My new Shirley Fabrication smoker

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by 64driver, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. 64driver

    64driver Fire Starter

    Today I finally got the chance to season my SF cooker. Man, this day couldn't have come fast enough! it was tough to have it sit in the garage for days without using it (busy schedule after picking it up). Anyway, what a difference than my rusty ol Brinkmann Smoke-N-Pit....

    First, let me tell you how nice it was to meet Paul, Tyler, and Cody when I went to pick it up. By far some of the most polite, funny, and good hearted people I met it a long time! Paul was a pleasure to deal with when placing my order, he put up with all my changes/additions to it, and returned/responded to emails and phone calls within an hour. He made sure I got exactly what I wanted when the day came for it to be constructed (By Tyler mind you, Paul was of course sitting on his butt making his son do all the work I'm sure [​IMG]) Just kidding Paul!....maybe...[​IMG].

    The smoker pulled like a dream going 75mph all the way from GA to MN, and the only way I knew it was back there was when I looked in the mirror. Paul said she weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 2400 lbs, I would never have guessed that from towing it. The blue (Old Glory Blue) sample I sent Paul for the trailer was matched perfectly, and he was able to incorporate a piece of an Apache that I sent him. She has a 3/8" CC and FB, with a 1/4" cabinet. EVERY weld looks awesome, I can take a pic of any one of them to prove it if someone wishes to see. Ty truly crafted a masterpiece!

    I sprayed her down with Pam and fired her up using about 1/2 bag of charcoal and some splits of oak. She came up to ~300* in about 50 min. Now I am new to a RF cooker, this was my first time using one by myself, so it took a while to get her dialed in to have even temps. I finally got the bottom grate within 3* of the firebox side vs the left side. The top rack was about 20* hotter than the bottom rack, but still within 10* of the right and left side. Not sure if this is how they run, or if it was just the way I had her angled. Either way, I love it! She held those temps even for about 40 min, where I would throw another split on. I was so used to checking on my ol Brinkmann every 15 min to maintain temps, this one always read the same number! Such a difference. Plus, I was able to warm splits in the warming cabinet, which they lit within seconds of tossing them on the fire...not used to that either!

    Overall, I couldn't be more happy with my experience with Shirley Fabrication. For the quality and size of a cooker I got, coupled with how much it cost, it was such a deal. I realize I am biased, but I would recommend one of these to anyone.

    I was hoping to cook something today, but all I had was 4 hours, and I wanted to give her a good seasoning. Plus I needed to mess around and see what temp she likes to run at (250-275 seems to be the easiest to maintain), any hot/cold spots, etc. Hopefully I can cook next weekend, I'll be traveling this week and won't have time are some pics for now.

    Edit: Since I don't know how to put text between the pics, or have the pics actually show, I'll just describe them. The one with the stacks shows the pitch-change link from an Apache tail rotor that was cut in half to make the stack exhaust handles. The pic with the digital thermo was me comparing the bottom left with it at 241, and the bottom right reads 238* (hard to see though, I didn't have any more slack in the wire). The others are just randos of it.

    Thanks for looking and Happy Easter!!!

  2. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Looks like a nice rig! Can't wait to see it in action.

  3. txsean

    txsean Smoke Blower

    Nice touch on the pitch change links! I almost want to say shame on your crew chief for letting you have those but you put them to good use :) :p you still fly?
  4. 64driver

    64driver Fire Starter

    Our hangar was renovated when I was active duty and I found the pc link in a pile of trash. It was all bent up, but I kept it anyway. After years sitting in a box I thought it would be perfect to add it to the smoker.

    I just joined the MN guard, and will go back to flight school to learn the Blackhawk (this state doesn't have Apaches) sometime this year, not sure when yet though.
  5. txsean

    txsean Smoke Blower

    That's cool! All in good fun about the parts. I was curious about the guard, I thought I read they were handing over all 64's to active units in exchange for 60's. I was a 60 crew chief for 7 years. I think you'll like it. It was fun for is to have some stateside missions in between deployments. We worked a lot with our 64 battalions down range. We never could get used to constant circles lol
  6. 64driver

    64driver Fire Starter

    No worries lol!

    Yeah, the 58s are going bye bye, and their mission is being replaced by 64s (since the new E model being fielded is bad-a$$). From what I understand, most, but not all of the guard units with 64s will give em up for 60s, and even the units that will be keeping their Apaches won't have as many on hand. Not sure when this will happen by, and which states get to keep their Apaches.

    I think it will be fun flying the 60, just different. It's gonna be like going from a corvette to a minivan [​IMG]

    I led a lot of purple missions downrange as well. If you were in the 4ID during our 08-09 stint, we may have flown together. All of the hawk crew members said the same thing as you, "All you guys do is turn left around things" haha
  7. looks like a nice rig, im having a little trouble with the bears bucket here in Minnesota but i guess letting it catch grease is a good a use as any :)
  8. 64driver

    64driver Fire Starter


    Haha, I've gotten a lot of flak from that! I grew up in Chicago, and so far being a Bears fan is better than a Vikings fan here!
  9. txsean

    txsean Smoke Blower

    Thats crazy, I sure was... C co. 3rd BN. Who would have thought...

    lol a minivan... Don't forget, no AC either in this model :p 
  10. 64driver

    64driver Fire Starter

    Wow that is crazy!!!! I was in 4-4, and went to flight school with CW2s C. Wray and B. Simon (don't want to toss out their full names out there). Not sure if you knew them or which company they were in, but they were in 3-4. Good dudes.

    No ac.... Don't remind me. Rivalrys aside, we honestly did feel bad for you guys in the summer. I'll admit, I got spoiled with having it.

    Huh. Small world....
  11. txsean

    txsean Smoke Blower

    Gambler Guns. I might have a coin somewhere... Sorry for getting completely off topic, but that is too crazy. Simon and Wray, we were in the same company. I had some good times and best memories of that deployment with those two. They both ended up going to IPC then taught at Rucker after we got back. Simon got out a few years ago but I haven't heard anything from Wray in a while. Sure is a small world... 
  12. lendecatural

    lendecatural Smoking Fanatic

    Screw the "off topic", thank both of you guys for your service!
    ryan in louisville likes this.
  13. txsean

    txsean Smoke Blower

    Thank you! :flag:
  14. matt22556

    matt22556 Fire Starter

    I know you posted this quite a while back. I'm looking at them and yours looks great. How much out the door was it? Looks awesome. Thanks for your service.
  15. 64driver

    64driver Fire Starter

    PM sent, Matt
  16. Hello
    I'm looking at getting a Shirley smoker myself.
    Anyway I could take a look at yours, I'm about an hour south of Minneapolis.

  17. 64driver

    64driver Fire Starter

    I'm currently down in Alabama attending a course for the Army. I'll be back up north a couple days before thanksgiving, so if you can wait till then, I'd be more than happy to show her off to ya.
  19. Hi Mark:

    Thanks for that review.  I just sent the first payment in for a Shirley Fabrication smoker yesterday.  Now I get to wait like you did to receive the fine craftsmanship I have seen through photos and videos.  I've been welding most of my life, but don't have time to actually fabricate a smoker myself and the Shirley Smokers are priced right (really don't understand this but am thankful for it).

    I will most likely leave all the bells and whistles off the smoker and add them myself once I get it.  If it's half as good as you say it is, there is no reason to be pleased with the build.  I believe Paul subscribes to this forum, but I just haven't seen anything from him yet since I've only bee a member for a short time.  Anyway, thanks and I look forward to enjoying the pleasure you do.

  20. smokehound77

    smokehound77 Newbie

    I like the 30x70  Cabinet model w/ Hip Roof Elevated Model. These guys throw down some of the best welds I've seen anywhere.

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