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Need advice on Burner

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Been lurking around for a while while building a smoker, I have picked up a bunch of great stuff.
I have been building a smoker for a while and finally got to the point of testing it out.
I am having challanges with controlling the temp of inside the box. I am using a "side burner" and control valve from a outdoor grill, on high heats up to over 300, which is OK, but on Low to keep it under 200, the flame keeps going out. I have tried to block some of the holes in the burner with limited success.
I would like to find soemthing to give a decent flame and keep it around 175.

The box I have is an insulated warmer from a restraunt, measures 20 x 40 x 26

What I am looking for are some ideas for a burner. It seems after it heats up I could keep it warm with a candle.

I have a 3" damper for air input on the bottom of the door and a 3" exhaust at the top rear, both are wide open.

To monitor the temp I am using a digital meat probe, (on sale at Walmart)

Any ideas/advice would be appreciated.


post #2 of 19
You say you are using a side burner from a grill; did it function properly when it was on the grill? Could you turn it down to low and it wouldn’t go out?

What color is the flame when it is on high and then when it is on low just before it goes out?

Can you post a pic of the smoker?

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yes it is a side burner off of a cheap gas grill, I believe the issue may be the size of the orrifice and or the pressure of the regulator, or both.

I will snap a few pictures later today and try to figure out how to most them.

I think I have less than $30.00 into this thing so far so worst case I may just buy a smoker at walmart for the burner.

The flame is nice and blue is just seems that on the lowest setting it is still too hot/or does not have enough pressure to stay lit.

post #4 of 19
I've been looking for low power burners too, with minimal luck.

The burner in a typical gas smoker won't be any better I don't think than the side-burner you describe, the BTU rating will be about the same.

A bunsen burner might do the trick, the regular type is only about 2-3000 BTU instead of the 12-15000 BTU from a burner.
Hobby stores sell them online.

post #5 of 19
Most likely the reason the flame is going out is because it is starved for air. There has to be air from outside the box for the flame to consume, its called make up air. It sounds like your potentialy making a recipe for disaster.
post #6 of 19
Yeah, whatever burner you use, the air intake for the venturi needs to be outside the cooking chamber so it gets fresh air. Especially with wood chips, the O2 inside the chamber will be very low.

But big burners just don't do very well when you cut the gas real low and it's not safe to do so IMHO.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, I will post some pics tommorow, I have a 3 inch vent for air input at the bottom front and the a 3 inch vent for exhaust in the top rear. I have a 1 1/4 pipe thru the side that I run the venturi thru to the gas valve.

I am liking the bunson burner idea. The box itself is insulated so once it heats up it should be pretty easy to maintain.

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

pictures of my smoker

As they say a picture is worth a few words

Hope this is the way to do this.

I saw a post that says to do it this way, but then I see a way to attach files directly. So I will give this a shot.


I added a needle vlave and am in the process of testing it out. Any feedback good or bad would be appreciated, any ideas on a reliable source of heat as well would be appreciated. I am almost thinking of setting up a hybred. Gas for 225 and up and electic for anything under that.


post #9 of 19
ever try putting a water pan in there?

i use a side burner from a cheapy grill on my smoker as well...water pan or a heat sink works well..for the heat sink i use a 1/4" piece of 12"X12" steel plate

i will take pics tomorrow
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
No I have not used either, good idea. Since I was just seasoning it, and testing out I did not bother with a water pan.

I have some heavy plate around that I can fab up some type of heat sink if the water does not work.

Since I have added the needle valve it seems to be better. I replaced the regulator with an adjustble one, but I dont think that really helped.

I was able to stay at 170 for good amount of time, then cranked it to 200, was able to stay between 200 and 210 for some time.

Was hoping to cook in it over the weekend, but we have another one comming up...

post #11 of 19
A pan of water will help keep temps down closer to 210 from something higher, but it won't do much good if you're aiming for a temp lower than that.
It's mostly useful for charcoal cookers where temps might otherwise spike towards 300* without the energy-absorbing effects of vaporization.

I'd be surprised if a water pan will drop your lowest temps more than 10 degrees - But it would be interesting to find out.
If you try it, start with hot or boiling water to shorten the time required to reach equilibrium.

Other heat absorbing materials, like thick steel plate or stove brick or anything else like that won't reduce your low temps, they will only delay how long it takes to reach a steady temp. This is assuming that they are entirely contained within the insulated cabinet.

Electric is probably the best answer for sub-200 cooking in your unit.

What do you want to cook at <200*?
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks i was thinking of smokeing some fish, home sausage/salami and some venison jerky for sub 200 temps.

I think I have enough room to use propane to quicky heat the box up to 200 and use electric to keep it at that temp,

I will continue to play with combinations of valves and burners until I find a setup that I feel is safe and reliable.

I have learned alot by reading stuff in this forum, hopefully I can give soemthing back.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Trying a different way to post the pics to see if it works.

<a href="http://s703.photobucket.com/albums/w...nt=smoker1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/w...et/smoker1.jpg" border="0" alt="Smoker 1"></a>

This is the Front

<a href="http://s703.photobucket.com/albums/w...mokerracks.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/w...mokerracks.jpg" border="0" alt="inside"></a>

Inside View

<a href="http://s703.photobucket.com/albums/w...okerburner.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/w...okerburner.jpg" border="0" alt="Burner View"></a>

Burner placement View

<a href="http://s703.photobucket.com/albums/w...kerburner2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/w...kerburner2.jpg" border="0" alt="Burner top View"></a>

Another Burner View Not sure how many pics I can post

<a href="http://s703.photobucket.com/albums/w...mokervalve.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/w...mokervalve.jpg" border="0" alt="Valve"></a>

Valve and venturi tube

<a href="http://s703.photobucket.com/albums/w...rontdamper.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/w...rontdamper.jpg" border="0" alt="Front Damper"></a>

Front damper

<a href="http://s703.photobucket.com/albums/w...rontdamper.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/w...rontdamper.jpg" border="0" alt="Front Damper"></a>

<a href="http://s703.photobucket.com/albums/w...mperinside.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i703.photobucket.com/albums/w...mperinside.jpg" border="0" alt="Damper"></a>

Inside View of top Damper
post #14 of 19

post #15 of 19
very nice setup... i need to find something like yours..lol

i do not care for commercially made units, i am more of a build it cheap kind of guy..lol
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Trying a different way to post pictures
post #17 of 19
i put an "afterburner" in my ecb and i couldn't be happier with it. sometimes i crank it for the pre-heat and when i come out to check on it, the smoker is humming at 400*. it came with several different jets too. i put the .038 (?) jet in it for a jerky smoke and it happily ran at 175* for six hours.
here's a few pics...

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 


Thanks, I have talked to him, real nice guy, probably will go that way if I cant figure out a safe home brew set up.

Jerky looks real good!

How do you like the way the alarms set on your maverick et 73? I have heard lots of good things and am looking at getting one next week. I figure I can at least set a low temp alarm in case of a failure until i figure something out.

Thanks again.
post #19 of 19
You did a very nice job with your smoker. There is something special about the things we make. Great job
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