I've been lurking and learning for a year here, and the materials are all gathered for a first build. I haven't decided on tuning plates or RF, but my question is this: Can either be done so as to make them easily removabale? I'll be using this as a direct or indirect grill (heresy, I know) as well as a smoker. If baffle and tuning plates are used, I would need to remove them and have a lower rail for charcoal grates, same if I do an RF build. (I'm thinking a dampered chimney on each end so I can go either way and decide which I like better.) A baffle in conjunction with tuning plates would also need to be removable. Can I have it all, or is this not doable?
Removable RF plate?
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I'm just thinking you might be over thinking it a bit, a well built reverse flow is going to cook a lot better than you can imagine, and you really might not have the need for the direct grill.
What size are you thinking about building?
This little smoker can grill steaks with no problem. I do hamburgers, sausage, whatever, all fired by the firebox. And you never have to worry about flair ups with the reverse flow.
Actually, it's going to look a lot like the one in your photo, right down to the round FB. The CC will be 20" diameter x 33" long. The firebox will be of 18" pipe, and there is debate about oversizing it (lengthwise), cutting a top load door and using the FB for direct grilling. So if we go with a RF build, and skip using the CC for direct grilling, does the RF plate get welded in place?
The reason we thought of direct grilling in the CC is time. The kids usually have cereal long before I'm satisfied with a smoke.
Honestly, there is no reason you could not make the firebox the same size as the cook chamber, then you could have both a direct grill and a upper portion for smoking or a warming box when grilling hamburgers. Make them both 20" dia, so the rack could be used for both.
I would think 20 inches of 20" dia pipe for both pieces would make a nice size patio grill/smoker. How much of the 20" pipe do you have?