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vertical smoker build where can I put the fire box?

Dave Davis

Newbie
4
1
Joined Jan 18, 2021
I am building my first smoker. I want to know if I can put the fire box above the bottom of the cooking chamber. I guess it is going to be a vertical smoker with a fire box. Not sure if it could or should be a reverse flow smoker. I have a 40 gal soup cooker I am converting into a smoker. The main reason for raising the fire box is to allow for tending the fire without getting on my knees. I have a smoker now where the fire box is underneath the cooking chamber. I have learned to use that system but it is a lot of tending and tough as I have to get on my knees. I want to avoid that. I have attached pictures of my project to help readers visualize the Project.
The cook chamber is set in the housing with a 3 inch space surrounding the chamber. I was going to insulate with one inch of insulation and a metal lining. That leaves about 2 inches of air space around the cook chamber. The Idea was to have smoke enter the housing and fill the space heating the cook chamber then enter the chamber through a 6 round hole at the bottom and exit out the top. probably a 4 inch chimney. The total volume of the cook chamber is 63 gal. The lid being 17 gal. does this plan look like it will work? I could also direct the smoke through a plenum of some type, boxing it in, or 6 inch pipe to the bottom of cook chamber. there will be 12 inches below the cook chamber, if I need to put the fire box underneath. With the cook chamber being insulated I thought it wool be difficult to regulate the temp without a lot of fire tending. I believe it will heat up fast and maintain heat well. Any advice would be helpful.
 

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bill1

Smoking Fanatic
781
258
Joined Apr 25, 2015
I'd say you can do either. If the fire is at the bottom, you have something like a drum smoker. The air inlets into the bottom but drawing in air from the top looks like many "ugly drum smokers" (ugly is used as a complement). If your opening at the bottom is a simple adjustable hole, you have something much like a Weber kettle. If your fire is in a box off to a side (and of course you then need your air intake to go into that box) you have a design like many vertical cabinet smokers. With either approach, you can probably enhance cook speed and smoke flavoring by putting baffles inside that direct the smoke in a back-and-forth sideways motion instead of straight out the top. That would be analogous to what's done in a classic reverse-flow smoker where the cooking section is wider than it is tall. Which is not really the case with yours.

Nice looking rig so far, by the way!!!
 

Dave Davis

Newbie
4
1
Joined Jan 18, 2021
I'd say you can do either. If the fire is at the bottom, you have something like a drum smoker. The air inlets into the bottom but drawing in air from the top looks like many "ugly drum smokers" (ugly is used as a complement). If your opening at the bottom is a simple adjustable hole, you have something much like a Weber kettle. If your fire is in a box off to a side (and of course you then need your air intake to go into that box) you have a design like many vertical cabinet smokers. With either approach, you can probably enhance cook speed and smoke flavoring by putting baffles inside that direct the smoke in a back-and-forth sideways motion instead of straight out the top. That would be analogous to what's done in a classic reverse-flow smoker where the cooking section is wider than it is tall. Which is not really the case with yours.

Nice looking rig so far, by the way!!!
Thanks I was worried that the draw might be difficult to get started with the firebox on the side as the smoke will need to flow down after leaving the fire chamber. I know the vertical reverse flow the smoke does travel down after first going up. So my design should work in theory.
 

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