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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 10-04-2011, 01:20 PM   #1
Co-lay
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Default Questions about my Smoker

Hello All, (I'm new to the forum)
I have a recently built a smoker, and need some guidance. I have done a tremendous amount of research and put together some Frankenstein, due to the lack of beautiful welds. I have always loved to cook outdoors, and have for some time. I felt that I needed to get on some personal uncharted waters and try smoking. Here are the specs om my smoker:
Cook Chamber : 24”d @ 56” long - 3/16”thk
Fire Box: 20”d @ 36”long (maybe a bit big..... I’ll see how it will work) - 3/16”thk
FB inlet: 5” dia
Chemney: 8” D @36” Overall length
FB to Cook Chamber - 9” id @ 20 long

(Please See Attached Photo...)
The first question is, I had to spread myself across my trailer due to stability, and added a 9” dia (7/16 walled) pipe @ ~ 20” long between the FB & C-Chamber. Will that hurt me by doing so? If so, will there be a great amount of heat loss?
Now that I have it completed, how do I prep the interior metal prior to cooking? ie. torch the inside, or Do they sale a certain type of wax log (or something) that will coat the inside? or, quit analyzing and just get started …
Once I have all above in order and plan on cooking, what should be on my first menu that wouldn’t mess up easily? What wood should I use as a beginner?
Sorry for the slew of questions, I am extremely excited to get started with this lifelong event :-)
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File Type: jpg Ugly and me.jpg (82.4 KB, 296 views)
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Unread 10-04-2011, 01:50 PM   #2
Divemaster
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The first question is, I had to spread myself across my trailer due to stability, and added a 9” dia (7/16 walled) pipe @ ~ 20” long between the FB & C-Chamber. Will that hurt me by doing so? If so, will there be a great amount of heat loss?

There is going to be some heat loss but it should be manageable. If you’re real worried or if it causes problems, you could wrap it using boiler style insulation.


Now that I have it completed, how do I prep the interior metal prior to cooking? ie. torch the inside, or Do they sale a certain type of wax log (or something) that will coat the inside? or, quit analyzing and just get started …

You are going to need to season the inside of the cooking area. This is easily done by spraying all of the inside using an aerosol oil such as ‘Pam’ and then heating the cooking chamber up to roughly 300*. This is going to give you a good chance to work on holding a temperature for at least an hour (two would be better).

Once I have all above in order and plan on cooking, what should be on my first menu that wouldn’t mess up easily? What wood should I use as a beginner?

I would recommend a pork butt. I know, it seems like a lot of empty space but it’s the most forgiving. This is a good thread that should give you some hints as to what to expect. http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=68136
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Unread 10-04-2011, 02:08 PM   #3
imperfectutopia
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Hey bud, first off - thanks for sharing. I love checking out other people's new builds. I am by no means an expert, but I just completed my first build from scratch last year and can pass on my experience and what the others on this forum told me....

First thing that pops out in my eyes is that pipe between the firebox and the smoke box. For me it was an intentional part of the design - intended to keep temps even across the cooking surface. There were a couple of guys that had tried it and didn't like it before me, but generally the only comment i got about my particular transition pipe was it was a little small (which it may well be) I however had already completed the welds and decided to try it out as is and have been a big fan.. There is heat loss... of this i'm certain - but for me, that separation decreasing the hot spot next to the inlet is worth it. So, i think youll be fine on that one.

I like your dimensions generally, and i think it will burn cleanly and reliably. There is a spreadsheet somewhere that someone made on here that will tell you inlet and outlet sizes based on your chamber sizes and whatnot... I just dont know where it is any more - maybe someone will post and you can tweak your inlet size a little if you determine it needs it later. But since it's built already, you may as well burn it and see how it acts before you go modifying it any..

Next thing - yes,... I pressure washed mine before i burned it out but definitely burn it before cooking anything to eat. Things to consider are - what used to be in it?? if the answer is anything that sounds gross, be sure whatever you do to clean it will completely remove any contaminants. I assume since it's already been welded and ground on that there is no remaining flammable stuff.

Last thing - after your all out fire (in both chambers) - your first cook should be biscuits!! seriously, this will tell you how well you are 1. regulating temperature and 2. evenly cooking... you know, if you have hot spots, the biscuits will cook faster / burn there... After that, for the first real cook, i would try a boston butt.. They are cheap, easy to find and hard to make "bad" .. Methods differ from person to person but i like cooking at 225 - 250 degrees smoker temp out in the smoke for about 4-6 hrs or until you get the color you like, then, while consuming several beverages of your choice, wrapping in foil until the inner temp of the pork gets to about 190 to 200 degrees (usually around 8 - 10 hrs total depending on weight)

All in all, it looks good brother... That's what I think!

Welcome, have fun and good luck!
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Unread 10-04-2011, 02:31 PM   #4
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First of all, Welcome!

Second of all, wow, 7/16" thick wall on that pipe? I can't imagine you would have any heat loss from that particular area, that's gotta be the thickest part on the whole smoker!

Looks like you did a great job on it!
Divemaster already gave you some great info there, season the thing first and you shouldn't have any probs.
I agree with Pork butt, it's an inexpensive cut of meat, pick one up from your local cash and carry, don't spend a lot of money on it.

Biscuits ARE a great way of finding your hotspots and coldspots in your smoker, if you're finding some cooking inconsitencies.

The only thing I see on your smoker that IMO could be better, move those thermometers down closer to the grill, you'll find the grill temp more beneficial than the dome temp.
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Unread 10-04-2011, 06:57 PM   #5
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Nice smoker, love the design. I took a couple pounds of bacon and placed the strips all across my grill and then brought it up to around 300 degrees and held it there for awhile to season it, worked great but the other ideas listed her are great to.
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Unread 10-04-2011, 11:41 PM   #6
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For the low cost of just $49.95 (Or 3 low payments of only $19.95 each) I will ship you some "Premium" product made specifically for seasoning smokers. Works great!

JK!
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Unread 10-05-2011, 02:47 AM   #7
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Welcome to the site! Nice build
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Unread 10-05-2011, 06:25 AM   #8
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You might be able to use the area/pipe between firebox and cooker as a log warmer or cooking surface. I would add a flat surface to keep logs/pans from sliding off.
Pre warming logs on the offset will help you maintain a good clean fire as you may already know.
I have a flat area on my offset that i use to cook on with cast iron skillets. Eggs, sausages, snacks, etc. Think direct grilling.
Nice looking offset. I wish that i had some skills like that.
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Unread 10-05-2011, 07:58 AM   #9
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All great advise.

I just wanted to say NICE BUILD!!

Clean her up, season with veg oil, pam, fatties, pork etc. Get cooking.

You may want to build an nice shelf in front to work from.

I like your stand off intermediate exhaust pipe. Makes sense. Did you say it was 7/17" thick. If so I doubt you will loose much heat once you are up to temp.

Welcome aboard.
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Unread 10-05-2011, 08:16 AM   #10
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Nice rig, homemade is always the best!!
Crank it up and see how she cooks. Trial and error is the best way to learn.
I agree that a pork butt (bone in shoulder) is one of the easiest.
Get the smoker up to temp, 225ish, and let this butt smoke all night while you sleep. Check it the next morning and you'll find that you can't pick it up w/o it falling apart! You can check temps and such, but if the bone slips out and it shreads easily w/o being gummy, it's done.
I normally tend to my fire for the first 3 or so hours to ensure it's staying steady and getting the smoke it needs. The rest of the night I sleep like a baby. Good luck w/ your new rig!!
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Unread 10-05-2011, 08:33 AM   #11
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Very nice looking smoker. A friend of mine built one simlilar to yours and he filled the bottom of the cooking chamber with split hickory logs and let it burn for about 4 hours. That seasoned it really good. Then we cooked 10 butts and 4 brisketts and that pretty much took care of the rest of the seasoning. Good luck and have fun
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Unread 10-06-2011, 08:29 PM   #12
Co-lay
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Default Sausage?????

Thanks to everyone. I have taken detailed notes and appreciate all the advise!

Since the picture i have added a small table under the door, which will come in handy. I have placed some wood in the Fire Box, and the cook tank sky rocketed up to 475 plus, without even trying to make it mad! :) But without tunning plates, I noticed between the thermometers there was a drastic 60-65 degrees different from the front to the back. I bet there will be alot of tweaking once i get the cooking started.

Tomarrow I will spray the tank the beautiful satin black. I will post the final pictures soon. Please stand by :)

Bisquits will be on the menu first to elemate the hot & cold spots. Then once i conquer that i will move on to seasoning the interior.

I have to bust tail because I was asked to cook sausage for the local Oktoberfest. Should I smoke them or grill?

By the way, Thanks everyone for the welcoming.

Cody
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