Smoker fix ideas

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by wes w, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The past month I have ran 3 full smoker runs.  The problem is  the bottom 2 racks are hot.  I usually set my therm on the bottom and work my way up as the meat comes off.   I would like ideas how to mod it to cook evenly all the way up.

    When doing small runs  I use the top two racks.  Perfect cook time I can count on.  Full runs like this one makes for a very long day.  For this run, the therm is in the middle.   The bottom didn't burn, but I had about 1/4 in.  bark on the bottom two racks.   I'm open for ideas how to deflect the heat evenly

    Here is how I baffle the bottom.  My water pan is in the middle.  I only have heat coming around the outside  

    Would I be better off to turn my baffle so heat is coming through front and back?   The back seem to cook hotter anyway.  Maybe just baffle it so all heat comes up the front?   Give me your thoughts and ideas.
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wes, morning......  That is a tough one on a vertical smoker.....   Each level of meat, consumes Btu's to heat the meat......  reducing the heat available for the upper layers.... 

  3. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I could very easily be wrong about this, and hate to say it, but I think it's just the nature of the beast.  It's a vertical smoker.  The butts on the bottom are going to act as a baffle/shield with the heat.  Only solution that i can think of would require some serious reworking and the installation of something similar to a Roman hypocaust system where you'd channel hot air from the fire box, up the sides having it come out just under the 2nd rack from the top.  :(

    Could you fairly easily notch out parts of the side walls and still maintain structural integrity ?
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  4. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Wes i have a concept that might help solve your problem but i'm not a fabricator.   Look at this video of the onxy [email protected] around the 3:15 mark he'll talk about how the heat and smoke come up the side walls to cook indirect and more evenly. 

    I would guess you could fabricate that concept into yours....Thoughts?

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

      ...i had the wrong video, this is the one.

    Keith, I changed the video to "embed"....   The forum does not want direct links to other websites posted....  Sorry if there is any inconvenience...  DaveOmak
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2013
  5. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Without looking at the video I would suggest some type of fan to circulate the air around inside the smoker..
    sweetjd likes this.
  6. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is kind of like the idea I was talking about vis a vis a hypercaust system.

    If possible, fabricate 2 shrouds to be used on the bottom left and right sides where the openings in the baffles are.   Cut 2 channels going up each side.  Don't know the math/calculations, but for sake of argument, make the channels 2in deep into the walls and 4 inches wide.  Channels would come up to between the 2nd and 3rd racks from the top, where the middle bar is on the front of the smoker.  Fabricate boxed ducts to connect to the shroud and fit into the channels.   The reason you'd have to actually cut channels into the wall is so that the ducts wouldn't interfere with the existing racks. 

    This will bring hot air up to just under the 2nd rack.   Here, there are a number of possibilities.  If you really wanted to get fancy, you could fabricate a hollow box the width and depth of the chamber.   Bring the ducts right into the box.   Could then cut holes in the top of the box to try and evenly distribute the heat, or leave the top off the box and go with something like tuning plates instead.

    This would take some of the heat up the side walls, bypassing the 2 lower racks.  Heat would be distributed under the top 2 racks.   If only smoking on the top 2 racks, see if the system cooks evenly, or if not, slide tuning plates on bottom all the way against the walls, blocking the airflow from the shrouds and the ducts. 
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  7. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Also Dave,   I've convinced myself that it just isn't big enough.  If it were a 4in. wider on each side there would be more volume of hot air.  Of course, if it were 8 in. wider I'd probably just put more meat in........  Good point Dave,  Thanks
  8. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I like the concept.   It could be done with a brick smoker, but it would have to built in from the ground up.  Even a vertical brick smoker, I see this possible.  Build it as a double wall smoker.  Totally seal off the firebox, let heat come up between the walls and leave ports for the heat to inter the cooking chamber.   Dang, I love that idea.   Not sure I could draw it, but I can see it being built.   Great idea,  Thanks Keith!
  9. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    With mine as is,  I'm kinda thinking the same Roller.  I do have power at the smoker.  A very small heat tolerant very slow moving fan.   This idea is most practical I think.  Thanks Roller!
  10. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Demo,  Your right.  This is just the nature of the beast.   I like your idea.   I do have a couple inches in the back.  I could pull my shelves forward and go up the back.   No offsets to deal with in the back.   I like this idea along with some kind of slow fan system.   Completely close off the baffles and let the heat go up the back and in.   Must call my brother and hit him up for some fab help.  Thanks Demo!
  11. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is why I love this site!   All the ideas are awesome!    Thanks everyone for the input!  

    I do wish I had built it wider.  Its deep enough, but if it was wider, it would give more room for heat providing you don't just pack more meat in.  

    I'll attach this info to my build topic.   Thanks again for you ideas!
  12. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Wes there is a product called a "ribolator"   That particular product probably wouldn't fit in your build but i like the concept.  Basically you could have a oblong farris wheel rotating the food from top to bottom and everything would be cooked EVEN STEVEN.  LOL, i wish i could fabricate things!

    [font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]I posted this in your build thread by accident. [/font]
  13. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Awesome idea!    I wish I could build another one.   Bigger and badder!    The more I think about it the more I love the double wall idea.  Wouldn't be hard, just take a lot of time.  Heat goes up the walls and enters from the sides.   I wish I could draw.   I'd love to put that design on paper.  Then put one big arse rotisserie in it!  
    ab canuck likes this.
  14. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wes, would it be possible to get some nice detailed pics of the inner walls ?  Especially with racks sitting on the brick ledges? 
  15. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'd be glad to.  I've got 3 venison roast in right now.   What angle are you looking for?   I'll do my best.  Hard to get a good picture.  Its like a black hole in there.
  16. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Wes for now since the bottom rack is taking the brunt of the heat you might try a thicker heat diverter (fire bricks or pavers) leaving the right, left and front back edges open for the heat to go up unrestricted. 

    ..... maybe leave some small gaps in between pavers underneath the bottom rack.  
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  17. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here's what I'm after.

    Basically, some "extreme" angle shots clearly showing the inner ledges and how the racks sit on them.    Wouldn't hurt if you could get a  shot showing the amount of clearance at the back of chamber as well, between the end of a rack and the back wall.

    I'm thnking that this might be a lot easier (relatively speaking) that I first imagined (though your brother might end up hating me  :) )
  18. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I can see what you saying.   Divert the heat at least past the first rack.   I'll see what i can do.
  19. wes w

    wes w Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here is a clean shot of the chamber as it was being built.   There is no ledge in the back.  The racks are pushed all the way to the back wall.  I have about 1 1/2 in. that I can pull the racks forward.

    Edit:  The first shelf is between the two doors hidden.

    The ledges are 1 1/2 each side.  The racks sit on them about half.

    If you need a closer picture, let me know.  

    Love you all's thinking.  I'm listening.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  20. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The 1 1/2in ledges might be a place to look.  Staying with the hypercose idea,  here's a very bad sketch.     Mind you, this is an absolute "if nothing else works" type of solution as it's not exactly easy.

    Red represents the inner walls of your smoker. 

    Blue represents sheet metal of some size that would need to be fabricated. 

    Green nubs represent new supports for your 2 lower shelves.  Could be metal tabs, or even angle iron the full depth of the shelves.

    Black arrows represent where holes would need to be drilled both in your 1 1/2 in brick "shelves", as well as in the upper sides of the fabricated insert, and the top of the insert.

    Scale is way off.  The chamber formed on top could be pretty small and shouldn't take away much headroom from the 2nd shelf up from the bottom.    Two new lower shelves would have to be made as they would need to be a bit narrow.

    You might want to flare out the bottom with the previously metioned shrouds to gather more heat. 

    In short, IF you can drill the holes along the depth of your lower shelves, you could retro fit the bottom to be double walled, sending the heat up through the holes in the shelves and out underneath the 2nd rack from the top.

    As noted earlier, it's an extreme solution, and I'd definitely try other things first, but I think it would work.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013

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