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I have been wanting to play around with a gravity feed smoker for a little while now. after giving it some thought I have purchased a Pitmaker Vault, XL BGE, 2 GMG Jim Bowies in the last few years and I just realized not one of those cookers is actually at my town home. Pitmaker and GMG at Dads, egg at sisters, and other GMG at friends. This means its time for another smoker but wanted to build another one this time. I want something small I can practice on for competitions. I was thinking of building a mini gravity feed that is a reverse flow like my vault. I was thinking of having 2 to 3 racks at most that each fit 1 full steam pan. I was going to put a ball valve drain through the center of the floor to drain grease and from water pan that would be welded in. I had a few questions on how they work if some of you that have used them could help me with

 

1. I see almost all of the chutes widen at top or bottom and they say something that it prevents sticking. What are they referring to with this?

 

2. Lets say the firebox is 8" square. Where is the inlet into the smoker placed. At the top of the firebox (I am assuming directly next to the charcoal grate) or more towards the bottom. 

 

3. Does wood go in the chute or do you place it in the box and as the coals fall through it ignites or smolders the wood. If the latter is the case doesnt it take a while for wood to smolder or will it catch with how much heat is in there.

 

Also looking to make it super insulated. Thinking of doing 3-4 inches all the war around except the doors which will probably be 1-1.5"