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View Full Version : Pondering the size of my new Shirley build


akoda
09-02-2015, 08:37 AM
Hi all,

I know how you all like to spend other people’s money :shocked:, so help me size my Shirley.

I am in the queue for a Feb build and need to decide on what I want sizewise. I had initially thought a 30 x 80, but that was when I was thinking two grates. My hope is to one day do some vending or maybe catering so I am thinking big but wonder is a 30” x 80” too big. Are all three shelves in a 30” usable for the big meats?

I am pondering going to a 30” x 70” or even 30” by 60”.

Does a 30” take significantly more time to heat up than a 24”? or do I just build a bigger fire.

Thanks

AZRaptor
09-02-2015, 08:45 AM
Hey akoda,

I've got a Shirley build coming up next month and while mine is no where near the size yours will be I went through some of the same things deciding how far to stretch the length. After talking with Tyler and doing some calculations I determined that for my needs I would get a 24x50 with a raised frame and third shelf vs a 24x60 standard frame with two shelves. The shorter, taller unit provided more bang for the buck. My unit will have 6.5" of space for each of the three shelves which is enough to do briskets and butts so I would think a 30" unit would have plenty of space for the bigger meats on three shelves. So it may be more cost efficient to add the shelf than to stretch the unit.

akoda
09-02-2015, 09:01 AM
I have heard about the raised frame but don't know what it is, can you explain some?


Hey akoda,

I've got a Shirley build coming up next month and while mine is no where near the size yours will be I went through some of the same things deciding how far to stretch the length. After talking with Tyler and doing some calculations I determined that for my needs I would get a 24x50 with a raised frame and third shelf vs a 24x60 standard frame with two shelves. The shorter, taller unit provided more bang for the buck. My unit will have 6.5" of space for each of the three shelves which is enough to do briskets and butts so I would think a 30" unit would have plenty of space for the bigger meats on three shelves. So it may be more cost efficient to add the shelf than to stretch the unit.

Shagdog
09-02-2015, 10:00 AM
So... a 30x80 would take a lot of fuel I rekon.. The cook chamber is THICK. This is great for holding temps even, but it takes a lot to heat it up.. The bigger you go, the more it is going to require. Even my small 24x50 takes a solid 45 minutes to get all that steel up to temp with a decent sized fire. Just FYI.

Bbqwilly would be the guy to ask. I think he has a 30x80..

The new flat back cabinet raised to have 3 equal shelves is probably the most space economical way to go.. You can probably get a lot more sqf out of one of those...

Untraceable
09-02-2015, 10:02 AM
Stay big. Think whole hog in the future

JohnnyB
09-02-2015, 11:00 AM
This is where I get torn. When I bought my big safe, I said to myself: "self, this is PLENTY of room for all of your figurine collections. Don't go any bigger." Well, that turned out to be a bust. If you have the room, eventually, you'll fill it. If you have the ability to go bigger, do it. You can always underfill a big unit, never the opposite without affecting quality.

jbounds286
09-02-2015, 11:01 AM
im sure PJ will chime in telling u to do the shorter taller straight back as well

pjtexas1
09-02-2015, 12:40 PM
just as predicted here I am...

While you can probably fit 4 racks in the 30" model you will give up some length. I have 4 racks in my 24x55 and spaced for 4 different types of meat (4", 3", 5", 6"). What that does to me is limits the size of the whole hog I can cook. Never cooked a hog and probably never will but that is a hard limit that I cannot get around. I can get mine up to temp in 20-30 minutes and I cook most things at 325 or higher but I use a weed burner to get the fire jump started. I do not preheat the cook chamber. If I need to cook a ton of butts I can take a rack out and still have 3 racks but that will probably never happen either. The straight back with multiple racks is a way to get more space without extra length. The racks can be moved around or removed to accommodate what you are cooking. You could also go long and multiple racks too.:mrgreen:

landarc
09-02-2015, 12:49 PM
Working at this from a different POV.

How serious are you about future vending and catering? Serious. If so, you cannot have too much capacity. Although an 80" long cook chamber is quite long, and I believe affects air flow, you want as much size in your cooker as you can get. If you choose to vend out of a stick burner, you can't worry about fuel, your making a choice of cooking method over efficiency at the point that you go sticks.

Obviously, an insulated fire box, and careful fire management will aid in controlling that cost. But, there is a reason most restaurants and large catering companies use insulated vertical cookers or dedicated commercial units such as JR, Bewley or Old Hickory.

If I was going to do what you are doing, I would get the 30" tube, better spacing on the racks, I would get the 80" length for capacity, I would get the largest warmer box I could, and the insulated firebox.

pjtexas1
09-02-2015, 01:05 PM
Working at this from a different POV.

How serious are you about future vending and catering? Serious. If so, you cannot have too much capacity. Although an 80" long cook chamber is quite long, and I believe affects air flow, you want as much size in your cooker as you can get. If you choose to vend out of a stick burner, you can't worry about fuel, your making a choice of cooking method over efficiency at the point that you go sticks.

Obviously, an insulated fire box, and careful fire management will aid in controlling that cost. But, there is a reason most restaurants and large catering companies use insulated vertical cookers or dedicated commercial units such as JR, Bewley or Old Hickory.

If I was going to do what you are doing, I would get the 30" tube, better spacing on the racks, I would get the 80" length for capacity, I would get the largest warmer box I could, and the insulated firebox.

That's a good thought! I am not that serious about vending or catering. I just wanted to make sure I have extra capacity just in case. It was more important to me that it be a smaller footprint and that I not spend a lot on fuel cooking a few ribs or a couple of briskets.

BBQ Freak
09-02-2015, 07:05 PM
also you have the warmer space that you can cook in too , I used mine this last weekend and was very surprised that I could get it to cook at the same temp as the cook chamber or even hotter . by removing the charcoal pan and then the deflector I could get a good range of different temps with the damper system .

AZRaptor
09-03-2015, 09:32 AM
The new flat back cabinet raised to have 3 equal shelves is probably the most space economical way to go.. You can probably get a lot more sqf out of one of those...

Yep, this is the route I'm taking. The "raised frame" option I mentioned basically having them make all the sides taller to raise the top and add more vertical space.

Shagdog, what is the width of your shelves on a 24x50? I was thinking it was 50 but I guess that's the total width including the round portion at the end.

SD_Smoker
09-03-2015, 09:37 AM
I would say make your informed decision after research and whatnot and then get a size bigger. I stopped at the informed decision on my Lang and should of probably gone to an 80 with the amount I am cooking for people now.

All within a comfortable budget of course :-D

Shagdog
09-03-2015, 09:40 AM
Shagdog, what is the width of your shelves on a 24x50? I was thinking it was 50 but I guess that's the total width including the round portion at the end.

My racks are 40 or 41 ish if I remember correctly. The full cook chamber is 50, the last 9-10" is open, that's where the heat/smoke exit the baffle and enter the cook chamber.

akoda
09-03-2015, 03:27 PM
Thanks all, you have given me a lot to ponder. I will talk to Tyler and start to spec something out soon.