Rookie Roaster needs HELP!!

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by michael jode, Aug 27, 2015.

  1. michael jode

    michael jode Newbie

    Hi Guys, Yes.....I'm brand new to the forum, and to make matters worse...I don't live in the States either (more about that in a minute) so to say I'm a complete novice (or Rookie, as you guys call them) to the art of what I now know to be True BBQ, would be something of an understatement! Hence, any advice I receive on this forum will be greatly appreciated!
    So, here goes......

    I am humble firefighter, living 30 miles east of London UK, and in the last few weeks I've gone from thinking (like most of us in the UK) that BBQ was a party where people cremated piles of (tasteless) sausages and plain burgers over a grill, to discovering what true BBQ is really all about! Needless to a huge meat lover , and big fan of outdoor cooking, it's been a huge revelation, and I'm now embracing the whole American culture of BBQ, despite being a complete novice to the art of smoking meat. On the lack of experience is offset by my welding/engineering background, still having access to a fully equipped workshop, a rather cheap (and rather rusty) old 200ltr air compressor tank (bought on EBay) for my cook chamber, and bundles of enthusiasm for my first smoker project! 😃

    I've already sourced the metal for my firebox, baffle plates, etc, and spring handles (which I've had to ship over from the States as you just can't buy them in the UK!), now all I need is a few bits of advice.

    Firstly....which is a good calculator for all my stack, vent, firebox opening sizes, etc? do I calculate the gap between the end of my baffle plate/drip pan and the end of my cook chamber? Or is this dimension not really important?
    Kind regards
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mike, first off, welcome to SMF!  Glad you are here and looking forward to embracing both the American and the worldwide culture of BBQ'd meat!  Be sure to check out the "Groups" section of the forum.  There is a large and active group of meat smokers in the UK who love to help each other. 

    Since Roll Call is basically a chance to welcome new folks, just copy your post over to the Smoker Builds section for the help you need on a calculator.  You'll get much better results there.

    Have fun with your build Mike!

    michael jode likes this.
  3. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Mike, Welcome to our "Family" and "Addiction"

    Plenty of good folk on here, ask any questions you can think of, and you will get your answers.

    Please take time to look at the UK Smokers Forum,

    And introduce your self on the UK Roll Call

    Also Check this group out, post all the questions you can think of and you will get the answer.
    There is a Calculator Faldons

    Smokin Monkey �
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  4. michael jode

    michael jode Newbie

    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015
  5. michael jode

    michael jode Newbie

  6. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Mike, my name is Steve and I live in Sutton In Ashfield, North Of Nottingham.

    Yes there is a growing number of us. At the beginning of AUGUST we had our second Weekend get together, where members with all levels of experience got together and cooked. It was a great weekend.

    Before you start cutting any thing check, check and check again. Post a New Thread up, asking all the questions you can, add drawings for people to see. When you start, take plenty of Photos and put them up so people can see what you are building and can give advice.

    michael jode likes this.
  7. Hello Mike and Welcome!  The calculator  folks is Feldon's calculator.  I REALLY don't know much about it.  When I was young and welding smokers we didn't have a calculator.  Was trial and error.  Learn by experience.  I understand folks say that calculator is not made for reverse flow.  [​IMG]   Can you post a drawing of your ideas and let us "see" what you want to do and allow us time to comment?  If you build something first and then post; well then once we have suggestions you now have to take it apart and start again.  Just a suggestion.  Keep Smokin!

  8. michael jode

    michael jode Newbie

    Hi Steve,
    You're a good few hours north of our place in Essex, but it's a shame we missed out on the weekend get together at the start of the month, we certainly would've made the effort to travel for the event! I'm sure my wife would've enjoyed it almost as much as I would. Despite being new to this style of cooking, my wife is already very impressed with the stuff I've smoked in my cheap and cheerful oil drum BBQ, and is looking forward to seeing what I can conjure up in the Reverse Flow Smoker I'm about to build!

    I must my eagerness to get started, I've already ordered the steel plates for my firebox, cut to 400x400x400 (or 16"x16"x16" in Yank measurements). But in my defence...that works out at 33% of my cook chamber volume, which...going by Feldon, and some of the others on this site, seems to be the magic number. As for the rest of the measurements, I'll gladly take advice as I go, but as I'm no stranger to cutting and welding things, it's not the end of the world if I have to make a few alterations along the way!

    The weekend event you that an annual thing, or are they more frequent than that?

  9. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Mike, yes a bit to far north. We have plenty of members down your end, Kent etc.

    The weekend is only Annually at the moment.

    Here is a link to the website, it has details of and when the weekend is, some mug shoots of members, who you will meet on here.

    Menus of what they cooked, and plenty of Photos.

  10. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Hiya Mike, Welcome to the forum.

    you seem to have jumped in with both feet, [​IMG]

    I think Noboundaries & Smokin Monkey have given you the heads up on the UK forum, but I will post the links below

    There are some fantastic people on here with some great experience. I am one of the Group Leads for the UK Smokers along with Smokin Monkey & Wade. who will be along shortly to introduce himself. 

    Just to give you a bit of an update,  As smoking has gained popularity in the UK we have been given our own group, "UK Smokers". We still come under the watchful eye of the main forum and have plenty of support from our american cousins, but somethings are different in the UK and that's where the UK forum comes into it's own. The UK Smokers is rapidly growing with members from up and down the country with a wealth of experience in all areas.

    We have an annual Smoking Weekend which is held in the summer ( sorry you have just missed it this year) but next years event will be the last weekend in July, 2016 at Woodhall Spa near Lincoln so it is easy for everyone from the north & south to attend. Most of the active members attend, and cook a dish, have a chat, exchange ideas, pick up tips from other members, grab a few beers and have a great weekend. You are more than welcome to join us next year.

    We have members from both sides of the pond so it you post a question in the UK Forum, there is a good chance it will get answered from both the UK and the US.

    If you click on the following link  this will take you to the UK section of the forum where you will find a group of like minded individuals in the UK who are into smoking.

    If you click on this link it will take you to the roll call where you can introduce yourself:

    I look forward to seeing you there, and feel free to post on the UK forum.

    Where are you based and where did you hear about the UK Smokers Forum just so we know what neck of the woods you are from, and also how you found us.
  11. michael jode

    michael jode Newbie

  12. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    There ins a guy in Yorkshire who made his own smoker out of an old towable water bowser.

     But like Danny mentioned don't forget to get your calculations correct, and let some of the guys have a look at your designs before you commit otherwise you might have an expensive paperweight on your hands that won't smoke anything. If you are having your own one rolled go for some heavy gauge steel.
  13. michael jode

    michael jode Newbie

  14. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    michael jode likes this.
  15. michael jode

    michael jode Newbie

  16. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Hiya Michael , Unfortunately I am not experience enough to answer your question as I have never used a reverse flow smoker, mine is just an ordinary Brinkmann special edition offset smoker, the steel is just over 3 mm thick, and about 4mm thick on the cooking chamber door.   If I had to build one I would use thicker steel to enable it to hold the heat better in the winter months.

    Why are you opting for a reverse flow smoker over an offset smoker? just out of interest

    I think if I was making one the minimum would be
  17. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Meat Mopper

    I have the exact smoker posted above, if I had the money to do it, I'd go 1/4"/6mm as well. More steel, more heat retention, more steel more insulation, more steel less problems with it rusting/burning out. I could go on but I think you get the idea.
    If you can afford the extra cost now, it will pay in huge dividends in the long run.
  18. michael jode

    michael jode Newbie

  19. michael jode

    michael jode Newbie

  20. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Meat Mopper

    If designed properly, an offset cab work as well as a RF unit, but it's harder to do than an RF design. At least from what I've seen. You will need a convection plate or heat baffle, then tuning plates that you will have to move around to get the hot spots out of it. A RF build you basically put the numbers in the calculator and it tells you the firebox size, how long to make the RF plate and size of the cut out for the FB opening.
    Just giving you some things to think about.
    This seems to be the most popular calculator from what I've read,

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