totally lost

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by fatrat71, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. fatrat71

    fatrat71 Newbie

    Hello all! I was hoping to get some advice/ opinions. I'm hoping to build a pig roaster but have no idea where to start. I was figuring on a 3-5 cooking surface but other then that I'm lost! Where I work I have access to everything I could possibly need. Steel,stainless steel, rolls,plaz, etc. So should I go with a round style,box style,offset,etc? And what about sizes? Any opinions/ advice would be greatly appreciated,thanks and hope to hear from yas!
  2. 5oakssmoker

    5oakssmoker Smoke Blower

    You just wanting something to roast a pig in? Or a general smoker?

    If its just for a pig, and you will reuse it, we bought a China Box Pig Roaster, they could be easily made if you had the supplies, but you might look up the design. Its basically a metal lined plywood box with a metal lid, and you put the coals on the lid.

    If you are building a general smoker, then there are tons and tons of ideas here, just gotta decide what kind of smoker you want.
  3. fatrat71

    fatrat71 Newbie

    I would like a smoker type design because I have all the steel and tools readily available to build.just about anything I just don't have the knowledge on how to go about doing it! I don't think the china box is what I'm after so I guess just a smoker? I would like to be able to build 1 and be done instead of a lot of trial and error! I've seen the 275 gl tank design,I've also seen offsets, rv,I've seen where the firebox is just a tray beneath the hog. I was just kinda hoping to get some ideas on what seems to work best! I know I def don't want gas involved. I know I'm not giving much help but as the post sais I'm lost!!
  4. 5oakssmoker

    5oakssmoker Smoke Blower

    Dave and RW would know better, but I would think you could look at the Reverse Flow designs, I am thinking a regular side box would be too hard to regulate even heat in something big enough for a hog roast.

    Dave has posted several drawings on those Reverse Flow Build threads, showing how big the vents need to be, and why, just look over some of those, and maybe talk to Dave or RW.
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have cooked a pig ...... 2' x 4' expanded steel rack... 3x5 would be good..... fire about 36" below the pig.... an aluminum cover to hold in the heat....

    Mild steel sides to the fire pit and fire brick lined firebox to hold heat..... a few air inlets to control the fire... a few air outlets to let steam and smoke out at food level in the top....

    I made this about 25 years ago.... the steel plates in the side of the fire pit are scrap small pieces to allow for expansion and avoid buckling and warping.... just tack welded in very few spots......

    ......Roll out firebox for easy adding of fuel...

    ...Supports for the spit that is turned by a 2 RPM motor......

    ...Where the spit enters the Cook Chamber and where the motor sits.....

    I have cooked everything imaginable on this.... Brisket, Turkeys, Salmon, Ribs, 40 chicken quarters.....
    The fire doesn't need to be big.... Temps are usually 200-225......

    You will need a drip pan under the meat rack that drains out of the smoker.... If fat drips on the fire, you will have an "out of control" fire that burns up everything..... The pan needs to be as wide and long as the firebox.... fat dripping down the steel sides of the fire pit, usually aren't a problem.....

    The design above came after about 15 models that needed tweaking... this works well for me but a few improvements are always possible and probable.... I keep tweaking all my smokers trying to improve on their design..... I don't think there is a "perfect" smoker.... I ain't found it.... I've probably built at least 50 and still working on them....
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  6. fatrat71

    fatrat71 Newbie

    Thanks Dave! Don't take this the wrong way but I like the simplicity of it!That is the kind of build I was looking to accomplish. I do have a few questions tho,would you think a smoke stack would be OK and for the fire brick could I get away with heavier steel? I've never done much with fire brick. The last offset I built I used 1/2 thick pipe for the fire box and it seems to work OK? Thx again and definitely appreciate the photos and info
  7. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    Build a steel frame 40" tall and l & W enough to accomodate the rack. Two 3' x 5' racks for the pig (one for the top another for the bottom). leave 8" of overhang on the rack side frames to use as a handles and to suspend the rack above the coals. The top rack is for if you want to flip the pig over.

    Add slots to the sides of the frame for the rack handles to fit down into, about 10" down so the pig will sit lower than the lid of the smoker. Add sides and top using sheet metal as thick as you can handle. Use handles wherever you need them for the lid, etc. Add a trap door along the front near the bottom as wide as the smoker. Use a latch to hold the trap door open when adding coals.

    Get a food grade 55 gal drum. Drill holes about 1/2-way up the drum and insert 5/8" rebar through the drum as needed to keep the logs you're going to burn for coal suspended above the bottom of the drum. Cut an access hole in the bottom of the drum so you can shovel hot coals that fall from the burning logs in the top of the drum to the bottom. Shovel the coals as needed through the trap door under the pig.

    We did it like this when I was a kid. It is the best way to cook pig in my book. Use dried oak wood (red or white).

    You won't need a stack, the smoke will exit from the slots where the rack handles are.

    How's that for simple?
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  8. fatrat71

    fatrat71 Newbie

    Thx grill monkey,I'm thinking that I was putting way to much thought into this! I guess this is what makes this forum so good, I spent a while now trying to figure out a game plan and most of what I've found has been really nice but way overkill for what I'm after then after joining here 2 days ago I've got great ideas and advice!! Thx again
  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Smoke stacks tend to draw the heat in one direction..... without a stack, the heat and smoke are pretty much evenly divided across the smoker... also stacks tend to drip condensate back on the food....
    1/2" pipe would be good.... the firebrick is just laid loose in the firebox... that way it doesn't crack... it provides a lot of "residual' heat to keep an even temp and keep the coal lit....
    You can always add sand or gravel in the bottom of the firebox... it does help and keeps from burning out the steel.... In my mountain camp stove I shovel in dirt to the bottom of the firebox for heat retention.... steel conducts too much heat away from the fire...

    Don't know how obvious it is.... but that smoker was built from about 90% scrap.... the firebrick is scrap cuts from somewhere.... anything you build will be better than store bought......


    PS..... I find "simple" is usually better...... Thanks......
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  10. fatrat71

    fatrat71 Newbie

    So with an offset smoker you need the stack to help pull the heat/smoke from the fire box into and thru the cooking chamber where with a pig cooker your heat/smoke for the most part is lined the length/width of the cooker to help evenly distribute with no need for draft. And as far as building better then store bought I definitely agree and I get the satisfaction of knowing I built it(with help from you guys) and my kids love helping in the garage so its a win win all around for me!
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Don't forget pics... and any other questions..... don't hesitate to ask...... Dave
  12. fatrat71

    fatrat71 Newbie

    Thx will do
  13. fatrat71

    fatrat71 Newbie

    Was hoping for some more help! I started on my roaster last night,I built the rack first and I'm figuring on building around it. My question is between the rack and the lid what is a good amount of space to have? I'm hoping to make some.more tonight but don't wanna cut myself short on space. I'm figuring on the 36 inches between the fire and rack. So any advice would be great and depending on work I may be able to finish this thing til the end of the.WK!
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think my lid has about 16" space.... plenty for the spit and any food on the rack.... I like the round lid.... works like a Weber lid.... circulates the heat.... (or so it says in fine print somewhere...)
  15. fatrat71

    fatrat71 Newbie

    Thx Dave, I was figuring on the round lid to and pretty much rectangular bottom, keep it simple and quick cause I'd really like to try a hog in the next WK or so! I will try and put a few pics up tomorrow but they won't look like much other than some puzzle pieces! Thx again
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    here's a u-tube by atcnick...... no door on the firebox smoker..... Looks like it works perfect to me.....
  17. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    I expect 10-12" would be plenty of space between grate and top. Looking at the video, temperature looks like it's going to be a problem for that design/method. If 100 degrees would cook a pig, I could just lay the rack across a couple of sawhorses down here in Georgia and cook the pig in the shade, move him out in the sun to crisp the skin.

    In any case, the distance from the bottom to the grate could be anywhere from 2-3 feet without any problems. What you want to avoid is making it too tall that you have trouble placing the pig inside the cooker. A separate burn barrel to create coals makes it much easier to regulate heat, three bars evenly spaced to hold the wood is plenty. You burn enough wood to keep a surplus of coals in the bottom of the barrel. If you need more heat, shovel more coals under the pig. These coals I'm referring to last a long time, so it's not like your constantly shoveling. Also, around here oak wood can be had for $60 a pickup load. Half of that would easily be enough for one 50# pig (maybe two).

    We used to actually use an old chest freezer as our cooker. It was gutted and burned out and rusted (there was no gasket around the lid and it didn't seal up tight, you wouldn't want it to) but it did a great job. We had some angle iron for support and slots cut in the corners for the rack handles. The back was open at the bottom where the compressor/condenser were and that is where we added the coals. Propped an old sheet of aluminum siding over the opening with a board to seal it off when we weren't adding coals.

    The pig was split, but not all the way through, so it would lay splayed on the grate, head was removed and used for Brunswick stew. Cooked skin-side down until almost done then flipped over to finish the off side.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  18. fatrat71

    fatrat71 Newbie

    I got some of my pieces rounded up to start the build. Got the rack built ss 3-5,got the grating for on it and rolled the lid,now tonight hopefully make some more
  19. smoke_chef

    smoke_chef Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Fatrat... I'll be watching this build! I'm building a hog roaster too. I'm starting from a tank that was given to me. I think I'm going to have a pro cut the door out for me. Partly for quality but partly because I don't know for sure I wouldn't blow myself up. Ms. Smoke_Chef is highly against that! Best of luck to you and yours. Thumbs Up
  20. fatrat71

    fatrat71 Newbie

    Hi smoke chef,my build process got slowed down a little bit,my boy started football camp so time is a little short! I'm hoping to make some more progress next WK depending on work and practices! I'm already behind schedule as far as where I wanted to be at this point.You def don't wanna get blown up! Pretty sure I seen some thoughts on here about how to prep the old tank for cutting? But best of luck to ya and can't wait to see some pics.

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