I made my 4th of July Deadline for having the smoker ready to smoke, but I paid a heavy price in terms of being absolutely exhausted...All week long! I haven't even thought about the smoker this week, other than to look at the cost of trailer parts versus buying a trailer on craig's list.
Here are the photos as I went along. As I got really busy, I have noticed that my photos kind of trailed off, however.
Here I am laying out the firebox door, and putting together a slide for the air intake.
Here is the inside of the door with framing inserted and some strong back frames to prevent corner to corner warping. This door was super heavy duty with both skins and all the framing.
Insulated where it counts!
I bagged the All thread for my hinge rod, and went with a straight 5/8 inch rod (the all thread had a slight bit too much clearance when inserted into the pipe. This straight rod wouldn't go into the pipe I had selected, but a rat tail file to take out the small seam in the pipe did the trick. These were some awesome hinges!! They are so tight, that I haven't even secured the rod, but it just stays there. I can remove it with a hammer if I need to.
Here are the components of the door seal. I used 3/4" rope gasket which fits really nice in the 1" X 1/2" channel. Lay down a good bead of adhesive, and press the gasket into it. Put on the doors and let it set. The first fire it will fully cure to a brick hard set. It makes a great seal.
The Chimney - I made the chimney removeable by framing an outlet in the top and then a receiver inside the cabinet. It drops right into the top, and seats inside perfectly. It is completely secure, and doesn't move around at all. I didn't take any photos of this point, but I did this so I can get the smoker back inside my shop if I need to (and I will while I finish up the construction after my first smoke and then paint this baby!).
Here it is outside of my shop, standing tall and ready to be put on a trailer. Before we did that, I cracked it open and pressure washed the heck out of it.
Here are my neighbors helping me move this thing. The tractor had a 1250 lb limit on the scoop, and it wouldn't raise it by itself. It would raise it up if we helped it, and then start to slowly lower. I have a great bunch of beer drinking, story telling, BBQ eating neighbors that will help when it is needed. Not shown...the tractor driver!
Helping lift the thing the last few inches with a floor jack.
At one point, the gator that we were using got lifted off the ground in the back, as the smoker tilted the trailer. Here it is in position and a fire to burn the thing out.
When it got really hot, I opened it up and sprayed it down with the garden hose. It was unbelievable how much it hissed and popped. Check out the cool BBQ scar on my leg from my earlier ER Trip.
It looked like a locomotive with all of the steam coming out of it!
The next day I put shelves in it, and started a fire to season it. Sprayed everything down with PAM...repeatedly, and made my first attempt to control the temp. I mean, after all, I'm smoking for real in only 5 hours, I might as well learn how to control this thing! Here is the rib rack full-O-Spares!
Here are some Butts, Briskets, and more ribs along with my favorite rib skirt from the membrane side. Later I threw on 30 lbs of chicken legs and 15 more of sausage.
I had my vertical in the game too...just in case this one got away from me, I would still have something to serve! Here they are oozing some TBS...not bad for my first attempt with this one!
That is where my pics of the smoke end...as then I was busy cutting things up and shredding butts for the party. I will say that it was fantastic, and Mrs. Engineer (who could easily be a vegetarian) absolutely loved the brisket. She ate more of it this time than she has ever eaten before, having some for leftover for 3 consecutive nights! That to me says success!
We have a fantastic neighborhood blowout every year, and here are some more pics of our party.
Trailer of fireworks ready for deployment! In the background, lots of people enjoying my 'Que from my new rig!
No party is complete without a "Wall of Fireworks"! Here is 64,000 firecrackers ready to make some noise. I will tell you that this is awesome!
Wall of fireworks closeup...
Truck of fireworks getting staged...
Hey...there is more in the garage...and I swear, these aren't duplicates!
Wait...there's more in the garage!
And on the hill...Kids don't try this at home!
The smoker worked great, and the 4th was fantastic too. Now I have to get a trailer under this and get it prettied up a bit. I am really happy with the performance of it, as a small fire dampered way down was all it took.