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350 reverse flow

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

hey guys,


just got my hands on a 350 gal tank for $100 and wanting to make me a smoker, from what i have seen so far on something this size (10ft by 30in diameter) i have to do reverse flow to get an even heat across the tank, got my trailer too for $150 so im not looking to break the bank, but want something to be proud of. pics to follow soon havent even started cutting. my question is what is the best thing to use as a fire box or should i fab one up. i saw a 500 gal smoker on here that fabbed his own box with a warmer on top that looked really nice, but i dont think i really need the warmer, and my welding is just so so. but this is my first build so im not really sure what i will need, would a 55gal steel drum work to convert into a firebox? what are your thoughts. and any good ideas on how to build the sliding racks so they are still good and sturdy. and lastly for heat control, i have seen some people with a damper between the firebox and smoker to control the heat/smoke into the chamber, and others that just use the damper on the firebox to control the heat, which is the better way to go, and is it worth the extra work?

post #2 of 20

you wouldn't have to make it reverse flow. I will try and post some pics of mine to show you how to do direct flow. RF is a pain in the ass if you ask me. I would make a firebox in a cubed shape not horizontal if you want it to last you wanna stay away from the small guage metal and try to stick with 1/4" or 3/8" It may cost more now but will save labor down the road. I do not like dampers between the firebox and pit but nothing is wrong with them. I have been smoking since I was 17 (Im only 30 now) however, with the bigger smokers and lots of practice you can pick up a piece of wood and have a feel for how hot it will burn know whether to put on a piece of oak or hickory/pecan If you use a damper I would go with the sliding type you can push it in and slide out to adjust heat just make sure you adjust damper on the back end to keep your fire nice and clean. Im headed back to work from lunch I will try and post pics today of mine for you.

post #3 of 20

As you can see I have plates that are removable in the bottom of my big smoker that carry heat and smoke to the other end a lot easier to fabricate these instead of doing reverse flow.
post #4 of 20
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

dont those plates do pretty much the same thing as the baffle in a reverse flow to regulate heat accross the surface, do you still get adequate smoke, doesnt it just all go right out the chimmney?  i was planning on doing something kinda similar with making them removable for easy clean out. how thick are your plates? the only place i found around here to get 1/2" steel wants 200 a piece for 4,  2' x 2' squares to use in the bottom and im not about to drop 800 on the plate when thats more than ive spent on the whole rest of the project. any suggestions on what to use for a fire box? heres where i am so far i just cut the doors, burned it out, and stripped most of the paint. i have the angle iron for the brackets and the sqaure tube for the cook racks, still looking for expanded steel for the racks, plate, and a firebox. im keeping my eye out for a 120 gallon tank for the firebox but im open to suggestions, i prefer something premade i can just modify since im a novice welder.


on a side note i really need the cooking space for a 4th of july party, if i dont have the firebox etc done does something like this work ok if i just use charcoal direct heat and use it like a big grill.



Resampled_2013-06-19_20-41-17_314.jpg 278k .jpg file

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post #6 of 20
Yea buddy! That a nice tank! Concerning plates...yes and no. They direct heat towards the back of the smoker and there is a very small Gap between the plates that allow smoke and heat up from the sides. A complete reverse flow will ENCASE all the heat and smoke and direct it in a path for a ""more even cooking application"" (notice that my double quotations are my 'sarcastic quotations) my plates help disperse heat/smoke, prevent a 'hot spot' from occurring directly beside the firebox, AND...turn your smoker into a multi-purpose HUGE GRILL!!!! does it grill good? Does a one legged duck swim in a circle? Lol. Yes!!! You can load charcoal or mesquite wood burn it down to hot coals and grill steaks ALL DAY LONG!!! The slide out racks can be used to pull out and keep meat from over cooking, bottom ones for searing, top ones for warming etc. I'm not saying a reverse flow isn't a good style of smoker it's jut ALOT of fabrication. My plates are either 1/8" 1/4" don't waste your money on 1/2" you don't need it hell 1/8" or 1/16" would probably work. These plates will also help save the bottom of your barrel and makes for easy clean up. On the firebox, my country boy education cannot justify why a square/cube shape it optimal but I'm sure some engineers on here can. With square you can fabricate a grill surface more easily (for searing and smaller grilling) This shape has proven (in my experience) to be more efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and serve more purposes than cylindrical. Your other question...does it get adequate smoke? Texas state cookoff (my first cookoff by the way) 105 teams I got 8th in ribs (ribs were the only thing I did, my cooking partner did the other categories since I'm not big on BBQ cookoffs) yea it cooks pretty good! Haha
post #7 of 20
Sorry, I missed your other question, what to use for a firebox. The best option as far as cost efficiency would be...well it sounds gross but lots of times your city sanitation service will get rid or scrap out their old metal dumpsters if they get dented or small holes, paint missing etc. think about it... These dumpsters are pretty heavy duty and lots of fines you can get a sweet deal on them (please don't steal them) the side sheets, lids are already around the perfect size so minimal cutting is required. You can probably also cut out any extra for your plates. Hope this helps
post #8 of 20

equitas12  Where are you located?

post #9 of 20
Amarillo, Texas...for now
post #10 of 20

equitas12 seams to be in a hury for a firebox, thought I could help him out if he was close by, 

post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 

im in columbus ohio

post #12 of 20

Well, I got no connections there.  Ive got some crane boom sections that would make some nice fireboxes, I thought maybe if you were anywhere near Florida I could get a section cut out and looped to you.


You just need to get on the phone and start calling around. Usually scrap yards have some welders working there that you can talk into putting something together for beer money.

post #13 of 20


I am near Columbus too.  Try Suburban Steel, in Gahanna for expanded steel, i just bought 4' x 8' #9 flattened for $135.  Full sheet was special order but it only took 4 days.  They do have cuts / drops available.  These are left overs from other orders so it is a crap shoot there. 


Try Research Alloys on Goodale Avenue.  They deal scrap and you may be able to find something in their yard.  I got 5/16" tread plate for my firebox there, $.40 a pound.  His shear is busted so you have to take sheets full size. 


There are also some scrap yards down on Parsons, Joyce Avenue areas.



Good Luck!



post #14 of 20

radio guy i am east of zanesville I get a 4x8 sheet of #9 for 48$ new

post #15 of 20
Originally Posted by parrish15 View Post

radio guy i am east of zanesville I get a 4x8 sheet of #9 for 48$ new

Parrish -- what a deal!  Zanesville is a bit of a drive for me, I'm in Delaware county, I;ll keep it in mind for the future.   

post #16 of 20

#9 should be 40 something

post #17 of 20

just think you may have used the wrong supplier for your #9 but hay better luck next time

post #18 of 20

In most towns, everyone is buying from one or two suppliers and marking it up, you just got to find that supplier that all.  At $135. it probably changed hand twice and marked up each time before it got to you.  Most steel suppliers wont have to special order #9 flat either.  Alro metals is country wide, see if they have a location neer you. Chapman is another.

post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 

i finally finished and painted. i ended up picking up some stainless dowels and tacked them to the rack about 1.5 in apart instead of ttying to find the expanded. made the fire box out of a heating oil tank, its a little thinner than what i had wanted but it was a freeby so i cant complain.


post #20 of 20

That really looks nice Great job,  Be sure and post some pictures of your first cook, Assume you are seasoning it now.  I presently cook on a RF not really a pain in the a_ _. I have owned and cooked on both types I found it's just getting to know your pit> I turned out some mighty fine Q on an ECB as well as a SF & RF. Most of the BBQ places I know that use real pits not the commercial electric what ever  Use SF, I think Aaron Franklin in Austin uses S F for all his pits. Just depends what you like and comfortable with.



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