Advice on building a small trailer unit?

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by bman62526, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    My brother has agreed to fab me a small trailer unit, as I need a bigger smoker! I'm thinking I should end up with a cooking area of 30 x 60" or something similar to that.

    My brother and father are VERY resourceful, as are my cousins, uncles, etc...and several of them farm AND weld. Therefore, it's only a matter of time before I can come up with a helluva deal on some sort of 1/4" steel tank...if I don't get it for free, that is.

    So my question is, who has done this? Who has an offset smoker about the size I'm talking, that they made themselves?

    Do you have any advice on do's and dont's or "things I'd do different next time" advice? Please keep in mind, I'm not looking for links to build plans found on the internet, as those won't come with tales of experience [​IMG]

    I can google for build plans if I want. I'm just looking for advice from anyone that has actually built one of these.

    ° What kind of trailer, or running gear, and what should that cost me?
    ° What size, type of tank?
    ° What tank mods to do? (Reverse flow, or are baffles and tuning
    plates ok, etc)
    ° Firebox - placement? Classic offset horizontal on the side, or maybe
    the kind that still provides indirect heat, but where the firebox is
    located on the back side of the smoker, down near the bottom of the
    smoker tank and centered?
    ° Accessories? Should I consider a rotisserie, or perhaps something else
    incorporated into the build? I will mostly be doing ribs, butts, birds,
    etc...I may not ever have the desire to do a whole hog, who knows.

    All I know for sure, is that I want to burn wood, and I want a propane starter on it.

    Any other advice you want to share, I'm all ears. I am super-excited about getting this project started in the Spring, so any help you can offer is MUCH appreciated.

  2. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Hey hits yet on this, but if it helps, my brother just called and said he has a fuel oil tank that would allow me a cooking area of 40 x 60"...not too shabby!! So....if anyone has build a smoker with an oval-shaped fuel oil tank - I'd love to hear from you.
  3. txbbqman

    txbbqman Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    All I can say is if I were to ever to another build, and I am sure I will some day.

    I would definitely go with a reverse flow, I hear so many good things about them that it makes me sick I didn't do it.

    I personally prefer the classic off set for the firebox.

    A build like the one you are doing is only limited by your imagination if you ask me.

    I am sure somebody with more knowledge will be along to give advice
  4. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks BBQ man...

    I don't know much about advantages vs. disadvantages of reverse flow. Eventually, I'll download some plans for each type and go from there, I guess.
  5. txbbqman

    txbbqman Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    IMHO a reverse flow just seems to cook more evenly through out the chamber.

    The build I ( we ) did was for a buddy of mine who cooks Comps. and I cook with him on occasion and we have seen reverse flows and just simply love the way they cook.

    Sometime this summer we will probably be upgrading his....
  6. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Do you have ANY pics of that build you did?!?
  7. txbbqman

    txbbqman Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    No but I can probably get some, give me a day or 2 I'll see what I can get
  8. Brian, I built a smoker last winter/ spring....They take some time, so be prepared, especially if you aren't doing the welding yourself...Let me tell you how I did mine, and how much I think it cost me....If your family is as resourceful as you say and can find you a tank, then that will keep most of your costs down. I found an old propane tank in some tall weeds at my church and asked if I could have it, and they told me if I'd get it out of their way, I could have it. As for the trailer, I also got this for free...One of my friends had an old 12 ft pop up camper trailer that all was left was the frame, he was gonna puts some boards on it and make a small 4 wheeler trailers, but he didn't wanna take the time to do it, so he gave it to me. But if you can't find one like that, you could probably find an old trailer frame somewhere for less than $500 I would think....Metal is gonna be your biggest expense, for cooking racks, your firebox, all these little things you don't even think of til you get to them... Like I said I built mine mostly last winter, I spent about $200-$250 on metals and hinges and thermometers....Then I found all the stuff I did wrong and stuff I wanted to add to it, about a month ago, and went and spent another $150-$200 on metal and hinges and different things. Like I said, I got my tank and trailer for free, and I've still probably got in the neighborhood of $500-$700 in my smoker. Its not reverse flow, its just a wood burner on one end connected to a 250 or 300 gallon propane tank. Now I'm adding a warmer box on top of the firebox. Make sure you incorporate a drain of some type to get all the grease out. Its not that hard to do, just go slow and be careful, especially if your going with a propane tank....Any other questions just ask...
  9. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks, SmokerRook! I will talk it over with my brother and share your thoughts. Also, if I have any questions, I'll PM you or something.

    I think the bottom line is, I really want a smaller trailer unit, but I just cannot afford the $1500 - $2000 for one buying it retail. That's what the good used ones are going for, in the size category that I'm looing at.

    So - If I can build one for 1/3 of that, great! My brother is convinced that he can get a good, free trailer. He already has the I'll be prepared to throw down cash for steel, expanded metal, hitch, brackets, hardware, some beer for the builders - and then see how it goes! [​IMG]
  10. txbbqman

    txbbqman Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Good Luck with the build, and be sure to take lots of pictures and keep us updated on you progress.

    We love watching builds
  11. Bman, I recently built a reverse flow out of a 60 gallon air compressor tank and used a 30gal tank for the firebox, all mounted on a small trailer. I had some pix in some other threads (gone now), but if you like i could take some in the next couple o'days and post 'em up for ya. Mine fit on the trailer about the size of a jet-ski trailer, which worked out just right. Ended up with around $300 in it when finished.
    I was really thrilled with the way it turned out, and even more thrilled by how well it cooks.! (so is my family)
  12. ncdodave

    ncdodave Smoking Fanatic

    I got a 300 gallon propane tank on a trailer for $300 off craigslist and am planning on a reverse flow also. The trailer is all wired and i just need to put springs on it as there are no springs since it is farm equipment. I found a huge firebox that will cost me another $35 when i get it next week. I dont weld but i will have my local hs welding class build it for me this summer.

    I thought about a center firebox but the trailer and tank are at the perfect height for a firebox off the back end. watch your gvw on the trailer. mt trailer is rated at 5k. most trailers like tent trailer, jetski or boat trailers are rated at 1500 lbs or under. My big purchase is gonna be the racks and hinges but, i have 4 months to come up with those.

    Its to bad all the posts after october were lost but keep looking around at all the other posts and pictures of home made rigs they will give you all sorts of ideas and all kinds of advice.
  13. Bman,
    Check out my Build Pics Mine's made from a 275 gal oil tank. Maybe it'll give you some ideas.

    And here's a pic of my pig roast I did last fall:

  14. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for the info! I may send you a PM about those pics. First I'm going to have a look at the tank my brother has and decide if that is what I want to use.
  15. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Scott, WOW is that a load of detailed pics. Thank you! I think this is the exact same tank my brother got for me. I will definitely hit you up for build details sometime this summer. Thanks!
  16. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks - good advice on the GVW...that will have to be considered carefully. I'll go over this with the family members that will be "directing" this build.
  17. I'd be glad to help pal. I'm no expert, but mine turned out well (with much advise from members here). I'll see if i can get some pix for ya today and post 'em up.
  18. Anytime! Hope it helped.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]:biggri n:
  19. bigbaldbbq

    bigbaldbbq Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I need some help with some ideas for cleaning a fuel oil tank. I was thinking about just scrubbing it out several times with degreaser and dish soap. The once it is ready to go (cut and mounted) doing a big burn out on it to burn all of the reside out of the tank. The last think I want to do is make people sick.

    I know it can be cleaned I was just wondering if anybody has any tips for me. That is excatly the same tank I am looking at. How did you clean it? And I like that design. I may be borrowing it.
  20. Well i had a build thread on my reverse flow build but it got lost. I'll go take some photos of my smoker. It works great. my cooking area is 2 feet by 7 feet. Fire box is a blaze king wood stove. Be right back with the photos. Pat

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