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Question about wood pan / wood chips with Gas Smoker


Fire Starter
Joined May 14, 2016
Hi folks,

I'm building a large natural gas smoker..  Its 7 feet tall, 4 feet deep and 3 feet wide. 

I'm using a straight pipe burner I've calculated to produce about 30,000 btu's at full throttle.. 

My smoker is well insulated and built out of 11ga  316 stainless steel, then insulated with 2 inch of mineral wool insulation and covered in steel barn siding.

My wood chip pan is a stainless steel sink that is about 16 inches x 20 inches x 6 inches deep.     I made a plate to cover the drain hole.

My questions:

What's with all the sawdust I'm seeing?   Should I be planing on using saw dust instead of larger wood chips?

How far above the pipe burner flames should my wood pan be?  Being its a stainless steel sink, I didn't see any harm in letting the flames touch the sink.  Or is that bad?

I've seen a lot of folks making wood pans out of a screen material..   Is that important for some reason?   Maybe something to do with the ashes falling away?


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