Cant keep homemade smoker above 175 degrees

Discussion in 'Side Fire Box' started by bssmokingsauces, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. I am building a smoker with offset fire box. Its 2 250 gallon drums cooking chamber and half 250 drum for firebox with 6 in pipe into cookimg chamber. My doors i cant seal that good ive tried the flat rope for like wood stoves. But dosnt work that well. Still alot coming out more than i think. My exhust pipe is 2 1/2 but i dont have it going up yet. Would not having up pipe affect my temp. Mater how much wood or charcoal. Could not get temp to hold or go above 175. Any help would be appraicated. Using rtv with plastic wrap to make seal was next idea to try to make form of door then remove plastic leave mold for seal.
  2. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Starting at the beginning, just my $0.02, your fire box is on the small side. It should be at least 30% of the cooking chamber. In your case, it will take a good fire to travel the length that you have. Next, 6" is too small to transfer enough heat to your CC. Finally, 2-1/2" is not nearly enough to draw the heat through your CC and let it escape. You are not allowing the heat and smoke to get from the FB, through the CC and finally out the stack. Everything is chocked up in the FB. Another thought is, with only that tiny exhaust, you're asking for smoke to come out of the doors or anywhere else that it can.

    Get your air flow freed up and you will see a great improvement. Good luck, Joe
  3. How big should i make The exhaust and how tall. Then. Would anther 6 inch intake work. This is my first build so trial and error. Should i make the intake and exhaust before trying to reseal the door better.
  4. Use the search bar and search "Feldons calculator." Put in your CC demensions and it will tell you what size everything else should be.
  5. hakamo0o

    hakamo0o Fire Starter


    As Joe Black has stated above; 6" pipe between the fire box and the CC is not enough and your exhaust is too small and is choaking the smoker.

    I had the same exact problem before, people here helped me alot and I did go through a long trial and error phase too. The following is how I solved mine:
    • You should start by using a fire box which is at least 30% the size of your CC
    • Use two 6" pipes to connect the firebox to the CC
    • Use a 6" pipe for your exhaust and make sure you extend it a bit; mine is around 70 cm tall to prevent draft
    • Use a coal basket for your fuel, I made racks from steel bars and expanded steel mesh so that my coals and wood lie on top of it. this way air can reach your coals from every direction
    • Use a 4" air intake for the fire box and install a damper to be able to control it (I did not use a damper at first and it went to 400F after I was stuck at 175F)
    • I also insulated my barrels with glass wool which reduced coal consumption dramatically (I use around 50-60% less coals and wood now) and also the temperature along the barrel is more consistent now.
    • I used RTV silicon (the red one) to mold a door seal which is working perfectly now, just make sure the area is clean before you apply it so it sticks well.
    I just smoked 8 lbs of chicken using these mods and the smoker is perfect

    Hope that helps

    PS. here is a picture of mine
  6. Thank you. Just wondering could i use two 3 in exhaust instead of one six inch.
  7. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The area of a 6" pipe is about twice that of 2, 3" pipes. It would take at least 2, 4" pipes to equal 1, 6" pipe.
  8. Should i try two 4 inch pipes. Or one 6 inch .Before adding another intake. Do that then burn. Then if dosnt get hot enough. Put in anotherr intake.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
  9. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I can't really tell you what to do with your smoker, but if it were mine, I would want to have everything correct and sized right before I would expect it to perform. Anything less would be hit and miss and IMO, you would be asking for more work to continue to try to have a good smoker.
  10. bdc3

    bdc3 Smoke Blower

    I would go with the 6" pipe at least 24" long. I'm building a reverse flow and CC is only a 120 gallon tank. The calculator that harmrhead mentioned above calls for a 6" exhaust at 20" for mine. Also my opening from the firebox is a 20" long half moon that is 8" at the widest point.
  11. hakamo0o

    hakamo0o Fire Starter

    This sounds about right.

    Anyway; whatever you do, just run it empty with no meat to test it. Use a well calibrated thermometer to get the exact temperatures along your CC.

    This is just so you don't waste any good meat :). During my trial and error phase, I used around 50 lbs of coal on test runs till I got in working properly.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    3" is 1/4 the area of a 6"....    you need 4 - 3" to equal 1 - 6"....
  13. Thank you for your. Advice. Im going to be adding anther 6 inch from fire box to cc. Then i will be doing 6 inch exhaust 30 inches long. Using the feldons cacultor. I have correct size fire box. Was short 3 inches for going into cc from fb. And exhuast for 6 in
  14. hakamo0o

    hakamo0o Fire Starter

    I would also recommend that the connection between the firebox and the CC to be placed at the highest point of the firebox
  15. Thank you all for help. I put 6 in exhaust. 30 ins. Got some good seasoned maple. Got smoker easy above 250 at one point at 400 lol
  16. hakamo0o

    hakamo0o Fire Starter

    That is great

    Now you can start smoking some meat :)

    Learn how to control and tame the temperature along your CC and you are good to go

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