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first use and some big problems

Discussion in 'Side Fire Box' started by laplante0081989, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. I am new to the smoking world.  I became interested in it when I saw a tv episode on the food network with Alton Brown.  He made a simple smoker out of an electric hot plate and terracotta pots.  This got me hooked, I tried out this design and got some good tasting pulled pork but it was the biggest pain in the ass ever.  There was no way to control the heat and the temp regularly got above 275 degrees.  So every litterally 2 mins I had to unplug the thing let it cool down to 200 and 2 mins later back above 275...you get the picture...

    Sorry for the long intro...lol

    So I researched the internet and thought that a wood fired, side fire box smoker was the way to go....

    My current smoker contains...

    55 gallon food grade drum as the smoker chamber

    10 gallon compressor tank

    1.5" air inlet

    2" inlet into the smoke chamber

    2" exhaust pipe

    Now I had one hell of a time getting my smoker up to temperature, so I ran down to walmart and made the best 6 dollar purchase of my life... a small 4" fan

    This fan provided enough air flow into the firebox to sustain a nice 225-235 temp throughout the entire burn, but I really dont want to have to rely on electricity to cook (smoke). 

    I think it is a multiple of problems, like intake too small, inlet into smoker is too small and maybe even the firebox its self...so some help would be greatly appreciated where to go from here....

    Thanks guys,

  2. TulsaJeff

    TulsaJeff Smoke Whisperer Staff Member Administrator OTBS Member

    The normal ratio of firebox to smoke chamber is 1:3 so your firebox may be a little small. I think a 15-20 gallon firebox would probably do a better job.

    The air inlet into the firebox is probably fine but not sure that you need an additional inlet into the smoke chamber. Normally you want air coming into the firebox and exiting the opposite end of the smoke chamber. Any other air inlets can actually disturb the natural flow of air.

    The exhaust may be a little small.. for that size smoker, I would personally recommend a 3-4 inch outlet with adjustable closure so you can keep it full open or close it down just a bit if you want more smoke flavor.

    Another consideration would be a tuning plate that runs under the grate to help balance out the heat in the smoke chamber and keep the heat from coming up to grate level too quickly. Otherwise, you will notice a significant temperature difference from left to right in your smoke chamber.

    Lowering your exhaust outlet to at or below the grate in the smoke chamber will also be helpful in controlling the exit of heat from your smoker.