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Bell Fab Feedback Please

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Looking for some feedback here, especially from JDT, Bman62526, and anyone else who owns a Bell Fab unit. I got the OK from the wife to pull the trigger on a smokericon_lol.gif, so I am thinking 20” x 36” from Bell Fab with these options. This is the cheapest time to change my mind so I would like everyone’s feedback on this.

What I am wondering from all of you is, would you change or add anything else besides these options?

· Stainless steel handles
· Propane log starter
· Pot Warmer
· 14" wagon wheels 1/1" axle
· "T" Handle for easy relocation
· Side exit smoke stack
· Another set of smaller wheels on the other end and a hook (to help loading onto tilt trailer)

Thanks in advance,

post #2 of 26

New Bellfab on the way

After reading posts from JDT and others, I finally ordered a new Bellfab and it is currently enroute - due to arrive Wednesday icon_mrgreen.gif ! So I can't tell you much right now, but in a couple of days I'll have pictures and first impressions. I have the 48" on order, I purchased a used flat-bed 6x10 for transport and installed a winch on the front for loading/unloading. I'll let you know how all that works out. I'm very excited for this baby to get here. The other long-time users will be able to give you some good feedback. I can tell you Craig Bell has been a really good guy to deal with and very helpful, and I think it's cool ordering a handmade 'one-at-a-time' unit.
post #3 of 26
Good idea - his smokers are awesome for the money!

For starters, I don't know that you need the propane log starter...I mean, if he was building you a trailer model - maybe.

Yes - have him put the exhaust pipe on the end cap, at grate height - not coming out of the top...eventually, if he hasn't already - he'll make that standard.

The only thing I didn't like about mine - which I modded - is the heat baffle he put in. I was VERY specific in an email to him, but he didn't do it as requested.

The baffle he put in extended HALF way into the smoker, so there was an extreme hot spot right in the middle of the main cooking grate...

I told him to make the baffle come into the smoker only 6-8" and at a downward angle - so that I could add tuning plates.

The baffle on mine ended up being about 16 - 18 long, and not welded at the angle I requested.

However, like I said - easily modified by me - and for $450 - $500, I challenge anyone to find a smoker that heavy duty. The firebox is 5/16" solid rolled steel...main chamber is 1/4" The whole thing on a pallet weighed in at 540 lbs.

Bell Fab's "patio" model - what you are looking at and what I have, looks very similar to the Klose back yard model - which costs $1,350.
I know Klose has an awesome reputation and I'm sure those smokers are top notch. However, I won't ever be able to spend that kinda cash on a smoker...I know, I know - never say never. OK - unless I win more than $2 million in the lottery which I've never played - I won't ever be able to spend that kinda cash on a smoker.


Good luck with your purchase!
post #4 of 26
It looks like a nice unit. It should work well for you.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have any details on the baffle and tuning plates? Dimensions, locations, etc?

I don't have any easy way to fab stuff anymore. I just want to season and use it upon arrival.


post #6 of 26
I bought the 20 x 36 last November and I love it. The T handle, wagon wheels, warming plate are all standard. I move mind around without any problem with the T handle, on concrete of course.
I had him to install a 8" baffle and lower the smokestack to grate level and also modify the fire box so that I could use it for a grill. He charged me $75 for those mods.
The firebox grill doesn't work as well as I hoped due to the lid the being more toward the front. It works, just have to stoop over to get to your food.
The baffle works very good.
You will not find a better smoker for the money.

post #7 of 26
I looked hard at his smokers. Alot of bang for the buck. Shipping was the deal killer. Shipping was about another half the cost of the smoker.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 

Glad to hear those are standard now, looks like I'll have just a couple of mods I want. I'm happy about getting the t-handle, but need 4 wheels for loading onto my tilt trailer. Does the t-handle stow out of the way when not in use?


Yeah, I'm not happy about the shipping either. It is still less than a Horizon, Yoder, etc though. I thought about making a road trip out of it one weekend to pick it up but my wife can't survive more than about 6 hours in the truck, even with magazines, iPhone, and naps.
post #9 of 26
That T-handle gives me an idea for another mod to my CGSP PDT_Armataz_01_36.gif

Looks like an awesome smoker. Enjoy!
post #10 of 26
is there a website for Bell Fab smokers?
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 

Also, any of you in the 20" class, does a second shelf help more than it hurts? I want a second shelf but could see where it might limit my height too much. Thoughts?

Thanks again,

post #12 of 26
The t handle is attached with a pin, simply to remove.

post #13 of 26

On that 2nd shelf, it slides right out. You can push it back out of your way or take it out completely. I have smoked a turkey with the top shelf in and had plenty of room.

post #14 of 26
I own a 24"X48"X24"X24" mounted on small 2 wheel trailer purchased from BellFab and am very pleased with it. Did some small mods myself and don't think you can buy a better build then this for the money. Very pleased with mine.
post #15 of 26
his basic design is along the classic offset smoker design, hot end cold end kinda cooking, the stack mod I don't know about, I know its essential on cheaper thinner pits to maintain heat but on heavy gauge pits you don't have to worry about that IMO, Horizon, Klose, and Gator don't worry about stack at grill height and they make some of the best smokers in the world. Some have alledged a grate level stack helps to smooth out the temperature acorss the chamber and others feel lowering the stack gives you more stale smoke along that top rack and should be avoided so it all depends on who you listen to.
With hot end cold end style cooking most try and avoid the very end by the firebox and you gotta rotate your meat or have it finish hours apart, I knew what I was getting into from cooking on vintage oklahoma joes and klose cookers but since joining up here and seeing various tuning plate, convection plates, baffles, dampers and such I am modding my bellfab with a baffle and convection plate so I can do bigger loads of meat with more consistency but if you know the smoker is 30-50 degrees hotter at one end than the other this can be used to your advantage of course so its really a matter of personal preference.
Bellfab pits are certainly hard to beat money wise, the horizon I wanted was $2245 in town, $2400 to get a patio lang or klose brought to town(all of which are smaller and thinner gauge steel) I was looking at about half that if I had someone deliver it as they were quoting $500-550 to deliver a $700 bellfab, I was fortunate enough to go pick mine up which cost about half what the shipping company wanted even in a 10-12 mpg big block 4 door dually.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Any pics of the new born yet? Just getting jittery for mine... Curious as to your loading situation, trying to plan mine right now. Pics of that too if you have any would be much appreciated.

How long from day of order to delivery for your smoker?


post #17 of 26
when I got mine it was about 5 weeks between order and pickup, not that it takes him that long to build one its just other people are in line in front of you, he told me he can make a patio style in 3-4 days but trailer units can take longer depending on pit and trailer size as well as options as he puts grills, turkey burners and wood racks on them if you order it that way.
post #18 of 26
The smoker in the above picture is $450 to $500?? If so, i may have to rethink my plans. I'm supposed to go pick up my tank in the morning for a custom build, but at that price I'm wasting my time, because I'm going to have close to that in my pit, building it myself... Although mine is going to be 24x48 rather than 20x36 or whatever that one is... Where is he located?
post #19 of 26

I got one too

I'm anxiously watching this thread. I just mailed off my check today. I'm getting a 48X24. I shopped hard and couldn't find more bang for my buck. Still undecided whether I'm going to fork out for shipping or make a weekend roadie to go pick up. Aside from the cost, I'm afraid of freight damage as well. Mine is supposed to be ready in April, so I have a little time to decide.
post #20 of 26
What did you pay for a 24x48, and where are they located? I didnt see it on the site unless im blind.
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