build a professional barbecue smoker
This trailer-mounted smoker is built with an old 250 gallon propane tank and is the perfect size for a large party, dining, race or overall partyhog barbecue.
However, design principles and manufacturing processes can be easily applied to pits of any size.
My goal is to make a simple tradition to offset smokers, which is very fuel efficient and maximize the airflow in order to keep a clean burning fire.
The design of this smoker is mainly inspired by smokers at the Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, and many people think it is the best barbecue in the country.
Although this is a large project, some basic tools can be easily completed in the backyard or garage.
When you build a smoker, the first major design choice you have to make is what you are going to take out the cooking room.
For this building I used an old 250 gallon propane tank as they are made of 1/4 thick steel and are relatively easy to find but any other type of steel tank
For firebox I used 1/4 steel plate but also 1.
5 \"ceramic thermal insulation material helps to maintain heat and improve fuel efficiency.
I would recommend that the fire box use at least 3/16 of the steel as any lighter thing will dissipate heat quickly, causing you to burn more fuel and distort and burn over time.
Insulation is not necessary but will definitely improve the performance of smokers.
A good rule of thumb for sizing your fire box is to provide enough heat for your cooker, which is about 1/3 of the volume of your cooking room.
This calculator is a great resource when you think about your design and decide on different sizes.
For this smoker, I used a chimney that was much larger and higher than what was traditionally recommended to maximize the airflow in the cooker and to make sure the burning flame was clean.
When the chimney is too short, it will not produce enough air flow in your fire box, resulting in incomplete combustion, resulting in smoke and bitter meat.
I recommend a 6-inch stack of cigarettes.
Diameter 10 \".
You will also notice that the chimney is drawn from the side of the cooking room, not from the top like many other cookware.
This is to ensure that the hot air and smoke flow directly through the grill where the meat is located, rather than gathering at the top of the cooking room.
Tool optional tool material important: it can be very dangerous to cut propane tanks without safety, so if you are not comfortable, I suggest you have a professional cleaning and cutting tank.
A good way to cut the propane tank safely is to fill the whole tank with water and soap to remove any residual propane and cut it safely into the tank.
The first step is to mark where your goalkeeper will be.
I like to measure the distance around the tank at the bottom of the door, then the top of the door is a few inches from the top of the tank.
Use horizontal and soft bands to make sure your lines are straight.
If you\'re making a smoker to cook a lot of whole pigs, you might consider having only one door instead of two.
However, when you only have one door, you have a greater risk of deformation when you cut out.
When the door is cut off from the rest of the tank, all the internal stresses in the steel are released and the door is flattened or distorted, making it more tricky to install them.
That\'s why I recommend two doors instead of one.
It\'s also a good idea to weld the hinges on the door before you finish cutting so that the door stays aligned.
You can buy many different types of hinges, but you can also easily make your own hinges using some pipes and round materials.
If you are making your own hinges, you can cut some pipes and round materials using a angle grinder, a cutting wheel or a metal cutting saw if you have one.
First, nail the tube on it and you will cut out your door from there.
Next, the hinge that will slide into the tube is manufactured by bending some circular material in the pair.
I can use a tube to increase the bending force and easily bend the circular material in the pair, but you can also heat the material with a torch to make the bending easier.
I created a relief bend in the hinge with a simple fixture, leaving room for the door seal at the top of the door.
Now that you have the hinge ready, you can start to cut the door, but be sure not to cut the whole door until your hinge is fully welded.
Cut along the lines you mark with angle grinder and cutting wheel.
If the water tank is still full of water, this part becomes very confusing!
Once your door is cut off, you can weld it on the hinge.
Simply slide the L-shaped circular bar into the tube and weld it to the door.
Once you have finished the welding of the hinge, you can finish the cutting of the door.
You can make door handles like make hinges.
In order to make the handle, I bent two more round stock and installed a tube between them.
These types of handles are good because when you open the door the tube rotates on the round bar, making it easier to open the door.
However, anything that you can catch welded to the door is enough as a handle.
While this is not entirely necessary, adding decorations along the door during cooking helps prevent smoke and heat from leaking out of the cracks.
I used 1 \"x 1/8\" plate material for these door seals and gradually clamped and welded under the door to match the curvature.
Use a flexible tape measure to calculate the length of the curve, or after welding is in place, let the workpiece grow a little longer and trim it.
Now that you have finished your door, it is time to start smoking.
The easiest way to attack the chimney is to cut a hole in the top of the cooking room and weld a pipe on it.
However, as I mentioned earlier, you will get better results by moving your chimney
Align with your cooking grill in the middle of the cooking room.
For the chimney, I suggest looking for a big steel pipe (5\" -
As long as you know how your cooker works, you can narrow it down to length.
It is much higher to make a stack than to shorten it.
First, mark the tank you want the chimney opening.
I marked a center line with a large enough opening a few inches up and down it.
You also want the opening to be wide enough so that it can collect air from the entire width of the smoker rather than from the center.
Once your opening is marked, you can cut it out with an angle grinder.
Next, you will want to cut a gap on your pipe that is the same height as your opening.
You will then cut the pieces and form the rest of the smoke collection.
For these parts, you can use a plate of 1/8 or match any wall thickness of your pipe.
You can use a piece of cardboard as a template to get the shape that matches the curvature of the cooking room and the pipe.
I cut these parts with a fixture saw, but if you don\'t have a fixture saw, you can also use the cutting wheel on the grinder.
Once you have all the parts cut off, you are ready to weld them to the tank, starting with the bottom plate, pipe, Side block and top.
Make sure your bottom plate is welded well enough to support the weight of the high chimney.
The next thing to do is to cook.
There are many different ways to create a cooking surface, but I like to use-
Align with the bottom of the door.
If you want to add cooking noodles, you can easily add more shelves to the shelves at the bottom.
The easiest way to build a cooking surface is to weld a piece of expanded metal directly to some of the brackets in the tank, but making your grille removable will make cleaning easier and you will thank you later
I used the expansion steel for these cooking grilles (
9 thickness and opening \"opening size)
, \"X\" angle iron and \"square pipe.
First of all, you want to weld to the cooking room with angle iron to support the grille.
Make sure the brackets are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the door so that your grille is properly installed.
The next step is to measure the size of grates and cut the expanded metal and square pipes of the frame.
Make a rectangular frame with a square pipe to support the expanded metal and weld them together.
Make sure your weld jumps on the expanded metal so you have time to cool the metal and not cause any warping in the grate.
Once you weld the expanded metal on it, you can install the grille.
There was a small gap between the two doors and I later welded a small piece to expand directly onto the horn to increase my cooking area.
Now that you have finished the main room, it is time to build the fire box.
You want your firebox to be roughly equal to the volume of your main cooking room, preferably made of steel.
If you use thinner steel, you release a lot of heat from the fire box, causing you to burn more fuel and risk deformation over time.
I also chose to heat my fire box with ceramic insulation on the top and side to help keep the heat and improve fuel efficiency.
Finding a large piece of steel pipe or a smaller fuel tank is the easiest way to build a fire box, but I chose to make my own box so that I could insulate it and get what I wanted.
For this fire box, I used the thick steel plate of the inner box and the No. 14 steel covering the outer skin of the insulation.
The first step is to cut all the sides of your box.
You can make it easier for a steel supplier to do it for you, but you can also cut the round saw or cut the torch yourself with metal.
Once you have all the edges ready, you can stick all the edges together and then weld along each side.
Be sure not to fully combine the edges so you can fill the gap with the weld to get a stronger joint.
Once you have all the boxes welded, you can cut the opening of the door and the connection to the cooking room.
I built the door for the fire box in the same way as the cooking room door.
If you are going to insulating the fire box, the next step is to weld some Square pipes along the sides you are going to be insulating.
I used 1 \"thick ceramic insulation material and 1 square pipe Channel I ordered online to capture the insulation material.
When you fix the tube and the insulation is in place, you can finish the fire box with some thinner steel covering the insulated side.
I used 14 tables to save weight and cost.
However, do not cover the top of the fire box as you will need to expose the board to the cooking room.
Now that firebox is done, you can connect it to the cooking room.
This is a tricky part of the build, because the odd geometry is involved between the two shapes, but it shouldn\'t be too difficult if you handle it incrementally.
The first step is to cut an opening in the cooking room.
I marked a line in the middle of the tank at the same width as the fire box.
I put the firebox here so that the hot air and smoke go directly into the cooking room at the grate level and go straight through the tank to the chimney opening.
From this line you want to cut directly down around the tank to create an opening in the shape of a month and a half.
I used the cutting torch, but you can also use the cutting wheel at this step.
You may need to do some grinding to get the right fit.
Once you are in good health, you can weld the fire box along the edge around the tank.
After welding the top edge, you can place the insulation and welds on the cover plate to complete the fire box.
Now that you have done most of the work for smokers, you need to be exhausted and season your cooker.
The first step is to fill the cooking room and fire box with a pile of charcoal or wood and heat it as much as possible.
This step is necessary for any debris or chemicals left behind during the combustion tank or manufacturing process.
Let it burn for hours and clean up any debris completely.
Now you want to season the cooker in order to be ready for cooking.
Add some vegetable oil to the spray bottle or clean rag and cover the entire interior of the cooker.
Now you will want to put a hot fire in the fire box and let it cook for a few hours.
Once it cools you will want to wipe it clean and repeat the process.
Now your cooker should be clean and ready to cook!
Now that you already have a smoker, you need to install some wheels on it.
I would recommend looking for an old utility trailer to install, but I decided to build a trailer myself as I couldn\'t find a trailer that was perfect for me.
The build trailer is very simple and there are already a few tutorials online, so I\'m not going to discuss too much detail here, but maybe another build trailer tutorial will be released in the future.
If you want to build your own trailer, you can buy the trailer kit online, including the axle, wheels, springs, hooks and lights, so all you have to do is weld a frame.
I used 2 \"x3\" pipes for the frame as it is very sturdy and easy to weld, but you can also use horn or C channels.
The biggest challenge in building a trailer is to make everything Square and straight so that the trailer can go straight while driving.
Now that you have purchased or built a trailer, you can install the smoker on the trailer.
The biggest trick here is to get the smoker around in order to put it on the trailer.
Throughout the project I used a chain crane and got about $50 from port shipping.
You will want to stop smokers before you find a height that feels good.
For the most comfortable use, I like grates at the waist.
Once you have determined the height, you can weld some brackets on the trailer to accept the smoker.
I used the same rectangular pipe track to support the bottom of the tank and support the side with the inclined parts.
Finally, I cut out the rear gap of the trailer and welded the firebox side directly to the trailer.
You don\'t have to worry about cutting the trailer because welding the smoker to the frame will make up for any structure lost when cutting the frame.
Now that the smoker is done, it has some wheels and you are ready to cook, but you may want to add some final finishing touches to the smoker.
First of all, you may want to add some thermometers to the cooking room so that you can maintain a consistent temperature.
You will want to put these on the grate so you can get an accurate idea of the temperature of the meat.
I suggest a phone call.
Tru thermometers or other high quality brands.
They can be expensive, but very accurate and consistent.
Cheap thermometer is an easy way to screw up some great BBQ.
You can also paint your smokers to prevent rust, but you definitely don\'t need it.
If you are going to paint it, you need to get some high temperature paint so that it doesn\'t start to fall off all the heat.
You can get this paint at most of the hardware stores in the rattle tank.
You can also take your smokers to a car store for more professional results if you wish.
You may also want to add a grease drain with valve somewhere at the bottom of the cooking room so you can clean it up more easily.
It\'s as easy as welding on a pipe with a valve.
Another useful addition is to add grate to the fire box to help the air flow around the fire box, or to add a layer of fire-resistant bricks to help heat insulation.
You can also add a damper to the smoke stack, or create a airflow valve on the fire box to control the temperature.
I don\'t think these are really necessary because I can easily control the temperature by opening and closing the fire box door and controlling the size of the fire, but many people like to have these features for fine tuning
Adjust their temperatureCongrats!
Now that the hard work is done, you are ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
It always takes some time to get used to a new smoker and how it is cooked, but the more you use it, the better results you will get.
Keep in mind that cooking is low and slow, patient, and keeps a clean burning fire, and you will bring some amazing barbecues and your beautiful craftsmanship to your friends and family.