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want to try building a smoker but i got a couple questions

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by joker2136, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. joker2136

    joker2136 Newbie

    i'm actually pretty new to using a smoker at all about 8 months ago i decided to buy a smoker cause i wanted to make better ribs and i've always thought smoking them gave them the best flavor so anyways i bought cheap one from homedepot it was like $170 and so far its done great but now that i know more about the smoking process and that you should never buy one of these cheap ones  i want a real pit. just this last weekend for the super bowl i cooked two 16 lbs briskets  (which came out really good i might add) and found that my smoker was barely big enough. i've been looking for a tank but haven't had any luck yet so i've been thinking about welding together a square chamber instead of using a tank. my first question is what kind of metal is best for building a smoker and how thick should it be?  i was thinking of making the cooking chamber 5-6 feet X 2 feet X 2 feet is there a way to figure out how big the firebox should be or is that just hit and miss? more or less how much space should i put between the RF plate and the lowest cooking rack? lol i've got lots of noobie questions but any advise you can give me is much appreciated 
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011
  2. [​IMG]

    Joker, don't ya think a tank is just a little much....one thing about it no one would get in  your way getting the Q. delivered! [​IMG]

    Seriously though, there's a whole bunch of things to consider when building a smoker pit. My advice is to do a great deal of research and listen to a lot of different opinions, what others have built, etc. to gain a broad understanding. It'll serve you well in the long run. You don't want to invest your time, efforts and resources into something that could have worked better with even the slightest adjustments in building it. You have to have adequate venting, the exhausts have to be in good position. Use of baffles, plates, having good air-tight seals, ETC. We want this thing running really well for you once it's finished whatever thickness of steel or cooking area you chose to have.

    A lot of the offset cookers use 1/4" metal but IMO that's not necessary. It just depends on how big of a build you want. What you want to do. Your preferences. The thicker the metal, the better it holds temperature but also takes more time to heat and the larger area you have you don't want to go to thin. I heard tell once that "metal doesn't lie" and it's true. The firebox it's important to have thicker steel there especially so I wouldn't go anything much less than 1/4". And one that is plenty big there's ways to calculate what's needed around a third or slightly more the area of your cooking chamber.  I also like the idea of insulating a cooker. Particularly the firebox. Not necessary but in my opinion worth the effort.  If you chose to do any insulating in between, you don't use as thick of metal of coarse.

    For me personally, I have absolutely no reason to be making me a really great big huge cooker.  I'd rather be spending some money on the area that I will actually be using implementing the use of insulation that helps for it running efficiently. A little more area than I think I might initially need so that I don't outgrow it too soon yet not so large as I'm wasting fuel for no good reason cooking with it. Something to consider anyway. You have many good options to choose from deciding your build.

    I'm not at all an expert or anything about building barbecues. I've just did quite a bit of researching to familiarize myself in a bunch of different areas. Different ideas and various opinions. You'll find lots of helpful people here with important things to share with you.

    Good luck and have fun! Welcome to Smoking Meat Forums. F.Y.I. you can officially introduce yourself in "Roll Call" it's a good way to say hello.

    Forgive my "sense of humor" earlier. I bumped my head one time been a little off my rocker ever since....
  3. joker2136

    joker2136 Newbie

    ya i'm not planning on making it right away i've been researching this online for about a month with not to much luck when i finally found this forum this just seemed like the place i've been looking for. i've been reading  about other peoples build and taking ideas from here and there. it'll probably be a couple more months before i actually start investing any money. its just that i've thought about just buying a better smoker but there isn't a lot of option here in california. the few people here that i know that actually have a smoker either built it themselves or had some one build it for them i'm just trying to see if it easy to buy a lang online or build it myself. really would like to be able to say i built it myself though
  4. I know what you mean, there's something extra special about building your own. I've been playing around with a couple of designs myself. It sounds like you are taking a good, thorough approach to building your own cooker.
  5. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Great advice, I would like to add to the above advice is to, give yourself plenty of time and enjoy the build.

    When you are smoking on your custom build you want to be able to look back and say "Hey I made this and It was fun"

    The journey is sometimes just as gratifying as the destination!

    My build took a very long time but was enjoyable.
  6. Dutch

    Dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    joker, you can build a rf using a rectangle shape. Using the BBQ Pit Calculator   and building your food chamber 24X24X72 you would need a fire box 24X24X24. You can change the variables to suit your needs.