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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 07-30-2007, 08:53 PM   #1
Browser
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Default Building my own

Hi, just joined your excellent forum after looking for inspiration on the 'net, and finding it! I have laboured under the delusion for years, as most in England and apparrently Australia do, that our habit of turning perfectly good meat into cinders come summer is actually barbecueing. I wish to redress this by building a smoker and learning the secrets.
I've 'obtained' two old propane cylinders, one about 5ft long the other about 2.5 ft, both 20" diameter, to use as the cooking chamber and firebox. I am also lucky enough to work somewhere where they threw out (yes threw out, idiots!) 10 perfectly good 900x600x3mm sheets of 304L stainless steel, as well as several lengths of thick-walled 1" square tube. Now, I only intend this to be for backyard use so it won't be built onto a trailer but it'll hopefully fit into my utility trailer which I use to lug all sorts of stuff about.
Anyway, I've already picked up some invaluable information about baffles and tuning plates. My thinking is to mount the firebox cylinder vertically and make it in such a way as it has a removable lid so I can use it as a chargriller if I want to (this may be subject to change). This will allow me to install a big enough stainless steel firebasket to provide sufficient heat for the cooker. Knowing what I've only recently learned I'll be adding a baffle and tuning plates, as well as a well-sealing air inlet on the firebox and an exhaust damper in the stack. The doors will have rope seals and temperature gauges.
I've looked at a schematic of the various layouts of smokers and wanted to ask opinions on standard flow (one end to t'other) versus reverse flow, since I'm in a position to make it either at this stage. Is one inherently better than the other or are they about the same?
Since I've got all this stainless kicking about I was thinking of adding an extra vertical smoke chamber in the exhaust path as I've seen some commercially-produced designs have, are these there for lower temperature smoking or just to maximise heat use and smoking capacity?
Sorry this i sa lot of questions but I want to try and get it right first time if I can
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:02 PM   #2
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Browser,
Welcome to the forum, but check in at Cattle Call if you haven't already to introduce yourself officially.
There are a lot of nice folks here and many who are more knowledgeable than I about your pit building; I am sure you will get all the answers you need.
Good luck and keep up the good work.
W
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:26 PM   #3
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I have links at work i have collected about pit building. I will send them to you if you want. Let me know.
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Old 07-31-2007, 07:33 AM   #4
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As far as offsets go, I like reverse flow better personally. Also, grease management is important to make sure you don't have grease fires.
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:18 AM   #5
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I'm with the Caveman here. I f I was building a pit from scratch I'd go reverse flow, and maybe reposition the firebox compared to "standard" offset configurations. Also, from what I have read here (recent post by Jacob) the additional vertical chamber runs about 100 degrees F cooler than the main chamber. I have a pit like this that I haven't cooked on yet and there is no thermo in that chamber, so I'll see how it goes when I do try it.
Let us know how and what you do.
Pics, pics, pics.
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Old 07-31-2007, 10:24 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies gents, I was kinda-sorta leaning the reverse flow way as it seems (from looking at it) to make sense from a retaining heat point of view. I think I will try and incorporate an exhaust smokebox, since I'm scratchbuilding, just to see what I can do with it .
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:12 AM   #7
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Welcome, sounds like you are living the dream with all that material available to you. Good luck with your build, remeber to post pic's for us so we can live the dream with you...
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:28 AM   #8
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Welcome, and good luck, lot of fabricators here to give you advice...Now enough of that Metric stuff and don't thrown in any "Stones" either! Just kidding, I am like 24 stones sounds better than my scale!
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Old 08-06-2007, 01:26 PM   #9
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Just thought I'd share a quick pic of the raw materials.




And




Sorry that one's blurred. That, by the way, is a 600mm x 1000mmm sheet of 2.5mm thick 304l stainless steel, found, with 9 others, in a skip at work! Honetsly, the sheer waste of industry in this country makes me want to weep sometimes Ah well, if they hadn't binned it I wouldn't have it would I?
I've spotted another small gas cylinder on my travels which I may appropriate to make a second, exhaust-stack smoke chamber
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Browser View Post
Just thought I'd share a quick pic of the raw materials.




And




Sorry that one's blurred. That, by the way, is a 600mm x 1000mmm sheet of 2.5mm thick 304l stainless steel, found, with 9 others, in a skip at work! Honetsly, the sheer waste of industry in this country makes me want to weep sometimes Ah well, if they hadn't binned it I wouldn't have it would I?
I've spotted another small gas cylinder on my travels which I may appropriate to make a second, exhaust-stack smoke chamber

So these tanks had explosive gas in them? You are going to cut into them? Please be very careful, and if you have never done it get some help!
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:59 PM   #11
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Those tanks had flammable gas in them, which onyl makes it worse, I know. Please rest assured they'll be water/soap purged before any cutting takes place, and I'll probably cut with a power hacksaw to boot to minimise any chance of sparks. Thanks for the concern though.
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Old 09-04-2007, 04:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Browser View Post
I wish to redress this by building a smoker and learning the secrets.
Browser, I'm interested in how your project goes, please post loads of piccies!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norcoredneck View Post
I have links at work i have collected about pit building. I will send them to you if you want. Let me know.
I don't suppose you could PM me those links as well? Thanks
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:52 PM   #13
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I've PM'd you with the links Norcoredneck sent me (thanks again Norco ) but still can't make up my mind whether to go all out for an offset or build a UDS as I get the impresion UDSs can do a whole smoke on one load of charcoal whereas offsets need re-stoking about evry 4 hours. Plus which I can't see myself doing the kind of quantities you can fit in an offset so don't know whether I'll really need one that big. Are you thinking of building one?
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Old 09-04-2007, 06:13 PM   #14
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Welcome Browser - you definately belong here - you see stuff and wonder how it will fit into your smoker!
You have come to the right place for information. I have never met a better bunch to share information and provide feedback and support as those you will find here. Good luck in you build, and as others have said - keep the pics coming.
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:39 PM   #15
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Good luck Browser! I have started another (yes, another) biuld for an offset with reverse flow. I, like you, get raw mat'l from the iron bins and scrap piles a work. I have started the current build with a 125 gal. water tank (about 300 liters) off an old cement mixer truck.
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