My new smoker setup.

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by smelt240, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. smelt240

    smelt240 Fire Starter

    Ok, so I had posted last year about building a smoker trailer, and doing a concession deal.  Well, after lots of research, more reading, and more research, I was ready to build it last fall.  Then I blew out my back at work on Nov 20th.  After 3 months, they finally figured out I had a couple herniated discs, and I had surgery.  But as luck would have it, I was out of work (still am for at least a couple more weeks), and bored looking at craigslist.  Found this.   The Smelt Shack.

     22' 10,000lb trailer, 8x10 on board commercial kitchen, the smokers are a large reverse flow (500 gallon propane tank), and a big ol Backwoods setup.  Im running the BW as I type, with the Guru its holding fast at 240.  This thing came with everything I need to do a full BBQ business, but for now, til my back is better, its for family BBQs, and small parties.  the kitchen is lined from the roof peak to the floor with stainless steel sheet, stainless prep tables, buffet setup for around 400 people, picnic tables, signs, paper goods, foil, it all came with it. Plus a 1999 Dodge Ram 2500 diesel to haul it with.   Ive only burned it twice before today, this is the maiden voyage with the BW, but that reverse flow is niiice!  Had a guy drop off a quarter cord of cherry this morning, got 3 sticks in the BW tuning up a couple racks of baby backs, a few pounds of country style ribs, and a dozen wings.  there are still 6 empty racks, and I could have fit what Im doing on 1. Ill try and grab some Q view shots here in a few minutes, and do an update on here.
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's quite the rig! Looking forward to the Q-view!
  3. smelt240

    smelt240 Fire Starter

    I just sauced and wrapped the ribs, forgot to take a picture!  ill go snap one now, and throw it on photobucket...
  4. smelt240

    smelt240 Fire Starter

    Computer wouldn't cooperate yesterday afternoon.  Weather I guess. Here's a quick Q view.  I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be with the outcome.  But a 100% new to me smoker, and the new cherry wood may be to blame.  The smoke flavor seemed REALLY concentrated, seemed to burn nice and clean, but tasted a little dirty.   Might give it another go today, depending on how hard it rains.

     And yes, the smoker is really grimy. Getting a full scrubbing this weekend.  The country style ribs were added 3 hours after the baby backs, so no bark yet in the picture, but it got pretty nice, they only saw one stick of cherry, and tasted much better. With the water pan, it doesn't get as dry as Im used to in the offsets, but we'll get there. Didn't know what to do with myself not misting hourly...  Im mostly using the B.W. to get long cooks going in the pm, then head out at 3 am to light the big boy, and get everything ready for lunch service.
  5. smelt240

    smelt240 Fire Starter

    Few more quick pics, computer was being horrible yesterday.  Set the Guru at 225 for finishing, stayed right where I put it, at the 8 hour mark,there was still a bit of coals in there.


     A shot of the cooking area on big boy.  The warming rack is over the firebox, and has a sliding vent, to allow heat and smoke from the cook chamber in, or it can be closed up, and just get 140-150 degree radiant heat off the top of the firebox. The smaller chimney is damper controlled to fine tune the warming chamber temp.  The previous owner was getting 42 roaster chickens on this one per burn. Its hard to get a picture that shows how big it is.  This is my new favorite cooker.  I did 40 or 50 lbs for last week's party, and everything was perfect.  Not too bad for my 2nd burn, I thought.  1st one was to clean out all the nasties from a month of sitting.  Got to log my next few cooks, checking out hotspots ( I don't think there will be too much in that department ).   The reverse flow plate is super thick and heavy, it takes about 1.5 hours in 45 degree weather to get up to temp, but once its there, boy does it hold.
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Boy, that's quite a rig!

  7. smelt240

    smelt240 Fire Starter

        Thanks, I wish I could say I built it, but oh well, Ill be doing a lot of minor fixing up to it. Plus- once in a while, my mind takes over, and says if I can be bought for less an a third of what it would cost to build....  I am still doing my 320 gallon setup, just to build one.  Now that I have seen this bigger sale version, It has given me some new ideas on my smaller one.  I have a 16 foot dual axle trailer (used to be a camper), the tanks, 10' of 6" well casing and a pile of misc. steel for the build. Once I can lift more than 10 pounds, I'm starting it.

         Ill try to get more pics of the stuff in my basement that came with this deal.  I was adding it all up, and just stopped.  There's a (now- with a bit of work by me) fully functional commercial hotdog cart that was included as well. This should be fun.

        Next real burn is this weekend.  40 lbs of butts, ribs, hotdogs, and maybe a brisket, if I can find a decent one around here. I think Im going to go back to oak and maple for my smoke sticks this time.  The cherry is good, but Im not sure its my favorite.  We don't have a lot of wood to choose from, and it is illegal to import firewood into Maine.  I found some hickory in Kittery, which is as Southern Maine as you can get.  100 miles away though. 
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  8. bbqwillie

    bbqwillie Smoking Fanatic

    That's a heck of a rig you got there!  I vacation a little further North up at Little Deer Isle. Love that area! If you get a business going I'll be sure to drop by on my next trip that way and drop off a gift to add to the shack.
  9. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    That is a really really nice setup!! Thumbs Up
  10. smelt240

    smelt240 Fire Starter

               And the brisket went on at 3am. Butts will be on in 4 hours, then the baby backs in 6.    Took just over an hour at 29 degrees outside to get big boy up to 225.  I got my hands on some shagbark hickory, going to give that a go, blended with the cherry I got a couple weeks ago. Oak and maple for fire and heat. This seems to be the "hot" setup.

                My back and leg are both going back to how they felt before, so ill end up back at the doctor soon, Im sure.  Luckily Ive been able to get wood delivered, and had some help (is it called help if they do it all???)  getting it situated around the trailer.  Funny how the smell of BBQ gets free labor happening...  If you can help it, don't ever hurt your back.  I had a great surgeon, and Im sure none of the complications are his fault, I think we are just not supposed to blow discs up.  Doesn't work out all that well in the end.  Ive been out of work for 5 weeks now, luckily I can still play around with the smokers, I cant do much else.   End up back in the house on the couch every 25 minutes, but its better than nothing I guess.

              Ill try to remember some pictures as I go today,  its pretty dark out there now, something about 3:27 am...  The rig does have lights, but my hot water heater is hard wired, and Im honestly not sure what breaker shuts it off, not sure if RV antifreeze likes to be heated, so I don't want to chance my pipes all freezing up on me.  Once it gets light out ill check out the circuit box, and see whats what.  I should have bought something to cook up for breakfast.....
  11. smelt240

    smelt240 Fire Starter

    Well, between my back not getting any better (worse if anything), and my nice newly-acquired full body cold, I haven't done much.  Next cook will have pictures of everything, its hard to get good shots while there is a yard full of people waiting to eat.

     I started a thread on the upcoming Backwoods restoration, we're going with stainless sheet wrapping the whole thing, blue epoxy finished hardware, and a few other tricks to come. Should be fun, plus make the whole thing look better in the end. And sheet metal is light enough that I can work on it.  

     Ive been reading a lot of peoples posts about fatties. Hmmm.  Ive never made one.  Been sitting here thinking aloud about what would be an awesome combo for the upcoming Bluegrass Festival.  Heres what Ive got so far:

     Bacon Cheeseburger Deluxe.  I know, its been done. Still sounds good.  A swirl of ketchup and mustard, onions.... Maybe a Wellington style crust? Or served sliced with a nice big Bulkie Roll.

     Cajun Sausage and Chicken Gumbo inspired Fatty.  Rice.   Chicken.   Cajun Spices.  I might lean toward leaving the bacon off this one.  Ive never had the real thing (Maine) but ill give it a shot.

     Straight up Sausage, Egg , and Cheese Breakfast Fatty. Probably Peppers and Onions. Served in slices with a toasted English Muffin. Or whole with a package of Muffins.

     Mild Sausage, Pulled Pork, and incorporate some Apple Sauce type ingredients.  Either Cheddar, or no Cheese maybe.

     Ground Turkey, Sliced (Smoked) Ham, Cheddar Cheese.  Id have to try Smoked Ground Turkey.  Don't know if I can picture it.  Might like to taste it though, esp wrapped in Bacon...

     Problem with Fatties would be if they don't sell all that well.  I think once word got around they would, then the problem would be running out of them.  I need room for ( I figure) 6 Briskets, 8-10

    Butts, 20 Roaster Chickens a day, plus whatever specials I feel like doing. Wings probably, plus others. The previous owner was getting 42 Chickens a shift on Big Boy, so I should be OK.  I guess if I put the Fatties on the bottom racks, I wouldn't have strange drippings getting on all the other standard smoked foods.  Anyway, I think my next cook will be including a few Fatties, and probably a couple chunks of Ground Turkey to give it a try.

     I'm going to have my buddy move all the bags of charcoal out of the kitchen, then I can get some nice shots of it all set up.  Should be a fun summer...
  12. bbqwillie

    bbqwillie Smoking Fanatic

    What are you going to do for sides? I'll give you a real New Iberia Cajun Rice recipe for your Cajun fatty filling. 
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  13. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    [​IMG]  Very nice!

    Good luck! Hope all goes well for you!
  14. smelt240

    smelt240 Fire Starter

    As far as sides, I have a basic German-style Potato Salad, comes out real nice, and my wife has perfected her Coleslaw, its almost KFCish, but far better.  I changed it up a bit and did some long shreds for our last cook, much better than small chunks on Pulled Pork sandwiches.  Id be really interested in that recipe BBQWillie.  I don't intend to make money off other peoples recipes, but do love to make stuff for friends and family... I might toy around with deep fried sides, but as of now, I have no room on the trailer for a fry-o-lator, and don't know what the health code requires to have one.  Maybe a Turkey fryer or something for small batches of sweet potato fries or something like that...  Id love to use my Mother's donut recipe for a breakfast item, as well as her "deep fried crescent roll cinnamon twist wrapped in bacon things" she makes.   Once I have that recipe I will share it on here.  One of the best things Ive ever had. Plus my awesome name for them.

     And thanks to all the good wishes and thoughts everyone has had so far!   I went for another DR appt. today.....   I need another MRI......   They aren't sure if Im scarred up, re-herniated, or have another issue.  So this is going to be a slower start than I was hoping, but that may not be a bad thing.  Ive done a lot of planning and re-planning lately.  Just standing in the kitchen of the trailer with a little smoke flowing out of the chimneys is a great feeling.  Now I just need a comfy chair, a medication dispenser, a small cooler, and I'll be doing great out there.  I might do a brisket this weekend, if so,I'll do a couple oddball fatties and let you know how they come out.  That Cajun one really has me thinking. If I half-cook the rice beforehand, Im hoping it wont swell too much...  The gas station down by the interstate is doing a Jambalaya Pizza lately.  Each slice weighs about a pound and a half.  You cant eat more than 2 slices, but wish you could eat it all.  If I go Gumbo/ Jambalaya/ Cajun flavors inside a big ol' sausage roll I'm not sure what will happen. I bet it will be better than bad though.....
  15. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wow! how did I miss this!?! Beautiful rig! I would like to try my hand at a full blown trailer rig. Back issues are a terrible thing to have sorry to hear about yours. I have several friends that are dealing with back issues. At least you have that rig to tinker with to help ease the pain! Best of luck to you!
  16. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Put some rice in it and call it Boudin

  17. smelt240

    smelt240 Fire Starter

          More researching this morning.   Trying today with no pain pills, but its not going real well. Feels like a horse kicked me in the back of my thigh...  Anyway, I might have the Wife bring home a smallish 8-10 lb brisket for Saturday. Weathers not supposed to be great, but Ill be running this thing in most all weather from late Spring thru Fall if I go full scale with it. Might as well try it out in damp weather.  Been trying to decide if I want to mess with rain caps on my main stack....  It has a sliding damper lid, which keeps the rain out when not in use, but I run it almost open when Im burning.  Being reverse flow, rain's not going to drip into my firebox, but my grease buckets will probably overflow with rainwater.  Just thinking a cap may interfere with smoke flow and draft. And not being able to run up and down a ladder doesn't help matters any.

           Also been doing a lot of book reading lately. And yes, one of the first (and best!) books I've purchased and read was Jeff's. Very thorough. Its really cool that he uses recipes from the forums in it as well. If you don't have it, I would recommend getting it.  I just ordered Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking, its supposed to be a super scientific approach to cooking books.  Nice.  I'm a science weirdo anyway.  I cant wait to build my own from scratch smoker. Anybody got a low mileage back for sale?
  18. perfectsmokebbq

    perfectsmokebbq Fire Starter

    Nice rig man ! Very nice!
  19. bbqwillie

    bbqwillie Smoking Fanatic

    Sent the recipe for the rice. Enjoy. If you do get up and running commercially and you like the recipe please feel free to make money off of it. You'll probably be the only person in that area that has anything like it.
  20. smelt240

    smelt240 Fire Starter

          I got the recipe. Thanks!  Looks to be what I was looking for.  My step-grandfather was from New Orleans, never got to taste much of his food, he wasn't around long.  What I have tried from down that way is amazing, especially when you look at how much money is in the dish.  If I get some time and extra money in the next year or so, Id like to do a food tour.  Head straight South of here first, then West from there.

      I didn't get anything to put in the smoker for last night, its still just barely above freezing right now, and its quarter of 12...  my pond was iced over again this morning.  Weather is really funny this year, it was warmer in January.   Did get another 1/2 cord of wild cherry wood dropped off, plus an eighth or so of old growth apple.  Now waiting on my sister to wake up, then show up, then stack it for some $$$...

     Might just fill up the Backwoods tomorrow, and do something with that, not nearly the tending of Big Boy.  My buddy has the sheet stainless cut and broke for the B.W. restoration, now its a matter of unscrewing the whole works, and re-covering everything with new sheets.   Someday this will be up and running. And maybe Ill be able to lift something heavier than a jug of milk.

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