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What kind of smoker

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I am well versed in cooking but just getting started in smoking.I have a party to put on in October in the woods of N.W. Florida that I want to smoke some butts for. We are looking to serve somewhere around 250 people. I do not have a smoker as of yet and want to perfect my technique on the same or very similar smoker as the one I will be using. The research I have done shows that I am able to build one out of cinder block with a firebox it. I will already have a truck and trailer full of other stuff for the weekend so cinder block seemed compactable and cheap. I thought of using gas as my heat source and just put wood to it for the smoke. I have a couple of burners which should work with some minor changes. Gas because it allows me the ability to kinda set it and forget it. The concerns I have with a firebox will there be enough heat getting to my cooking chamber? Does my heat source need to be in the chamber and just keep the meat away from it? I have gathered enough info to know I need to ask some questions so here I am! I am not set on the cinder block idea but what ever I take needs to be inexpensive, portable and able to travel well. It would be nice to have a big fancy smoker on wheels but I am not willing to go through the expense of getting one to use it once in a while.

post #2 of 17

Have you checked around your area for a chance at renting a smoker ?

 

People can do just about anything they set their mind to but it helps to stack the odds in your favor from the start.With that much meat and that many quests then trying to cook on a make shift smoker with being new at smoking and never  that much meat.I am not sure the Bookies in Vegas would touch those odds.

 

Between now and then I would be spending quite a few weekends smoking some butts getting some practice in.

 

This does sound like what I do alot make plans and figure out how to do get it done afterwards.hahahahahahaha

 

Good luck, and with some thinking you will do a great job.

 

Dan

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

I thought about that. My concern with it I would go out there with a smoker I am not used to.

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdwii1981 View Post
 

I thought about that. My concern with it I would go out there with a smoker I am not used to.

If you do not get the ground just rite to stack your cinder blocks on your make shift smoker.It will not smoke the same way as it did at your house.If it is windy or to much smoke and heat escapes thru the gaps of the block.

 

Please do not take me wrong I am the last person that will tell you not to do this.I am just throwing out some varibles that can happen or need to think about.You have till Oct to get it worked out it is good you are staring now hahahahahahahahah

 

 

Dan  

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

I appreciate it. I have thought some on the ground and stacking. I am a landscaper and work with block often. I am pretty confident to beable to construct something pretty close to same thing I worked with at my house.

 

Please don't stop sending me your ideas. I didn't really think about the wind yet!

post #6 of 17

Hello and Welcome to our addiction.  A word of warning: There is no 12 step program for this one!  Many good folk here with a load of experience that they are more than willing to share.  If you have specific questions just start a thread and someone with experience will be along soon to offer advice.  All info you can provide us with such as smoker type, location and so on will help us answer any questions you may have.  Spend some time doing some research on the forums, tons of advice and recipes already available there. 

 

I've gotta agree with Dan on this one.  I have been doing this for almost 40 yrs. and I would not want to do it the way you are describing.  Not for a party of 250.  If you get it wrong the whole party is a disaster and a total waste of time.  The last thing you want for something like this is to send someone out to McDonalds to get food!  There are just too many variables not to mention building the "smoker" on site on the day.  More stress than you need.  Rent a smoker.  Rent the same smoker 2-3 times before the main event and get to know it.  Then BOOK the SAME smoker for the main event.  Sure it's more money but WAY less work and you will have a good working smoker for the main event.  Be sure to post picts of the event.  Good luck.

 

We look forward to your contributions.  Have fun.  Keep Smokin!

Danny

post #7 of 17

First let me say welcome to the site. Now about the smoker. You said you were new to smoking, you have time to learn on whatever you choose. If you are going with the cinder block type, do as much smoking as you can from now till October. Maybe do a couple of practice  runs

by building your smoker and smoking on it. That way you will know about how long it will take. Allow plenty of extra time, remember if the meat is ready early you can wrap it and hold it in coolers. That's a lot better than everybody standing around and asking How much Longer. Another thing is weather, with this type of pit what will happen if it starts raining ? I admire people for jumping in with both feet, big undertaking to feed 250 people, Maybe consider renting like Dan and Danny said,   just a thought.

 

Gary S

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

My big questions is the placement of my burners. What I have seen online of gas smokers is they are the upright cabinet type. Will I get enough heat in the cooking chamber by using a firebox or should I look at putting the burner in side of the chamber.

 

Weather is always a concern we will just have to roll with the punches I reckon. That would be something to figure out a little closer to the event. We had a hurricane at last years camp out still fed them all on an outdoor grill.

 

I am still at the beginning of seeing if this is even do able.

post #9 of 17
Find a place to rent one then rent it a few weekends before the big party so your used to how it works then reserve for the party.
post #10 of 17
I would consider using Cajun microwaves for the cook.
Easy to make or buy a La Caja China per built one.
post #11 of 17
La Caja China produces an awesome whole pig and pretty fast!
post #12 of 17
Just used the latin touch caja asidora large style for a get together mated up with a smoke daddy. Cooked up 6 butts day before and a 65 lb whole hog the day of for a large party. Worked great. 300 bucks shipping included for the box and a smoke daddy and you are ready for about anything. I always do whole hog in the box now. Quick, tender, and delicious. And pretty easy.
post #13 of 17
Welcome, glad ya joined us !
post #14 of 17

Hello.  It is almost impossible to discuss where to put the burners.  You haven't built it yet or designed it . And that design may change on the day.  Is it round, square?  Will the bottom be lined with cinder block or bare ground?  Distance between bottom and cooking rack?  How big is the cook chamber?  Is it walk in size or just "knee/waist high"  Does it have a "lid" or open top?  How big is the firebox?  How big is the opening between the firebox and the cooking chamber?  Can you duplicate these dimensions EXACTLY when you rebuild this on site?  In my mind; just guessing of how the build will look,  your propane burners will not work.  And a fire box is a waste of time and useless as I assume this thing will be open top.  But then I am just guessing again here.  I know this sound like I'm nit pickin but these are the things you are asking us to guess at.  It all sounds easy enough, just stack some cinder blocks in a certain form, add a propane burner or 3 and you're away.  It doesn't work like that.  I have been doing this for almost 40 yrs. and I could see myself doing this if a couple of friends and I wanted to do a whole hog but I would NEVER try this when I had a party of 250 people waiting for me to finish cooking.  I feel the members have given you the best advice we can.  I wish you all the best luck possible!  Hope the event comes off without a hitch and everyone has a wonderful day.  Keep Smokin!

Danny

post #15 of 17

I was laughing at the translation for  La Caja China < The Chinese Box.Nothing like going international Spainish/Chinese to do a American BBQ.

 

 

Dan

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Just cooked off my first run on a gas burner with a fire box. A little smaller than the one I would need but it worked better than expected! Thanks for the warm welcome and all the thoughts.

 

d.

post #17 of 17

Hey

 

Welcome to the Smoking  forum.   You’ll find great , friendly people here, all more than willing to answer any question you may have.  Just ask and you’ll get about 10 different answers—all right.  LOL.   Don’t forget to post qviews.

 

Gary

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