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Questions about my smoker design.

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

Below is a plan I've put together. It's actually a combination of a few different plans. The horizontal chamber will be made of two 50 gallon barrels. I also want to add a vertical chamber in order to be able to do more volume. For practical purposes I need to put the main smokestack on the far side of the horizontal smoking chamber, and I would like to keep the firebox towards the middle of the unit if possible.


I have few questions about this design.


1. Do you think it will work?

2. Will the horizontal chamber be warm enough, and if not, what could I do to make it warmer?

3. Will the airflow through the vertical smoking chamber be sufficient?

4. Is the central firebox location ok? And if so, should I seal off the area to the left of the firebox inlet (where the drain is)?

5. Should I extend the main smokestack down into the smoking chamber a bit, and if so, how much?


This will be my first smoker build so any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.





post #2 of 46

Looks a bit overworked have you thought of an offset


post #3 of 46
Thread Starter 

What about putting the fire box on the cabinet side? I really want to put the smokestack on the barrel end of the smoker if possible.I thought the central location of the fire box would help keep the barrel section hot while also producing a reverse flow effect, but you're right, it might be a bit overworked.

post #4 of 46

Jason, evening and welcome to the forum.... First off, let us know what part of the world you are from... in "Roll Call" and that will help answer questions.. Temp, Humidity, Snow etc....  http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/f/133/roll-call

Now about the smoker.... I have linked 2 very important design threads about building smokers.... these are tried and true and a very good platform to start from....   SQWIB has given you a very basic diagram that works.... there have been deviations and air/heat flow considerations need to be taken into account.... Below is a calculator for the necessary basics to make stuff work... try to stay within the confines of the calculator.... too much deviation will result in a smoker that might have difficulty maintaining temps etc....   The next thread goes into basic design and there is some theory in there that is not explained but visible to the discerning eye....  These "starting points" are proven and work... Just trying to help out so you don't have a smoker that "you end up kicking yourself trying to get it to work" down the road....

The concepts listed below will get you going....  Please ask questions if something needs explaining in a different light....  we are here to help...     




Building a smoker looks easy... getting it to work correctly takes some engineering....  Thankfully, someone else has done most of the work for us....  Tweaks and twitches need to follow air/heat flow dynamics, or S.W.A.G.S......... (scientific wild a$$ guesses)....    



post #5 of 46
Thread Starter 

I tried to do an introduction on Roll Call, but my computer kept freezing up on that page for some reason. I'll give it another try.

post #6 of 46
Originally Posted by jasonddd1975 View Post

I tried to do an introduction on Roll Call, but my computer kept freezing up on that page for some reason. I'll give it another try.

Jason, morning.....  Well, there is a story to "roll call".... we had somewhere around 300 new members join yesterday.....  Hang in there....



post #7 of 46

I would think you'd get uneven temperatures, notably on the left side (by the stack).  With the firebox feeding the middle, the smoke doesn't circulate under the left side RF plate, so there's no heating from below, and the left side is the last stop for the smoke, so it will have given up some of its heat before it gets there.  I'm new to this myself, so I could be talking nonsense, but that's my gut feeling.

post #8 of 46

Can you tell us more about why you came up with this design? Are these the materials you currently have and trting to make them fit togther, or are you starting from scratch?  Why is it important to have the firebox in the middle?


Tell us what it is your working with and around, and with all the experts here, you will get the help to make the best smoker for your needs.

post #9 of 46
Thread Starter 

Due to the location where I want to put the smoker, I am not able to put the firebox at the horizontal end of the smoker. Originally I wanted to have the firebox in the middle because I am a little bit limited on horizontal floor space (I live in China after all). As far as materials go, I have two 55 gallon drums to work with, plus the cabinet, which I will make from scratch. The two barrels alone won't be enough capacity, so I want the cabinet to also be a smoking chamber. 


What do you guys think about the design below? Assuming the measurements are consistent with those found using the bbq calculator by Feldon (thanks Dave), do you guys think this design would work better? In this design, would the baffle plate be a series of plates that I could adjust or just one solid piece?


Thanks for your comments! Keep 'em coming, I hope to start welding soon!



post #10 of 46
Thread Starter 

Anyone have any ideas or comments about the design above?

post #11 of 46

jason, evening...  That air flow coupled with the fire/warming box makes sense to me...  You might think about a stack on the tank side equal to the the stack on the warmer...  Close off the warmer stack to use the tank smoker and you could close off the tank stack to use everything... make them both equal height and diameter as if using 1 stack so the calculator is still correct...  Dave

post #12 of 46
Thread Starter 

Ok. Thanks for the advice. So the stack on the tank side would be tight next to the cabinet/warmer? Good idea. 

post #13 of 46

what about something like this dave... He would be able to adjust the box to be a warmer or use it to cook...


post #14 of 46

That is what I would suggest. You now have the ability to lower the temp of the upright barrel and use as a warming box. or open damper and use as smoker.

post #15 of 46

I think Boykjo's idea would work best.  Jason, you asked earlier about the baffle plate needing to be solid or adjustable, solid if you want a true RF smoker.  You could go halfway across with solid plate then make split the secondhalf into a couple plates, but personally I would make the baffle solid.

post #16 of 46

boykjo has the setup drawn that would be a very good option...  total control over both chambers.....  Jason, now you have to decide which way to go....   Take lots of pics....  more discusson is always good too...  This will be a cool build....

Calculating the numbers might be a nightmare.... 2 separate smoke chambers, 1 firebox....  

post #17 of 46
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the feedback guys. I like boykjo's design plan best, not sure how I'll do the baffle plate yet. I guess if it's in a few pieces it might be easier to clean in the future.


What about moisture? It's generally about 90% humidity here all the time. Could I just use a couple sheet pans with water?

post #18 of 46

Yes on the using alum pans.  I have used roaster pans in the past, don't anymore, just don't need that extra moisture.  They do make clean up a snap.

post #19 of 46
Thread Starter 

I'm trying to decide between the following two plans for my smoker before I start the build, hopefully later this week. The one on the left is the one I've drawn up myself and the one on the right is one that Boykjo helped me out with (Thanks). I know the plan on the right is tested and proven to work. My original plan (left) would work out slightly better for me because the main smokestack is on the left side. I believe that the central location of the firebox would provide heat to the horizontal portion of the cooking chamber, but I'm a little worried about the flow of smoke. I should probably just go with Boykjo's design, but before I decide, any ideas about how I could get the smokestack to be on the left side of this thing?




post #20 of 46

Definately the 1 on the right. There would be way too much friction and heat loss with the one on the left. IMO

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