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Need some advice before I go too far


Joined Oct 17, 2010
I've been checking out some of the builds on here for a few weeks, since I decided to convert my old proapne tank into a smoker. I think it is 120 :Lb with an old 25 gal drum on the side. I don't have the exhaust vents in it yet like I would like so I'm just using all the ports at the top. Eventually I would like an exhaust close to the fire box and one at the other end. My problem is I ran a test chicken through it last night and the temp is about 200 in the top and 150 in the mid and even lower in the bottom. I think I might have cut the firebox opening too high. its almost smack dab in the middle of the side of the tank and about a 10 x 10 opening. I'm going to try and post a picture of the half completed job. everything has been free so far so thats why I chose the drum on the side.

Any help would be appreciated. sorry the image is a little dark where the firebox is at.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Apr 19, 2010
Looks like a huge project!  I believe you are correct -- the firebox is cut in too high.  The top of the opening should be no higher than about 1/3 up the side of the cook chamber.  I would try a baffle to correct the problem and direct the heat and smoke low into the smoke chamber.  That should do the trick.  Also, consider adding tuning plates to continue directing the heat an smoke evenly.

What are your plans for this big bad boy?  Planning a restaurant or catering service, or what?


Smoking Guru
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Dec 29, 2009
Looks like you got a good start.



Meat Mopper
Joined Aug 7, 2010
I agree with Adichiro, add a plate that angles down to the lower 1/3 of the cook chamber, or at least below the cooking grate. Tuning plates that extend out away from the firebox will help spread the heat more evenly. If you can lower the exhaust down to grate level, that will help to.

Keep asking and we will figure out something to make it work.

Trial and error is what it will take.

Good luck and keep on smokin.


Joined Oct 17, 2010
I love building stuff out of metal and practicing my welding, so it'll just be used on my property. we have people over through out the year and would love to use it rather than the propane smoker I currently have.

depending on my workload this weekend I may attempt to weld in the piece I cut out and angle the heat down like suggested. I'm not sure I know what tuning plates are. any pictures on here I might be able to look at.

Also I kept the opening a little high because I thought I would fill the bottom with water to help keep the meat moist, is this a good idea or bad? I should be able to post more picts this weekend if I make some progress.


Meat Mopper
Joined Sep 17, 2009
Im kinda partial to the fire box being behind/under the cooking chamber.  I did mine like that despite everyone I know telling me that it was stupid and wouldnt work right.  So far it has been the best smoker I have ever used.  Holds the temp great and there are no hot or cold spots.  My firebox is only 5 1/2" lower than my cooking chamber too.  Everything is tight and compact.  Here is a link to my photobucket album.  http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/delarosa74868/Smoker build/

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