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smoker build formulas

Discussion in 'Side Fire Box' started by gadgetguy, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. as i have been looking around here a bit i see there is a science to building a smoker of your own. my question is is there a book on this or does someone here have a formula i can use to build my own .  as in fire box size vs. chamber size vs. stack dia. and length?

     i am a fabricator and would like to build my own for my next smoker


  2. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here is the link to the pit calculator

    http://webpages.charter.net/tomchism/BBQ CALC Forms/BBQ Smoker Calculators.htm

    Here is one for volume


    This is one that I used after sitting here with my son trying to figure out the math the old way. This was a much faster option.


    This is a thread that Matt put togather, there is an hour or two of reading. I think he has a link with all the pics he has posted. It should give you many ideas to think about and incorporate into your build.


    Good Luck and please keep us up to date on your build.
  3. thanks!

  4. dowquest

    dowquest Fire Starter

    I'm in the process of building a smoker as well, and have noticed varying locations for the exhaust  vent. is there a location that is better?( top, side, part way down the side or lower in the smoke chamber?)

  5. matts

    matts Smoking Fanatic

    The exhaust is another wide variety of options.  It all depends on the type of smoker you are building.  Starting off with store bought smokers like the Chargriller with side fire box (SFB), the exhaust is out the top with a little bit coming in.  One of the first mods for that is to extend the pipe down to grate level.  This does a couple things, it helps hold the heat in and it also draws the smoke movement down to the grate level.  That is pretty much the reason for customs to have the exhaust to coming out the side also.  If you exhaust it right out the top, then your valuable heat will just rush right out the top which burns a lot of fuel and makes it harder to control your temps.
  6. dowquest

    dowquest Fire Starter

    Ok, That answers most of my question , I am building a vertical smoker with a lower side firebox. Basically 2 tanks, 1 large, 1 small welded in an upside down T fashion( wanted to keep a smaller footprint). Should the outlet pipe start at the top rack, or extend down to the bottom rack? I will be building it with at least 2 racks, probably 3 to give me options on size and placement of meat.
  7. dowquest

    dowquest Fire Starter

    Matt, looking at your pics, you have your vent coming from the bottom grate area. That is the best spot?
  8. matts

    matts Smoking Fanatic

    That seems to be the general location on most builds any more.  The reason is the same as I described above.  Keeps more heat in the chamber and draws the smoke low across the main cooking surface.
  9. dowquest

    dowquest Fire Starter

    OK, Thanks. I am currently rethinking the vertical layout, and am leaning towards the standard horizontal layout. giving up the smaller footprint for a larger cooking surface.
  10. smoke_chef

    smoke_chef Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    To any Mod that reads this... Can Tom37's post or something like it be a sticky? Great stuff Tom. I've had this same question before Gadgetguy but haven't asked it or searched for it yet. So, you saved me some time by bringing it up. Thanks. Plus, I'm sure it will come up again and again for others. Very sticky worthy IMO.  
  11. dowquest

    dowquest Fire Starter

    Next question, do I need dampers from the firebox to smoking chamber? I've seen some with, some without. Thanks
  12. matts

    matts Smoking Fanatic

    I have never really looked into the benefit of having one.  I assume its just another way to tune your smoker that day.  Hopefully someone that has installed one will tell us what the benefit of having one is.