Ok, need some opinions on patio size reverse flow.

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by ribwizzard, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. Those that follow my thread's know that I've been trying to perfect a patio size reverse flow smoker that I can mass produce at a reasonable cost.

    After doing much research trying to aquire pipe or tanks of a consistent size and resonable cost, the best Ive come up with so far is the following, 14 inch od welded pipe, 1/4 inch wall.  A 21 ft length will give me  six units that would have a 28 inch cook chamber and 14 inch firebox. I will cap the ends with 1/4 inch plate so these will actually be the inside lengths.  The cook chamber will have a 24 inch wide door opening and the cooking rack would be 24 inches by 13 inches. My steel supplier will cut all the lengths for me and cut out all the endcaps on the cnc plasma table.

    Do you guys think that will be big enough for the average guy?  Im trying to fill the gap between the little brinkman users and the $1000.00 starting range of the horizons.

    Doing all of the math, this size will keep costs quite a bit lower than going with 16 inch, and I could sell the units for about $600.00 and still make good money , while selling a amoker built for a lifetime.

    Please give me some honest feedback becouse I'm all geared up to place this order,

  2. rob989_69

    rob989_69 Meat Mopper

    My 2 cents. I really like what you're doing. But 13" seems a tad small on the cooking rack. What kind of price difference are you talking jumping to a 16"? I think your length is perfect for the avg joe user though. 

    As someone who has been in the market for a smaller patio smoker for a while now. I'd be thinking, I can pay $400 more and virtually double my overall capacity with a Lang 36". I know $400 is a lot but it would guarantee I'm not wishing I had gone a bit bigger after the fact. I think if you could bump up to a 16" diameter, with the same length, and sell for $600 (not sure cost wise if that's possible for you) but then I would seriously consider a smoker that size. I can get a couple briskets, quite a few racks of ribs etc.

    I'm not sure if you'd offer freight shipping but depending on total cost I'd seriously consider one of your smokers if I can get it to NY.

    I'd like to see someone that can build a real quality rig in the $500 to $800 range. Have you considered multiple sizes? Always good to have options.

    Good luck
  3. Ribwizzard, I think that size and price point would work well and sell quickly. You have detailed out what the smoker itself would look like, what about the rest of the unit. What would the foundation look like? Wheels? Shelf? You know all the little things that you are so good at designing. These are the things that make a smoker really work for folks but at that price point you can't get too carried away with it. Look forward to seeing it. How will you market?
  4. I believe you would be able to sell a good quantity in that size at that price range. For me however it would be a bit on the small size unless it had 2 racks which may be hard to do in that size. I would want to comfortably fit about 4 racks of ribs in there... However I don't think there would be a problem with other meats like 2-3 shoulders or a few chickens for example. I would be on the fence but would probably spend a little extra for a few more square inches of cooking area! And some grates for the firebox would be a nice option as for someone strapped with space may like the idea that they could use the sfb as a small charcoal grill!
  5. Weedeater,   I plan on installing all the little details that Ive included on my other builds, just refined even more.   My original marketing strategy was to build about 6 at a time and take them to local bbq competitions and sell them. But so many people are on me to build them a smoker this size , Id think I would have them sold as they were built.

    Rob 989,    I have seriously thought about 16 inch, but the price difference would take me to the $1000.00 rage, where there is a lot of competition right now.  My thoughts are that something like the Lang 36 may be a little big for someone to set on their patio next to the pool.

    I have a brink man Cimarron here that is 16 inch diameter, 32 inch long cooking chamber and 16 inch firebox, at it seems kind of big.

    But that's why I am asking everyone. its really not about what I think , but more about what the average guy would want.

    Please keep the comments coming, I'm soaking it all in.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    RW, With the price of turkey pretty low, do you think folks would want a smoker a turkey would fit in...   whole turkey maybe...  [​IMG]
  7. rob989_69

    rob989_69 Meat Mopper

    I could certainly see why someone may want a smaller size. And that's a pretty hefty jump to a 16" diameter, At $1000 you're at a Lang 36 price and I believe square inch wise the lang is bigger. 

    If it's not cost effective to go bigger in diameter then maybe consider offering 2 lengths? Maybe 28" and 36" Or maybe a 32" something in between. 

    Also, have you looked in to thinner steel? I know 1/4" is the preferred but if you told me you could build me a Lang 36 size smoker but at half the cost or there abouts, but it would be 1/8" I'd jump on it. 

    Are you looking to do this as a full time business or more of a side job? What kind of market do you think you have for something that small? 

    I'm simply playing devils advocate here. But again, I've always been of the mind that, if I can, I'll pay more and get more than I need right now so I'm not regretting it later.

    How cost effective would it be to do a custom smoker business instead? Basically, have a few different diameters, a few different lengths, and some options and build to order?
  8. I would think  14' x 28"  would easily hold two 12-14lb turkeys,or   3 or 4 nice butts,  4 maybe even 5 chickens.    Ribs would be a problem laid flat, you would only get two slabs, but could probably do 4 slabs with a rib rack.

    My #20 build was only 12 inch diameter, I did a 14 lb turkey at Christmas on it and  Itcan easily do two slabs of St Louis ribs ,  two big chicken fit good, but have done 3, and will hold two 7-8lb butts.


    #22 is only 11 inch diameter and 22 inch long.   I havent put one on yet but think it would hold a 12-14 lb bird o/k, it does two 8lb butts just fine.

  9. But Im hearing yall, sound like 16 inch is what everyone feels is good diameter.   It just drives the price higher.
  10. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Ribwizzard, you got my mind turning...I'm kind of with a couple of others that a 16" would be better, but I'm probably the wrong guy to talk to about this anyway, all I can do is day dream at work about my next, bigger smoker I want to build, so when we start talking small, I tend to drift off elsewhere.  On the other hand, 28 x 14 is not too small, you could do 2 briskets or 4 butts or with rib racks get 8 in there pretty easy, more than enough for the customer base you will be building these for I'm sure.  I am currently in the planning stages of my next build, just not having any luck locating some cheap 24" or 30" pipe.  I may go rectangle instead, have 1 local steel supplier that sells 4 x 8 x 1/4 sheets for $171 each, I won't even post the prices for 24" pipe that I have found, OUCH!.  Here is a video of a pit I have in mind to copy, I know it's off topic, but I'm dreaming right now... 

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2013
  11. Rob 989,

    Lets just call it an economic/marketing  experiment. My hobby of building smokers is creating a lot of inquires, and my business mind is seeing opportunity. and I'd like to see what it could become. I'm willing to invest 16 to 20 hours a week into it for now, and let it be self funded. Meaning, after initial start up investment, I'd be willing to put 100% profit back into it and see how far it could go.( as long as it don't cost me more than my time )

    Market wise?....I know the difference a well designed and built wood burning pit can make in BBQ. and I see so many people throwing good money at those cheap Brink mans and $1000.00 green eggs.  I feel that Mr and Mrs Suberbia would probably never put a 36 inch Lang next to their pool , and probably would cook more than a chicken and a butt at a time, never less stock pile a cord of seasoned Oak next to the Audi in the garage. That why I feel a smaller well built reverse flow that can be fired up with a little Kingsford and some Wood chunks that they can pick up at home depot, and that looks good ( sorry everyone , but Lang is one ugly smoker ) might be marketed to them when they stop by these BBQ competitions on their way to the outlet malls. I want a whole line of accessories to sell them down the road too, that's why I need it to be a standardized size for now.

    As far as building bigger custom pits, Ive done that, but what I'm after is  I want to mass produce something, order everything pre-cut so that I am only assembling and welding. Something I may be able to hire kids out of vocational school to do down the road if it takes off.  Get my name out there as far and wide as possible and build brand recognition.
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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  13. rob989_69

    rob989_69 Meat Mopper

    Are you getting a substantial price break by ordering material in quantity? I'd imagine you're getting a decent deal, but let's say for example, I want you to build me the exact smoker we're discussing, 14" x 28" but you're only buying the material to build that one smoker, can you come close to that $600 price tag? 

    I think if you really want to mass produce, go with something more mid sized. Stick with the 28" but go to the 16" diameter. More people will go for that than a "micro" smoker. The other huge hurdle any manufacturer of these machines has is shipping. You can probably get through a year or two cruising to different events withing a few hundred mile radius and selling units. But eventually you'll want to go nationwide. And at that point freight is horrendous. I'd love a Lang, or even a Patriot smoker, Bell Fab, Klose. But the ONLY reason I don't have one yet is because of the $700 price tag to get it to me. If you could find a way to overcome that I think you could make a killing selling these.
  14. I think you're wise to start at an under served price point and back figure from there. An attractive price is going to trump capacity for a well built entry level reverse flow. There are just more people with $600 to spend than those with $1000, and the capacity is more than enough  to cook for family and small groups of friends. If they find they want to cook for larger groups further down the line, perhaps they will come to you and commission a larger unit.
  15. If I buy 21 ft of 14 inch pipe, I can get it cut to size and delivered to my door for $25.00 a ft. 16 inch takes it to $43.00 a ft.   Then when you fiqure out material for grates, etc and what drops you get, its adds up there as well driving the material cost way up.

    With that said, if you measure most smokers that are called 16 inch, they actually measure 15 and 5/8 inch diameter, so we are only talking  1 and 5/8 inch difference in depth of cooking surface,

    The 'Large" big green egg has a 18.25 inch round cooking grate, that is 262 sq inch surface area.  This smoker would have 324 sq inch cooking area. Would you really consider this a "micro smoker"? 

    I keep looking at that 16inch Cimarron sitting here and thinking it looks huge for a patio smoker, and what Im thinking of is only  1 and 5/8 inch narrower and 2 inches shorter.

    I dont know......I got a lot to think about,   thanks everyone
  16. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    I like the business plan.  That's the folks I was thinking of when I first read your post, headed to Home Depot on a Saturday morning because the neighbors, the Smiths' are coming for some ribs later that evening.  They can come in casual (khakis and polos) instead of the suit and tie from Friday, have a few Heinekens' or what kind of wine goes well with pork anyway?  Who knows?  But I think for those types, you are right on the money. 
  17. I hope Bruno994,     Like I said, the more I look at the 16 inch Cimarron sitting here, I thinks its over kill for the market I want to go after.  I see the wife saying " heck no, I dont want that hunk of steel sitting on my pool deck".

    And I also think of myself , sometimes just wanting to do one Butt or one slab, and cant justify 10 lbs charcoal and 6 split logs just to cook 5lbs of pork.
  18. disturbed1

    disturbed1 Smoking Fanatic

    I would build the 6 smokers and see how they sale. There has got to be a market for this.One of these markets would be for the ultimate bachelors pad.Or apartment or condos
  19. rob989_69

    rob989_69 Meat Mopper

    RibWizard, I totally agree with the not needing 10lbs of charcoal to do a butt or rack of ribs. I have to disagree with BadMoon though, again, purely my opinion here. But if I'm spending $600 on something I sure don't want to think that a few years down the road I'm going to spend $1000's more on something bigger. I'd rather put that money into it now or wait. Just me though.

    I use the term Micro in reference to it's size compared to any other reverse flow smoker on the market. Could be your brand name? Micro-Wiz Reverse Flow Smokers. Kinda catchy don't you think? You can use it if you like, I require 10% profits that's all...... Kidding. 

    Anyway, if you think you have the market for that size smoker, by all means go for it. I constantly read on here people suggesting someone go a bit larger than they think they need right now for the simple fact that you're better off having too much and not use it than too little and want more. And frankly that's pretty much how I buy everything. Sure, I would be just fine with a 32" LCD in my living room, but my 60" Plasma looks even better :)

    Whatever you decide I wish you luck though.

    I also think you should move to NY, preferably near the Rochester area. You'd have a large client base I think. Great weather......Sometimes.
  20. Rob989,  I totally understand what your saying, and thats the way I am as well.  I'd be embarrased to own a 9mm,      I carry a .45 sig, and so forth.   But they probably sell more 9mm than any other hand gun,   And chevy probably sells more 2wd 1500's than they do 2500 hd 4x4's.   Hell, look how many VW bugs have been sold.  ( I would like to find an old vega though)

    My point is, I think people like us are rare and a bit excessive, and marketing is about what the everyday Joe wants, and being just one level up from that.  I keep looking at the success of the Big Green Egg, 

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