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Beginning smoker build

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by jsawright, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. I have a 500 gallon propane tank that I am ready to begin building into a new smoker. I would welcome any and all advice with design ideas before I begin cutting into it. What about door sizes, measurements? Firebox placement? How to build trailer? If you have any advice or ideas or pictures of your smokers, please let me know!

    Last edited: Oct 22, 2010
  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Welcome to SMF!

    If you do a sight search you can find lots of info about builds.

     The only advice i can give you is in doing a 500 you definantly need to w/a reverse flow build.
  3. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    First off Welcome Mr. Wright to SMF. I would start by looking in the buils section here in the main pages of this site. If not google knows everything. You'll like it here for there are a lot of really good folks here that would just love to help you with just about anything to do with smoking. Now there are a lot of proven recipes for some amazing things here too. So if you need sign up for the E-Course it's free and it will give you the basics of smoking and some good methods to use also. So the next big thing for you to do is go out and get you something to smoke and if you happen to have any questions just post it here and we will be happy to answer them for you.

    Welcome To Your New Addiction        
  4. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the site, I always want to say theres a great bunch of guys here LOL  but thats not the case. There's gals too. So I guess I will have to try to remember to say great folks!!.

    For cutting the openings,

    Displace the contents of the inside with water 100% and start cutting. I use a cheapo grinder with a metabo cut off wheel so that if the grinder dies from water damage its only 14 99 down the drain. A couple guys here have had great results with the metal cut skill saws. Some use the torch and others  use a plasma.

    Maybe check out the builds like eman said and look at several different designs. I like the ones that have two large doors and the middle section between the two large opens also.

    Don't get going to fast, plan the grates well, your stuck with them unless you remodel. In a recent build of which I can't remember the builders name, has a center support that allows him to remove the upper shelves completely to fit a whole animal on the main grate.

    I would consider leaving the tank as it sits and remove and plug the bungs on the top, leaving the lifting eyes in place to make it easy to move later. It won't be balanced after the fire box but you can rig it to balance no matter.

    The Lang's and such most all have a giant firebox so I would go how ever wide the tank is and make it square. Maybe a hinged lid on the fire with a grate underneath for maybe the occasional grilling need. If not a grill grate then at least a warmer plate to heat water or simmer beans and such.

    Reverse Flow or tuning plates for sure.

    As far as the trailer goes, its unlimited.

    I don't care for rain and hot sun, so mine has a roof 14x7'9 and 36"x14' wings on both sides. Two stainless tables that fold out and down to have more floor space to work. My remodel should start no latter then next weekend provided I can get my new to me trailer home this sunday.

    In my signature line at the bottom of the post has links to some of my stuff. My trailer build isn't the greatest but it was what I had to work with. The plan from the beginning was to add an axle or switch over to an larger tandem trailer. With a little prep I will lift the roof, smoker, and tables as one unit over to the new trailer.
  5. Thanks Eman, mballi3011, & Tom37 for your suggestions. I have had the tank full of water for about a month and just want to make sure I know what I am doing before I begin cutting into it. I have been researching builds on here and so many great suggestions and ideas. I have decided to build with tuning plates with an offset firebox. Just wandering about size of doors?
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  6. This is a picture of a smoker I got a few months ago, as you may or may not be able to see my fire box is on the bottom. Between the fire box and the main smoke chamber is a oven, that's right boys and girls, an OVEN. I have also found with the smoke entering the chamber from both ends the temp stays very consistant throught the whole unit. It is really a great design. Now keep in mind I am new to the world of good smoking but I like this design so far. I have never seen anything else like it. Maybe there are problems that I just don't know enough about to know. But so far, so good. Just wanted to through it out there for you. Keep us updated on what you do. [​IMG]
  7. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ya know, when I have built rigs in the past I always made my doors pretty large. I think with my giant doors, that I loose alot of heat fast. I also think that if the doors are cut in all the way to the top, that you get a little extra smoke in the face. Rather then the rigs that have the doors say a foot down from the top.

    Now this may be hog wash, I can't say for sure since I haven't built one with small or lower doors yet. It seems to make sense in my head but sometimes my head don't work quite right.

    Good Luck again and please keep us posted.
  8. Finally beginning on my new build. I am using a 500 gallon propane tank and am expecting to obtain a trailer this weekend to begin mounting the tank onto the trailer.  I have spent hours taking ideas from many of the great builds on here but still any and all suggestions are welcome. If you have an idea, please share. If there was something you wished you had done or something you did in your build that did not work as well, please share.
  9. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I will be following this.
  10. Here are some pics of the tank on the trailer. The single axle not quite holding up as I had hoped so I have a 2nd axle that I will be adding soon.