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Will this work?


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#1 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Jul. 10 2018 - 09:04 AM

I was given two hunks of steel and have been eyeballing them for a special smoker. The steel is 1/2" thick box beam that is 8"x12". I have two pieces that are six feet long. My thought is to weld them up into a lower case "h" with a long 6' side as the chimney and a horizontal cooking area then the short leg that has the fire chamber. I can then cook in the horizontal tube and hang stuff in the chimney too. 

 

I know its a narrow cooking chamber and I have a plan for being able to move the food back and forth in the chamber to get the heat right. I think two thermometers in the horizontal area and one in the stack would help me see the temps. The thick steel will hold heat very well and I could go either wood or gas for a heat source. I would like to do gas with a feeder for chips for the smoke.

 

So...bbq know it alls...would something like this work?....pardon the crappy computer drawing. The steel alone is 6-700 pounds so it would be mounted on a trailer. 

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#2 OFFLINE   wish2no

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Posted Jul. 10 2018 - 09:57 AM

At a glance, without some sort of baffling, I would suspect a pretty big temp differential between the right and left side.




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#3 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Jul. 10 2018 - 10:04 AM

At a glance, without some sort of baffling, I would suspect a pretty big temp differential between the right and left side.

That is one concern I have too. I could center the heat and run two shorter chimneys on the ends but I only have those two 6' pieces to play with. 

 

My second concern is the cooking chamber would only be 7x11 and once the food is in there it could slow the flow of heat down and form a type of plug....




#4 ONLINE   Pepper

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Posted Jul. 10 2018 - 12:45 PM

I would also think that the food would add moisture to the smoke, probably cooling it as it went by. I would think it would be an either/or proposition. Either smoke, or cook, probably not both at the same time. 




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#5 ONLINE   Pepper

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Posted Jul. 10 2018 - 12:46 PM

Oh, and I'm not an expert by any means, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. In fact, I barely slept at all between getting off shift at 3 and back to court by 8, so if none of that makes any sense, you know why.




#6 ONLINE   MontanaLon

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Posted Jul. 10 2018 - 01:29 PM

Looks kind of like a rocket stove. Getting heat won't be an issue, getting control of that heat will be tricky. There will be a fine line between smoking, going out, and being a blow torch. It will require a lot of experimenting to get the fresh air intake just right.




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#7 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Jul. 10 2018 - 01:36 PM

Looks kind of like a rocket stove. Getting heat won't be an issue, getting control of that heat will be tricky. There will be a fine line between smoking, going out, and being a blow torch. It will require a lot of experimenting to get the fresh air intake just right.

That was my justification for using gas. It may also work if I used a pellet grill burner in it and put the thermostat in the right place. Heating it with wood or charcoal would be hard to keep even I think. I don't want it to run off electricity so I'm leaning towards gas with some kind of gravity feeder for pellets or chips for smoke. 

 

I would have to make a regulator to top off the chimney to control the flow of air.........I may have to make a complete smoker out of cardboard and see how the heat and smoke travels through it before I commit to a design.   I do believe the small cooking chamber will present the biggest issues.




#8 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Jul. 10 2018 - 01:42 PM

Oh, man, I just had another idea........what about running a long gas burner under the horizontal cooking chamber to heat that chamber and then use the fire leg to make the smoke only?   smoker/oven in one............. :hmm:




#9 ONLINE   MontanaLon

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Posted Jul. 10 2018 - 01:44 PM

You could always make the smoking chamber larger. Build a box out of sheet metal around the chimney and then put holes in the chimney pipe at the bottom box and block the chimney to allow the smoke into the smoker box. Holes back in at the top of the smoker box will give the smoke a way out. 




#10 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Jul. 10 2018 - 02:33 PM

The more I think about it I would try and use the chimney more than the horizontal area. I think I could get away with using the last half of the horizontal area to smoke in and then use the entire column from the horizontal upward to smoke more controlled. I have a rack system in my head that will work for both areas. I'll bet I can control the heat in that column better than the flat chamber. Still lots to work out.....I see a cardboard smoker being built first  :laugh:




#11 ONLINE   MontanaLon

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Posted Jul. 10 2018 - 03:14 PM

The more I think about it I would try and use the chimney more than the horizontal area. I think I could get away with using the last half of the horizontal area to smoke in and then use the entire column from the horizontal upward to smoke more controlled. I have a rack system in my head that will work for both areas. I'll bet I can control the heat in that column better than the flat chamber. Still lots to work out.....I see a cardboard smoker being built first  :laugh:

I made a wooden burn barrel once. It worked, once.




#12 OFFLINE   wish2no

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Posted Jul. 10 2018 - 04:26 PM

What about making an "L" shape.  Fire pit at the bottom, food can be hung or put on racks in the vertical portion.




#13 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Jul. 11 2018 - 01:17 AM

What about making an "L" shape.  Fire pit at the bottom, food can be hung or put on racks in the vertical portion.

That's an option I will explore.




#14 OFFLINE   mattd65636

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Posted Jul. 11 2018 - 06:00 AM

I have seen something similar with structural pipe, but it was hard to control. You could plug your calculations into a smoker calculator and it should help.




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#15 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Jul. 12 2018 - 01:05 PM

I think I came up with a better way to do this. I am thinking of laying one piece on top of the other. I'll cap the ends and put doors on each end tube. There will be a fire box in the bottom tube made of two trays to hold charcoal, one goes in from each end. Then the heated air and smoke will enter the top tube at the ends with openings that can be controlled for size. The heat and smoke will exit at the top center of the cooking tube. The fire will directly heat the cooking chamber from below and the heat and smoke will travel over the food. A well controlled charcoal fire should be achievable. The independent air inlets into the cooking chamber will allow me to cook on one side only for smaller cooks. I will have 6' of cooking area that is 7"x 11". I will make two slide in smoker trays to put the food on. Each will go in from the ends. The plan is to have the air inlet in the center. I can then light each tray at the center and have them burn outwards instead of lighting the whole tray at once.




#16 OFFLINE   wish2no

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Posted Jul. 12 2018 - 01:46 PM

Because of the weight factor I assume this is a stationary build.  Me, I would probably build  a small 6 ft x 6 ft "smoker shed" and just run the square tubing through a "dog door" somewhere through the wall.  Then you could build shelves around the walls or even hang whole carcasses (or maybe 300 prairie dogs ; )) and smoke at low or high temps.  Because of the volume you could control smoke and heat well.




#17 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Jul. 12 2018 - 01:53 PM

Because of the weight factor I assume this is a stationary build.  Me, I would probably build  a small 6 ft x 6 ft "smoker shed" and just run the square tubing through a "dog door" somewhere through the wall.  Then you could build shelves around the walls or even hang whole carcasses (or maybe 300 prairie dogs ; )) and smoke at low or high temps.  Because of the volume you could control smoke and heat well.

:laugh:

 

I don't cook enough food at once to justify a shed. The horizontal idea I have would let me do 8 racks of ribs at once or as few as two using one half of the cooker. I could probably do two large or four smaller briskets as well. The more I think about my new idea, of horizontal, it is starting to stick.....it will act like a reverse flow smoker. I think fuel consumption will be low and controllable too. 

 

I will most likely build it on a trailer so I can take it with me places and if it does not work out the way I want it I can sell the whole thing  :laugh:  




#18 OFFLINE   MadeInUSA

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Posted Jul. 12 2018 - 04:43 PM

I dont think any design will work well with the steel you have. I mean, 8x12 isnt much at all. I wouldnt be able to fit an 8-10lb pork butt in there to begin with.

Smoking is about temp control and air flow.


I know you got the steel for free and all. Maybe you can sell/scrap it and get a couple barrels and some smaller square tubing.


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#19 ONLINE   towtruck

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Posted Jul. 13 2018 - 01:07 AM

I dont think any design will work well with the steel you have. I mean, 8x12 isnt much at all. I wouldnt be able to fit an 8-10lb pork butt in there to begin with.

Smoking is about temp control and air flow.


I know you got the steel for free and all. Maybe you can sell/scrap it and get a couple barrels and some smaller square tubing.

I do know the 7x11 interior size is going to limit me to what size meat will fit. I want to do ribs mostly.........but I need someone to say "NO! it wont work" before I scrap all hope of making this work. I have scrapped my original "h" shape for the horizontal double stack. My fire box is triple the size of what the calculators want but I know I can make that work....it's just the air flow I'm worried about now. I already have the entire trailer designed in my head.  I have the charcoal trays and venting designed, I have the way I want to burn the fuel designed and the layout of all the work areas and things I want on the trailer. The only thing I have not designed in my head is the type of doors I want on the ends of the box tube for the fire box and cooking chamber. I need an axle, suspension, and a hitch to make the trailer and I have all the rest of the material I need to make the framework. The smoker will be sideways directly over the axle and tires. 

 

I have put feelers out on a smoking forum to get anyone to poo poo the idea and so far it's been crickets from the members.  




#20 OFFLINE   mattd65636

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Posted Jul. 13 2018 - 05:24 AM

That 1\2in steel is going to hold the heat, add in the small diameter pipe? The small diameter pipe grill I cooked on with a guy had him chasing the temp all day. His grill 1/4in steel and he had it for over a year.






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