propane in a cedar smoker... livin dangerously for that smoked meat.

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by smokinsuds, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. smokinsuds

    smokinsuds Fire Starter

    Just looking for some feedback. I'm not finished with the smoker yet, but I'm pretty certain electric hot plates arent gonna get her hot enough. Inside diameter is 3ftx4ftx7ft. My uncle seems to think I'm on the right track with propane (mainly because thats what he runs his cedar smokehouse on). Any ideas and more importantly, any do's or don't's with cedar smokehouses? Oh yeah best part, a picture of what I got goin
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great looking smoker! I see you have a good exhaust, be cautious of condensation forming in your pipe and dripping on your food. What I don't see is an air intake down low to create the draft you'll want to keep the air moving so you don't get a stale smoke issue. Maybe it's there and just doesn't show up.

    There are several wood smokers running propane. You would want to line the fire box area with fire brick or other fire proof material. Then really watch it. One thing you'd need to consider for propane is your air supply. Propane requires a good amount of external air in order to keep burning. Without a good air supply if it goes out and the propane keeps running you have a very volatile scenario.

    That said the little three ring burner offered by Northern tool is what most here have used.

    What temps are you shooting for?
     
  3. smokinsuds

    smokinsuds Fire Starter

    Mainly just doing salmon and venison jerkey but eventually summer sausage and beer dogs. Im hoping to get it up to 250. Think that would be hot enough for most anything. I may be mistaken but I figure you gotta start with a big smoke house. I just ordered a double burner that runs 30000 btu which seems like it would do the trick. Its regulated to 20 psi so I bought the parts to be able to open it up to 30 psi, not that I know ill need that much. No intake on it yet. Still undecided on what route to go but I have some ideas. Im also trying to avoid the moisture issue as I will keep it in my shop, roll her out to smoke. I've read that those floor registers work pretty well, but I'm trying to go 100% wood so I may just build some sort of hitched opening on the back side or bottom. Definately put a fire wall inside down low though? I was thinking the heat is above the flame so it would be alright, well unless we had a gas leak :( thanks for the input boss, hope to hear more fellow smokers opinions
     
  4. smokinsuds

    smokinsuds Fire Starter

    Picture of the burner I plan on using
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  5. SmokinSuds,

    That burner may be overkill. My plywood smokehouse uses a single "turkey fryer" burner and I have no problem maintaining 225-250*.

    But I do have to keep an eye on it to keep the flame from blowing out.

    teddy
     
  6. wolfman1955

    wolfman1955 Master of the Pit

    SmokinSuds,
    Good Mornin. The condensation that dirtsailor is referring to will occur every time you use your smoker no matter where it is stored. It is a byproduct of heating the air as it flows through the smoke house. Then that air hits your cooler exhaust stack and the moisture condenses and runs back down. You could avoid this problem with some sort of a catch pan and drain below the inlet to your exhaust stack to avoid the condensation dripping on you product.

    If you don't want to fabricate your intake vents, they do sell wooden floor vents at the big box stores. I believe they even have then unfinished so you could stain them to match your smoker.

    Keep Smokin!!!
    Wolf
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  7. smokinsuds

    smokinsuds Fire Starter

    Ahhhh gotcha. I'll have to fab something up I guess. The only reason I went with that burner was because it was set on short legs, not too short not too tall kinda thing to keep it up off the floor. I have about 3 ft height for my heat source application. Still fire proof it in? I was going to put smaller ventilation holes up high on the sides where the racks are to keep the smoke moving but should still make a larger intake down low right?
     
  8. wolfman1955

    wolfman1955 Master of the Pit

    You may not need vent holes up high if you have enough below. The ones up higher would probably not pull in air but act as exhausts. Seems to me like I read somewhere that you want more intake square inches than you have exhaust just can’t remember the ratio.
    IMHO I would take fresh air in at the bottom and exhaust smoke and hot air out the top.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  9. smokinsuds

    smokinsuds Fire Starter

    I have some bamboo floor vents at home, but from what I have read on here, people use the metal ones so they can damper them down and/or close them all together or is that more for an electric heating application where theyre mainly using it to clear the smoke out of the smoker as they finish they're delicasants (thats my word of the day haha) wrapping up MY Friday graveyard shift feelin a little loopy. Excited to get my smoker done on my days off hopefully
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  10. smokinsuds

    smokinsuds Fire Starter

    Wolfman, so you're saying my exhaust is 6 inch so ill need more flow on the intake than that? I plan on adding a damper in the top of the exhaust, which still allows air to pass by, just not as much. How would that factor into the equation? Or should I leave the damper out?
     
  11. wolfman1955

    wolfman1955 Master of the Pit

    I believe the wooden floor vents I saw had the ability to be dampered down just like the metal ones. I think it was at Lowes that I saw them but I am sure all the big box stores would cary them.
     
  12. wolfman1955

    wolfman1955 Master of the Pit

    I personally have no experience with a smoke house like yours. But I do know that I as well as most people keep the exhaust on the cook chambers of smokers wide open. The idea of more in take vent than exhaust makes scence to me because you will only draft as much air as you allow in therefore dampers on intakes, and if you want to have full air flow you would need at least as much square inches in as you have going out.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  13. smokinsuds

    smokinsuds Fire Starter

    Good to know. Thanks for the info Wolfman... I'm going to have to swing by my uncles house and take a little closer look to what he has goin on. He just started doing jalapeño beer dogs w/ cheddar and summer sausage this year in his cedar smoker so he may have some good pointers for me as well. Both turned out very well. I guess he tried to deepfry a partially smoked turkey that didnt have the same end result though.
     
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice looking smoker.....
    You might think about 86ing the exhaust stack and place vents in the peak, under the eaves.... that stack will form condensate that will drip back in the smoker... Nasty stuff to get on your food.... I would use floor vents that adjust .... You won't need much in the way of exhaust... Smokehouses are different from Smokers with fireboxes...
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  15. smokinsuds

    smokinsuds Fire Starter

    Dave, nice to hear from ya. Man I dont wanna go cutting away on my progress now. I saw you had posted somewhere else this advice and to put the stack out the back if that was what route you were taking.I did make the gabled roof detachable though (boxed in) so it wouldnt be that hard to change. Other than the cost of that dang cedar needing replaced that I cut out. The material I used is a 9 inch lap sideing which has a 1 1/2 inch x 3/8 inch gap at each overlap. So there'd be 16 of those openings. Would that be enough you think? I was just going to cut in little spacers to fill em and keep the bugs out. Heres a close up of the gaps im talking about
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  16. smokinsuds

    smokinsuds Fire Starter

    Also, ill be cutting down the stack to just above the roof line and boxing it in as well with cedar and so it wont really be in the elements of the outdoors. Still going to be an issue with condensate? I mainly put it in to create a good air flow to clear smoke and cool when im finished smoking. My thought was put a damper on it, so it holds heat but still allows for some air flow. Would you go 1 or 2 intake vents?
     
  17. thesmokist

    thesmokist Meat Mopper

    Yeah I also think that burner is overkill. I'd be worried about catching the thing on fire LOL! Man you did a killer job building the smoke house it looks great! I've been wanting to do one like that but a lil smaller
     
  18. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes it will still be a issue. One of the by-products of burning anything is moisture. It is even more present when burning propane or natural gas. I have to agree that the burner you have selected will be a bit overkill for the box. You may have issues getting it to regulate low enough. You could remedy that with a needle valve.

    As fa as intakes and exhausts you need both. Stagnant air is not good for smoking food and produces stale smoke. Not enough air for the burner isn't good either. Having an adjustable vent low is a must for propane burners in a smoke house like yours.

    Here is what most use here for they smoke houses:

     
  19. smokinsuds

    smokinsuds Fire Starter

    Yes I know that burner very well. I almost got it then though go bigger! The one I ordered has needle valves on both burners but I bought a hose with a 10-30 psi regulator built into it. So that way I could leave the 2 wide open and regulate without having to open the door up. And to thesmokist, this one wasn't supposed to be this big, but ya start building and it happens... I was going to start with just 3 racks and this is what happened
     
  20. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Those gaps "should" be enough... along with the gaps in the lap siding... Fire it up and see what happens... If you have smoke coming out of everywhere, that's the way our forefathers built smokers...

    I have a very similar 2 burner stove... it should work nicely... Don't seal up the lower door... you will need a fair amount of make up air for combustion... you might consider some screened holes in the floor near the stove for make up air... If the flame goes out, and the smoker fills with propane, that would be on massive BLEVE... probably level your house and a few of the neighbors houses...

    Once you get the smokehouse "conditioned", the smoke residue "should" keep the critters away...
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014

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