Reverse Flow Smokers and frabrication questions

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by thomasyoung, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. Hello Unclebeef,
    I'm just starting out with having a smoker built for me, and when I came to this site and found your thread here, I have to say that I'm highly impressed! I do have a few questions for you and if you or anybody else here could give me an answer I would appreciate it.
    First, What is the meaning of “Reverse Flow”? I was going to have my 500 gal. Propane tank with two doors on each side with three sliding trays. With the bottom of the tank fully open under the trays. Then I found your thread with the angle iron used as a trip tray with the two sides welded on to make a solid shelf (lack of a better word to call it!;) ) with a drain hole on the end. Is this a part of the reverse flow? Or is it with the custom damper you built, or both?

    The guy that is supposed to build the smoker for me says that the trip tray with the two sides isn’t necessary for a smoker. I told him that I like your idea and he says that it was a good idea and good work but it might be over kill. I think it may be the case that he doesn’t know about Reverseflow smokers?
    Also in one of the images of the smoker (alldoor.jpg” ) it shows a bar. I’m sending the image back with a question on it.

    I noticed that some of the images that were listed here from “PhotoBucket” are no longer visible. Can I see them on Photobucket?
    Thanks in advance,
  2. Please excuse my dumb questions, but I've been reading this thread, and I am blown away. I want to build one similar this (minus the skills), and was wondering about a couple of things...

    Is there anything that you would do different (damper, firebox, drip channel, smokestack)? I am completely "wowed" by your smoker, but was wondering if now that you've cooked on it, would there be any changes if you did it all over again?

    Does it hold and maintain much better that one that is not reverse-flow?

    again, bear with the stupid questions, I'm new to this, and trying to learn.

  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Reverse flow smokers are great I have been looking for a thread that shows the different designs and why many of us consider the reverse flow to be the best. Basically the fire travels under that steel plate to the other end of the smoker then rises into the chamber and comes over the meat and the exhaust stack is on the same end as the firebox. The heat is transfered thru the steel plate and eliminates any chance of flare ups and keeps a nice even heat that stays more stable. I will keep trying to find the thread I've been looking for that shows it
  4. Hello everyone and UncleBeef,
    I think I now understand how the Reverse Flow Smokers work.
    I still have a question that needs addressing so I can understand and before I talk to the guy who is building the smoker for me. In the one picture that is named "alldoor" it shows what apears to be a square tubing support bar. Is this a part of the frabrication? what is the size of the bar? and is it for another purpose then support if it is for support. [​IMG] I sure would like to know before talking to the builder. I really do not think he knows a lot about Reverse Flow and I want to get my facts right!

    Here is a drawwing of what I want made for my Bar-Be-Cue Smoker/Grill.

    It has a large propane tank for the smoker, fire box, warmming box holder, a stand up propane smoker to hang hams, picnic shoulders, turkeys, etc.
    Hope you all like the future setup!
    Thomas [​IMG]
  5. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

  6. Hello Pineywoods,
    Thanks for your quick reply and it explain a lot to me of the advantage of using reverse flow and the use of water for better cooking. That was a great link that you sent to me. However in looking at it, there is a difference to me from looking at the chart and UncleBeef's image of the same area. Is there an opening in the pan besides the drain plug for heat to vent? Maybe I missing it, I can't see an opening in that area in UncleBeef's built tank. Also I had a question before about a support bar from a privous posting. Is there a support bar there or is it just showing extra tubing that isn't a part of the build?
    Thomas ~ Bear[​IMG]
  7. tsywake

    tsywake Fire Starter

    Thomas, the end of UncleBeef's smoker is curved, so from that angle its difficult to see the space between the drip pan and the end wall of the smoker. It is very similar to the diagram above.
  8. Hello tsywake,
    From what you are telling me that the space between the drip pan and the end wall of the smoker is the opening for the air flow. That makes sense to me and taking a closer look at it I can see that there is a gap between the end of his tank and the drip pan. You really do have to look at the photo closely to see it. I have included an image below showing red arrows that I take it is the air and what was showing on the diagram. Please let me know if this image is correct. I take it too as that bar is not a support bar because nobody has said anything if it was or not.

    Thomas [​IMG]

  9. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thomas, as they don't show up in the final pics, those pieces that you thought were support bars are square stock that made it into the picture. But if you look at that stock again it shows where the top of the bottom rack would be in relation to the the opening.
  10. tsywake

    tsywake Fire Starter

    That is correct. The air flows under the plate to the opposite end, then enters the chamber as your arrows indicate and flow back towards the firebox.
  11. Thanks Dutch. I had a feeling that they weren't for support, but since I'm also a "Newbie" at this I wanted to ask before it was too late.
    Thanks again,
    Thomas [​IMG]
  12. Thanks Tsywake, I must have looked at that image of the Drain Pan opening at least a hundred times and never noticed the opening! [​IMG] I'm so glad you pointed it out for me.
    Thomas [​IMG]
  13. Hello UncleBeef,
    I hope that you are around for these questions! First question is, I think you stated here on this thread that there was a 1/4 inch difference in angle of the angle bar connected to the tank so that it would drain easy. My questios are is it a 1/4 difference in the height of the bar from the front to the back to make it drain easier? Also do you have a pitch on both sides of the pans connected to the drain bar to make drain better. In looking at the photo in looks some what level. On another thread of a project built by ClinchMtnBBQ at: his pan seems to have more of an angle. What do advise in the build on this section? Also do you by any chance have more images of the mounts of the door when the doors are shut? How did you attach the doord to the pins/pegs that you used?
    Thomas [​IMG]
  14. I have a question also...
    How much of a gap did you leave between the drip pan and the side of the smoker?

    I am wanting to build one very much like the one you did, it looks great.
  15. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    The drip pan/steel plate runs from side to side it has a 1/4" slope from firebox down to the drain. The plate runs from the firebox to the other end about where the straight part goes into the concave shape/ 8-10" from that far end. The plate also slopes slightly down from both ends to the center/drain piece. Not alot of slope toward the center drain piece but enough for the liquids to flow down into the v shaped piece
  16. Ok guys,
    I understand now about reverse flow and how it works with the delivery of the heat from the fire box. As you know I'm at the planning stage here in getting my Smoker/Grill made for me. I have my main tank which is an old used 500 gal. tank. Putting on a fire box and using the method of Reverse Flow in constructing it. Now here is my question and I think a real important one too. I was thing of putting a square peice of tubing from the large tank and into the smaller 250 gal. stand up tank and also turning the square tubing connecting the two into a dampaer control on it and have it go into a 250 gal. stand up tank to slowly smoke Hams, turkeys etc.. Do you think that this concept would take away from the original Reverse Flow going through the 500 gal. tank? Or should I make another fire box and is it possible to use reverse flow on a stand up tank??? Please see my trailer image below as that might tell you how I was going to set it up. Thanks I need all of your help before I talk to the welder!
    Thanks again,
  17. Hello Everyone,
    I've been thinking about this, in fact I have been thinking of nothing else!

    If I take the 500 gal. tank and make it Reverse Flow and then connect a stand up 250 gal tank together, I would think that it would take away the Reverse Flow from the first tank? What to you guys think??

    I made an image of the 250 gal. tank standing up on its end to be used as a Slow Cooker to smoke Hams, Turkeys and wild game, etc. What do you all think about that? Can Reverse Flow be used on a Stand up Tank? If you have any ideas please share with me.
    Thomas [​IMG]
  18. morkdach

    morkdach Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    yes it would are you using the upright just for a warming oven
  19. Hello Morkdach,
    I'm planning on using the stand up 250 gal tank as a slow smoker for smoking Hams, Turkeys, Sausage, Fish and the list can go on. I was planning on putting the different meat items and hanging them over some hooks. In some of the meat I was going to wrap them up in "Jet Net" so that they don't fall apart in the process. The 500 gal tank I was going to use for Ribs and other meats. In the image that I made in message #83 [​IMG] I have the 250 gal. tank in front of the 500 gal, maybe I should place them both in the back with the fireboxes both in the back? Or maybe a firebox placed on the side where the tank now shows in the drawwing?
    Thomas [​IMG]

    Dang it! I just posted this and I was looking at the picture of the trailer with the tanks and was thinking if I put it in the back next to the 500 gal tank, I won't be able to open up the doors on the other side!! Any ideas out there????? HELP!

    Thanks again,
  20. tsywake

    tsywake Fire Starter

    You trailer would also be extremely back heavy. You'd have to have something pretty stout up front to balance the weight.

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