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Propane Tank Smoker

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I'm 21 and I'm brand new to the smoking community. I've been cooking with a store bought propane grill, but about 4 or 5 months ago a couple of guys at church smoked some boston butt and made us some pulled pork, best stuff I have ever tasted. Really got me into the whole smoking thing. I recently got a propane tank for free (my church just had it setting around) and I figured I would make a smoker. As far as the outside design I'm pretty sure about what I want. I want an offset fire box. My problem is, i'm not exactly sure what the inside of my smoker should look like. If anyone can give me some pics or some advice, I would surely appreciate it.
post #2 of 45
Welcome aboard rookie.

Will leave it up to the more knowledgeable folks to advise you on your build.
post #3 of 45


Someone will be along shortly to help you.

In the meantime, introduce yourself in 'Roll Call', so that everyone can give you a proper welcome.

Glad you joined us!
post #4 of 45

what sqeezy said

post #5 of 45

to the newbie

I am currently building a new smoker for myself with a 55 gallon drum and offset firebox. I am not yet one of the real experienced guys but im getting there. My advice is to buy a store bought firebox and attach to your smoker
I have seen this myself and it seems to work well. Lowes sells one for about 60 bucks thats made to go on one of their grills this will save you alot of time and trouble messing with hinges, doors,grates etc.
You might also consider just buying a cheapy to start with and get a little experience while you take your time building the bigger one
I use a little brinkman box thats available at wal mart for about 60 bucks this thing has turned out some great food and more importantly has given me much needed experience
anyway welcome aboard and good smoking!
post #6 of 45
Welcome Smokerrookie -

Glad you joined us. You'll findsome really good info on the inner workings of a smoke in the Building and Italian smoker thread.

post #7 of 45
post #8 of 45
If you are serious, and it sounds like you are, go here -


Spend a few bucks and get all the info you need. I did, and am satisfied with what I got. I have no association with this product.
You get a lot of smoker design/build info and a bunch of recipes to boot.
Don't be afraid of that propane tank. Metal does NOT have "pores". PDT_Armataz_01_20.gif
post #9 of 45
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, thats alot of help. I went ahead and ordered the cd.
post #10 of 45
I have posted this before, but will gladly do it again. Safety is #1. I do not know your welding skill level, so do not get offended by this. Before you cut into that propane tank, take a wrench and remove a fitting on the top of the tank. Fill the tank with water and then and only then begin cutting with a torch. If you do not do this, you are dealing with a bomb that will kill you. You can also circulate exhaust thru it for several hours, but the water is by far the safest method.
post #11 of 45
^^Goat nailed it

BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL dealing with old propane tanks, the water method is by far the safest and usually easiest, the exhaust thing works too, another method is to purge the tank with C02 or other inert gas.

I have a Uncle that lost a friend when he was cutting into an old large propane tank with a torch, I wont go into the details. Needless to say he didnt suffer.

Safety aside, you can make the thing horizontal with at least two racks that will slide out, or you can go vertical style with narrower racks but more rows of them. Do some internet searching for smoker pics to get more ideas.

this site that shows one way to build a large smoker from a propane tanks...with free plans too!
post #12 of 45
i agree with you both........

lost a friend of a friend on that.......old fuel oil tank

nothing to mess with

BUT.......i can almost swear, SOMEWHERE here on this forum, sumone was talking cheap NON-use propane tankx..........

tho i could be in my head.......like the bloody mary spam, was.......HEHEHE

post #13 of 45
Thread Starter 
Safety is my number one concern fella's. I've taken and had the fitting off for two weeks almost...To get all the fume's out me and one of my buddies hooked a electric fencer to it. plugged it up and went inside. Two or three days later it wouldn't let anything else to burn. Not really a gas smell anymore either. I'm not going to use a cutting torch anyway. I'm gonna dril into it, then use a sawsall....may take longer, but it seems safer...i'm probably still gonna fill it up with water anyway. Thanks for the advice though guys.
post #14 of 45
That is good. I just hope that you realize the danger here as 3 of us who have posted to this know someone that has been killed doing what you are proposing to do.

My case in point was a friend of my dad's, who WAS a welder by trade and cut into a barrel. He knew better, but he never knew what hit him.
post #15 of 45
see my sig pic. i used a 55-gallon drum, with the firebox lowes sells, for the chargriller smoker. my opinion is that that firebox is not big enough for a 55-gal drum. i am building another one, with the air tank off an air compressor for the firebox. i am almost done with it, and will have pics as soon as i finish it. build a firebox out of 1/4" plate steel.

as far as the inside- do whatever you want to do to it. you want four racks? there you go. you have to figure out what you need it to do.
post #16 of 45
i posted a thread awhile back about purgingtanks for cutting & out of curosity i called a local welding supply company about cost of tank rental for that purpose. here's the price locally.
nitrogen 80 cu ft tank -$26.00
argon 80 cu.ft. -$46.86
post #17 of 45
smokerrookie, the cd you ordered addresses the tank safety issue - fill it with water. You will be OK.
post #18 of 45
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, yeah I'm just gonna fill it with water and laundry detergent.... Still waiting on my cd before I start cutting.
post #19 of 45
Thread Starter 
Anyone know a good place to find handles, like the ones on old wood stoves....the cast iron ones. Also were can I get tuning plates, can I just make them?
post #20 of 45
Anyplace that sells supplies for wood stoves should have the handles. Also check Ebay, they're usually there too. The tuning plates you can do yourself. Just cut flat sheet metal to fit and into pieces to be able to adjust the gaps to get temps even across the grate. There are posts here showing tuning plates also.
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