1st reverse flow build with propane burners.

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by codyford, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. codyford

    codyford Newbie

    Hey everyone, new to the forum lots of great info in here.  Anyway since I've found the calculator for detailing how to build a working reverse flow smoker I thought I'd post the build & details up on here as well.

    This will be my 4th attempt, my previous 3 were of crappy design, while they worked/work, I want it to be even better, and also to look a bit better too.

    The catch to my build is that I need/want something with burners in it.  This is because I do not have room for a separate gas grill but still want the ability for a quick grill,, and plus there are some things I like to cook at higher heats than what the smoker can do.

    My starting point is a 60" long x 20" OD vehicle propane tank.  I've ran some numbers through the calculator, but they are not exact until I figure out the tank thickness, once I know that I'll toss everything up (will be starting this weekend).  In short, I'm using the tank for both the cc & the FB, the CC will be in the 44-46" long range, I'll cut the rest off and use it for the FB, I'll seal up the ends with some 3/16 plate.  Then cut the openings & reverse flow plate per the calculations with a single grill surface up top, I may do a second, we shall see.

    The propane burners, this is where I have got started. I found a couple tutorials online and built one the other day.  Ended being very simple, here's a video of my first attempt of turning it on:


    I'll post the main how to link later.  I've fined tuned the burned so the flame is just perfect since the above video, which gives me the template to build three more.  The plan for the burners is to have 4 in total, running 2 side by side on one half, and 2 side by side on the other half with the controls at the center of the CC, burners will be 20" long, 2 rows (90* of seperation) of 3/32 holes spaced 10mm apart
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice burner.....   Some folks say that the flame holes might perform better if on the lower side of the pipe so stuff won't fall on the burner tube and "maybe" plug the holes...   Also, water, condensate will drip out of the burner tube.... 

    I have no idea if that's a big deal, just passing on what I read... "and remember"....
  3. codyford

    codyford Newbie

    Thanks, yeah I've heard those points as well, the debris dropping on the tube won't be an issue as the burner will be below the reverse flow plate and a layer of lava rock.  the condensation drain, I'd just drill another hole on the bottom, but I'm not overly concerned about it.  
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Sounds like this is going to be a great build!

    Nice job on the burner!

  5. codyford

    codyford Newbie

    Got started on it finally last night.  Like I said I'm starting with an old 80gallonish truck bed propane tank.  ~60" long, 20" od (~19.625 ID).  The FB and CC are all from the same tank.  I have a bunch of plate and am using 3/16" thick plate to seal the mating ends of the FB & CC with the opening between the two cut into it as you can see below.

    Played with the burner positioning a little bit as well, my plan should work out pretty good, trickiest part will be getting an igniter/starter in there.

    The grill/grate surface will be made in three pieces (same widths accross the length).  I will have three standard 3/4 expanded metal grates, framed/reinforced with angle iron.  Then I will also build a griddle out of 1/4 plate as well (framed & reinforced) that I can toss in there as well.  The door/grates will be positioned such that when the door is opening I can pull the grills out of the bbq if need be.

    Tonight, finish getting the fb/cc mounted up, figure out hinges and start cutting the door.

  6. codyford

    codyford Newbie

    Getting more done every night, I want to have this complete this weekend.

    Got the end plate finished up & welded out, lids have been cut & prepped, and started on the dampeners as well.  Tonight I'm hoping to finish the dampeners on the fire box, cut out the reverse flow plate, and start on the cooking grates.

  7. codyford

    codyford Newbie

    One question I forgot to ask is with the reverse flow plate.  Are folks welding them down to the cook chamber, or is everyone just setting them down with a few place holders?  With my burners, I need to be able to access them and cannot permanently affix the RF plate to the CC shell.  I know the RF plate needs to have a tight seal, and this isn't a problem.
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Set the RF plate on angle iron that has been tacked in place...
  9. codyford

    codyford Newbie

    Thanks Dave, lines up well with what I was thinking.
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you are putting in an RF Drain system, just drop it through a hole in the bottom of the CC...  Install the ball valve after install and remove before you remove the RF plate....
  11. codyford

    codyford Newbie

    Yup, already have the ball valve.  Progress is slow, but slowly getting done.  I've gotten the lids finished, cc cooking grate is complete, RF plate finished & installed,, as are the FB air vents.  Ran into a snag with the hinges, made a boo-boo and didn't have the lid properly centered, so I have to redo that.  I'm hoping come the weekend it will be ready to fire up.
  12. codyford

    codyford Newbie

    I'll get pictures up tonight or tomorrow morning.  Anyway, more done.  Hinges are done and lid's have the seal installed, and everything is ground to fit. Made the hinges out of steel bushings I had laying around for the CC lid, then just used some gate hinges for the FB, also worked out to where I do not need a latch for the FB, weight of the door keeps its closed. Also got the FB grate cut, and also cut out my griddle cook surface (1 piece 19.5x 16.5" and one smaller one 19.5 x 6"), marked out where the burners will go also.  Tonight its get the burners built & installed.  Then it's install the handles, plug the couple holes, mount it on its stand, first burn, then sand & paint and I'm ready to go.  
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  14. codyford

    codyford Newbie

  15. codyford

    codyford Newbie

    Its coming along, albeit slower than I hoped, but there is a light a the end of the tunnel.  Not to overly happy with the air inlets for the fire box, but they will work.  Just have the smoke stack & tune the burners left to do and it's ready it to cook outside of painting it.  You can see the reverse flow plate & grill surface in the one picture, also shown are my griddles that I'll be using.  I'm reusing the old stand from my last bbq, which puts the bbq a little on the short side, but I don't mind as it's easier to access the back side of the grill, and it keeps it out of the wind (for the burners).
  16. codyford

    codyford Newbie

    Smoke stack done.  Burners & paint tonight, first cook tomorrow.
  17. codyford

    codyford Newbie

    Got everything finished up over the weekend and the first couple smokes/cook outs finished up.  And I must say it works great.

    Reran the plumbing for the burners to clean them up, turned out not to bad.  I still have some tunning work to do.  Need to back down on the propane nozzle size a touch and increase on air hole size, the A/F ratio is running rich.  Also determined if I were to do this again I'd run 1/2" burner tubes max, as when the burners are turned down low, the pressure in the burner tubes is low and it can burn back and blow out (another reason for downsizing the propane nozzle size).

    Painted & ready to go.

    Before paint and after buffing all the paint off, I did the first burn.  With everything installed this is the max. temperature when all burners are turned on high, perfect.  Won't be able to complain about not getting hot enough lol.

    Bugger is heavy, had to get creative with a quad ramp, piece of plate, and ratchet straps anchored to my deck.  Hopefully I don't have to move it from here for a long time.

    First cook was some pork ribs, I used a simple rub off the recipe section on this site that was fantastic, and I also used to difference sauces, one was a rum based sauce from the recipe section on this site as well, and my own sauce with a based of maple syrup & bubba rays hickory bbq sauce (with honey, more brown sugar, vanila, ginger, cinnamon, can of a dark stout beer (I like sweet n' sticky sauces).  Cooked them using the 3-2-1 method (I add sauce almost right away though), turned out delicous, and the smoker worked great.  I do need to address to things, my hinges aren't exactly perfect and need to be "adjusted" and the lid doesn't seal perfect either, so a little bit of work to do there.  Also did some asparagus on the small griddle, and they turned out just right too.

    Second cook was breakfast the next morning, bacon, eggs, toast, & a few ribs from last night stripped & fried. Used the big griddle as you can see.  Works great once up to temperature, but it took about 20minutes to get up to temp.  I think I'll add a damper on the stack for when I'm using the burners to hold the heat in/get it up to temperature quick.  Over all it turned out great, I'm quite happy with the results.
  18. tim king

    tim king Newbie

    looks awesome I like the burners a lot. I am working on a reverse flow set up, but had thought about adding burners, some how, to make it a dual purpose grill/ smoker. This is a great idea, and just the motivation i needed to try the burners

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