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Minumum cook chamber diameter??

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi everybody, A 14" diameter x 4' long propane tank came my for free. It looks like this tank's diameter is too small for a reverse flow cooker. A cross flow plate and needed space between the plate and grill don't leave much vertical room for large pieces of pork, for instance.

                    What is the minimum diameter needed for a cooking chamber for low&slow

everything, excluding whole hogs? I'm thinking pork shoulders, turkeys, & beer can chickens.  thanks

post #2 of 7

14" does sound tight, I have a 20" diameter and have heard as small as 18" working well, lets do the math


For a RF you will need adequate space under the plate, so for sake of argument lets split half the tank in half, leaving you with the RF plate 3.5" from the bottom, deduct the thickness of the plate from the half mark, well say a 1/4" plate.

So the grates will be exactly at half giving you 3-1/4" from bottom of grate to top of RF plate

now the grates may be 3/8" thick so that leaves you with 6-5/8" clearance to the top of the smoker lid.

That clearance is for exact center.

A pork shoulder or picnic can be 4" - 6" high.


Have you thought about using the tank as a vertical water smoker? That may be a better option for your current tank.


post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

SQWIB, The vertical smoker idea is doable. I'm new to smoking food. What are the uses and advantages of vertical smokers? I'm looking for a larger diameter tank.

post #4 of 7

If you go vertical, you can set it up as a water smoker and install gas or use charcoal, others here have done that.


I guess it depends on the style of cooking you are going for.


I have a vertical and Horizontal RF and use both.


If you do a lot of very low heat smoking, you can use an electric burner with a small dutch oven for smoke.


If you have your heart set on a RF or offset, hold onto that tank and get a larger one and maybe you can use the smaller diameter tank for a warmer or firebox..

Do some searching, I am sure others on here can help you out.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

SQWIB,  Thanks for the info. I'll find a tank aroung 24" in diameter. I've heard about a tank boneyard about 100 miles away.

              Do vertical smokers typically maintain even temperatures using water and multiple stacked grates?

post #6 of 7

That tank will work fine as a RF.  Check out my build thread here. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/forum/thread/96389/new-guy-starting-a-small-rf-project


My tank is only 12" in diameter by 41" long.  Like you I was a little worried at first that it would be too tight.  I set my grates an inch below center to get extra clearance and even a large pork butt fits just fine.  You've got 2 extra inches of diameter in yours so you ought to be fine.  

post #7 of 7

Turn4fun has a point just checked out his build, great build BTW.


If you can find a larger diameter I would go larger.

I guess you need to ask yourself how you plan on using this and go from there.

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