in these types of oven it is usually done in the cool-down period AFTER the embers have been removed once the oven is at temperature. The embers are only really left in when making pizza type dishes

Mike, bear in mind if you want to do cold smoking with a side mounted smoke-box that uses the main oven you to help cool the smoke before feeding into the chimney to smoke hanging meat etc then you will need easy access to the chimney . I would have thought that side mounted would be easier unless you have all round access


Forgot to add this one earlier (and it's the best one)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Smoking-Smokeh ... ext&sr=1-1
 

gog64

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Phil Pascoe":bash7167 said:
I was going to build/have one built this summer, but it's gone out of the window. I said to the boy a couple of days ago that I'd like to build in a smoker, but more importantly it'll have to be designed to double up as a forge. :D
Be careful what you wish for! Back in the late 70s my Dad decided to build a barbecue. Well, he wasn’t a builder and he wasn’t a chef. What he was at the time was a foundry manager at Fabrique Nationale and his effort was very influenced by his early training at a blast furnace technician. At least that was his excuse. Seared into my memory was that you had about 5 seconds to cook anything before it burst into flames. Once the griddle bars hit an orangey white colour, all cooking was finished for the evening.
 

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I made a pizza oven, and after a few years removed it, because we never used it. Two problems - firstly you need an astonishing amount of wood to make the thing hot enough, and secondly it takes forever to get up to temperature. They work if you cook in them daily, or if you are happy to burn half a tree at a time.

We now have a 200 litre oil drum, on its side, as the oven. A fire is lit underneath and the barrel effectively sits in the chimney. It gets up to temperature in about 15 minutes, can be insanely hot if you need it, and can be kept at temperature for hours by the addition of wood to the fire without affecting the food in the oven. It works for us.

20130815-178_copy_1152x1536.jpg


If I was doing it again I would make the fire pit deeper so I could barbecue and heat the oven at the same time. All made from cob, so total cost is two bits of rebar to sit the barrel on - everything else is just time and effort, or what we had lying around.
 

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Phlebas

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Phil Pascoe":2c4tgkdw said:
I was sixteen, in the Scouts. We had a visiting Swedish group camping with us, one of them was a 19 y.o. trainee baker. Some of the best cakes I've ever eaten came from his mud oven.
Swedish cakes. Hmm. not wishing to disrail the thread, but... Any of these familiar?

And all made by my own fair hand.

Saffransbullar med mandelmassa

Saffransbullar med mandelmassa.jpg


Lussekatter. You have no idea the arguments about what shape these should be.

Lussekatter.jpg


Kanelbullar

Kanelbullar.jpg


Prinsesstårta. My favourite. Insane amount of cream.

Prinsesstårta.jpg


Prinsesstårta 2.jpg
 

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