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Reverse flow build, just getting started

tom37

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I really love the burner, any chance you would share the details. I think it would be a great addition to any rig.

Glad to hear that the temps came out so close to one another. 

Great build. 
 

real57vetteguy

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I really love the burner, any chance you would share the details. I think it would be a great addition to any rig.

Glad to hear that the temps came out so close to one another. 

Great build. 
Tom,

The burner is as follows:

The mixing valve, needle valve and regulator all come from Charles Tart, Google tart propane, then look under pig cookers!

The fuel rail/burner is actually quite simple, we had some 1-1/2 medical grade pipe, and I picked a 1-1/2 3000lb cross $40.00, we cut out our lengths, Tig welded it, cut out the end caps out of some 1/4" stainless plate, welded them in, marked our lines for the slots and just cut them with a porta-band then you have to take some all thread or cold roll and manually debur the inside to get all the shavings out and there you have it. Charles Tart actuall recommends 1-1/2 for best performance!
 
 

azbbqguy

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Real57Vette guy, very impressive. looks like the temps are pretty even across the board, thats awesome.  Ive taken a different path with mine, I was going to do it like yours, but I was on the fence about which way to go and my dad talked me into the side box and we cut the hole for it, I wish I had seen yours before we did.  So what are you gonna cook first?  Your rig is truly first rate, you ever think about going to one of those bbq cook off competions with that bad boy?
 

real57vetteguy

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We made a little more progress tonight as you can see! We made another test run and I was absolutly amazed. This is my first build, so I might be overly happy, but with the propane turned to the lowest setting it will run at 150 with the dampners wide open, close half way and it runs at 180, close to 1/4 and it runs at 200 consistant and thats without changing the propane setting. run the propane wide open and it was at 500 and climbing. Again we checked the temp front and back, center,side to side and could not find more than 9 degrees difference, I have noticed the hotter it gets the more air it wants so it will flat line at 400 with the dampners at half, then all you do is open all the dampners 1/4 and it immediatly starts getting hotter! I am really excited about it. Tomorrow starts the trailer build!

 

tom37

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That sucker is looking good!!!!

Are you planning on a wood fire or propane with a wood chip pan sitting on the grate?

Just asking since the ashes on the burner slots are a bad deal. 
 

real57vetteguy

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That sucker is looking good!!!!

Are you planning on a wood fire or propane with a wood chip pan sitting on the grate?

Just asking since the ashes on the burner slots are a bad deal. 
Tom,

I have thought that out long and hard! My plan is to fire it with propane (no meat inside) add wood to get the fire started, and if im smoking let the wood take over and shut the propane down. i ttoally realize the ashe problem, the propane rail has a quick disconnect, its a matter of just pulling it out and washing it out with a water hose if it gets clogged, its stainless so it will live forever!, we have even made a connection to fit to the rail and screw a water hose onto that will compress any debree out.
 
 
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real57vetteguy

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If you reallywanted to withh a pair of gloves you could disconnect and raise the wood rack and pull the propane rail out after your wood is started, i feel like with the amount of pressure it will clean itsself so im going to try to leave it in at first
 

daveomak

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vetteguy, That is a beauty. That burner and the tig welding is awesome. I am impressed.

I was looking at your fire grate. Is that stainless?  I built a SS grate for a guy that live on a saltwater beach. He burned logs that washed ashore. He wanted a SS grate. Short story. SS conducts heat so poorly, on the first fire the grate sagged to the bottom of the fire box. I do not know how much wood he had stacked on it but I did not think 3/4" ss would sag. Another valuable learning experience for me.
 

boykjo

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nice build........... You can flip your burner upside down so the slots are on the bottom and the flame will wrap around the pipe so you wont get ashes in the slots. If you would like I posted instructions on a another website pipe build instruction. Just do a google search on pipe burner build instuctions and you'll find it. I am going to do one here soon.....
 

j-rod

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Love the idea. Smoker looks great. I just finished my own and wanted to add a propane burner to assist getting the wood going but I wasn't smart enough (or devoted enough to do the research) to figure out a reliable/easy to clean method. Looks like you have it all figured out. Great work!!
 

real57vetteguy

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The first run, it was late, we didnt have time to smoke, so we cranked up the heat, added 4 sticks on hickory about the diameter of a beer can, threw on some ribeye's and some squash/zuchinni. temp maintained 400, I am used to my DCS grill, and searing steaks, so i misjudged the cook time, I pulled the steaks off when they were about medium or a little past, pulled the veggies off the same time. I love a good medium rare/rare steak, but I will say that was the most tenter juicy steak I had ever cooked, my grill really takes the moisture out of veggies, but this smoker, it seemes the veggies were full of flavor and bursting with moisture but still a tad crispy instead of soggy like my grill turns them. I consider test run 1 a huge success considering i way over cooked the steaks and they were still mad tender and juicy. The 4 sticks of hickory produced smoke within 3 minutes of putting them in the burner and remained producing ALOT of smoke for 1-1/2 hours. Next test I will build a full wood fire and go with some Butts and Ribs. After we were done cooking I added 4 more sticks of wood, the Ashe did not affect the gas rail, I could cut it off, and just turn the propane back on for instant heat if needed, it works better than I had hoped. The next test will really tell!
 
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real57vetteguy

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To add to my last post, we checked temps all throughout warming cooking, etc, we again used a point type laser thermometer. I t was amazing how even the cooking temps were, left side being normally a but higher, but I worte it down and it is as follows:

mid temp guage reading           cooking level left                    cooking level center                   cooking level right

150                                           156                                        151                                             148

175                                           181                                         173                                             171

200                                            204                                         201                                           198

225                                           228                                          224                                           219

250                                           254                                         251                                           248

275                                           279                                         276                                          272

300                                          304                                         301                                            297

350                                          356                                         351                                            347

400                                         406                                          402                                             399

the smoke distribution was fantastic, fully across the grate, and heating it just wow, after cutting the propane off and the fire out it help 250 for 45 minutes steady. The metal thickness is obviously an advantage, a little slower to heat but really efficient. I am losing a little (very little) smoke/heat around the lid, but I'm not so sure I want to seal it. In theory the slight draft around the lid might be helping it keep its consistant even heat levels and smoke area. Let me know what you think!
 

daveomak

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vetteguy,Morning. If you are up for another test, I have seen a trick here you could employ. Fold aluminum foil to make a gasket. Insert into the lid/gasket area and see what the results are. It may be your initial design is PERFECT and sealing the door will make the temps more even. I really don't know how much better it could be. Knowing the cooler/warmer areas could work to your advantage down the road, as long as they remain constant. It could be that when meat is in the smoker, everything will change.

Now, how's that for being wishy-washy.

I think I would cook on it and monitor the temps. I do believe you have built a winner, a seriously fine winner.
 

real57vetteguy

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vetteguy, That is a beauty. That burner and the tig welding is awesome. I am impressed.

I was looking at your fire grate. Is that stainless?  I built a SS grate for a guy that live on a saltwater beach. He burned logs that washed ashore. He wanted a SS grate. Short story. SS conducts heat so poorly, on the first fire the grate sagged to the bottom of the fire box. I do not know how much wood he had stacked on it but I did not think 3/4" ss would sag. Another valuable learning experience for me.
DaveOmak,

Actually stainless conducts heat pretty well, not as well as copper, but it does a good job (hence stainless cookware) Stainless seems to conduct heat evenly, which is why we made the plate out of stainless, I'm afrain if we did it out of metal I would have a hot spot in the center over the firebox dampner, which we do not have thank goodness, the problem is stainless will move at high temps, this is why your grill grate sagged, As I heat mine you can hear the stainless reverse flow plate popping and moving, but the way it is situated in the cooking chamber is will be fine as long as there is no weight on it, which there wont be. To answer your question, my cooking grate is 3/8 cold roll steel. It is the only internal part that is not stainless due to exactly what you are talking about. I almost made it from stainless but it would have needed alot more bracing to avoid warping or sagging. If I were to do one out of stainless I would have done the same design but out of 1/2" stainless round stock, and implemented a center cross brace of 1/2 stainless round stock to help suppord the center of the grate and keep it uniform during high temps.

DaveOmark, sorry I wasnt paying close attention, I thought you meant cooking grate, as far as my fire grate it is also the only item in the firebox that isnt stainless for the same reason stated above, it is actually 1/2 cold roll steel!
 
 
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real57vetteguy

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Does anyone know the theory of adjusting dampners? I guess what I am asking is that in theory, if I have inlets on my fire box, a dampner from fire box to cooking chamber, then the dampner on the stack, in theory how would I adjust them all to produce the most heat and how would I adjust to product minimun heat? I know somewhat how mine is performing, but I would like to see how others perform. I got my first big cook going on Saturday, I posted in the pork section looking for ideas on what to cook and what methods to use. I have to prove to my future in laws that im not insane for spending this much time, effort and money on a smoker!  hahaha
 
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real57vetteguy

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Weekend, cook! My cut up veggies tasted a bit heavy of smoke but everything else was great! The butts and ribs were the best I had ever done by far! I realized that it only takes about 3 sticks of hickory 4-5 inch diameter to run the smoker at 200-225, about every two hours I added a stick. I did get a very black tar like sticky substance that build up in the firebox and stack? is that normal? I actually run the smoker for 24 hours straight! I think the hicory I used was a bit older that I would have liked to use, the tree had been down 3 years.

 

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