Vertical or horizontal?

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by dvdslw, May 18, 2016.

  1. If you were given a nice 80 gallon (vertical) air compressor tank, which way would you build it? Everyone I know is telling me to go Horizontal Reverse Flow but something's telling me to keep it upright, not sure why? I have drawn out a few plans either way and the vertical design appeals to me and seems like it would run more efficiently with the fire box below the cooking chamber. My thoughts are to cut out a small door below for the fire box with a larger door above for the cooking chamber separated with some 1/4in plate steel vented on all sides as a baffle. Standing upright it looks like I could simply use three Weber 22in cooking grates with enough room for a hotel pan at the bottom for water. I'd also fabricate a slide out coal box with ash tray, side vents, and center mounted chimney.

    I've even toyed with the idea of placing a removable 120v heating element w/temp controller or propane burner for those butts or briskets that take a while. That idea is only there because I've been spoiled with my MES for the last few years which has put out some great food along with my side box mod. Maybe I'll just keep it all fire, not sure, I really want something that puts out some top notch bbq with a nice smoke ring. Any thoughts would be appreciated, I only have the compressor at this point and the desire to turn it into something great.

    Thanks, Dave!
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
  2. Vertical uses less space personally I have both and prefer my vertical uses less wood as well. Also have to factor how much and what you plan on cooking.
  3. The size is a bit overkill for us as a single family and my average cook consists of  3 slabs of ribs, two chickens, a brisket, dozen legs, etc.. (not all at once) but I do like to throw a party for the big holidays and usually have anywhere from 20-40 people over so having the extra space is a nice feature. On paper, it seems vertical would consume less fuel having the box just below the meat and be more efficient but if that's the case why would a horizontal offset seem to be the grill of choice when it comes to custom builds? I'm guessing its just plain easier to get it right the first time building a horizontal vs a vertical? I don't mind putting in the hard work it will take tuning the draft using different vents and plates until I get it right. That and I just want something a bit different than the next guy.

    On the other hand, I'm starting to think that maybe I'll compromise and do a vertical with a side fire box? I could still do a reverse flow, decisions, decisions?
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
    tiggyt likes this.
  4. Understandable I had the same feeling so I built my vertical to the size of a horizontal and hot a two for one cabinet styles offer a great mix of both styles.

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