My Center Feed Smoker Build

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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Weyrider » April 11th, 2018, 2:54 pm

Hello out there, its the mad smoker builder back again. Well I got a couple of small thermometers for a steal and thought since today is going to be around 40 degrees, lets play with the smoker. So I installed the thermometers, went to the hardware store to buy a 15 lb bag of Oak Ridge charcoal. Filled the charcoal basket about 3/4 full and lit it up. I opened up the intake slides on the firebox wide open and the exhaust wide open as well. It is ready to go in about 35 minutes. The thermometers read 200 so I closed the exhaust to barely open and sure enough the temps rose to 225 in 5 minutes. Can you say Hot Dang? It's alive and ready to cook. The temps stayed right at 225 for 3+ hours before it began to fall off. Another nice thing is that I put a couple chunks of apple wood in it and saw a nice wave of thin blue smoke, so I am pleased at that. What I didn't like was the Charcoal I used. I will try another light up with a full basket of Charcoal to see if the temps rise a bit higher. For Cooking though I will use the Kingsford brand of Charcoal as it seems denser than the Oak Ridge brand, which makes me believe that it may burn hotter and longer. I also need to seal the CC doors as they leak. As always advice is always welcome. Soon there will be a Q View.
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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by ajfoxy » April 11th, 2018, 5:05 pm

Looking good.... Q-view next ... it's the rules.


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Re: RE: Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Weyrider » April 11th, 2018, 6:16 pm

ajfoxy wrote:Looking good.... Q-view next ... it's the rules.
Ok

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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Rodcrafter » April 12th, 2018, 5:43 am

:LG:

I was just wondering if you closed down the intake air vent rather than the exhaust if it would help the process? Also this is not really a vertical, it's a center feed with a large CC. I say that to imply it will take more fuel than a vertical which uses all the heat generated directly above the fuel source. I think you would find a very small wood burning fire would be fine but it would take more attention.

Just thinking and it is sometimes very scary.
:-B


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Dirtytires » April 12th, 2018, 9:57 am

You also may consider a “lump” charcoal instead of the briquettes. They burn cleaner, have no binders or coal in them to sour the meat, and burn longer.

Sounds like you are ready for the first cook!



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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Weyrider » April 12th, 2018, 3:47 pm

Went out and "played" with the smoker again to learn what it is trying to tell me. Started with a full basket of charcoal and lit it up. It takes 35-45 minutes for it to get warmed up enough to put the food in it. Today I experimented with the exhaust vents. RC, I think I know what you are getting at, I will try that next time. Today I left everything wide open and got the temperature to rise to 275. then I closed the vents 1/2 way closed and the temp dropped to 245. I closed the exhaust so 1 was closed and the other was open about 1/4 and the temp dropped to 225 and stayed there. I opened the exhaust vent back up and within 5 minutes the temp rose back up to 275. I closed the exhaust and got the temp back down to 225 and put some apple wood 1/4 logs in it and she started with the blue smoke and that lasted 2 hours with no other input.

Dirty, I never though of using the "lump" style charcoal, so I am going to try that next. I am going to experiment a few more times and gain some more knowledge before I try to poison my wife and I. I am sure she would appreciate that. I want to thank all of you that gave me advice, it was very much appreciated. OBTW I received my Thermo Pro probe style thermometers today. Next week we be sanding, painting and cooking meat.


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Big T » April 12th, 2018, 9:07 pm

You're on the right track. Anytime I build a smoker it seems to act a little different from the last one so the best thing to do is test fires to see how it reacts to different adjustments. I keep a note pad handy and jot down a few notes so that I can compare them after I'm done. It can be hard to remember how each adjustment affected the temperature after a few burns so keep up with it for a while and it can be really helpful. After a while you'll start to notice how weather conditions and your fuel choice can change the way it reacts to different adjustments. I'm not sure how bad the doors leak but seeing as the hinges are welded, if it's a small leak you can open the doors and put painters tape on the CC where the edge of the doors would sit, run a bead of high temp silicone on the doors, give it a minute to tack up and then gently close the doors. Wait 24 hours and ease the doors open, the silicone shouldn't stick to the tape so you can peel off the tape and the doors should seal up pretty good. I haven't used the above mentioned method but Gizmo said that he has used this method several times and it works well.


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Dirtytires » April 12th, 2018, 10:14 pm

You will love the therm pro unit. Just do t expect to get much range out of the Bluetooth but it sure is nice to see the temp graph on my iPad while I’m in the kitchen cooking the sides.



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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Rodcrafter » April 13th, 2018, 3:37 pm

That idea that BigT mentioned I believe there's some stretch wrap between the silicone and the tape. I could be wrong.


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Big T » April 13th, 2018, 3:59 pm

:yth: I thought I was forgetting something but it was quite a while back.


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Weyrider » April 19th, 2018, 4:42 pm

Hello again all,

Went out and tried the third light off in the smoker, but did a couple of things different. 1) I used lump coal this time instead of briquettes, 2) i used the intakes to control the temp instead of the exhaust. RC, I got your thinking, the intakes allowed the temps to be controlled just as well or better than the exhaust method I tried earlier. I would describe the intake method as a "lean burn" type of burn as the exhaust method would be a "rich burn" type of burn. Using the intakes I noticed not as much smoke was coming out of my stacks adjusting the intakes as compared to the other method of adjusting just the exhaust. I am thinking that is a better thing. I also learned that if I have the temp set and it lowers itself 10 degrees, I either need more fuel or the intake must be opened up. I also learned that I can control the temps of either side by opening or closing the intake of that side. My thinking is the fire and heat are taking the shortest path from intake to exhaust. The temps that I have seen are 300 degrees and downward and I seem to be able to control the temps quite well on this rig. I used 5 pounds of coal and one small apple wood log about 12" long and about 3" around and got 3 hours out of it until the CC temp went below 200 degrees. I think that's okay, but time will tell. The outside temp was 50 degrees and a slight wind. I am getting stoked and am gonna start the sanding, painting, and racks buildup and get to cooking. Again thanks to all that gave me much needed advice, and much appreciated comments as well. RC, I used felt style CC door weatherstripping and it seems to hold up, just a whisper of smoke on the doors. But I will keep the RTV silicone trip in the back of my notes.


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Weyrider » April 19th, 2018, 4:49 pm

Here are the Intake Pics, they are open about 1/2 inch on either side.
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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Big T » April 19th, 2018, 5:14 pm

That's great news! The more that you use it, the easier it gets to make the correct adjustments.


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Dirtytires » April 19th, 2018, 9:42 pm

Take notes and continue to think thru why each result happened from your action. You are well on you way to having it mastered.



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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Weyrider » May 29th, 2018, 11:19 am

We did it!!!! Painted the smoker using Flat Black and Harley Davidson Orange rattle can paint. Wife said I could have made the patio more Orange ( oops) So here are some pics of the completed smoker and a Q-view.

Now for the cook, I used lump coal and a few apple wood logs for this cook, The wife bought 2 thermo pro digital thermometers so the initial cook with digital thermometers begins. Set the smoker to 230 and put the pork ribs in , They were St. Louis cut style. I also put in a water pan with very little water on the bottom. This cook took about 4.5 hours to get the internal temp to 165 degrees. I also made up an Asian style of rub that the wife and I use when we cook Chinese in our wok. I figured what the heck why not and sparingly dusted the ribs and let set for 3 hours. Cook went great until the meat stalled at 160 and stayed for 1/2 hour. I cranked up the Smoker temp to 260 and within 15 minutes the ribs were done. The Outside temp was 82 and the wind was blowing from 10-15 mph. I think it went well for the first cook. I will put more water in the water pan and may start thinking about rubbing the ribs at least 12 hours before cooking. I also changed up my rub recipe, added more of one ingredient, and wrote it down. This has been some great therapy for my winter blaws. Thanks again for all the help that you all provided, It was greatly appreciated.
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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by ajfoxy » May 29th, 2018, 5:03 pm

Nice! It's good it's working for you. And the paint on the patio will fade over time.... or not.


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by inkslinger » May 29th, 2018, 6:51 pm

Looks great.


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Big T » May 29th, 2018, 8:44 pm

:beer: :needfood:


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Dirtytires » May 29th, 2018, 10:03 pm

Good results make all the hard work worth it.

Comgrats.



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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Rodcrafter » June 2nd, 2018, 3:25 pm

Heck yeah that is what it is supposed to do!


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Weyrider » June 25th, 2018, 1:09 pm

As of now I have three cooks through the smoker two cooks of ribs and one with chicken thighs. I know one for sure. My smoker does NOT like rain showers or rain period. The CC temps went all over the place, from 180 to 260 before I caught it. Then close down the intakes and another shower would go through and boom back to 180 again. Had a hard time keeping the temperatures up and constant, but my ribs came out ok. At least I liked them and so did a couple of co-workers.


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Dirtytires » June 25th, 2018, 10:13 pm

Rain is no fun. Sometimes an old blanket on the chamber will help control things.



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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Weyrider » July 17th, 2018, 3:30 pm

Been cooking with the smoker almost every weekend, except when I am out on a ride. I am gonna admit that this is a bit addicting. I am now making my own rubs and sauces. Wife looks at me and just smiles, why she smiling? I think it's because she doesn't have to cook. Or is it that she enjoys a great rack of ribs or chicken thighs? Or is it that it keeps me out of her hair for an entire afternoon? So many questions :grillin: But I like creating things that I think taste good, although I threw out a batch of BBQ sauce that I used root beer in that didn't make the taste cut. That was a bit nasty =)) One thing though, I want to make another smoker 1/2 the size of this one. I have the plans drawn up in my head, ready to put on paper. I want one of my friends to weld this one up for me. We shall see, we shall see.


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Big T » July 17th, 2018, 7:17 pm

It sounds like you've been bitten by the bug! I agree that there's something that's unexplainable about the whole process, from building the pit, making the rubs and sauces to cooking the food. :beer:


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Re: My Center Feed Smoker Build

Post by Dirtytires » July 17th, 2018, 9:17 pm

Yep...the bug gets another one!

A smaller smoker is a great idea but keep in mind it will use pretty much the same amount of fuel.

Root beer...in a sauce??? I might have to try that.



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