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Vertical reverse flow

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by crashdavis, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. crashdavis

    crashdavis Fire Starter

    So in coming up with various options of building my smoker, I am considering mounting the smoke chamber vertically.  In this situation where the tank is 36" diam and 48" tall, is it feasible to create a reverse flow smoker.  My thought is  to run the plate the the opposite side like normal, leaving the gap, then the stack back on the firebox side, like a normal reverse flow.  Would it matter?  Should the chimney be in the middle?  Should I even run the plate...if I were to put the chimney in the middle, would the heat be fairly even?  Have any of you made a reverse flow type with a vertically mounted tank?

    Again, these are just options I'm contemplating, trying to make the best use of the available space and consider all the options. 

    Thank you.

  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Not sure what you are trying to describe but I know heat rises so it's obvious that it the smoke is to go down to get out I think you will have a creosote maker.

    One advantage to a well designed reverse flow is that the plate heats up and gives a more even radiant heat in the cook chamber.  In addition to the even heat the juices drop on the plate, sizzle up and  flavor the meat.  If you can achieve that then by all means do it.  You may look for a way to put a plate on the bottom of the vertical side between the heat/smoke entrance and meat. 

    Not sure what you want to do, maybe post a drawing so the builders on the site can look at it for you.

  3. crashdavis

    crashdavis Fire Starter

    Ok...hopefully my picture will attach.  [​IMG]
  4. crashdavis

    crashdavis Fire Starter

    So I did not intend to imply that the chimney would go to the bottom, just that it would be on the same side as the firebox.  Maybe a situation like this, should I choose to go vertical would be better suited to tuning plates. 
  5. Your design is similar to the cooker that I use. It also has a return on the door side that goes back to the firebox and seems to bring the heat and smoke back around in a roll to some degree. Shape also is conducive that way. It doesn't have a baffle plate but I like the idea. If the heat damper were maybe about half way out from the firebox...maybe that would work pretty well too then the plate would heat up more. My smoke vents are on top. Putting the chimney about half way down on the firebox makes sense. In my opinion a double wall firebox with insulation is the way to go.

    Here's a free diagram tool to play around with if you're interested:

  6. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    That makes a lot more sense then I originally envisioned !  Your drawing shows a "no smoke area" right by the firebox.  Do you think that will actually occur?  I'm not familiar with vertical smokers but have never heard of heat distribution across the smoke chamber as being a problem.  You do have a relatively wide smoke chamber in relation to it's height so it could necessitate the heat baffle.  Maybe a perforated baffle will solve both problems?  If the bottom of the smoke chamber is rounded or if there will be a lip where it reaches the firebox you will need a drain to help when you clean it.

  7. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    I played around with your sketch a bit.

    Just an idea
    fpnmf likes this.
  8. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Or something like this.

  9. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hey SQWIB,

    you gonna need a lot of heat for that second drawing, don't you think?
  10. crashdavis

    crashdavis Fire Starter

    SQWIB, I'd actually thought of doing something like the second picture, but with just one extra plate to force the heat/smoke back the other way.  Another thought I had was something like this picture, looking down on the plate from the top of the smoker.  I figure as long as the area of the cut-outs around the exterior came out to be what the calculator recommends it would be enough smoke etc.  I would then put the chimney in the middle.  I

    would, however, [​IMG]be a little bit worried about drippings igniting.
  11. any chanse we can see a pic. of your smoker mark i'm thinking of doing one like this
  12. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yeah and the temps would probably be a lot hotter on the bottom (more radiant heat). The only way to help that would be to draw the air through quicker (bigger stack) but that may be counter productive (loosing too much heat and burning fuel too quick)

    If it were my project I would make it just like a Vertical water smoker as in the first picture.or maybe the one below.


    However I would be afraid this design may have some flare up issues and you could not use it without a water pan.

    The fire would need to stay small and tight or use lump or charcoal
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011
  13. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm a little stumped here[​IMG]
  14. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    yea, I'd do it like the first drawing, a simple side box heat source with a perforated plate if he wants to diffuse the heat and get a bit of sizzle from the drippings.  I don't know why you would need a water pan if the firebox intakes are adjusted properly and if you are burning wood.  Dry wood still provides a good deal of moisture.  Simple is better in my opinion.

  15. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

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    I would only use a water pan in the vertical drawing #3.

    Drawing #1 might or might not benefit from a water pan.

    Reasoning for a water pan for #3:

    The water pan helps maintain normal smoking temps because water boils at 212 and the 200+ degree steam fills the smoker and helps regulate the heat.

    Water vapor will also increase the smoke penetration of meat (increased smoke ring), not sure of the scientific name here.

    The water pan is also designed to catch the drippings from the meat, keeping them off of the fuel source.

    Water in the pan acts as “thermal mass” and aids in heat recovery time.

    Many will argue that it makes the meat moist I don’t buy into that.

    Many also state that the drippings and other additives to the water pan help in flavoring the meat, this I am not sure of as well.

    Others will use sand in the water pan for “thermal mass” but I feel by doing so the water pan is only acting as a heatsink.

    If it was me and I designed a vertical smoker (drawing #3) it would definitely have a water pan, with that said and having used both types of smokers I would have to agree with you, my first choice would also be drawing #1 without the water pan, with the option to add later to help even out temps if needed.
  16. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    After doing a couple of smokes on my Lang there is a lot to be said for the drip sizzle.  When the fat, moisture and baste hit that hot plate it just sounds like you're cooking.  If you make that diversion plate thick enough it will act as a heat sink.
  17. crashdavis

    crashdavis Fire Starter

    Well, I think my diversion plate/reverse flow plate is going to end up being 3/16 plate.  The guys at the scrap yard hoard it all for their own projects.  I think I'm going to have to make friends with one of em to set aside some stuff for future builds.  I got some angle iron and a piece of 8" pipe for the chimney, but I think the pipe may be too rusted to do much good.  Maybe some good old stovepipe would be strong enough.  I guess I can gusset it to the tank so the wind doesnt wreak too much havoc with it going down the road.

    Ultimately I think I may go with a barrel on barrel configuration, with heat entering the center bottom of the smoke chamber, diverting to both sides and meeting in the middle with the chimney set to the center rear on the top side of the tank.

  18. crashdavis

    crashdavis Fire Starter

    Picture of what I'm thinking about.  Do you see any major design flaws or considerations?[​IMG]
  19. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    I have the 3 diagram smoker has worked for 20 years just fine. Water pan can be filled with beer ,wine ,cider or baste.It's use out weigh not having it.You can all ways not fill it if you want sizzle.I will try to post some photos. Flare ups never a issue.
  20. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Do you have a gasser? or using charcoal?