question on vent location for vertical propane smokers, why always on top?

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by martytheman, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. martytheman

    martytheman Newbie

    Hi, figured you guys would be the ones to ask as I don't yet own a gas smoker, just charcoal but looking to upgrade here shortly.

    Anyway my question is this:

    All the vertical gas smokers I see are the rectangular type, with vents at the top.

    In looking at the threads on the side fire charcoal smokers, most of those have vents at the top also, but the dryer duct mod is common on those, which forces the smoke and heat to stay in the chamber longer before exiting the dryer duct at grate level.

    Why isn't this the case with the vertical gas smokers? They all have the vents at the very top.. wouldn't the smoke and heat go right on up and out of the thing?

    The reason I ask is I saw the king kooker vert gas smoker online, and it has the top vent on the backside of the smoker, about 1 or 2 " from the top edge.

    While this is still pretty high, wouldn't the smokers do better with the vent placed a little lower, keeping the heat and smoke circulating inside from escaping a little longer?

    I would assume that this would also help keep temps up/stable (assuming the smoker didn't leak like a sieve)

    Am I missing something here? can some of you guys chime in and tell me what you think?

    or am I way off base here and do you think a dryer duct type mod would be beneficial for a top vent vertical smoker? (maybe down 6 or 7"?

    anyone ever done any experimenting?
  2. Hello.  Well I am certainly no expert but I will give you my thoughts.  Others may know better.  Smoke like water flows the straightest path.  Also heat and smoke rises.  So in a horizontal the path becomes out of the fire box, straight up, then along the top of the smoker and out the stack.  So heat and smoke doesn't really affect the meat being smoked.  The internal stack extension forces more heat and smoke to stay at the grill level.  It's not about keeping smoke in the smoker longer.  There is a danger there.  You need to keep smoke flowing through the smoker and over the meat.  Stale smoke is a bad thing.  Creosote build up occurs if the smoke is not constantly exchanging.  Stack top back, left, right, front or center can be determined by where the vents are.  For most smokers I think you are looking at, the vents are equally distributed or centered so the exhaust in top dead center makes sense.  A diffusser will help make the smoke "whirl" round a bit before going out.  Holding smoke inside the smoker is NOT the goal.  Stale smoke out and fresh smoke in is the goal; along with the smoke flowing over the meat as much as possible.

    Others may be able to help further.  If I can offer any more please feel free to PM me.  Keep Smokin!

  3. valleypoboy

    valleypoboy Smoke Blower

    Marty, those dryer vent mods, do you see people doing them on vertical charcoal smokers (I've never looked)? I did something similar on my horizontal, OK Joes, smoker.
    The thought behind it is that with a side stack smoker the heat moves from the FB to the CC and goes nearly straight up. So if the vent is at the top the heat will just run along the top of the CC to the exit. By moving the vent down it forces the hot air to move around in the CC.
    With a vertical you get heat on bottom, it goes UP naturally, heating the meats above it before it exits at the top. There's no need to force it to go any other way.

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