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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    23

    Default What is this thing?

    All,

    I bought this cooker last week from a friend who bought it several years ago at Memphis in May. It is built from a 500 gal. propane tank and is unlike anything I have ever seen before. It may be a common design in the Memphis area...I'm just hoping someone here might know a bit about it & how the heck you are supposed to cook on it. I bought it knowing pretty much what it was and have a pit building friend who can make any changes I might want. However, I would like to figure out how it was intended to be used as is before I have him start cutting and welding.

    As you can see in the first pic, it has a pretty much normal two doors & grates for the meat etc.




    The dampers have captive sliding plates to adjust air flow. The other side is where it gets curious.



    You have these two doors that are about 4" by 18"...they are below the cooking grates and appear to be intended to be used to fire the pit. Only problem is that they are not big enough to use in any way that I am familiar with.

    Both ends have vents on the bottom that work the same as the ones on the top...sliding plate in a pipe. Only difference is that they are larger, being about 6" in diameter.



    The back end has a box that will be used (probably) to store wood if I leave it on there. My first thought is to take it off and go in there with a firebox/warmer similar to a Lang.



    If anyone is familiar with this type cooker, or better yet has used one, I sure would appreciate an education.

    I'm all ears............

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Ruskin, FL
    Posts
    6,290

    Default

    Looks to me like some sort of a pig cooker maybe...???
    Those doors on the back look a little too small for feeding splits, maybe they are some sort of draft control?
    I'm scratching my head on this one...|
    Anybody else got anything?
    ~Brian~
    BBQ Jones comp team
    KCBS Member
    KCBS CBJ

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Craig, Mo.
    Posts
    1,199

    Default

    This is only my opinion, so take it as that. What it looks like to me from the pics you posted is you have a BIG grill. The air intakes on each end would allow a good controlled burn. The slots on the back are to add fuel, brickettes, charcoal, preburned wood, and also allow for room to use a metal handled rake to move them around as needed. The way the paint is burnt on the one end looks like they were using it to smoke by putting the fire on that end and food on the other. The reason for that thought is my brother has a tank similiar to yours and has a divider in the end and put his fire inside the tank, which uses all the heat made by the fire to heat the cooking chamber. Also the holes on the back would allow fuel to be added when the grates were full of food and more heat was needed.
    Steve


    1-UDS
    1-Homemade stickburner/ Buela

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Short One View Post
    This is only my opinion, so take it as that. What it looks like to me from the pics you posted is you have a BIG grill. The air intakes on each end would allow a good controlled burn. The slots on the back are to add fuel, brickettes, charcoal, preburned wood, and also allow for room to use a metal handled rake to move them around as needed. The way the paint is burnt on the one end looks like they were using it to smoke by putting the fire on that end and food on the other. The reason for that thought is my brother has a tank similiar to yours and has a divider in the end and put his fire inside the tank, which uses all the heat made by the fire to heat the cooking chamber. Also the holes on the back would allow fuel to be added when the grates were full of food and more heat was needed.
    That is exactly how my friend was using it. He built a fire on one end and either grilled over it or placed his meat on the far end and smoked it...I just don't know if that is how it was intended to be used. All well and good, but I will make whatever modifications are necessary in order to utilize the entire pit as a smoker. My fabrication guy is talented:-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Joneser View Post
    Looks to me like some sort of a pig cooker maybe...???
    Those doors on the back look a little too small for feeding splits, maybe they are some sort of draft control?
    I'm scratching my head on this one...|
    Anybody else got anything?

    Can't be used as a whole hog cooker as is with the split doors. The opening may also not be tall enough...haven't measured it. It would be pretty easy to make it into a single door though. I am pretty sure the small doors are for feeding the fire as there is plenty of draft control with the pipes top and bottom. I do have some ideas & my builder is researching it also. I am certainly open to ideas from forum members as well.

    Thanks for your input!


    My first attempt at multi-quoting a message...got it backwards of course. "When there is a 50/50 chance of getting something right the first time, there is a 100 % chance that you will not"

    John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Craig, Mo.
    Posts
    1,199

    Default

    May I add that if you add an external firebox on a cooker of that size and thickness that it will definately have an appetite for wood. That is why my brother put his fire box internal, less wasted heat. It takes a lot of wood to warm a tank that thick when it is cold outside.
    Steve


    1-UDS
    1-Homemade stickburner/ Buela

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Tulsa
    Posts
    4,976

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UpInSmokeBBQ View Post
    That is exactly how my friend was using it. He built a fire on one end and either grilled over it or placed his meat on the far end and smoked it...I just don't know if that is how it was intended to be used. All well and good, but I will make whatever modifications are necessary in order to utilize the entire pit as a smoker. My fabrication guy is talented:-)

    I think it is designed to have live coals shoveled in through the narrow doors, and the heat regulated with the top and bottom dampers. Prolly burn a fire to generate coals and then shovel as needed. Is there any fire grate in it at all?

    I also believe that if you had the energy or personnel to do it, it would cook real well that way.



    Can't be used as a whole hog cooker as is with the split doors. The opening may also not be tall enough...haven't measured it. It would be pretty easy to make it into a single door though. I am pretty sure the small doors are for feeding the fire as there is plenty of draft control with the pipes top and bottom. I do have some ideas & my builder is researching it also. I am certainly open to ideas from forum members as well.

    Thanks for your input!


    My first attempt at multi-quoting a message...got it backwards of course. "When there is a 50/50 chance of getting something right the first time, there is a 100 % chance that you will not"

    John
    Murphy's law?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Short One View Post
    May I add that if you add an external firebox on a cooker of that size and thickness that it will definately have an appetite for wood. That is why my brother put his fire box internal, less wasted heat. It takes a lot of wood to warm a tank that thick when it is cold outside.
    You are no doubt correct. While I haven't measured the wall thickness of the tank, it is at least 1/4" & it will take some wood to get it up to temp in cold weather. Hopefully it will also hold it's heat well. I am curious as to Buela's design. Is there a build thread for your pit on here?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Tulsa
    Posts
    4,976

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UpInSmokeBBQ View Post
    You are no doubt correct. While I haven't measured the wall thickness of the tank, it is at least 1/4" & it will take some wood to get it up to temp in cold weather. Hopefully it will also hold it's heat well. I am curious as to Buela's design. Is there a build thread for your pit on here?
    I see he is offline UIS, so I'll try to answer for you

    Beulah has a small internal firebox in the middle at the bottom that fies from the rear. it also acts as a plenum for heat ducts that are dampered that run to either side of the pit. the problem that he has with that design is a hot spot right over the firebox in the middle of the pit. I don;t think that would be a problem with a tank as long as yours, and for that matter, there are times that having a hot spot comes in handy.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    23

    Default

    SmokyOakie

    I think it is designed to have live coals shoveled in through the narrow doors, and the heat regulated with the top and bottom dampers. Prolly burn a fire to generate coals and then shovel as needed. Is there any fire grate in it at all?

    I also believe that if you had the energy or personnel to do it, it would cook real well that way.

    I think you are right and don't mind shoveling coals...just going to have to make a larger opening if I go that route. Yes, there is a fire grate.

    Another option that I see a lot around here is to make your firebox out of 10"-12" pipe running the length of the cooker...the tank being cut out to partially accept the pipe...if that makes sense. If not, I will try and get a pic of one made like that.

    I think it can be made into a good cooker. Just trying to think twice and cut once.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Tulsa
    Posts
    4,976

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