Gravity Fed Build

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by smokinz, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. I started out with a pellet pro hopper, I put it in a filing cabinet and loved it. A few years later I got greedy for a bigger and badder smoker. Looking all around at gravity fed smokers I decided this is the route I wanted to go. However the cost of these set me off a bit. So i decided to make my own. 

    Total time it took me to build was roughly a month, total cost was around $600.

    I also bought the BBQ Guru cyber q to control temp and am so happy I did. That thing keeps temp within 1 or 2 degrees of set temp and I can check temps and control it from anywhere with my cell phone. 3 inches of hi temp insulation in the whole thing and more around the fire box. First few smokes through it have been amazing! This past weekend I had the best pork shoulder I've ever eaten and that made me oh so happy. 

    Let me know what you guys think. 
    geezer likes this.
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've never seen one in person....  How does the Fire Box work on those things....
  3. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Fire grate is at the bottom with an open area under the grate. There is a charcoal chute that is sealed at the top when closed (but you can open to add more charcoal on very long smokes).  Air inlet is at the bottom below the fire grate and usually has a ball valve to control airflow. Ash from the grate falls into a pan in the open area below the grate.  You can also put hardwood chunks in this pan and they will burn for smoke flavor from the heat of the coals on the grate above.  As the coals burn, ash falls out through the grate and more coals move down from above. Since the air is only at the bottom and the top of the coal chute is sealed the charcoal at the grate level is what is burning, not the entire chute.  Runs for hours like this.

    That's it in a nutshell.

    Found this illustration in a google image search.

    Here is a fairly short youtube video that shows an Assassisan 28" model lighting and gives a decent overview of the charcoal and the interior.

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    OK....    Now, could a stand alone unit be built for an Ugly Drum Smoker...  maybe...   I suppose it would have to be GURU driven due to the lack of a chimney effect....

    I'm guessing there is a minimum size for the charcoal vertical tube....  maybe 6" square...    for Kingsford Blue... 

    Is there somewhere I can find technical info on these.....    You can PM if you like.... 
  5. My brother bought a stand alone unit from china on ebay and attached it to his home made smoker, an old fuel tank. And it works fine for him. He did have to buy a guru to feed it air but should be the same for a drum.
  6. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Oh, BTW.....  That smoker is DROP DEAD GORGEOUS !!    wish I was younger...     enjoy it for a long time, and pass it down to someone worthy ......

    Thanks much........   [​IMG]   ....

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  7. mendozer

    mendozer Fire Starter

    I like that graphic illustrated above. Are there "rules" for where this baffle and grate are vertically with each other? I'd like to make something like this for my existing vertical smoker, then reuse it whenever I get around to making a full sized smoker (like for a whole hog). I wonder if it just needs to be level with the grate. What is the width of that grate? Just a bit smaller than a pellet? I also assume (because I can't tell from your pics) that there's a way to light the pellets perhaps from underneath like with a  torch?

    Also, for that air inlet, are you using a particular valve that only makes one full revolution to better keep track of precision?
  8. I don't have a baffle on feeds directly into the smoke chamber. The drawing above illustrates the vertical lining up of the fire grate and baffle or heat inlet tube to the smoker.

    My grate is 3/8" thick and 10" x 10". After using it for a while I think the firebox could have been a bit smaller. The holes in my grate are 1/2" I believer but I went back and drilled haft of them out to 3/4" for more air flow.

    I don't burn pellets in mine because I think I get better flavor with charcoal and wood chips mixed. I can light the coal from the bottom of the grate with a torch or if the hopper is empty I light a small amount in the charcoal chimney and dump it in the chute first.

    Lastly the ball valve is nothing specil. Just 1/4 turn valve so it can only turn 90 degrees from full open to full close. I also bought and use the Cyber Q controller and absolutely love it. It is able to maintain temperature within 1 degree of the set point.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

  9. Impressive, nice fabrication skills. Thumbs Up
  10. mendozer

    mendozer Fire Starter

    How is a cyber Q controlling heat of it's just air flow regulated from the valve? Or are you just using it to visually monitor heat and food temp?

    Thanks for the description of the grate and entry into the chamber.
  11. mendozer

    mendozer Fire Starter

    nevermind I thought it was an electric controller, not an airflow controller. Just watched the video on youtube.

Share This Page