Finally got the opportunity to get smoker I have wanted for a few years. Trashed the fridge today and found a used vault a few hours away online about 2 hours later. I am driving to pick it up Tues. It is the original version with the sliding damper but I already have a machine shop building a plate to screw on to convert to 1 1/2" ball valve. The vault has Stainless side shelf and comes with BBQ guru Digi q. Now I have 3 so I need to buy another smoker. Cant wait to get this bad boy home. Test fire will be next tues to get a good feel for it then the Brisket is going on all day WED. Will post pics when I get it.
Used Pitmaker vault
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I cant wait to see it in person. I have to drive 2 hours to get it which isnt bad at all. Was going to take my competition trailer to get it but thats a lot of gas. Thought about renting a Uhaul Utility trailer. the 5x9 one with expanded metal ramp. Anyone take these things on the interstate before? I use their box trucks all the time but dont know how their trailers are built. last thing I want is the 1000LB vault strapped to the trailer doing 70MPH and something happen. If you ask me would I rather lose the smoker or total the truck I would honestly have to think about it for a bit before I answered as some of you probably feel the same way.
- 220 Posts. Joined 6/2013
- Location: Inland Empire, CA
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Yeah... you don't wanna be pulling a rental trailer down the highway at 70mph EVER. You have no idea how they are maintained (I'm gonna guess... never). One wheel bearing goes out and you'll fill your shorts.
I am just going to take my competition trailer to get it. Plan on leaving around 6:30 in the morning and having a new beast at home in the driveway fired up by 1PM. Still cant decide on what my first cook will be. Any ideas?
I forgot I had 2 butts in the freezer. They are sitting out and going to throw those on tomorrow. I picked it up today and got it back around noon. Gave it a good cleaning on inside to get all loose seasoning and a little rust in firebox out. Put about 5 lbs of charcoal in there and dumped a whole lit chimney in it. I preheated it with weed burner before hand. Only problem is the temp wont get above 230*. I know that sounds weird for these but usually people cant get temps down. Going to play around with it a little more and see what happens. Here is some pics for you.
This one is the original slide version. I used foil tape to seal it up with the guru. It is only the 10CFM fan and wasnt doing much at regulating temp so I took it off and only used the slide. That is a stainless shelf that slides over the handle on the side
Here is the front. condition of body is 10/10 for being 3 years old. Inside is probably 8/10. It has a stainless water pan and stainless diffuser plate. I will get more pics later
So I guess didnt pre heat enough. I called pitmaker and Richard told me to pre heat about 25 to 30 degrees higher than target. Once All the metal heated up the temp went from 230 to 300 in no time. I let all the charcoal burn out and when I put it back in the garage 4 hours ago it was at 275. Just went and looked at it because I am trying to figure out how to remove the slide damper. The temp was still at 200. These things def hold the temp well. Going to throw on 2 racks of spares tomorrow as well.
Got a chance to fire it up again today. Used the advice of a gentleman in Orlando that competes on one. Preheated the smoker a lot more this time and when I was done it was 330*. Let it settle down to 290 then filled the charcoal pan with charcoal except the front left corner. Dumped 1/4 lit chimney in pan and closed the door. Let the temp stabilize to 275 where I had the guru set. the probe was second rack down in the middle. door thermo was reading low about 30* which was weird for these cookers. I calibrated it with the boil test.
Here is the charcoal pan after 8 hrs at 275*.
Method. I always preheat my too way past temps.
I dont have a comp scheduled at the moment. Since getting the vault I am itching to get in one to see how it does. I have the 6 high school football games I am catering in the fall lined up as well as the smokin flamingo in Jax. May do the Butts and brisket in fernandina which is a fun cook.
Anyone know how to remove the damper on these? I can cut it in half from the inside but I think the angled metal that holds it in place may be tough to get out with the grinder. I like filling the pan with coals. Only problem I see is some of the coals wont light because the fire may go out in that particular section. This is ok as I can rake the coals together towards the end to get those final few hours. I am going to try the snake burn next week by using firebrick as the spacers. tried this with an offset one time with bricks and it worked well but bricks eventually cracked.