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Smoker Design Advice - Page 2

post #21 of 23
Originally Posted by mountbaldy View Post

Well.... I've been busy working on my smoker!  I added a damper after the fire box before entering the smoke chamber and on the exiting stove pipe on the smoke chamber.  I added a fan on the bottom of the smoke house in hopes of being able to bring cold air in to cool off the box if it got too hot.  That idea failed but is worth revisiting.  

I ran a test smoke last week and decided to smoke a yard bird.  The results were awesome! I broke down and used charcoal for fuel and added chips for smoke.  It still worked very well.  I used alder and mesquite for flavor.  I also rubbed the chicken first with a Jamaican rub I cloned from a visit down south.  Ultimately I smoked the bird for about 2 hours and then finished it on the firebox.  I discovered that a large Webber grate fits perfectly inside of my smoker and also fits perfectly over my firebox.  On the initial run I discovered I needed another way to control the flame.  First off I made the mistake of loading up the firebox with coals.  Big mistake.  My firebox isn't completely sealed air tight and needless to say I had to cool down the coals a time or two to avoid hitting higher than I wanted temps.  Ultimately, adding a second damper did the trick.  

So after the first smoke, I decided I had better do another this weekend!  I had been wanting to try making Summer Sausage.  So today I did the Venison Summer Sausage recipe in Rytek's book.  I started making the sausage this morning at 8 AM and it's now 11:46 and I still haven't finished smoking...  The smoker is holding temp fairly well but the meat will not get over the 138 degree mark...  I'm smoking it at 165-170.  I initially had trouble balancing things out at 165 and was hovering right around 160 for about the first hour of cooking. 

Pics of the final sausage post will come in the morning.

Try a vent opening on the top of the firebox to let heat out BEFORE it gets to the transfer pipe..... OR put a "tee" in the transfer pipe to let heat out....
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks Dave! The damper between the firebox and smoke house really helps.  I may have to take your advice and put a stack on the firebox before the smoker though.  I've been debating on doing that too.  So I'm glad you mentioned it.  I've also put a baffle in the bottom of the house.  I noticed I had some heat inconsistencies.  I just used a piece of cement board for right now.  I'll pick up a  piece of plate steel when I get the money and time. 


Well, I'll catch some flack from everyone for not putting up pics.... Been too busy smoking! LOL!! 


The summer sausage stalled at 138 for more than 12 hours...  I ended up letting it go.  I looked at other recipes in Rytek's book and noticed many of his Summer Sausage recipes only take their meat to 138 with the same amount of cure and similar (but not the same) steps.  I took the risk and it's paid big dividends!  Minus some shrinkage.  But For my first attempt at Summer Sausage, I don't care.  Also the wife and in-laws approve!  Something must be right!


The pics are in reverse order but at least I've got some good QView now! :-)







Some more interior shots inside the cooker...




A view inside the fire box...  I used grates out of an old gas que...  I can't throw anything away when it comes to a cooker....  Most of mine are recycled!




Another view inside the fire box...



A look inside pre-baffle...


Notice how the Webber grate fits perfectly? :-)  Not by design...  Just by shear luck on my part! This old dehydrator works great for a smoker...  All I need is a little control for over night smokes but that'll come with practice and time... 


I did a pork butt in it this past weekend...  It turned out ok.  It was decent que just not smoky enough.  I used alder and I should have used something a bit more potent. Also I played around with the brine and stuff this time a bit too much.  I listened to the wife and used a fish brine on it...  It was good but a bit citrusy... I also ended up finishing her up in the oven...  It got to be 8PM and it wasn't done...  So I used the crutch on it and through it in the oven for an hour... 


In the meantime, I'm smoking a turkey this weekend... I'll post more qview...  Hopefully sooner this time!!! 


The old bird is was injected yesterday and will brine until late Saturday early Sunday...  Then off to the house for smoking...  I'm using Rytek's recipe on that one...  I was going to play around with it some but decided to just use his...  This will be the first bird I've done.  I did purchase some stockingnette bags and hooks.  So It'll be all wrapped and pretty when it's done!




Joe Gill

Townsend, MT

post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 

Well the turkey smoke day was for the most part a success! I put the bird on yesterday at 4:45PM in a pre-heated smokehouse.  This morning at 10 AM I ran out of charcoal (2.5 bags of Kingsford), and a 2.5 cft bag of hickory pieces...  Yeah I went through a lot of fuel...  Ultimately I ended up finishing the bird in the oven. At 10 the birds temp was only 124.  I put it in the oven on 350 until it temped at 160 at 1:30PM... 


I did discover that I have been having a bit of trouble managing my fire. My temp range was 130 for 5 hours and 140 for an additional 4 hours and then up the temp to 165 until the internal temp was 165...  My temps ranged from 120 - 135 in the beginning with the smoker settling down on about 125...  After that I was able to up the temp to 140 and maintain that for most of that cook but it seemed like every half hour or so I had to go adjust the damper or knock down flames... 


I built a make shift fire box false bottom out of some old grill parts. I basically have that sitting on some rocks about 3 inches up from the bottom of the fire box.  The air intake on the box can go down below the  rocks to give the fire adaquate air when need be.  I can't seem to keep the fire down low enough to maintain temps in the 125 - 150 degree range without dampining back everything and even then I get flare ups and it gets over temp. 


Also my fuel consumption seems to be out of control...  I realize a bigger smoke box will result in more charcoal use to a point. 


Do any of you have any ideas on fire management?  Are their any good links on here? 


Any help is appreciated!!


Anyhow, here are the latest QVIEW.








Joe Gill

Townsend, MT

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