500 gal reverse flow build (my first smoker)

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by parrish15, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. So I acquired a 500 gallon tank. So i did some research and i am building a reverse flow, after finding the calculator discovered the firebox is at 90% volume. What do you guys think will it work ok without a lot of babysitting and constant loading?

    By the way i am an experienced fabricator and have at my disposal, everything but a plasma cutter and a tig welder.
  2. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    IMHO , I feel you will be fine, I too burnSticks ...

    and I average 45min. to an hour between additions of fuel. I am out with it , but that's part of the fun , right?

    And a steady hand and a stick is just as good ( or better) than a Plasma or TIG.

    Have fun and as always...
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
  3. I want to mount the flow plate just below the centerline of the tank
    Any pros or.cons
  4. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    parrish15, thanks for starting your own build thread.I have a Lang 60 Deluxe and my reverse flow plate sits below center line and my bottom rack is at center line.The height of you r.f. plate will be determined by the location of the top of the cutout between the fire box and the cook chamber. That is why most of the builds you see here has the opening near or at the top of the fire box.
  5. I want to mount my firebox a litter higher than most for ground clearance, and then move the plate higher my main concern is the volume above and below the plate mine will be 60% below the plate 40% above
  6. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    90% volume should cause you no problems.  The RF plate should be at least 4 1/2" below your bottom grate, anywhere from 4 1/2" to 6" should be good.
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Parrish......evening.....  In my book, you are messing with a perfectly good smoker design to accommodate your personal preference..  Why build a smoker that may not work correctly to adjust for ground clearance ??.....   It's  your call.....  I'm here to help you build the best smoker possible... one that works as well, if not better than any smoker sold on the market...   If you adjust the build as you have mentioned, you may end up  [​IMG]    wondering why it doesn't work as expected....   There's my 2 cents......   

  8. I agree with Dave, ..That's really high for the reverse flow plate, and wasting a lot of room in the cooking chamber.

    When you say firebox is at 90% volume, are you saying the firebox is sized at 90% of the size of the cooking chamber, or is it 90% the recommended size for that cooking chamber? In your research, have you checked out the pit calculator?   I recommend shooting for a firebox  120% according to the pit calculator.  I generally install the reverse flow plate approx 1/3 the height of the cooking chamber, checking the pit calculator, and install the bottom cooking rack at dead center.  Those specs, along with some other important details, always produces a well breathing , even temp pit.  Almost always, when I see an attempt at a reverse flow that does not follow those guidelines, they have problems.

    If your stuck having to mount the firebox really high, and cant engineer around that fact, I'd think about a different design cooker.  I have been thinking about a cooker that has the firebox to cooking chamber above the cooking rack, as with the jambo pits, and plan on experimenting with that soon. But really cant give any advise because I have not built or operated that style cooker yet. Maybe someone else has and can give some performance reviews.

    Here is a typical 500 gallon cooker configuration for a reverse flow, as you can see , it has plenty of ground clearance with out the cooking chamber being too high. If you are struggling with placement issues for a difficult installation, inform us of the installation requirements and maybe we can help you figure out some options there.

  9. smokerct

    smokerct Fire Starter

    I did exactly this on my build and it is working perfectly, my temp from left to right is close enough I can't tell the difference with my analog thermometers. I would stay with what is proven to work, building a smoker is a lot of work, rebuilding it is even worse.
  10. Thanks for all the help all of you have awesome answers thats why i came here for my advice

    Just in the planing faze now, with that being said here is what i will be doing

    -I have been using the pit calculator

    -flow plate at the bottom 1/3 plate will me bade from two pieces of steel with angle in the middle for drain

    -3 levels of sliding racks

    - 6in or 8 in chimney made from heavy wall pipe

    -firebox 30x30x36

    -the opening from firebox will be at the top

    -warming box (sometime in the future)but not now I can add this anytime

    -remove the dome from one end of the tank (firebox side) I will be using the dome for a fire pit, a guy offered me 300$ for it (after i add legs and handles)

    At time of this post my doors are to small I cut them too high they are 4 in above centerline, so I will fix that
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2013
  11. well I got a little done this weekend the firebox end has the dome removed and i turned it into a fire pit
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Very nice fire pit....       Dave
  13. So  I ran some numbers ant looks like I will have 12.5 in below the flow plate and 24 in above for the cook chamber.

    my next question is should the reverse flow plate stop at the dome or should i make it longer ( the dome is 17 in deep and 36 wide)
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    parrish, evening.....  did you come up with about 308 sq in FB / CC opening ??   then 12.5" is good... but I would raise the RF plate to 15" above the bottom of the smoker to help eliminate friction loss.....  That will still give you 20 inches or so for food racks....  Stop the Rf plate at the dome.... 17" is good clearance to reduce friction loss as the smoke and heat make a 180 deg turn and head for the stack....  Insert the FB into the cook chamber at the 15" level.... weld the RF plate to the top of the FB....   Cut  the opening for the FB to CC 2 1/2" below the top of the FB and match the radius of the CC for the opening...  That gives the most room for grub and good air flow.....    Leave all the numbers where they are and you can make the FB bigger for ash collection and wood.....  The CC has no idea how large a FB you are using....That's why the numbers can stay the same....   

  15. I usually will cut my door about 1inch inside of the dome weld, To give me plenty of room for a flange and for it to 'look right", so putting the end of the reverse flow plate right at the weld extends it past the cooking rack an inch as well, plenty to catch any drippings. Think about installing some light expanded metal at the end , because sausage sometimes has a mind of its own and will try to work its way off of the rack and fall below the reverse flow plate. I swear they are just trying to escape.
    daveomak likes this.
  16. Getting excited now just placed my steel order and I expect big things to happen this weekend
    Fire box
    Reverse flow plate
    Mabee firebox mounted
  17. Forgot to add I have the chimney as well. Any cons to mounting the chimney to the end of the smoker ( I removed the dome from that end)
  18. Removed the dome..????[​IMG]
  19. yes i cut off the dome it was worth 300$ i used that money for a firebox
  20. dwsmith43

    dwsmith43 Fire Starter

    Sounds good. Can't wait to see the pics.

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