So, a buddy of mine has been intrigued by my meat smoking. I have a "BBQ" photo album on Facebook that I post to from time to time, and he said he wanted to get into it too. I'm also a home brewer; he and I do a ton of brewing together, we're both into cars and trucks (both have owned ridiculous cars, both currently own Ford Diesels), I figure smoking's a great hobby, might as well suck someone else in! He's probably in the process of joining the forum now as I write this, since I just told him I registered this username. Anyways, I was volunteering for a local brewery (actually another friend that went from home brewer to nano commercial brewer, his beer is on local store shelves, which is beyond awesome), and I saw another one of these BBQ grill/smoker trailers. I send him a text with a picture of it saying "we build this". Say no more, he was all in. Turns out, he had a free trailer coming to him from a friend he gave an air compressor to. So, we head out to western Mass. from his place in New Hampshire to pick it up. It's roughly 8x16, a former camper trailer that someone converted to a deck trailer - a dual acxle lowboy that's probably waaaay toobig for a BBQ trailer, but we live in a dimension where bigger is better, and "that's too big" is an unknown phrase.
After a few hours of loading an 8x16 trailer with 2 flat tires and a missing wheel onto another 8x16 trailer, using a combination of a little brains, a lot of braun, two ratchet straps, a half-broken cumalong, a floor jack, some wooden planks and a metal pipe, we head on back to his place. On the way, all we could talk about were ideas for the trailer. The creative juices were flowing like rendered tallow from a 20 hour brisket. So I say to him... "we need to name this thing",m and almost instantly, he pops out with "The Meatwagon". After busting a gut laughing and regaining my composure, I agreed. It was perfect and I couldn't possibly think of a better name.
So, we had a free trailer. I got a free 275-gallon home heating oil tank from Craigslist, and got 2 55-gallon drums from a local farm that I buy hay bales from every year for a family "harvest party". I also got two free small expansion tanks - one from the heating oil tank guy, and another from my parents' basement. I'm going to make a cold smoker out of one of them, just haven't decided which one yet. Finally, we got an old cast iron wood stove from his neighbor (we have lots of wood stoves up here in New England), to use as the fire box.
We have a friend with a sandblaster who will blast down the frame so we can paint it. My build friend also has a paint sprayer, so we'll likely paint it ourselves. Then, we're going to lace it with LEDs. Probably 50 3/4" bullet lights, and 17" LED strip lights for brake and tail lights.
Last weekend, we started the build. We got the trailer off the other trailer, parked in front of the garage, and stripped of it's decking. We also emptied the last 10 gallons of heating oil and sludge from the tank, and 2-3 gallons of 15w40 from one of the drums, cut them all open, and burned the crap out of them via a few roaring heating oil-assisted brush fires in the driveway. I had Googled this in advance, and low-and-behold, this forum seemed to be the place with all the answers. To my surprise and delight, it was burned completely clean, with ZERO residue or odor. We burned a LOT of brush and kindling in it, then moved to logs and scrap wood, with more brush. It was a long hot blaze.
Ok, picture time.
Here's the trailer, with the oil tank on it draining, and another shot after we got it off and the decking stripped. It has a few years of good old New England rust on it, but luckily it's just a tad on the surface, nothing major or a structural hazard.
Starting on the oil tank. That's me on the cutoff wheel.
And the barrels. I got two - one has bigger ribs on it, the thought was that we'd use that as a lid, since the ribs would be bigger than the other barrel's ribs, and it would close nicely. Worked perfect. We cut out the lid from the second barrel about 4-5" bigger than the opening of the first barrel, to have a nice overlap when closed (pictured)
Here are some conceptual drawings. Between an IT Manager and an Electromechanical Engineer, we make a pretty good design team. He did the 3D modeling based on my sketches. The "Party Porch" on the back is intended to be a storage rack (first pic) that hinges out into more deck space (second pic). The total area is about 9' x 8' - so plenty big enough to pop a table, chairs, and cooler under an 8' EZ-up tent (lloking for one of those now too). The final drawing is the latest iteration, but is still missing the cold smoker
Then I did some on my end, in my crappy Microsoft Visio...
Here's a drawing I did for a preliminary door opening mechanism for the smoker. Likely going to re-purpose some old server rack sliding rails I got for free from work, but retail the pulleys and weights. They'll counter-balance the door, so opening is almost effortless. We're going to incorporate some kind of latch too, so it doesn't open or close unexpectedly.
That's all I have for pictures and work for now. We'll be spending Sunday up in NH again at his house doing more fabrication. I was able to score 10 free stainless steel sopping carts from a local grocery store (actually it was my first job). They actually have very odd looking tall square carts, but they should work perfectly for smoking racks. We also have an old half-charcoal half-propane grill that has given up the ghost, that we'll be scrapping parts from (choke doors, cast iron grates for the grill, handles, etc
Here's a couple pics of some recent BBQ. I feel that no post in this forum would be complete without some meat in it...