Bell Fabrication Smokers

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BBQMAN3

Newbie
Original poster
Apr 25, 2023
20
9
Hey everyone!

In searching phase of offset smokers.

I'm really looking into budget, but good quality smokers that have thick steel (bare minimum 1/4"). Seems like the best value out their is Bell Fabrication. Doesn't seem close.

I very briefly spoke with Craig Bell (of Bell Fabrication). 3/8" thick offset smoker, 1/2" firebox. 24 x 36 is size of smoker. $850 pre shipping cost.

For Bell Fabrication owners, what is our feedback/thoughts of having owned them for awhile? Worth it?

An outsiders perspective like mine is this builder is one of best kept secrets in smoker community.
 

Danblacksher

Smoking Fanatic
Jul 15, 2022
349
452
Brandon, Mississippi
I have that exact smoker and to me its the best value out there. It is not going to be the rolls royce but, it is a million times better than what you get at the box store. I did seal both the firebox and cooking chamber doors and it has been wonderful. I have cooked from once to twice a week since i got it and I am extremely pleased.

 

BBQMAN3

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Apr 25, 2023
20
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How long have you had it? Do you have 2 wheel or 4 wheel option? I saw the T-Bar for moving. I just wonder how well it works. Would likely store in the garage.

Do you have the collector stack or wood rack on bottom?
 

BBQMAN3

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Apr 25, 2023
20
9
I have that exact smoker and to me its the best value out there. It is not going to be the rolls royce but, it is a million times better than what you get at the box store. I did seal both the firebox and cooking chamber doors and it has been wonderful. I have cooked from once to twice a week since i got it and I am extremely pleased.

How long have you had it? Do you have 2 wheel or 4 wheel option? I saw the T-Bar for moving. I just wonder how well it works. Would likely store in the garage.

Do you have the collector stack or wood rack on bottom?
 

Danblacksher

Smoking Fanatic
Jul 15, 2022
349
452
Brandon, Mississippi
I have the 2 wheel and the Tbar works great. Especially because when you get it into position you can take it off. Not sure about the other 2 because I just got the basic unit that’s what I could afford was like $1078 with shipping to me.
 

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mike243

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Feb 25, 2018
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I have seen Jakes in action, cruises right along and the food was great, it would be my first choice if I was wanting 1
 

BBQMAN3

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Apr 25, 2023
20
9
I have the 2 wheel and the Tbar works great. Especially because when you get it into position you can take it off. Not sure about the other 2 because I just got the basic unit that’s what I could afford was like $1078 with shipping to me.
You literally have the same size/options I'm looking at! You've been super helpful! Thanks!

1. So moving the smoker isn't terrible with the T-Bar?

2. How's the capacity on the 24x36? How many briskets could you fit? Pork butts?

3. Can you fit anything other than ribs on the top rack? His Facebook page makes it seem like you almost could fit pork butts on it.

4. Do you have the heat baffle in? Does it create a bad hot spot?

5. Does it create a good draft? Bark development? Generates good smoke circulation? Craig told me it creates a vortex in barrel.
 

BBQMAN3

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Apr 25, 2023
20
9
I have seen Jakes in action, cruises right along and the food was great, it would be my first choice if I was wanting 1
Encouraging news! Pit produces good flavor / food? What size is Jake's pit?
 

flatbroke

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Sep 16, 2007
3,622
10,730
You literally have the same size/options I'm looking at! You've been super helpful! Thanks!

1. So moving the smoker isn't terrible with the T-Bar?

2. How's the capacity on the 24x36? How many briskets could you fit? Pork butts?

3. Can you fit anything other than ribs on the top rack? His Facebook page makes it seem like you almost could fit pork butts on it.

4. Do you have the heat baffle in? Does it create a bad hot spot?

5. Does it create a good draft? Bark development? Generates good smoke circulation? Craig told me it creates a vortex in barrel.
Hope this helps a thread he started showing top rack. https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/an-impressive-rack.320797/
 
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Danblacksher

Smoking Fanatic
Jul 15, 2022
349
452
Brandon, Mississippi
You literally have the same size/options I'm looking at! You've been super helpful! Thanks!

1. So moving the smoker isn't terrible with the T-Bar?

2. How's the capacity on the 24x36? How many briskets could you fit? Pork butts?

3. Can you fit anything other than ribs on the top rack? His Facebook page makes it seem like you almost could fit pork butts on it.

4. Do you have the heat baffle in? Does it create a bad hot spot?

5. Does it create a good draft? Bark development? Generates good smoke circulation? Craig told me it creates a vortex in barrel.
1. Yes it was easy to move but it is still heavy

2. I have done 4 briskets at one time but could do 1 more. You must rotate them to keep the cook even I have the baffel and there are some hot spots

3. There is enough room on the top I cook briskets up top as well

4. The hotspots on mine are manageable

5. Creates excellent bark and the draft is great.

I did take a pic of 2 briskets on top and a pork shoulder on the bottom.
 

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Danblacksher

Smoking Fanatic
Jul 15, 2022
349
452
Brandon, Mississippi
Since I got mine in October I have averaged 2 cooks per week. Hope this helps. The 3/8 inch steel retains heat amazing so I dont go thru as much wood to maintain temps. I have done alot of ribs for my family and other people and it does great for some reason I have never taken a picture of them. The Hot dogs and sausages are some I made and used small splits to cold smoke them.
 

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BBQMAN3

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Original poster
Thread starter
Apr 25, 2023
20
9
Since I got mine in October I have averaged 2 cooks per week. Hope this helps. The 3/8 inch steel retains heat amazing so I dont go thru as much wood to maintain temps. I have done alot of ribs for my family and other people and it does great for some reason I have never taken a picture of them. The Hot dogs and sausages are some I made and used small splits to cold smoke them.
Seriously, I appreciate you taking the time to go in depth about my questions and share like you have. You're making me feel better about some questions/concerns I had.

So I know a lot of factors go into it, ambient temps outside, weather conditions, size of wood/splits, but how frequently are you adding splits? Whatever your target temp is, let me know how frequently you have to add. I've read a ton online and most people say 30-45 minutes. I think most people don't have 3/8" thick steel either. Craig Bell told me this thing sips wood compared to others also.
 

Danblacksher

Smoking Fanatic
Jul 15, 2022
349
452
Brandon, Mississippi
That is correct about every 45 minutes to an hour. sometimes when I have to leave for 2-2 1/2 hours during a cook I will put extra wood and close almost all the way, the dampers on the firebox as well as the smoke stack and it will still maintain the temp. until I get back home to add more wood. I know this may not burn a clean smoke but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Its like any other smoker the more you cook the more you learn.
 
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BBQMAN3

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Apr 25, 2023
20
9
Ta
That is correct about every 45 minutes to an hour. sometimes when I have to leave for 2-2 1/2 hours during a cook I will put extra wood and close almost all the way, the dampers on the firebox as well as the smoke stack and it will still maintain the temp. until I get back home to add more wood. I know this may not burn a clean smoke but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Its like any other smoker the more you cook the more you learn
That is correct about every 45 minutes to an hour. sometimes when I have to leave for 2-2 1/2 hours during a cook I will put extra wood and close almost all the way, the dampers on the firebox as well as the smoke stack and it will still maintain the temp. until I get back home to add more wood. I know this may not burn a clean smoke but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Its like any other smoker the more you cook the more you learn.
That doesn't seem too bad! Every 45 minutes isn't terrible. I'm sure biggest thing is experience, like you say. Learning your pit and knowing how it'll perform when you get that down.

So if you are me, you have any annoyances of the Bell Fab or should I confidently pull the trigger? Would you buy it again if you had to do it all over again?
 

Displaced Texan

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
Nov 11, 2020
825
757
Burr Ridge, IL
24x48 version here, see my avatar. I feel like 4 wheels would be okay for moving in a straight line, but what happens when you have to maneuver it as I do to get it in and out of the garage?

Only annoyances for me, if you can call them that, is the lack of flushness with the cook chamber and firebox floor on the grease drain and ash dumps. I grinded the grease drain but left the ash dump as is because I was worried about affecting the integrity. Maybe I should ask him about that...

Also, since I purchased mine in December 2020, he has really opened up the options. Hinged front shelf, linseed coating, door on firebox. Actually, on that, he's right, no door is needed. Anyway, lots of options.

He is also happy to offer advice on running the pit.
 
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BBQMAN3

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Apr 25, 2023
20
9
Yes I would buy it again the way he builds it. It’s easier to take something off than put something on. So if you don’t like the baffle plate you can always cut it off.
Awesome! Well that's giving me the confidence I was looking for! Seems like it's a really solid pit!
 

BBQMAN3

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Apr 25, 2023
20
9
24x48 version here, see my avatar. I feel like 4 wheels would be okay for moving in a straight line, but what happens when you have to maneuver it as I do to get it in and out of the garage?

Only annoyances for me, if you can call them that, is the lack of flushness with the cook chamber and firebox floor on the grease drain and ash dumps. I grinded the grease drain but left the ash dump as is because I was worried about affecting the integrity. Maybe I should ask him about that...

Also, since I purchased mine in December 2020, he has really opened up the options. Hinged front shelf, linseed coating, door on firebox. Actually, on that, he's right, no door is needed. Anyway, lots of options.

He is also happy to offer advice on running the pit.
Would you call them "nitpicking" kind of negatives about it? Seems like from what has been shared, the things that matter, it checks the boxes. Does that seem accurate? Not without problems, but they seem more on the minor scale in the grand scheme of things?

Any rust developing on your pit? You have high temp paint finish? How's that holding up?
 

Displaced Texan

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
Nov 11, 2020
825
757
Burr Ridge, IL
Would you call them "nitpicking" kind of negatives about it? Seems like from what has been shared, the things that matter, it checks the boxes. Does that seem accurate? Not without problems, but they seem more on the minor scale in the grand scheme of things?

Any rust developing on your pit? You have high temp paint finish? How's that holding up?
Yes, nitpicking. Just saying if you mention it to him, he will probably grind those flush himself. Maybe he got lazy on mine.

Great pit, love it. No rust. Garaged every day and night when not in use.
 
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