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Is this properly called a wood smoker (Newbie question)

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am quite new to this, I have a Big Green Egg, but will be bringing this home tomorrow.

Some of the first questions I have are to use this properly should I use wood or lump charcoal?

Is the grate in the top of the firebox (sorry I only have one pic at this time) meant for really hot cooking, with the center section for lower temp grilling and the smoke-box at the left for lowest temp smoking?

How low might I expect to hold the temp in the smoke-box---after I get some trial/error fires going and learn more about it?

Is the center section meant to have charcoal under the cooking grate like a regular grill or is that meant only for the firebox section on the right?

Any other tips would be appreciated
LL
post #2 of 12
Welcome to the forum be sure to stop in the Roll Call thread and introduce yourself so we can properly welcome you.

Yes that is a wood burner and it looks pretty nice...PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #3 of 12
Do a lot of reading here and ask all the questions ya want. There's lots of good people here and a lot of good info.
post #4 of 12
1st off welcome aboard. You will get tons of help here from some really good people, willing to help with almost anything.

1) the Grate in firebox is probably for building your fire and getting your wood up so air can flow under it...I may be misunderstanding but with no pics this is my guess
2)Holding lower temps will depend on many things but with low temps your outside temps play a big role. I ran mine at 125 for a hour just playing with it but it was summer and I was fighting it the entire time..Not a lot of experience with this
3)I would think you could add charcoal in teh middle chamber if you wnated to for cooking burgers or steaks..Is there a rack in teh bottom? Usually just build a hotter fire in your fire box
4) The best tip I can give you is to search and read on this site. I read for months without every making a posts and once I got my smoker home I felt confident that I knew what i was doing. Dont be afraid to ask questions on here. I find everyone at home knows how to cook on a smoker but they all seem to have different method. I would always post on here and then able to compare what everyone would say and then you can tell what is true and whats not because if someone on here makes a false statement the someoen else will point it out in anice way.

I was opnce told it took atleast 23 hours to cook a whole hog and the same guy bet me when I cooked my first on the fourth. i was extremely confident when i started thanks to teh guys here...WOW that was long winded...Ohh he lost the ebt..It was only 9 hours
post #5 of 12
I would like to recommend using photobucket to host your images and posting them at either 640x468 or 800x600 resolution for ease of viewing.
post #6 of 12
Hello,

Looks like a decent smoker there, lots of potential. The answer to your question is maybe. PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif

HA! Just teasing, welcome to SMF!

What i mean is, yes it can be considered a wood smoker, and yes it could also be considered a charcoal smoker, it's up to you and how you want to use it. Depending on what you are cooking, and what temps it should be cooked at - PLUS, the amount of "wood flavored" effect you want - you can do all wood, all charcoal, or a mixture of the two!

Here is my take on it - and this is based only on what i can see in that one picture:

The far right firebox, CAN be grilled in - on that top rack you mentioned. For instance, you could do an awesome ribeye over a 500° wood and charcoal mix!

You could also grill in that center section, or "Smoking/BBQ chamber", but in my humble opinion, that's not what these rigs are really made for. You should use that center chamber like a true 'horizontal offset smoker'. That's where you'll do ribs, pulled pork, brisket, etc...all the good stuff!
That's because the heat in that section will be optimal for smoking meat - not grilling - when you have a fire in the firebox, but NO fuel in the smoking chamber....you are doing true, indirect cooking.

This is just my opinion, meaning - yes it's possible to grill in the center chamber, but you might as well get a Webber Kettle if you are going to grill a lot. To really use your new smoker to it's potential, you want to keep ash OUT of that center chamber - and use that for SMOKING MEAT only.

For example, brisket or pulled pork. They can take a lot of GOOD smoke. (we call it thin blue, not white and billowing!) Even with a lot of good smoke, they turn out tasty and tender. So in that instance, you could burn more wood that day and cook in the center chamber with the fire in the firebox only. The next day, you could burn charcoal with a few wood chips every so often and smoke salmon in the far, upright chamber!

That far left, tallest upright chamber is what many of us refer to as the "cold smoke" chamber, or "warming section", "slow smoke", etc...in there you can do fish, cheese, and many other things that are smoked at lower temps!

You get the idea - it's logical that the farther away you go from the fire source, the lower the temps are. Sooo...the magic formula is learning the proper techniques for smoking different foods.

Just use this forum and search the "charcoal" smoker section AND the "wood burning smoker" section - read enough here and you'll learn plenty.

Also, Google terms like "offset smoker with warming box" and you'll learn even more, from all different sites.

Of course, this is still the best, authoritative source on all things involving the love of smoked meat! biggrin.gif

The bottom line is, you just have to read a ton about what you want to smoke, and what fuel to use, and what temps to cook at - and you're in the game!

Brian
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Possible upgrades to existing smoker? (SS Shelving/Tuning plates/insulation)

Does someone have ideas where I might salvage stainless steel shelves for a unit like this? I am thinking appliance recycling place or would a metal scrapyard possibly have expanded metal stainless that would work?

I will be looking to add tuning plates to the center unit, is 1/4 inch metal best for these and there is a baffle slanted downward from firebox (sorry I forgot to get a pic of that) from firebox to center section, should the tuning plates sit just above the height of that baffle?

And last---has anyone insulated a preexisting unit such as this? Is it work the work involved? Would it be best to insulate on the inside or outside and is there such a thing as a best approach to this?

Thanks
Dan
LL
LL
LL
post #8 of 12
Looks like smoker needs some tender loving care. Make sure to take a wire brush to that unit and clean off as much rust as possible or have someone with a media blaster (walnut/glass or baking soda) remove the rust for ya. Don't use a sand blaster because that will be too aggressive, then reseason it well and you are good to go.

As for insulating your smoker, the easy was is to toss a welders blanket over the cooking chamber.
post #9 of 12
Welcome to the site. Looks like you found a pretty sweet rig there. A little cleanup on it and you'll be rolling. Yes, you can find stainless expanded metal at a salvage yard as that is where I found mine. If not, then the regular stuff will work too. Yes, you can use either wood or charcoal. I use all wood myself. I suggest you read as much as you can under the wood and charcoal smoker sections here, look at some of the builds others have done and you will get a better understanding of what we do. Use the search feature in the toolbar to look for subjects that you need help on. You read a little bit everyday and ask a few questions here and there, and I promise you, by the end of the month, you will be ready for your first smoke. DON"T be afraid to ask questions, even if you think its a stupid one, for there are NO stupid questions asked here. And yes, check out photobucket for your photos, that way we can see them nice and large. biggrin.gif
post #10 of 12
Now thats a fine looking unit there it just needs some TLC and you will be off and running a nice smoker. I would listen to all theses guys here they are giving you some good advice and infomation for sure.
post #11 of 12
Dan,

Looks like a great find.

Does someone have ideas where I might salvage stainless steel shelves for a unit like this? I am thinking appliance recycling place or would a metal scrapyard possibly have expanded metal stainless that would work? Salvage yards are a good start. I find them (here where I live) hard to find good stainless. Them you also have to have a welder that will weld stainless. If you are planning on stainless grading to carbon frame then that’s another issue. You just have to have the correct equipment and material that’s all. I would go with carbon metal grades and season them correctly myself.

I will be looking to add tuning plates to the center unit, is 1/4 inch metal best for these and there is a baffle slanted downward from firebox (sorry I forgot to get a pic of that) from firebox to center section, should the tuning plates sit just above the height of that baffle? Yes ¼” will work from everything I have read and seen. Would not go less then ¼”.

And last---has anyone insulated a preexisting unit such as this? Is it work the work involved? Would it be best to insulate on the inside or outside and is there such a thing as a best approach to this? I would not worry about it with this unit. It appears to be 3/16” and that does a good job holding heat. It would be a lot of work and expense to add to this type unit. Now, saying that, if I was going to add insulation I would only do it to the warmer box and do it on the inside and cover it with 1/8th sheet metal to keep the weight down.
post #12 of 12

Smokemaster

This is a Smokemaster pit built just outside of Austin, Texas during the late 90' and early 2000's. I would love to know more details about it. The original design by the owner Don Burnett was brilliant and has been copied by many current highly respected pit builders. Someone very close to me is once again building the Smokemaster pits under an new name but same design and quality and still built right in the heart of Texas. Big Hat Smokers and Grills can help you with accessories for your pit. You can send me a private message if you get a minute or through this website.. www.bighatbbq.com
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