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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 03-03-2013, 02:31 PM   #1
Meat & Heat
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Default Insulated Valut Smoker

Looking at building a insulated valut smoker as a built in on the back patio with a Santa Maria Grill next to it.
Was looking at some on the market and was wondering how do you control the smoke/heat.
I have a large offset that I am used to using so this is a new concept to me.
Any help or pics of your setups would be great.
Thanks
in advance.
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Unread 03-03-2013, 03:02 PM   #2
JerBQ
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Default Insulated Valut Smoker

I'm in the midst of building a cabinet style smoker myself. I bought an Auber Instruments programmable controller. Check them out: www.auberins.com.
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Unread 03-03-2013, 03:05 PM   #3
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Exhaust WFO, limit the intake, Charcoal & Wood chunks dispersed through the basket
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Unread 03-03-2013, 03:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
Exhaust WFO, limit the intake, Charcoal & Wood chunks dispersed through the basket
Water pan? or direct?.
If water pan do you have a space around the pan for smoke and heat I have seen some that have a full sized pan.
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Unread 03-03-2013, 07:09 PM   #5
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IMO, water pan is the way to go.
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Unread 03-03-2013, 07:42 PM   #6
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IMO You need a baffle Pitmaker puts a water pan it theirs but they recommend you run it dry. It depends on how hot you like to cook too. IF your a 225 person add water if your a 275+ type go dry.
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Unread 03-03-2013, 08:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
Exhaust WFO, limit the intake, Charcoal & Wood chunks dispersed through the basket

+1
You always one step ahead of me bubba! The only time I choke down my exhaust is if it's drafting too much from strong winds when the I take is already choked down to 25% and it won't come down very rare. I know my pit.
Good luck on your build.
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Unread 03-03-2013, 09:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
IMO You need a baffle Pitmaker puts a water pan it theirs but they recommend you run it dry. It depends on how hot you like to cook too. IF your a 225 person add water if your a 275+ type go dry.

I guess I am confused as to where and how large the baffle should be.
The rest of the build is easy, but I am concerned about having the food above the heat.
Should I put a drip pan in or not?
Just used to having an offset, this will be a new style for me but I am really looking foward to it.
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Unread 03-03-2013, 09:23 PM   #9
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On the pitmakers, the drip pan (baffle) is completely sealed by welding all 4 sides to the pit and not removable. Heat and smoke comes through a false wall in the back, goes through all 5 racks top down and releases at the level of the bottom grate. Also radiant heat from the pan helps kinda like a scavenging affect.
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Unread 03-03-2013, 09:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoney7269 View Post
On the pitmakers, the drip pan (baffle) is completely sealed by welding all 4 sides to the pit and not removable. Heat and smoke comes through a false wall in the back, goes through all 5 racks top down and releases at the level of the bottom grate. Also radiant heat from the pan helps kinda like a scavenging affect.
Would there ever be an issue with creosote build up between the walls?
I know I get some buildup on my stickburner in the exhaust pipe for time to time.
Also if you built it as a gravity feed can you put wood chunks in with the charcol or only charcol?
Just wondering which would be the best way.
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Unread 03-03-2013, 10:14 PM   #11
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Creosote build up comes from incomete combustion of wood or choking down the exhast to control temps. I always run my exhaust @100% open and control the heat via intake. Fist sized wood hlchinks are randomly spread through the charcoal basket. I haven't heard of anyone with a Pitmaker getting their exhaust tubes plugged. The exhaust does not exit through the walls, it has tubes
You can see the false wall in the back for heat and smoke to enter the chamber, and the exhaust tubes which are on the left and right. The reverse flow builds extra smoke density in the chamber and I don't feel like anymore that 1-3 chunks of wood are needed for any one cook
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Unread 03-04-2013, 08:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoney7269 View Post
Creosote build up comes from incomete combustion of wood or choking down the exhast to control temps. I always run my exhaust @100% open and control the heat via intake. Fist sized wood hlchinks are randomly spread through the charcoal basket. I haven't heard of anyone with a Pitmaker getting their exhaust tubes plugged. The exhaust does not exit through the walls, it has tubes
You can see the false wall in the back for heat and smoke to enter the chamber, and the exhaust tubes which are on the left and right. The reverse flow builds extra smoke density in the chamber and I don't feel like anymore that 1-3 chunks of wood are needed for any one cook
Thanks,
Now I understand the system. I belive I will build something like it.
Do you run water in you pit or do you find it better without?
Looking to have something I don't have to babysit while cooking at home.
What kinda run times do you get on a load of fuel?
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Unread 03-04-2013, 08:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meat & Heat View Post
Thanks,
Now I understand the system. I belive I will build something like it.
Do you run water in you pit or do you find it better without?
Looking to have something I don't have to babysit while cooking at home.
What kinda run times do you get on a load of fuel?

On a preheated cooker and then adding a fully filled basket with lump charcoal (20 lbs) it will easily 12-24 hrs. That is largely dependent on the load of meat your cooking. To maintain temps in a smoker that has 16 pork butts, 80% capacity will use alot more fuel to maintain 275 than it will to maintain with i only 4 pork butts. I cooked 75 chicken halves on it a few weeks ago and it used about 10lbs of wicked good and I split of pecan according to my best guesses. There is no water IMO needed in the vault for moisture. With food in it, and if it's under any type of awning or roof, it will actually make water drip from the roof. Some people use the vaults as is from the factory, I did not. I calibrated the door therm to the center grate temp which was 50 degrees off (Hott) some say that their vault full of water will settle around 250 or so but I think it's the error in the door therm. I have done "empty smoke" testing with water on all shelves and I never could get the pit over 210 degrees full of water with a blazing fire. To each is own, this is not my opinion on the water vs dry cooking on the vault, these are facts after extensive testing with high grade equipment and a little common sense.
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Unread 03-04-2013, 09:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoney7269 View Post
On a preheated cooker and then adding a fully filled basket with lump charcoal (20 lbs) it will easily 12-24 hrs. That is largely dependent on the load of meat your cooking. To maintain temps in a smoker that has 16 pork butts, 80% capacity will use alot more fuel to maintain 275 than it will to maintain with i only 4 pork butts. I cooked 75 chicken halves on it a few weeks ago and it used about 10lbs of wicked good and I split of pecan according to my best guesses. There is no water IMO needed in the vault for moisture. With food in it, and if it's under any type of awning or roof, it will actually make water drip from the roof. Some people use the vaults as is from the factory, I did not. I calibrated the door therm to the center grate temp which was 50 degrees off (Hott) some say that their vault full of water will settle around 250 or so but I think it's the error in the door therm. I have done "empty smoke" testing with water on all shelves and I never could get the pit over 210 degrees full of water with a blazing fire. To each is own, this is not my opinion on the water vs dry cooking on the vault, these are facts after extensive testing with high grade equipment and a little common sense.

What thermo do you use?
Do you run a fan on the intake or just adjust as needed?
I think the fan would be neat to have but am worried about having one more thing to go wrong or battries to die in the middle of the cook and kill everything.
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