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View Full Version : Why are all vertical smokers almost all insulated?


HuskerMan
03-09-2018, 11:05 PM
Why are custom built vertical smokers whether direct fire, gravity feed, etc almost all insulated. Obviously at least part of it is due to efficiency. Is there anything else I'm missing? Reason I ask is I want to go forward with building one (currently looking at a gravity feed version) but would prefer to use the sheet metal I have on hand instead of purchasing new except for that fact its 1/4" thickness. That would be one heavy SOB if I built a insulated cabinet smoker out of 1/4" material.

el luchador
03-10-2018, 12:16 AM
those vertical smokers have a diverter above the coals, which sends the heat to the walls first, thus the need for insulation.

on my drum, cooking with a diverter at 300 the walls get very hot and even start browning the paint. cooking direct over the coals removes the need for insulation imo

Nuco59
03-10-2018, 07:58 AM
Surely efficiency is the first reason. Charcoal does not have the same btu's as wood. You need all the help you can get. If you are cooking in cold, windy conditions, most cabinet smokers have a LOT of surface area- which will be hard to keep hot.

Added to that - because you can. It's pretty easy to insulate a cooker made up of primarily flat surfaces and then skin it with a protective shell of metal.

I don't get out much- but I don't think I've ever heard of a non-insulated GF. I guess it could be built- hate to see how it'd run on charcoal and chunks.

IMO- get you some thinner steel - maybe 14 ga for the inner and 16/18 for the shell. It will make a better cooker for you than a fully insulated 1/4" monster. Granted, once up to temp and insulated, that sucker would HOLD some heat.

good luck

el luchador
03-10-2018, 08:37 AM
Surely efficiency is the first reason. Charcoal does not have the same btu's as wood. You need all the help you can get. If you are cooking in cold, windy conditions, most cabinet smokers have a LOT of surface area- which will be hard to keep hot.

Added to that - because you can. It's pretty easy to insulate a cooker made up of primarily flat surfaces and then skin it with a protective shell of metal.

I don't get out much- but I don't think I've ever heard of a non-insulated GF. I guess it could be built- hate to see how it'd run on charcoal and chunks.

IMO- get you some thinner steel - maybe 14 ga for the inner and 16/18 for the shell. It will make a better cooker for you than a fully insulated 1/4" monster. Granted, once up to temp and insulated, that sucker would HOLD some heat.

good luck

charcoal actually has higher btu than wood

IamMadMan
03-10-2018, 08:50 AM
Not all verticals are insulated. I had one that wasn't and I gave it away when I purchased my insulated vertical.

I chose an insulated vertical for several reasons;

1) as Nuco59 stated above - efficiency. I get a 12 -14 hour cook with 8 pounds of lump charcoal.

2) consistent temperature - the insulation helps hold the heat at your desired temperature without minor or major temperature spikes. Even when opening the door, recovery time is almost instantaneous.

3) the insulation also helps to hold very low temperatures when smoking hanging sausage.

4) lastly the insulation is great when cooking at / or below freezing temperatures, without hindering normal cooking times or having to use extra fuel.

.

jermoQ
03-10-2018, 08:50 AM
I am no expert or novice on building, but if you have have 1/4 inch metal, you will have a good stout cooker for sure. IMnotalwaysHO,you should look at some of the cabinet designs for a combo charcoal/stick burner and build a straight one. 1/4 in should hold up to the heat of sticks, charcoal and high temps and that should last a long time! Maybe some of the other guys with know-how will be abke to correct me?

ebijack
03-10-2018, 09:41 AM
Most folks seem to prefer having insulation. Me, I find insulation a hindrance to be in control of your cooker. I'm not talking GF as I have never used one. Vertical design cabinets. True you do use a small bit less fuel than non insulated. But not all that much.

Nuco59
03-10-2018, 09:44 AM
charcoal actually has higher btu than wood


/doh - you are right. Not sure why I thought that.

My apologies for passing bad info... play on.

cfrazier77
03-10-2018, 06:31 PM
I believe one of the advantages that many of us went insulated for was to run hands off. I can run mine overnight and I can get some sleep.

pjtexas1
03-10-2018, 07:06 PM
There's a reason that I can't remember but an uninsulated square box uses a lot more fuel. Most that build one end up burning all wood because it eats thru charcoal too fast.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

HuskerMan
03-11-2018, 11:58 AM
So maybe 1/4” for outside shell and buy thinner material for inside portion?

dwfisk
03-11-2018, 12:12 PM
So maybe 1/4 for outside shell and buy thinner material for inside portion?

Personally, I would consider doing the opposite; put the 1/4 on the inside then skin with 16-22 gauge. My logic comes from building uninsulated stick burners; the thicker steel will/should handle the heat source better and maintain temps better, especially wrapped in an insulation blanket. That said, 1/4 is overkill, but I certainly understand using what you have available. Best of luck:thumb:

BillATL
03-12-2018, 10:21 AM
All the above, plus I like not having to worry about touching or having anyone or anything touch my cooker.

SmittyJonz
03-12-2018, 12:13 PM
Charcoal has more BTUs but you need it burning like a grill to keep temps up in a non Insulated and generally burns too much too fast and will need reloaded and gets $ pricey feeding it. Insulated allows for a slower burn of charcoal to maintain the same temps so won’t Need reloaded and so won’t get Pricey And get 10- 12-14 hours versus 4-6 hrs on a load of charcoal.

I would do 1/4 inside and 14-16 guage skins if I was to insulate it - like DWFisk said.