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bfraze99 12-01-2012 04:17 PM

Start of the winter pit build.
Well, today i met with my welder and fabricator to go over our initial ideas on our winter pit build. I have a trailer we are going to mount it on.

Thinking of doing a insulated reverse flow.

60" with a 1/4"x18x18 fire box.

going to use a 55gallon drums welded together. 1x1 tube on the outside and insulate between the drum and the outside skin. 1/4" plate drum end were fire box will attach and 1/4" plate from fire box to opposite end with 8" gap for heat and smoke.

Am i off track??? Im open to ideas if you guys have any.

Was thinking the insulation will help hold heat more efficiently than just doing solid metal.

I plan on entering my first competition next spring and wanted to make my own pit rather then buy one.


Daggs 12-01-2012 05:21 PM

I dig the idea, I want to do a UDS with the same premis! I'll be on board for the build thread.

bfraze99 12-01-2012 05:31 PM

I look at all these pits and no one really has an insulated pit... Lang, Gator etc... I want to make an efficent pit that uses less fuel and can maintain the temps. Being in IL you know what im talking about trying to burn some meat at 10 degrees outside.

Yea.. any ideas you may have let me know.

cheapbeer 12-01-2012 06:41 PM

Just a uds and WSM man myself at the moment and have been turning over some ideas in my head also. I run my uds smokers all winter just a half hour north of you and generally dont have any problems unless I put too much cold meat in at once on a cold winter day but I see where the situation could be improved. As to your ideas if I would go to that much trouble I would want to go with something more heavier than drums. Maybe take a look around Schessows (probably spelled wrong) or Delaneys by Baraboo for something that will go the long haul. Both of those places have a lot of oddball raw material on hand. Keep us informed on your progress.

bfraze99 12-01-2012 06:55 PM

yea.. i welded for Schessows when i was 18... 16 years ago... he does have alot of steel... Have not been to Delaneys yet... great idea i might take a drive over there.

I get the drums for free so i was thinking there lite and with the insulation and extra metal on the outside( thinking of lining the inside to... ) that would hold heat nicely. im basically using the drum for the shape to weld the outside metal to it. and the 1/4" plate inside should keep me on a even temp for the most part... But im not a pro pit builder.. I was looking at the jambo pits which is where i got this idea because from what i understand ther jambos are insulated somewhat.

Daggs 12-01-2012 08:27 PM

My biggest concern with insulating is the time it will take to fully heat up. If you are using the air between the 2 layers vs a material I'm game. The air should act like a double pain window and not cost much extra time or fuel. Until the insulating layer is heated throughout your pit temps will be Inconsistant and more difficult to keep under control. These are the factors that I am debating. Wish I was closer I'd come give you a hand. I'm sure you will make a great smoker either way.

huntin smoke 12-01-2012 08:27 PM

I think you have it backwards use the heavier metal on the inside and thinner on the outside.

mallorjc 12-01-2012 08:38 PM

Give us some pics of plans /ideas, please. engineers are pirmarily visual->ideas. sounds like you r on good track, amigo. Go for it & the brethern r here ror you, of course!

seattlepitboss 12-02-2012 12:20 AM

Have you considered ramming up some castable refractory?


mallorjc 12-02-2012 07:13 AM


Originally Posted by huntin smoke (Post 2286205)
I think you have it backwards use the heavier metal on the inside and thinner on the outside.

Agree with that! You want the thicker (more heat retaining) inside & insulated.

Mo-Dave 12-02-2012 12:18 PM

Drums are hard to weld without warping, and burning holes in, especially if you plan on using 1/4 inch. They are also very hard to get good seals on because they become flexible when cut, don't get me wrong all this can be done, just much harder. You may want to take a look at some heaver metal for the cook chamber, in the long run you will be happier and may not even need to insulate it. A round cooker is going to be a bit hard to insulate, just my two cents but I would like very much to see the end results.

Flying_Spaghetti_Monster 12-02-2012 12:52 PM

You should try to find some carbon steel pipe, and scratch the 55 gal drum idea. 3/8" thick. I am not a pitmaster, but I do understand pipe welding, and understand that thin metal means loss of heat. In my opinion if you going to spend the time building a pit do your research, and build one that will last forever. Don't cut corners. 55 gal drums are cutting corners. With that being said my pit is 24"x 3'3"x3/8" with a fire box that is 18x3'2"x1/2" on a 2x2x1/4" tube steel stand. It currently weights about 800lbs. But it will be around for a long time.

ManakooraMan 12-02-2012 01:16 PM

i looked into this a little while ago. forno bravo i believe have some examples lidat using cast refractory material (basically special heat resistant concrete). the problem with a lidded design is that you have to have insulation on the lid which would make it too heavy to open! so it ends up being a slide in design.

Flying_Spaghetti_Monster 12-02-2012 01:29 PM

My pit is not insulated, and works well in Utah in the winter. Shop around find pipe.

NRA4Life 12-02-2012 02:13 PM

My reverse flow pit is fully insulated all the way around and ends. It started life as a 300 gallon fuel tank, 14 ga thickness. We insulated it with 1" of ceramic fiber insulation and skinned it with 20 ga. The firebox is insulated on the sides and firebrick is on the bottom of the firebox. Only the front and top of the firebox are not insulated. It is 5ft long x 3 ft diameter. Takes about 1 hour to come up to temp (250), but that is bringing it up REAL slowly. Once it is hot, it stays hot. I learned that bringing it up to temp too quickly and overshooting - say 300 deg, it doesn't want to come back down. It'll cook in the rain, snow, wind - doesn't matter. Extremely fuel efficient. If you have any questions, let me know. And I use mine in comps too.

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