Operation Smoker

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by bobbobbbq, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. Iv started the first steps on the journey to creating my own smoker.
    wade likes this.
  2. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Bob

    Very impressive so far. It looks as if you had November 5th early this year.

    Just one small detail though - Briskets and Pulled Pork usually stay moister when smoked in BP drums rather than Castrol. 


    Looking forward to seeing it progress 

  3. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A quick question - How are you planning on sealing your lid?
  4. Why thankyou sir.
    I'm planning on using some heat resistant material to seal to lid. The kind of stuff you find around the doors on wood burners you use in your home.
  5. Hello.  No turning back now!  Looking good.  Lets us know if you have any questions.  Keep posting pics and good luck.  Keep Smokin!

  6. Cheers Danny.
    The fire box is the next step for me.
    Pics to follow.
  7. Hello.  So you are gonna make this an offset smoker?  OR, fire box below?  What's the plan for welding the 2 together?  What's the plan for the gap between the rim of the drum and the end you use to attach the firebox?  Has been a long while since I have been out of welding and I know technology has progressed and mig welders help a lot but as I remember welding things to a drum can be a pain where you don't want one.  I am curious as to how this build will progress.  Please educate me.  Keep Smokin!

  8. Morning Danny.
    It's going to be an off set smoker with the cooking drum raised up above and to the side of the fire chamber by means of a wooden manger style stand. The fire box itself will be constructed from bricks with a metal access door to the front. The smoke will travel to the cooking drum via a 3inch metal flexible pipe which will exit the top centre of the fire box and enter the cooking drum through a hole in the side of the drum which I am yet to make. I will also be fitting a chimney to the drum which will fit directly to the existing screw fitting normally used as a means of accessing the product in the barrel in this case "castrol oil"
    Reference the gaps around the opening I am going to use the same material used to seal the door on a common house hold wood burner, it's kind of a rope like seal and should do the job just fine. I do have a mig welder but plan on doing very little welding on this smoker. The only welding will be for the mounting points inside the drum for the cooking surface to sit on.
    I hope this clears up a few things for you sir.
    Have a smoky day ;)
  9. Hello Rob.  Just my humble opinion but I think that 3" pipe will not be large enough unless you are just going to use this for cold smoking.  May be wrong, wouldn't be the first time.  Hopefully someone else may have an idea.  Keep Smokin!

  10. That's definatly food for thought Danny. The length of the pipe is only going to be 10 inches. I was planning on using it for cold and hot smoking I was going to achieve this by using a short length of pipe for hot and a 30inch length for cold smoking. The drum will be able to move sideways to increase the distance between it and the fire box. I am now reconsidering the pipe width I think a
  11. Hello Rob.  MAN!!  I don't want to be the one weighing in on this one.  I hope I am wrong.  I will see if I can get a couple people to look at your plan and offer some advice.  Could you post a drawing?  I think it will make a great cold smoker but I just think you will burn WAY more fuel to achieve temp for hot smoking.  I can't see getting away with anything much smaller than 6" and I fear your use of the 2" threaded "bung" as an exhaust will be too small.  We always advise that folks post drawings of their ideas before making the first cut.  To be honest I am now at a bit of a loss as to how to salvage this if I am right.  I HOPE I'm not.  Just FYI, next time make the two end cuts, install your hinges and then finish off the cutting of the lid.  If using a grinder or a saw it is not as important but it is a good rule of thumb to follow.  Helps keep things better aligned.  This is all just my opinion.  As I said I could be wrong, have been before.  I just hate telling someone I don't think their idea will work but I feel a responability to try and help where I can, even if it is bad news.  I will try and find us some help.  Keep Smokin!

  12. Hello Rob.  My last post has been bugging me.  I just can't trash your idea and not offer suggestions.  I wish you hadn't cut your drum yet but play the cards you are dealt.  Shall we "pimp your smoker"?  Ideas that should make it more efficient and not break the bank.  Put your bravery cap on!  This is old school seat of your pants/trousers but we just can throw the drum away and start again.  If this doesn't work you will have one HE** of a cold smoker and you will need to start again on the hot smoker.  Not a total loss.  You mentioned 10" from FB to CC for hot smoking.  And you said the CC could be moved for cold smoking.  So here we go.  For hot smoking use 6" stove pipe wrapped in foil coated insulation and with a stove pipe damper installed.  I would use a 4" exhaust about 30" long with a damper on top of that.  Make that 6" connection so that you can cap it off.  Make a second connection for the 3" flex pipe for cold smoking.  Build the dampers in so if needed they are there to use.  This is not from calculations.  This is just what I would do.  The dampers allow you some flexibility.  I assume you will bring in the heat from the FB into the bottom of one end of the CC..  Be sure to install a heat deflector so that that end isn't so much hotter than the other end.  That's just my old school opinion.  If you are brave I feel  this should work.  On your shoulders now mate.  I just had to offer an alternative.  I jut felt so guilty.  I still may very well be wrong about the whole thing.  I have had my disasters.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

  13. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Bob

    Trying to picture the concept from reading a description is always difficult as there is a lot of room for interpretation. As Danny mentions above a drawing of what you are trying to achieve would be very helpful. But from what you have written above I have the following observations/comments/questions

    What you have described would make a cracking cold smoker however I think it may turn out to be rather inefficient for hot smoking. The efficiency is all about balancing the fire box size to the cooking chamber, the chimney volume to match the fire box and getting the correct opening size between the firebox and the cooking chamber. Many of the old timers on here will usually do this by eye however for us mere mortals there have been some very helpful interactive pit size calculators developed to help us out. I have put links to 2 of them here and you may want to run your pit dimensions through them before you begin.

    Feldon Central

    Smoker Builder

    Using the typical 55 US Gallon drum dimensions I have put some figures through based upon your comments above. I have also made some assumptions regarding your fire box size to give you the recommended volume.

    Drum size - 23" diameter x 35" length

    Firebox size - 24" long x 20" wide x 12" high. (It is the volume that is important here so the actual dimensions can vary)

    Chimney diameter - 2" (You said that you were going to use the existing drum filler hole and these are usually 2" diameter)

    Firebox to cooking chamber opening - 3" diameter

    When you put these through the calculator a couple of things immediately jump out at you.
    • With such a small 2" diameter chimney it will need to be just over 76" (6.3 feet) long
    • The recommended Firebox to cooking chamber opening diameter is 7.6" - which is a little over twice the diameter of your proposed 3" tube

    Now these figures will change slightly if you tweak the volume ratios between the smoke chamber and the firebox however the ratio above would generally be considered as being about right.

    The efficiency of the firebox to cook chamber opening would also be further reduced if you were to have a length of the 3" pipe between the fire box and cooking chamber rather than have them bolted directly together. Having the cooking chamber closer to the fire box though may need to reconsider making the "manger" out of wood - angle iron may be safer.

    For the fire box you could go back to where you got the Castrol drum from and see whether they have another smaller drum that you could bolt directly on.

    I think you are off to a great start so please do not take the comments above as negative. It is just that I would hate for so much enthusiasm to be quenched by your first build having a few avoidable design limitations.


    Last edited: Oct 11, 2014
  14. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Danny's suggested adjustments would certainly make a big difference as both the chimney and firebox to cooking chamber sizes you are proposing are too small. Providing you have sufficient pipe sizes to begin with the addition of dampers make fine tuning much easier. 
  15. WOW !!! Guys Iv been overwhelmed by your responses to my post.
    The help you fine gentlemen have given me is priceless and frankly flipping awesome!!
    I will take on board all that you have said and make the necessary adjustments to make my smoker GREAT.
    For now I am going to get my head down and get this puppy built. I will post pictures of her on completion so I can get your much needed and respected feedback.
    Thank you again my wise and learned friends.
    Have a smoky day.
  16. [​IMG]   Well off the top of my head I got close.  Does that count?  These calculators are a really great thing.  I guess I should give them a look.  Good luck Rob and I am sure you will now have a smoker to be proud of.  Keep Smokin!

  17. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Danny, I am impressed. Especially for someone who has been exposed to so much mesquite smoke as you have over the years :)
  18. [​IMG]   A bit of the aroma of the Smoking Gods ( mesquite ) and a couple tins of beer and I come up with all sorts of crazy ideas!  Keep Smokin!

  19. Ahhhh smoke and beer the precursors to a full belly and a stupid smile on my face haha.

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