120 Gallon Propane Tank Smoker Build... Reverse Flow vs Offset

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by trashcollector, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. Hello Everyone,

    Long time observer first time poster...  I am just about to start the journey of building a smoker using a 120 gallon propane tank.  I have been looking at multiple builds using a similar size tank and noticed that most of them are a reverse flow rather than traditional offset.  I was just curious as the reason behind this?  I was planning on making this trailer smoker a traditional offset.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
  2. I think it's a manner of personal preference.  I know lots of folks have turned out some mighty fine Q on a traditional offset.  I personally like the reverse flow concept and think it is superior in more even temps and I think uses less fuel due to the reflected heat from the plate under the grill surface than the offset.  Many traditional offsets were plagued by uneven temps across the cook surface that had to be dealt with via plates, baffles, and other mods.

    Look at lots of builds, ask lots of questions, plan ahead, and have fun.  You have come to the right place for lots of good info from lots of helpful folks. 
  3. smokejumper

    smokejumper Smoking Fanatic

    Speaking for myself, I am building a reverse flow because it is easier to clean and I don't have to think about the set-up. It has even temps left and right which suits me just fine.

    The drawback to a reverse flow is that it has even temps left and right.

    Traditional offsets with tuning plates are more versatile. If you want it hotter near the firebox to cook chicken while at the same time cooking a pork butt low and slow at the far end, you can do that by adjusting the tuning plates. It takes more work to learn how to set it up that way though. With tuning plates, you can get very even temps left and right as well, so the RF does not really have any advantage there.

    I really don't have a need for the versatility of tuning plates. If I am going to serve chicken and pulled pork at the same time, I will just cook the pork first, and while it is resting in the cooler, I will crank up the heat and knock out the chicken which I never do low and slow anyway (since it is a lean meat that does not benefit from low and slow).

    Beyond that, RFs are enjoying a faddish popularity right now. Maybe it will last, maybe not, but the traditional offset is still a good design that will produce outstanding Q.
  4. Totally Personal preference, I always used straight flow, But after building and using my RF, I'm kinda partial. 

  5. Thanks Everyone for the replies.. I am still undecided on what format I am going to build... The good news is I am going to pick up my tank/trailer tomorrow.. Im excited to get the process going..  I will post pictures as I go along..
  7. smokejumper

    smokejumper Smoking Fanatic

    Nice looking mobile smoker kit!
  8. Thanks..this is the rig I bought from cl.. I'm going to make it a horizontal reverse flow trailer rig..
  9. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    If I were to do it, I would go RF.  Only downside is you need to keep it out of the wind.

    Good luck & Smoke ON!

  10. smokejumper

    smokejumper Smoking Fanatic

    Care to expand on that thought Jason?

    I am not aware of any particular sensitivity to wind on the part of RF smokers.
    Good score.

    I have always thought that those short fat 120's are the ideal size for a smoker.
  11. I run an RF live in East Texas, pretty windy at times, don't know of any problems related to wind.  But, I never tried smoking when the wind was 30 + MPH  


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