Well here I go down the slippery slope

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by dinosdeuce, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. I have decided to make a vertical smoker. I got a 24" diameter x 66" long 1/4" wall pipe. The one end was cut pretty crooked. So I cleaned up the one end today and started to descale it but it started to rain so I had to quit working on it.  I plan on 2 doors.  One for access to the fire grate and one for the smoke trays.  The fire grate will be 22" below the first tray. There will be rack from 1/2" rebar  18" above that to hold a water pan that will also act as a heat diffuser.  The tray holders will be spaced at 4" increments to the top.  Weber grill grates will be used for the food and the the fire grate will be made from 1/2" rebar.  The only thing I haven't decided on yet is where to place the exhaust pipe.  I was thinking 12" down from the top.  That way  the heat and smoke won't go straight up and out the top.  This son of a gun will be heavy, but it will be put on casters.

    I have read alot here the last 2 days and have not found a lot of info on verticals.  I am going vertical to save on space.  If I have screwed up anything please let me know.

  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Vertical smokers have a temp gradient problem....  The bottom grate is hot and the upper grates are cool...  Being round, the food grates are small, obstruct the heat flow through the center of the smoker so the heat travels up the outside edges of the cook chamber....   Pretty much inherent problems with that style....    Your pipe is a great size for a horizontal SFB smoker....  Just saying....    

    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  3. To pile on with Dave, Chris at TVWB did a cpl test runs on the WSM where the lid temp averaged 12 - 15* higher than top grate temp and the top grate temp averaged 4 - 10* higher than bottom grate temp. This I believe supports his gradient comment. YMMV.

    To counteract this some folks move food top to bottom, bottom to top during the cook. HTH
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  4. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    X2  Man that would make a nice reverse flow or offset.
  5. Thanks for the replies.

    Dave I did not realize a vertical was that inefficient.  With all the press on UDSs I figured this idea would be that much better.  Decision time.


  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The difference in an UDS to what your are looking to build....  A small controlled fire inside the cook chamber, racks that basically fill the diameter of the drum, short total height, small total volume .....   and usually only one rack of meat, somtimes 2........    Air tight smoker that burns little charcoal...   I think they are almost the perfect smoker....   For small, backyard type smoking...  I can't think of a better smoker but they only rate a 9 1/2 until a 10 comes along...

    The pipe you have will make an absolutely great Reverse Flow smoker...
  7. I have a UDS and have built a lot of stick burners out of pipe. I'd go reverse flow or just horizontal

    . That is a nice pice of pipe to work with.

    Happy smoken.

  8. I stuck to my original plan and built a vertical smoker.  I smoked some ribs first and they came out good.  Then I smoked a pork sirloin roast.  Should have used a shoulder but that is what I get for going to safeway just before closing.  It came out a little dry.  I burned a 16.6lb bag of kingsford.  It stayed at an average temp of 225F for 9 hours.

    Thanks for looking.


    Started out as

    During build.  Welded in 1 x 1/8" strap for the door lip.  Used 3" pipe for the intakes.  Welded in bolt to hold the dampers in place. Used 3/8" rebar and expanded metal for the charcoal basket.



    Inside look.  I bought weber 22 1/2" grates, fit perfectly.  Made the diffuser plate from 2  1/4" plates

    Used high temp silicon grommets to put probes in.

    Finished up with a cart.  Need better wheels though. 


    first smoke

    second smoke

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013
  9. Sick build I just did a vertical out of a hot water tank and it pales compared to the masterpiece you have put together did your doors spring atall when u cut them...what did you use to cut them. Here is a pic of mine about 90 percent complete
  10. Awesome job!!! Nice work! [​IMG]
  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm confused. Dave and Bama both agree there's a temp gradient problem with vertical smokers, but you stated the opposite of what Dave said. He said the top grates remained cooler than the bottom grate but Bama quotes a TVWB study that shows the upper grates get hotter than the bottom grate. But seeing has how the bottom grate is closer to the heat source and that although heat rises it might dissipate a little as it travels up the vertical cooker, I'd think that Dave might have it reversed. Never having used a WSM-type smoker, I have no first-hand knowledge of any of this.
  12. Good looking build, I know you are proud !  Ribs and pork shoulder look good to me. Congrats !!!!!

    Gary S

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