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Large propane tank for smoker

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Hi Folks,
Is it safe to use an old 300 gallon propane tank for a smoker? I know it isn't safe to use oil drums but wasn't sure about a propane tank. I have found a couple of these that I can get cheap but wanted some info to help decide if I should get them or not. Thanks and have a good labor day!

post #2 of 31
I believe someone posted awhile back how to do just that ... Gyspy maybe? Sorry I can't remeber CRS. The others will be around shortly to help!

Found the thread! GO here:

post #3 of 31
Inerting is an excellent way to ensure a safe cut or weld on a tank, BUT -
It requires a device (expensive) to monitor the oxygen level inside the tank.
It also requires bottles of whatever gas you will use (we used CO2) and special regulators, hoses for those bottles (expensive).
You must continue injecting the inert gas during cutting and welding procedures, uses a lot of gas.
This method is great commercially, not so for the backyard guy.
You can fill an old propane tank with water, meaning COMPLETELY fill it to the point water comes out the top valve, make sure it sits level. Make sure there are no gas/air pockets in it. Let it sit a while, drain it and repeat. Then, after you get it cut, build the great mother of all fires in it and burn it out.
I have seen several comments from various members about hazardous things "getting in the pores of the metal" inside used tanks and later causing health problems. NOT SO! Didn't figure they would believe me, so I called the kid. Son Michael's degree is metallurgy and powdered metal technology. Guess what? Metals (cold rolled steel, etc.) DO NOT HAVE PORES! We do, pigs do, metals do not. Powdered metals (metal powder placed in a mold and subjected to tremendous pressure, then heated in an oven at tremendous temperatures in the presence of various gasses) are porous.
So, build your smoker and enjoy! PDT_Armataz_01_29.gif
post #4 of 31
So is I believe, to a lesser degree than sintered metal, cast iron. Slightly porous that is. That's why "seasoning" of cast iron pans is so important.
post #5 of 31
Correct. Cast iron is porous. Properly seasoned it is the ultimate non-stick cookware if maintained right.
If building a smoker from an old tank there is no reason to fear the tank if it is cleaned of any physical residue and burned out. Won't see any cast iron tanks, too brittle & heavy. PDT_Armataz_01_18.gif
post #6 of 31
So Mike, do you agree that a fuel tank or oil drum COULD be properly cleaned out and used as a smoker???
post #7 of 31
Well , I've read all the post about not using an oil drum or kerosesne drum.I made a smoker on a trailer out of a kerosene tank which is 6 foot long and 30 inches in diameter (don't know how amny gallons that is) and it was steamed cleaned inside and out. I have burned it out so hot I warped the front of the tank where the door shuts. That tank was cherry red on the bottom the fire was so hot., I cleaned it out again and smoked it up for about 4 hours one Saturday sitting around our hunting club. I have used it now over five years and have fed 200 people at a time out of it and not one person has been sick or even mentioned the food tasted bad. I can cook 42 boston butts at atime in it. I have cooked 55 chicken halves at a time in it. Don't believe people would keep asking me to cook for them if they were getting sick. Here is a picture of it.
post #8 of 31
chadpole you might try this link.. I believe the formula is for a vertical tank. It is said that horizontal tanks use a different formula. Just in case you want to know how many gallons approx tank you are using.

Keep Smokin
post #9 of 31
Pigcicles, the formula didn't come out. I have always wanted to know how big a tank I had. When I got the tank it had not had anything in it for about three years and was dry. Try that again or give me the horizonal formula.
post #10 of 31
Rick , I used a 200 # propane tank for my vertical ...it's 22 inches in diameter...I had it sand blasted inside n out to remove the old paint ...rust and nasties ...seasoned it and am doing it's maiden smoke right now as I type ....here's a pic...hope it helps
post #11 of 31
Chadpole A tank is a tank, as neer as i figured you got around 220 gallon
post #12 of 31
Peculiarmike, don't want to hijack this thread, but thanks for the info. Makes me feel better about Beula, guess I have been listening to the others too much. It's worth some rep points.
post #13 of 31
Try this link for a more precise calculation, but who cares if it is laying down or standing up - smokebuzz is pretty close at 220 gallons.

post #14 of 31
I agree with you on that. It is too much to figure with that formula. I not that good in algebra or trigonometry(sp) whatever,,,I am satisfied. Thanks
alot. It smokes some good Q and that is all that matters to me. People love to sit around it while I cook to smell that smoke. I can crank that thing up sometimes without cooking anything and within 30 minutes someone will pull in the yard wanting to know what's for supper. I recently rigged it up to run propane with (2) pieces of black gas pipe 5 foot long each. Then I scored it with the sawzall an inch apart. Plumbed the two pipes into two elbows to a single pipe. Then I cut the venturi off the back of a cast iron burner. I welded it to that pipe going through a hole in the front of the tank and put a propane tank and high output regulator on it. I
turn that shutoff valve on the hose a little over half way and I have a blue flame about 9 inches high and 9 inches wide. It takes me twenty minutes to get that tank to 550 degrees as big as it is. Now I have a stick burner,charcoal,or gas. I put a sheet of 3/8 inch plate above the gas pipe and that acts as a baffle for the flame. The juices vaporize when they hit the plate. Sorry for the long explanation,I'll stop now.........Thanks again
post #15 of 31
Absolutely. Why not? There are a bunch of them out there and people are not keeling over in droves from eating what comes out of them. I've seen a lot of smokers built from old heating fuel oil tanks.

Once any physical residue is removed, by whatever means, and the tank is burned out there is nothing there to cause any harm. There is certainly no residue of any sort "in the pores" of the metal, cause it does not have "pores".

Folks today rarely investigate or check the facts, they are SO easy.
post #16 of 31
Steve, you got nothing to worry about regarding Beula. I ate some fine Q off Beula and I ain't dead yet from it. I'd sure eat it again tomorrow too! I still remember the smell of that fine cherry smoke when we pulled in to The Gathering.
Ain't Skeeered! As they say down in the Ozarks. biggrin.gif
post #17 of 31
All I got to say is Heck Yeah! Today woulda been better, but tomorrow is good... gimme some more ribs PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #18 of 31
The internal dimensions of the tank would be needed to arrive at an accurate volume, however...we'll work from the dimensions given...

The formula to determine the volume would be:

So...The tank you built your smoker from would have been about 220 gallons!...

Hope this helps...

Until later...
post #19 of 31
Thread Starter 


Thanks to all for the info. I will get both tanks and build away. I will post pics when I am done but have no idea when that will be. I will have more ?'s down the road I am sure of that. I have faith that any question about building a smoker or using it when finished can be answered here. Thanks again and have a goood day.

post #20 of 31
This is great. Thanks for your help. I could have never figured it out myself even with the formula. I ain't that smart,LOL.
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