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SmokingPits custom smoker build

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi all, thought I'd share my build now that it is coming along.


I refer to this as project "Thin Blue Smoke". After cooking on my Traeger Texas and a Louisiana Whole Hog WH-1320 I noted the positives and negatives (in my opinion) of both and started working with a builder on a custom design.


I liked the versatility and flexibility of the WH-1320 as well as the thicker metal. The Traeger had it beat hands down for cooking quality. The WH-1320 had a 65 degree temp swing from right to left measured 1" and 8" off the grate. Measurements were taken with dual digital probes (ET-73). The Traeger proved more consistent with only a 14 degree swing I my memory serves me.


We went with WH-1320 dimensions but totally redesigned the chamber. Temp tests were performed with a precision 8 probe digital temp recorder that stored the data on a PC for reference after the cook tests. This data was used to re-design the heat management plates, exhaust location and the addition of  a adjustable pass through vent. This vent allows heat and smoke to pass from chamber to chamber. The smoker can be run as two independent 660 sq. in. smokers or one 1,320 sq. in. smoker.


The feed systems are Louisiana as they provide for hotter max temps and far more granularity throughout the temp range. They currently run the new digital controls. They will however be replaced at a later date with a new superior feed & heat system. Each chamber has two thermometers and a removable front shelf for each.


The doors have been offset strapped to fix the gap between the doors that leaked heat and smoke on the Louisiana WH-1320 produced by Dansons.


The WH-1320 is made of 14 gage steel. This cooker is made of welded 10 gage steel. It adds about 80 lbs to the cooker but it retains heat far better and should burn less pellets. The added heat retention seems to help with temp consistencies. The builder stated from right to left he recorded just a few degrees difference in temps.


We still have allot to do. Hope you all can appreciate the work... Even if it is a pellet cooker.  You know... I actually have fallen for pellet cookers. That is what inspired me to go forward with this. That and the fact Dansons did not do right by me at all!


The builder will remain anonymous until the unveiling of the cooker.










Edited by Wingman - 7/2/10 at 5:59pm
post #2 of 19

Nice build.  I hope you get lots of good Q out of it.

post #3 of 19

Wow that is incredible Rob that looks great, nice work cant wait to see it finished too. looks like alot of work there.

post #4 of 19

This looks nice I think all of us have always wanted to improve on something or another.

post #5 of 19

Yes sir ree that looks like one mighty fine smoker you have there Wingman. Now it does looks as if the steel is way heavier then a traditional traeger so you should have more heat retained by it. Over all a pretty darn good smoker if you ask me. The craftsmenship is off the chain too.

post #6 of 19

I've been wanting to ask this for a few months. What are those knobs for on the lids?

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks all...


Biaviian, the knobs on the doors are Thermometers. They are covered with aprotective paper so they don't get scratched. The thing is starting to take shape but still looks a bit rough. The grates are still the old bad ones that came with the original WH-1320.

post #8 of 19


This looks great---Can't wait to see the Qview from this guy!





post #9 of 19

Oh OK.  Thanks for the explanation.  I have been wondering as I look at all of these custom builds.  That think looks great!

post #10 of 19

Thumbs Up'd

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks all.. Here is a chart that shows the temp test data I did on the Treager Texas VS the WH-1320. The flatter the line the better. This is the type of thing we are going for. Very Consistant temps. What we are shooting for is extremely consistant temps throughout the chamber. In fact I want to see this thing equal to or better then the Traeger values as far as fluctuation.


My biggest problem should be lifting the heavy thing upa couple flights of stairs to my upper deck.



post #12 of 19

Looking good!

post #13 of 19


That's too technical for me.

Show me the graph of how many taste buds exploded over a various numbers of bites of particular smoked meats from your smoker. Then just in case I still have trouble with the graph, please include a pictorial display.





post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

Ha Ha! LOL This is why I like this forum! I enjoy a good sense of humor. I do tend to get to technical some times. Your right... It all comes down to the Q!


Well... truth be told.... Most folks can cook just as tasty of smoked foods on a $200 cooker as they can on a very expensive one. The big difference is the new technology allows one to do it with consistency and much less hassle.


Instead of another chart I need to get this thing here and show video of the products coming off of it. Believe me I can't wait to do that. As of late yesterday I decided not to run the Dansons feed system at all. I called the builder and we agreed to change course. I was going to start with the Dansons feed system  it and swap it out when the new feed system arrived. Just to get it here sooner.  


It will take an extra week maybe 2 at the most of waiting. The new feed system will have the new digital controls. By then I should also have the BBQr's Delight pellets coming up to the Pacific Northwest. I hooked a local dealer up with the pellet manufacture. I like their pellets allot more then Traeger pellets.  I can't wait until all this is over and I can cook like mad on it.

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

Man I'm wishing I had this thing on site today! My Traeger will be packed tight today.

post #16 of 19

One of the nicest builds I have seen - amazing detail.


Go into production and I'm your first customer!!!!!

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks igolf2, from what I can say... You can expect to see a production line soon. I provided some data and requirements for the build. The builder did the rest. When the time comes I'll introduce eveyone to the builder and you can work with him on aquiring a pit if you wish. The guy is one of the best product and service providers I have ever worked with. He is one of those who gets that satisfied customers are who brings in $$ to his business. Build a quality product and provide a quality service and they will come.

post #18 of 19



Thanks for the info - keep feeding us Qview - Can't wait to see the finished smoker!!

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

I thought I would provide an update. It's time to announce the builder. This custom pit and a new line of pellet pits are built by Don Cary owner of All Things BBQ. Some folks emailed me and had a good idea it was him. As much as I would have loved to tell you all early on, I gave him my word I would keep it under wraps until he was ready to provide the new line. Don is also the builder of the well known Yoder stick burners. The Yoder line of pits comes with a "lifetime burnout" warranty. This warranty will come with each model in his pellet cooker line up.


Here's what I can tell you so far... His new line will consist of a 400 Sq, In 500 & 600 sq. in. model. Initial testing has shown temp reading across the grate end to end were within 3 degrees from left to right. They were able to reach max temp of 700 degrees. I believe this was on the 400 Sq. In. cooker. I will find out more and verify if this will be on all the models. Don has really raised the bar for pellet smokers in my opinion.


I will be flying down to Wichita within the next couple weeks to spend 3 days with Don and his team. Two days will be spent cooking on his different pits as well as my custom pellet pooper. I will also be cooking on his Wichita model of stick burner. I will be shooting allot of video while I'm down there and will share when I get back. He is also considering building a pellet feed system for the Wichita model. This model has a pull out top rack giving it over 1,400 Sq. In of cooking surface.



As far as an update on my smoker... Initially I was going to run the Louisiana (Dansons) hoppers and feed systems then swap them later when the Yoder components were completed. This was not a popular choice since they shipped me a non functioning pit that was not factory refurbished as I was told. I decided to wait and accept the pit all Yoder with the exception of the stand. We didn't see a reason to reconstruct a new stand as the current one on the WH-1320 was very well built.


They actually cooked on my pit last weekend and did some more fine tuning. I mentioned Don's name but I would also like to mention his lead tech Joe who has been doing allot of design work. There are others as well. He has a electrical engineer designing the controller boards and other electrical related components. There are welders & painters as well. So far I'm really impressed with the folks at All Things BBQ. If any of you are in the Wichita area, stop by his All Things BBQ store and check out his new pit. He has one on display on his showroom floor.


I will update this thread with more as I get it.

Edited by Wingman - 7/21/10 at 12:52pm
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