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Welcome to our newest member, SmokyOkie
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    12

    Default Have to choose the size

    I've decided to build my own old-school stick burning smoker. My relatives have all of the material I'll need, but I'm such a newbie on this, I'm not sure what size to go with. I'm definitely going to build a reverse-flow smoker. My question is that I have 2 choices of the size of the smoking chamber. I can either go with a 500 gallon, which is roughly 10' x 37.5" or I can choose a 330 gallon which is roughly 10' x 30".

    Being a guy, I always figure bigger is better. However, is that the case with smokers as well? Either of these will be welded onto a trailer, so size is no problem with regards to moving the smoker. So, if you were building one and had a choice, which way would you go?

    Thanks!

    SD

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Hampden, MA
    Posts
    2,647

    Default

    I'd go bigger..........the guy thing and also, I know how quickly you can outgrow a smoker.

    But really, I would just want both.
    FBJ

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Irving, Tx
    Posts
    633

    Default

    30" is about as small as I would go with a smoker if I were building from scratch... My personal preference would be to use the bigger tank. You can always cook less food in a bigger pit, but it's hard to do the opposite.

    What ever you do, be sure to document the build with pics that you post here!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Thanks, FBJ. That's what I was thinking...better to have bigger and not need it than to have smaller and wish you had more. Gosh, this type of conversation could quickly get out of hand

    Another quick question....based on this being a reverse flow smoker, I would guess that I would need about 12" on the end opening of the plate to allow the smoke to travel or is that too large of an opening? I've read that 3-7" is appropriate but can't find an exact number for a tank that's 10' long.

    Thanks again!

    SD

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesB View Post
    30" is about as small as I would go with a smoker if I were building from scratch... My personal preference would be to use the bigger tank. You can always cook less food in a bigger pit, but it's hard to do the opposite.

    What ever you do, be sure to document the build with pics that you post here!
    Will do James! My wife's uncle is doing all the welding and starting to pick up all the pieces I'll need, so I'm trying to do as much calculating as possible. Now, I've got to figure out the size of the firebox as well as the size of the opening of the firebox into the smoking chamber. After doing some reading, I think a firebax that is 1/3 of the smoking chamber will suffice. Just gotta do the math to figure out how large of an opening is needed into the smoking chamber.

    SD

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Irving, Tx
    Posts
    633

    Default

    Hey SD, check your PMs.

  7. #7
    SmokyOkie Guest

    Default

    The only possible downside to the larger unit is that is takes more wood and a hotter fire to maintain proper temps. The woiuld possibly also be time that you might want a very hot (375-425) oven and not be able to attain that with the larger unit.

    As to firebox size, I have heard many things and sat in many debates as to a formulation for appropriate firebox size and what i will say is that by my personal experience, you only need enough room to fit the size logs that you want to use and enough space for good combustion. From there it is only a matter of having adequate draft, both in and out of the firebox. In bothe cases, too much is better than not enough. You can always choke it down if need be.

    If you build a firebox that is larger than that, and on an offset ( or any other external firebox design) you will only be supplying more surface for heat loss.

    I myself am a fan of internal firebox units. with an internal firebox, you keep all the heat inside the unit. Either of your tubes would be great for an internal firebox unit. If you build an upright above an internal firebox, it will function very well as a separate oven as opposed to just functioning as a warmer.

    I don't claim to be an expert, but I have built a few and cooked on several more. My favorite design is an internal firebox with top feed and a baffle 4 or 5 inches from the inlet with a top down baffle on the stack end or with the stack exiting on the middle of the end.

    Just my nickle's worth.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Thanks Okie! I decided to go with a firebox of 36"x30"x30" with an air intake of 92 sq in(I'm actually going to make the air intake 100 sq in). Fortunately, I've got a very large supply of wood available to me as I'm pretty sure this bad boy is gonna eat the wood very hungrily.

    Once this gets done, I'm going to start working on a couple of verticle smokers for sausage and cheese........I love sausage and cheese. Momma and the yardapes are always clamoring for sausafe and cheese!

    I have a buddy who has a real nice one with an internal box and he's given me his design, so that will also be in the works. I'm gonna look like Sanford and Son when all is said and done but no one ever complains when the smells that come out of your place smell the way smokers do

    SD

  9. #9
    SmokyOkie Guest

    Default

    26-28 cubed should be plenty adequate, unless you want to build a grill into the top. If you do that, be sure to make the cooking grate removable and leave it out for all cooks except the ones where you're grilling.

    The thing about eating a lot of woode isn;t nearly so much the cost or use of the wood, it;s the hassle of having to constantly be stoking it. That's something you don;t want if you're gonna cook very often.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Yea, I've been debating putting a grill in the firebox. Would be nice to have a place to make some breakfast in the early morning hours or some place to keep some sauce warm......I figure I might as well make it the way I want it now as it would be harder to do once completed.

    Thanks for the ideas!

    SD

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