Adding an offset fire box to a vertical smoker.

Discussion in 'Side Fire Box' started by jbest123, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. jbest123

    jbest123 Fire Starter

    Hi new to smoking here. I liked the idea of a vertical smoker with an off set fire box. I took the easy way out and here is a link to what I did. Hopefully you can help me avoid some pitfalls.  The photo below is what I ended up with.   John

  2. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    First welcome to smf there is alot of info here and the members are great and are willing to help ya when ever ya need it.That smoker ya built looks awesome very cool idea.can you still use the propane if ya wanted to? Can't wait to see that rig in action!!! Good luck!!
  3. jbest123

    jbest123 Fire Starter

    Thanks les3176 I am hoping to use the LP for drying fruits and vegetables if I can run it cool enough. John
  4. jeremymillrood

    jeremymillrood Smoke Blower

    Nice job..I was going to do something similar with my old vertical Brinkmann but decided to get one made instead..Crank that thing up and let's see how it works..
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    First off Welcome John to SMF.  I like your smoker it looks pretty cool. Now all you need is a hot plate and you will have all 3 ways to heat a smoker. I use a hot plate in my GOSM for bacon and sausage. The gas burner won't go down the low.  You'll like it here for there are alot of really good folks here that would just love to help you with just about anything to do with smoking. Now there are alot of proven recipes for some amazing things here too. So if you need sign up for the E-Course it's free and it will give you the basics of smoking and some good methods to use also. So the next big thing for you to do is go out and get you something to smoke and if you happen to have any questions just post it here and we will be happy to answer them for you.

    Welcome To Your New Addiction

  6. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    looks good!
  7. jbest123

    jbest123 Fire Starter

    Thanks all, I would love to smoke something but its to darn cold outside.  John
  8. jbest123

    jbest123 Fire Starter

  9. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nice Smoker, where did you find the firebox like that?


    Welcome to SMF, Glad to have you with us.

    This is the place to learn, lots of good info and helpful friendly Members.

    For those of you new to Smoking, be sure to check out Jeff's 5 Day Smoking Basics eCourse.

    Click Here it's "FREE" ... 5 Day eCourseE
  10. jbest123

    jbest123 Fire Starter

     The fire box is from Home Depot @ $89 plus shipping. The smoker is from Wally World @ $128 and free shipping.  John
  11. jerseysmoker

    jerseysmoker Newbie

    Built one just like yours. Only because my door opened opposite, I had to put the firebox on the back side.  I figure it's safer with the fire in the back anyways. For the template I cut a perfect hole using the shield that came with the box if you wanted to use the firebox as a grill

    standalone. Then, I used the plate,which had a damper in it. for the inside damper as well as a baffle plate. Basically, it acts like a catalytic converter for the smoker box side and only allows some smoke and heat in via damper control. I put (2) 1/4" nuts between the smoker body and damper plate to give it a bit more spacing so it didn't totally block all fire from the box except the damper. I allowed a gap between the plate and the backside of the smoker body (about 1/2") to give more heat but not all the firebox heat.  The hole from the template seemed excessive for a smoker, so I figured I'd use the damper plate and experiment. First guess was a home run. Works like a champ for sure. Now I have total control over wood/charcoal heat. I start with charcoal over a bit of wood. Get it simmered down so it doesn't smoke much, then keep adding bits of wood, drink  a beer, turn on the phillies game, add more wood - you know the rest. Just did some salmon wrapped in foil. First round in it for the season. It works so much better than the lp or charcoal itself did. And adding charcoal or wood does not lower temp like opening the main door would. This firebox has a stainless removeable ash trah. Upgraded the grate to heavy duty cast iron. Plan to get many years and uses out of this setup.

    Vertical wood smoking and cooking  is the way to go for me.
  12. norvich

    norvich Newbie

    Very cool.
  13. norvich

    norvich Newbie

    You have inspired me to try and convert my smoke hollow 44 gasser into a stick burner. I am mechanically illiterate. I would love to see a couple more pictures of the dampers and how the firebox attaches to the smoker body.
  14. jerseysmoker

    jerseysmoker Newbie

    Okay, I used a Masterbuilt Pro for the starter box. Had to get nomex tape to seal both doors, but that did the trick nicely. Then I got a Char-Griller currently available at walmart for 59.99. (Char-Griller 250 sq inch Table Top Charcoal Grill and Smoker, Black )

    I got mine at Acme at end of season for 40.00. It has a plate in it that keeps it sealed for table top grilling, or remove the plate (unbolt it from left side) and bolt it to opening in smoker.

    What I did was lay down the smoker box on the front side (used a moving blanket to keep from scratching it). Then I removed back smoker box legs, laid fire box on back side and slid down until all 6 legs align. Then I drew my hole template from the inside of the firebox using a sharpie, making sure to keep it level and centered for the final mounting to the smoker box.

    Then I drilled a 1/4", then 1/2" hole, then used my jigsaw to cut through the back side. It's noisy, use ear protection. Used a file for final cleanup and the hole was small enough to allow me to center the plate and drill mounting holes (same holes as fire box). Rigged up some red bricks to get the smoker box standing up straight with 2 legs, then moved the firebox forward on it's 4 legs to marry up the holes.I mounted each box to the other, and for the bottom end holes, I put in longer threaded bolts, and tightened the boxes together. The longer bolts then got 1 or 2 nuts to shim out the plate that goes inside to dampen and control how much fire comes in and how much heat you get. Here's final installation pics from inside of smoker box to explain how I used the Char-Griller plate as a heat control on the inside. It can be removed by undoing the 2 1/4" nuts that hold it on. And I have 3 dampers for heat and smoke control, but only use the top one mostly and leave back damper wide open like shown in pic.. . I think at the end of this season, I'm probably going to add some 18 gauge panels to all 3 sides (inside) for better heat insulation and make it last longer. Have the mig welder to tack the pieces in place, just have to get the pieces cut. I'll have the back piece hole plasma cut by bringing the box right to my metal guy.

    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  15. jerseysmoker

    jerseysmoker Newbie

    Here's a link to another site that gives details on how to line up hole.

    It looks like the char-griller is the only viable option for a bolt-on mod these days. Brinkman went out of business late last year, so that changes things. I just added some supports to my legs to stiffen up the whole shebang. Now I can move it as one unit without it flexing. I used some support brackets from server racks. Drilled and bolted them to the legs. Made a couple of bends for the angles, used sae 1/4-20 bolts, stainless of course. I may tack weld the corners of the firebox to the smoker box for added support. If I get 4 or 5 years out of this, I should be happy. Gonna keep it covered as rust never sleeps, especially so close to the ocean ! Yikes.

    Outside is treated with a rust inhibitor/converter as any rust appears. For inside grates, etc - I just keep treating with canola oil till they season. I found when I burn with wood, charcoal AND lp, it goes to around 450 for a good cleaning. Just lp, firebox vents shutdown, will run at a stead 275 degrees (14000 btu burner). That's too hot for the long slow smoke.

    So I use the firebox for the main cooking, slow and low at around 200 steady. I cover the bottom burner hole, to control ventilation from firebox (intake) to output at top of smoker (vent control here too).

    All you need to do after the wood and charcoal simmer down to a steady burn is keep plenty of bbq sauce, wood, and beer on hand.

    Tune in a baseball game and enjoy the day. Feed a chunk of wood or charcoal every now and then. Do NOT throw in the meat till you have a good burn going (be patient - that's what this is all about).

    I already ruined my first chicken using a beer-can cooker. Temp was too low and it got more soot than anything (creosote). You can get a good smokey flavor by mostly cooking covered in foil, bump up the temp with fresh wood towards the end, then uncover for 30-40 minutes for the final smoke. I do 200 degrees for the duration, then 250 for the last 1/2 hour. That seems to work really well, without having to worry too much about how much smoke. And for the last 1/2 hour is when I add the apple juice soaked hickory chips.

    Imparts a good flavor. I'll be trying the jack daniels' oak chips this weekend on some beef. 

    UPDATE: Just added 1/8" steel plate to inside lower bottom to help support and mitigate the heating of the thin metal backside of the smoker. Here's the pics of the plate in place. Used a plasma cutter to cut the hole and drilled the holes using a drill press. I actually was able to get all 8 holes lined up first shot! Burning off the new metal now.

  16. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    :pb: for :hijack:
  17. norvich

    norvich Newbie

    After inspiration I converted my gasser into a stick burner. It was surprisingly easy. Only hiccup was I had to boost the firebox up with feet. Reverse searing a tri tip for first smoke. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  18. jerseysmoker

    jerseysmoker Newbie

    Sweet. Don't know why yours is shorter on the legs. I opted to bolt the damper plate in. Smokes at 200 degrees constant, just add wood as needed. Does yours burn hotter with the bigger open hole ??
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
  19. norvich

    norvich Newbie

    I haven't done a lot of testing yet. I put 1/2 chimney of kingsford in, then a small split of apple wood. As the coals burned down i ended up running on just coals from the wood. It stayed between 200 and 250. I added a split of wood every time the temp started to fall slightly. I did not put the damper plate on in thinking that i could use less fuel to get a higher smoker temp.

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