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RF smoker size

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Any recommendations on a good size reverse flow smoker?  I want to make one big enough that I can cook for 20 people but also small enough where I can cook in small quantities.  I've normally rented a smoker when doing whole hog so I'm not to sure what the dimensions of it were. 


post #2 of 5

Well mine that I'm just finishing up is from an 80 gallon compressor tank and measures 24"x48".  I built it with three racks that are removeable for some flexibility when cooking.  I cooked three small (4.5 lbs each) pork butts this weekend and i could have fit 8 more that size on that one rack.  I have no doubt I could easily feed 70 people with this size.


Personally I think that about a 24"x65" would be optimal.    My door is about 32" wide, due to the cap weld seams, the extra length would definitely allow you to do a whole hog.  I may be able to do a small one in mine, but I don't know.


I think that if you get much less than 20" in diameter, you get a little limited on space.  The space under the RF plates, is going to be 5 inches or so, then a few inches from that to your first grate.  So with a twenty inch tank, you're down to about 11 or 12 inches of headroom.  If a pork butt is 5-6 inches tall, plus the thickness of a rack, you start to get pretty tight in there.



post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 


Thanks for the response.  I was thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of 24" for the diameter.  I assume initial length of smoker really doesn't matter because you could always cut the end off and cap it. 

As long as its made well it should hold temp pretty well so cooking in smaller batches shouldn't be an issue...right?

Hopefully I can find some material and getting working on it asap. Thanks again



post #4 of 5

Mine holds temp pretty well.  It's all 3/16 steel.  The firebox top bows out a bit as it warms up, but returns to flat as it cools off.  Insulating it would help from an efficiency standpoint.  I have noticed I have a hotter spot on it.  I am going to try to use it to my advantage when cooking smaller amounts of food.  I'll run the fire 25 degrees cooler and put my food in the spot that's 25 degrees warmer.  Should use less fuel that way. 


At first I wanted to build a bigger cooker, and I still may, but it is nice not having to use a whole tree to fire your smoker.  I cooked pork butts the other day for about 9 hours and used what I would consider a fairly small load of wood for running a fire that long.  Of course there are more efficient routes to take, but at this point I'm learning to cook on what I have built. 


Follow the pit calculator recommendations and you'll have a good cooker.  I built my firebox a little on the larger side, but I wanted to hold my grate off the bottom and have some wiggle room as far as fire size goes.



post #5 of 5

As  the others have stated go 20" MINIMUM mine is 20" and is fine but for one level only,




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