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seifer316 02-27-2013 09:37 PM

T-shaped smoker
Hey guys, I'm new to the world of smoking and I've got delusions of grandeur as to what I can do with it. Im going to put forward my proposal with the intent that you will either back me up or talk some sense into me.
Ive got my mind set on a 't' shaped UDS (like this) for the following reasons-

1. It will work out cheaper than a standard UDS as I wont have to source a kettle lid and weber shelving which aren't as cheap in Australia.
2. Ive got easy access to drums
3. Bigger cooking space for when I have many guests.

I can build the planned smoker easily and I think I will be able to get it to seal properly.
Am i making to much fuss over this or is a t-shaped smoker viable. Are their any issues that anyone knows about, I havent seen to much reference to them on the forum.
More importantly, do u think that they will be tough to learn to smoke on?

Cheers guys.

Wampus 02-27-2013 10:05 PM

First of all....if you can build like the quality THAT one was built of....go for it.

I've seen those done on here before (can't recall where) and it always made sense to me, but if I were to play devil's advocate and pick it apart, I'd say that your issues may be:

1. The amount of work may outweigh the benefit of just doing a "standard" UDS.
2. I'm not so sure that the grate area is MUCH greater, if at all, than two 22.5" grates on a 2-rack UDS.
3. One reason that the UDS works so well is that you're getting both direct AND indirect heat. With that one, it looks like you'd have more indirect than direct since the bottom of the top barrel would diffuse the heat quite a bit. This isn't necessarily BAD, just different.
4. IF you did build one, I'm wondering if you wouldn't benefit from some sort of smoke/heat diffuser/chamber at the bottom of the upper barrel to more evenly disperse the smoke and heat throughout. This would prevent hot spots (which MAY not even be a real issue. I'm only speculating.
5. If you have easy access to barrels, you COULD cut the top off of one and use THAT for a lid for a UDS, then you could use a 2 rack design and still be able to put big stuff on the top rack. could also make a top extension on a UDS and have 3 racks too, which would bump your potential capacity WAY up.

Just thoughts.

That thing looks bad azz. Since I already have a UDS....I'd sure build one.

Wyley 02-27-2013 10:15 PM

You don't need a Weber lid if you have access to multiple drums. Just cut off about 1/3 of a drum and use it as the "lid" like N8man does. Check out this thread and you can get a look at what he's done.

Randbo 02-27-2013 11:32 PM

It makes more sense to make two standard UDS to me.

seifer316 02-28-2013 12:26 AM

Fair enough, as for the drum as a lid... Its certainly putting the ugly into uds Haha. Ill give it a good hard thought. As for surface area, I believe you are right wampus about the surface area being similar. I'm just wondering what I can fit in a 2 level uds, brisket and a rack of beef ribs?

BigBellyBBQ 02-28-2013 02:31 AM

it is fun to come up with something different..and yes this works, I have used an old wood burner on the bottom, baffled the smoke to the sides..and a
barrel inside box on the inside, cooking chamber outside..
but where I live I need an insulated smoker ..too much fuel or I started to build box smokers like the backwoods, which is a great design..
the drums work great however so much heat lost to the wind..

seifer316 02-28-2013 03:58 AM

I might give it a go anyway. I don't think Ill lose anything by trying except for time. I can make a UDS very easily if this plan fails. Ill post photos tomorrow as i get started.

seifer316 03-02-2013 05:13 AM

Well I got started on this today. My two barrels have the red liner. Only one was paint and the other was the tough as nails stuff. The painted one came right off with a good spray of oven cleaner (it literally wiped off clean) the other was not so lucky. Ill make that barrel the lower end which gets cut up anyway so there will be less to grind/burn away.
As for the cut of the lower drum, I found the following link which prints a template for you based on your measurments, I did a quick test on some tin cans and it worked like a charm. (Note you need to check the scaling on your print out by putting a ruler up to the scale, I found mine was out by 10%)

One question for you guys, on the link I posted earlier for the t-shaped smoker, he has drilled a series of holes between the fire and the cooking chamber, Is there any benefit to this over cutting the hole right open and adding a defuser? I just cant see the benefit.

posey's_pork_pit 03-02-2013 07:48 AM

I have a 55 gallon drum offset with an expanded metal grate and this is what it can cook at the same time:

6 pork butts
3 turkeys in half pans
3 briskets, packers
4 untrimmed racks of spare ribs

To add a bit more capacity, I made a second self using carriage bolts for legs and a replacement grill from the big box hardware store. It can hold:

3 pork butts
2 untrimmed racks of spares
1 huge brisket, packer
4 chickens

I hope this helps giving you some idea what a horizontal 55 gallon drum can hold.

Smoking Westy 03-02-2013 10:02 AM

It can be done, my uncle and I built mine this Fall using 20 gallon drums as a prototype.

J-Rod 03-02-2013 10:06 AM

It's gonna be a lot of work, but if done cleanly like the one in the link you posted, it should work fine. A UDS is obviously easier and cheaper but the T design sure looks nice! As for the holes drilled between the two barrels, I agree with wampus that it will really cut down your heat transfer into the cooking chamber, which may lead to high fuel consumption. If I was building one, I'd probably cut a large hole instead and use a baffle/tuning plate in the cooking chamber. Then, I wouldn't be committed to one heat control method. Good luck and post pics.

Smoking Westy 03-02-2013 12:01 PM

I've had no problems getting temps as high as 450 in mine and it has the holes cut plus I'm using a clay pot for a diffuser. I don't see any harm in cutting a big hole rather than drilling all the smaller holes like we did.

Holler if you have other questions.

seifer316 03-03-2013 02:51 AM

Did a bit of cutting today and finished taking out the liner. I hope I never have to do that again. The first one was a breeze however.
Rather than building a fire box, I have this old brazier lying around, Its a little high but will the size of it be ok or should I look for something wider?

seifer316 03-23-2013 12:54 AM

Hey lads,
Ive been working hard the last two weeks on getting the smoker done but she's a beauty, still the odd thing to add like a table front and another grill plate.

Anyway ive got an issue with temp however, I can't really get her to sail past 200 degs f. I'm using a modified brazier which is around 3 inches off the ground, the intakes are between one and two inches off the ground and I have 6 of them (3/4"). They are all wide open. There are two exhausts on it which are 1 3/4" each, these are about an inch or two above the grate.
Skipping the KISS commentary, what am I missing, I only used half a bag of charcoal (5 pounds?) Does she need a full bag to get to temp? When I emptied in the chimney on top of the coals it did sail up to 270 odd but quickly came back down. Could I really need more intakes?

seifer316 03-23-2013 12:55 AM

Oh I also accidentally left the can of canola spray in the cooking chamber. The dog next next door was barking after the bang for hours.

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