#1  
Old 05-27-2008, 01:41 PM
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Default Pompeii Smoker

Hi everyone...my first post

So after reading and reading for the past 2 years I'm finally in the process of building my oven, and well excited about it. As part of the overall "outdoor kitchen" design process I was planning to build a seperate BBQ/smoker with the same principles of thermal mass (I'm lazy and hate maintaining the fire all day in my currect steel smoker). Well, since I started reading this forum, especially about others experiments in using the oven as their smoker, I've decided I probably won't build a smoker after all. But, I do have a few questions about tweaks that could create slightly more thermal mass for holding temps longer for smoking pork shoulders and other large cuts. Of course I don't want to go to far in the wrong direction limiting the effectiveness of the oven for Pizza? I have already poured my hearth slab so the inset of additional firebrick isn't an option, as explained in the plan itself. I have thought about a couple alternatives and am curious about feedback from the group on the effectivness...


a) What about turning the floor firebrick on their side vs. laying flat?

b) What about closing the mortar gaps in the dome by using tapered firebrick?

c) What about a 1" layer of castable covering the dome?

d) stop overthinking it, build the oven and enjoy?

thanks everyone!
Kevin
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  #2  
Old 05-27-2008, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Pompeii Smoker

D) definitely. If you search the forum you will see that there are at least 3 or 4 people using thier unmodified pompei as a smoker. Some are even cold smoking.

Bruce
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  #3  
Old 05-27-2008, 02:50 PM
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Default Re: Pompeii Smoker

I will be interested to see the responses. I have a fairly large wood-fired BBQ cooker (steel) myself & have a similar interest in a multi-use oven. I run my cooker on coals only (after pre-burning the wood) & go for a temp around 225F. I know the smoke plays it's part but it's more the extended low heat that gives you that great final product. Like you, tending mine is an all day affair & I'll bet that introducing a little smoke in an already warm oven would work great!

As for your questions; the Alan Scott design ovens (Bread Builders book) use the hearth bricks on edge, I would guess, for that very reason.

Tapered bricks seem like they would create a nice tight oven if you took the time to fit everything but I can't see how it would be worth all the extra work. I don't believe there is a source pre-made tapered bricks & the amount of additional cutting would be scary (tapered in both dimensions). I don't think it would work any better than one with mortar joints.

I would think an extra castable layer would work but could be prone to cracking.

I should add as a disclaimer that I have yet to finish my wood-oven but have a good bit of seat time cooking BBQ & also maple sugaring with wood-fired equipment.

Last edited by TDVT; 05-27-2008 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 05-27-2008, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: Pompeii Smoker

Taper firebricks, with a few exceptions, are MUCH more expensive than ordinary low-duty bricks. It's nice if you can get them, but the thermal advantage is negligible: the mortar has pretty much the same thermal characteristics as the bricks.

You can increase the mass of your oven. It may make it harder to get and keep pizza temperatures, but if smoking/baking is your primary interest, then it may be the way to go.
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:42 PM
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Default Re: Pompeii Smoker

Quote:
Originally Posted by e15757 View Post
I do have a few questions about tweaks that could create slightly more thermal mass for holding temps longer for smoking pork shoulders and other large cuts.
Hi Kevin,

Follow the plans and do the standard Pompeii design and you'll be fine. I'm putting the finishing touches on my oven, but have used it quite a bit. Last month we did a large pork shoulder. I put it in at 8:00pm the day after a pizza fire and left it in all night. When I pulled it out, I didn't even need to pull it, it just fell apart on it's own. It was perfect.

I collected some data last week on my oven (standard 42" Pompeii). I discovered that as the oven cooled, it maintained smoking temperature ranges (300-200F) for over 24 hours. Plenty of time to smoke about anything you like.

Here's the thread that shows my temperature graphs.
http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f17/...raph-4123.html (Oven Temperature Graph)

Good luck!
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: Pompeii Smoker

Thanks for the input everyone!

Ken, cool information. Can I ask how you insulated? Did you use vermiculite or the ceramic board and blanket?
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: Pompeii Smoker

One more - I still like the idea of placing the floor bricks on their sides. A bit more mass there would be a bonus for maintaining a nice hot cooking surface for pizza etc.
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:38 PM
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Default Re: Pompeii Smoker

Quote:
Originally Posted by e15757 View Post
Can I ask how you insulated? Did you use vermiculite or the ceramic board and blanket?
Two inch board underneath, 3-4 inches of ceramic blanket on top, 3-4 inches of vermiculite/cement on top of that. Amazing stuff, that insulation!

Ken
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:18 AM
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Default Re: Pompeii Smoker

Quote:
Originally Posted by gjbingham View Post
One more - I still like the idea of placing the floor bricks on their sides. A bit more mass there would be a bonus for maintaining a nice hot cooking surface for pizza etc.
I agree with this for some additional thermal mass....a little more fire to heat up but the trade off is good.

Ken's oven seems well insulated and I'm sure that helps with the curves!

What kind of woods are you using for smoking?

....and welcome!
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:37 AM
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Default Re: Pompeii Smoker

I generally use wild cherry to fire the cooker, but have been known to use hickory, oak, and maple as well. My primary hobby is woodworking so the scraps and cutoffs generally find their way into the smoker following a project.
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