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Please give me an honest opinion of this smoker build.

 
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HobbyWelder



Joined: 24 Jul 2016
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25 16 12:40 am    Post subject: Please give me an honest opinion of this smoker build. Reply with quote

My involvement in this smoker was to assemble the firebox assembly and the smokestack damper. The rest was done by others. I've never cooked with a smoker, so I have little to go on. I'd like to know if it's a good design and if it will work well.

Looking from the front of the trailer. The firebox is 22" by 22" by 18" tall. The door and damper both work smoothly and close tightly. The tank is 22" in diameter by 45" long. A quarter circle notch was cut in the top/back of the firebox to fit the opening in the bottom of the tank. The firebox is only welded to the tank on the outside. The opening doesn't go to the middle of the bottom of the tank, so there's a shallow trough there.



From the back. The door is made of 3/16" plate with 1" angle around the edges. A 1" clean-out drain with a plug was added to the end under the smokestack after the picture was taken.



Inside with the cooking rack in place. I'm not sure where the handles are going. There's a baffle under the cooking rack that fits into the end cap under the smokestack (right end) and extends to the joint between the cylindrical section and the end cap on the other end.



The end of the door wouldn't clear the tank, so there's a cutout in the angle. There's also a 1/4" gap between the door and the piece that's welded in the opening.



It's about the same on the other end of the door.



The smokestack is 4" in diameter and about 34" tall. The damper operates smoothly and closes tightly.



What's your honest opinion?
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JLCBBQ
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Joined: 10 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25 16 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Build quality looks great. Never been around a pit with the firebox located in that position, so I'll be interested to see how it drafts. I hope you'll keep us updated
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25 16 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The cooker should do well it is somewhat like a DP clone but using a reverse flow draft. If the cooker does not draft as you like the first thing I would do is take the 4" exhaust down to 24" to allow the heat/smoke to leave the cooker without stalling.
Another thing I would address is the 1" drain. I would have at least a 1.5" on the cooker.
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HobbyWelder



Joined: 24 Jul 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25 16 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just from looking at other smokers, I was somewhat concerned about the following:

The approximately 35-gallon firebox seems large for the 75-gallon tank.

The placement of the firebox looks like it might cause a hot area in the middle of the cooker and a cool area under the smokestack.

Leakage through the gaps around the door might make it difficult to control flow and temperature.

Grease collecting in the bottom of the tank near the firebox might catch fire and ruin the meat being cooked.

Not being able to slide the cooking rack out might make tending the meat difficult.

Having the firebox in the middle of the trailer would make tending the fire difficult.

Are these things just not that important?
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25 16 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HobbyWelder wrote:
Just from looking at other smokers, I was somewhat concerned about the following:

The approximately 35-gallon firebox seems large for the 75-gallon tank.
While the firebox is larger than needed for that chamber it will work with that style cooker just build a smaller fire.

The placement of the firebox looks like it might cause a hot area in the middle of the cooker and a cool area under the smokestack.
If the plate is covering the opening into the cooking chamber as I think it is then it will act as a reverse flow does and you may have hotter temps in the opening area due to the radiant heat.



Leakage through the gaps around the door might make it difficult to control flow and temperature.
If the leaks are minor then you will be fine if they are severe you can always use a gasket.

Grease collecting in the bottom of the tank near the firebox might catch fire and ruin the meat being cooked.
I was going by your statement about the trough in the bottom so I did not mention a grease bridge. Now if the RF plate is not welded solid then yes grease can run down the tank wall and enter the firebox causing a possibility of a grease fire.

Not being able to slide the cooking rack out might make tending the meat difficult.
On a 20" chamber you should not have a problem tending the meat. There are a lot of cookers running this door design.

Having the firebox in the middle of the trailer would make tending the fire difficult.
Most cookers with this set up have the firebox door facing the side which alleviates the problem of straddling the trailer. The trailer does not appear too wide and while it may not be convenient it is doable.

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Pete Mazz
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25 16 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The FB is set up like a Center Feed, but with those the BP has gaps left and right and the stack is located dead center. It would probably benefit from a shadow plate under the BP to keep the area of the BP from direct heat from the FB. The BP should have 1" high grease dams at each end.

The FB is too large as you noted. You could line it with firebrick for an easy fix or install a baffle in the bottom and use it like a broiler.
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25 16 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pete Mazz wrote:
The FB is set up like a Center Feed, but with those the BP has gaps left and right and the stack is located dead center.

Not always the case Pete. A DP cooker has tube mounts for the firebox opening these extend into the cooking chamber and the exhausts are mounted left, right and to the rear.
I like the idea of there plate creating a reverse flow effect but if they build too big a fire they will be frying in the middle area.
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