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First build - 500 gallon propane tank smoker

 
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jsawright



Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 9
Location: Evansville, IN

PostPosted: Sat Oct 02 10 3:40 am    Post subject: First build - 500 gallon propane tank smoker Reply with quote

New to the site. I have been reading many interesting ideas regarding building a new smoker. I currently have a smoker built out of a 250 gallon propane tank (it is a traditional offset horizontal smoker) and have recently come in possesion of a 500 gallon tank (approximately 8ft x 3ft) that I am planning to build into a smoker. Been reading much about whether to build as reverse flow or with tuning plates but so many good points for both that I can't decide. I need someone to tip the scale one way or the other. Thanks!
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Last edited by jsawright on Thu Oct 27 11 1:22 am; edited 2 times in total
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rykymus
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Joined: 24 Jul 2009
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Location: Stockton, CA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 02 10 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It really depends on what and how you cook, or plan to cook on it. From my experience (and from what I've read on the ring) the biggest difference (from a cooking perspective) is that with a standard offset you have a hot end and a not so hot end. This is an advantage if you are cooking both low-and-slow items (like pork butts) and a hot-and-fast item (like chicken). This is especially handy in a competition environment. The reverse flow has nice even temps from end to end, which makes it easier when everything is low-and-slow. I just built my first smoker (to replace my wally world special) as a reverse flow and I love it.
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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Location: Southeast Texas.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 02 10 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the ring jsawright, looking forward to seeing some pics of your cooks and following your cooker build. Smile
You could build your cooker with two stacks and adjustable tuning plates. This will afford you the best of both worlds. You can slide the plates to one end to create a reverse flow or open them up for a conventional offset.
If you are straddling the fence then this is a good option.
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jsawright



Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 9
Location: Evansville, IN

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04 10 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have gotten the tank home and ready to begin my build. Here is a picture of the tank.

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Hell Fire Grill
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Joined: 17 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 05 10 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like your off to a good start with nice size tank. I like the tuning plates for no particular reason. Another option would be the DPP style which has its advantages as well.

Be carefull cutting your tank open. I have always used the soapy water & wait for a week or so method.

Take lots of pics of your build and drink lots of beer.
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jsawright



Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 9
Location: Evansville, IN

PostPosted: Fri Oct 08 10 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Hell Fire Grill. I have gotten it full of water and plan to let it sit at least another week before I begin cutting it. I still need to obtain some additional supplies such as pipe for stack and steel for the firebox.
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Big Tone
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Joined: 06 Dec 2009
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Location: Ridgeville (Lebanon), SC

PostPosted: Fri Oct 08 10 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After alot of research on this site I decided on the tuning plates. I thought that having an adjustment for the heat distribution would be an advantage. I've never used a RF smoker, so I can't give a you a defensible answer, but the tuning plates do work.

I recently filled my smoker with 24 butts which is maximum capacity and all that cold meat caused a huge difference in temp from one end to the other. A normal cook might be 4 butts and maybe 2 briskets which the plates were "tuned" for. Without removing the meat and racks I was able to extend a long, thin metal pipe thru the open firebox door, thru the opening into the cook chamber, and with a hook on the end, slide the plates into a position that allowed more heat to be dispersed at the opposing end. It worked great. The temps evened out (within 15), and the butts were all done (from left to right) at nearly the same time.

With a tank that large there may be more benefits to the reverse flow design. More heated space should help compensate in most cases, but like I said I don't have any RF experience to offer. Good luck.
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jsawright



Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 9
Location: Evansville, IN

PostPosted: Thu Oct 28 10 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the suggestions. I have decided to build an offset firebox with tuning plates. The tank has been full of water for about 3 or weeks and before I begin cutting, just want to see what you guys thought about size and number of doors, etc. Let me know if you have any suggestions about other aspects of the build as well.
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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Location: Southeast Texas.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 30 10 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jsawright, that is a nice looking tank. Very Happy As far as doors go are you going to want to ever cook a pig? If so now is the time to figure your doors to fit one.
Depending on your usable space between the factory welds you could either go 50/50 on your doors or a 60/40. Or you could make the center hinged. I have also seen one on the ring with two doors and no center piece. They used a double strap idea to seal the middle. I hope I have not confused you just throwing out some ideas for you to mull over.
Of course if no pigs are in the future then I would go 50/50 with the top at around 1:00 and the grates at 3:00. I would pull in on the welds about 1.5'' to 3'' and the center strap would be about 4'' wide. Lay this out and see how big your doors will be and adjust from there. I hope this helps. Smile
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jsawright



Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 9
Location: Evansville, IN

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03 10 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks k.a.m., I have begun marking out the doors! I think the 60-40 is the way I'm leaning because I do plan to cook a whole pig or two.
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jsawright



Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 9
Location: Evansville, IN

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26 11 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally beginning on my new build. I am using a 500 gallon propane tank and am expecting to obtain a trailer this weekend to begin mounting the tank onto the trailer.I have decided to build an offset with tuning plates. I have spent hour upon hour taking ideas from many of the great builds on here and k.a.m. has provided many great ideas but still any and all suggestions are welcome. If you have an idea, please share. If there was something you wished you had done or something you did in your build that did not work as well, please share. What did you insulate your firebox with? Did you build your trailer or did you modify utility/boat trailer? Did your exhaust pipe go below your grate? For every decision I seem to make, I have twice as many questions.
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jsawright



Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 9
Location: Evansville, IN

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25 11 9:11 am    Post subject: First build - 500 gallon propane tank smoker Reply with quote

I have finally mounted the tank onto the trailer. These photos are from the weekend and have now marked doors.
http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g345/jsawright/3.jpg
http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g345/jsawright/2.jpg
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Wreckless
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Joined: 15 May 2009
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Location: New Braunfels, TX

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25 11 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jsawright wrote:
If there was something you wished you had done or something you did in your build that did not work as well, please share. Did you build your trailer or did you modify utility/boat trailer?

jsawright...First off, welcome to the ring. Smile When building a cooker and somewhat based on its size, I try to incorporate every nicety I can think of that will ergonomically fit in both size and budget. There is so much work involved just to make it work well that shortchanging due to most any other variable than those mentioned is a waste. Ergonomics is key for me. If you have always wanted slideout racks, put them on now. Have lots of tools i.e. spoons, tongs? Build some hooks. I have even fab'd in a few spice racks. Soo....onto your current setup...that boy needs some bigger shoes. Shocked He is going to continue to grow thru the build and his feet are already hurting. Putting all that work onto that trailer as is will be your first shortcoming, one that you wished you had done differently. If typical, you will not be pulling that cooker and putting it on a larger trailer in the future as you may have promised yourself. Nice tank, good luck. Very Happy
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jsawright



Joined: 02 Oct 2010
Posts: 9
Location: Evansville, IN

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25 11 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wreckless,
I do agree that this trailer may be hurting or as you put it, the smoker will be outgrowing its shoes. I did pick up a 2nd axle just for this reason (was hoping I could get away with the one axle). I will try to get it added this weekend and get the photos added.
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GreenSmoker
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Joined: 15 Jun 2010
Posts: 605
Location: Green Mountain State of Vermont

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25 11 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jsawright, I am not a bbq expert or trailer builder but, I have moved and hauled stuff for 40 years and I wanna garuntee ya, that load on that setup is a bad start.

You have over 700 lbs in the tank and that is before you do a 300 plus pound FB. Then you have racks and RF(?) plating and handles and hinges and stack and............

Even with a 2nd axel IMHO it is gonna max out that trailer.

The other folks in here may say different but, do some figuring and see how weight to materials of the trailer come out.

P.S. Welcome to the ring and I hope my thoughts don't squirrel up your build.
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