design / construction of my new pit

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smoking falcon

Fire Starter
Original poster
Jan 19, 2006
Well here it goes... I've been bitten by the bbq bug, and am building my first BBQ pit for the enjoyment (and hopefully fundraising) for a couple groups that I am involved in. My cousin and her husband and the inspiration for this venture, which I suppose means that it's all their fault :) . But seriously, after talking to them about their smoker and things that they've changes, as well as very extensive research online and in the library, I believe that I have a very good design for a smoker. Some of the parts have been changed to fit onto the trailer I'm mounting it on, and I'm sure that there are other things that I haven't thought of yet. So I'll let you enjoy the plans that I drew up, and then wait eagerly for some input on my design...

Welcome Dennis.

You have an interesting design. The cut away looks similar to a rounded version of a Bandera. I have to admire someone with the skills to build their own smoker.

One thing I noticed is the water pan is below the inlet from the firebox. If the water pan (3) is above the inlet (6) it will help diffuse the heat & smoke more evenly in the verticle chamber. One problem with having the inlet & the exhaust on the same side of an upright is the heat & smoke can stay on that side and, for the most part, bypass the rest of the chamber & food.

How does you air return (4) work in theory? I haven't seen this before.

Be sure to keep us updated as you project progresses.

I've presently have a smoker under construction at Gator Pits in Houston.
So, the design is still under modification, and I still haven't cut into the metal yet, as I hope to get some good input on this forum before I start cutting. you know the old adage, measure a million times, cut once. (unless you believe in metalworking miracles).

my vents aren't exactly on the same side as the smoke input, they're actually on each end of the smoker, and the firebox runs the whole 4' length of the smoking chamber.

I'm planning also on having my damper higher up on the side of the wall between the smoker and firebox, as I think this will give me better heat circulation.

Also I'm not sure exactly how my air return is going to work, it was an idea that i stole from another smoker I saw online. My thought was that it would just simply work as a convection oven, maybe I'll end up throwing a little fan in there (metal with a long shaft on it and the motor outside of course) to help with air circulation. I suppose if it ends up being a total flop and wasted space i'll probably throw a few firebricks in there and add some extra heat retention.

As far as the water pan goes, my cousin doesn't have one in theirs and I've heard good things about them (mainly keeping moisture in the meat and catching drippings). So the placement in the diagram is just a guess.

Thanks for your input, hope to hear more soon, and I'll keep this site posted on the evolving process.


PS This attachment has an interior and exterior basic plan as well as the approx. measurements

I like your design. From your drawing I deduced that the firebox runs the length of the cooking area. I think that is a good idea as far as the heat distrubution goes. My offset smoker has a convection plate under the grates in the cooking chamber. The purpose of the plate is to even out the temp.s in the chamber. It has a lever on the outside that controls an opening in the chamber next to the firebox. With the plate open the difference between the left and right side is about 35 degrees. Closed it is within 5-10 degrees.

Anyway keep us posted.

It's been too long since my pit construction has been idled by the wintery weather that we've finally gotten up here by Lake Erie. I can't even bring the parts inside since they're frozen to the ground. :cry:

If anyone has any photos of homebuild pits that they're willing to share to help inspire my madness, I'm all eyes.

Here is a pretty good site that follows the construction of a home build pit... It is drastically different from your design, but you might be able to get some ideas...

Cyclops Pit Build

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