Center feed tube build

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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 5th, 2018, 3:05 pm

teaser..........q view from the old smoker...
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more pics when done.

Inspirational cooking at it's finest.....the wife says I can keep building the new smoker if I keep this up...
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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 6th, 2018, 4:22 pm

Wheels and tires are on......
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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by Dirtytires » October 7th, 2018, 3:52 pm

I love the simplicity. Why complicate it when it doesn’t need to be?



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 7th, 2018, 4:02 pm

Dirtytires wrote:
October 7th, 2018, 3:52 pm
I love the simplicity. Why complicate it when it doesn’t need to be?
You may be right....we'll see how it looks when I stack it all together. I can always use a table and store the stuff in the pickup when I travel. I got a few silver accents painted that should make it look sharp....the stack, door hinge rods, hitch....maybe more but I'm holding off until it's together.



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 10th, 2018, 7:28 pm

And we are smoking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Got it finished up today and it's running at 250 degrees right now checking to see how long it will run at that temp. edit..I have been playing with temps and at the 3 hour mark I pulled the fire basket to one side and blocked off the other fb/cc opening to see how it does cooking on one side only. I closed the intake down a bit once everything was moved and it's sitting at 255 currently. I am running the stack wide open and only controlling it from the intake.
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I ordered the hinges that Smokerparts sells and I was not very happy with the center hole. They are advertised to fit a 1/2" rod. There is way too much play in those holes as they are punched and the advertised 19/32" is only on one side...the other side opens up more as the holes are tapered. I made due and installed them anyway as I had already made the rods.

You can see the slop in these two pictures.
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For my small doors a tighter fitting hinge would have been so much better.....but I made little guides on the inside to help center the doors. I am also going to run a light coat of silicone over the Lavalock gaskets to keep them from sticking and pulling fuzz off when I open the doors. I have a 100% smoke tight seal on all the doors which makes me very happy.



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by Dirtytires » October 10th, 2018, 9:54 pm

I’m sure you could find a bushing that would take up that slack...try grainger.

Looking really good. Can’t wait to see if it actually cooks ribs as good at it appears it will!



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 10th, 2018, 10:19 pm

It's out there smoking away at the 5 hour mark right now. I am holding it at 250* to see how long it burns at that temp. My last test burn went 6 hrs at 225* after a 1 hr warm up. The way I lit the fire this time (only in the center) it took longer to get up to temps. I am thinking I am only going to get about five hours at temp at 250*......I was hoping for 8 hrs but once the sun went down and it cooled off outside I lost a little residual heat. Tomorrow I will give it some food to cook.....I just have not figured out what I will cook for it's first run. I made it for ribs mostly but I want to try other stuff too.

edit...At 5 hrs 15 min now and I just opened it up fully as I dropped to 237*. It's cooling off outside and that is sucking up my heat. I checked my coal basket and there is still 5# of nice coals in there. I'll keep it going and see what happens. I have been making a log of my test burns...very informative they are.

edit...I'm at the 6 hr total mark and the temps are 231* with a wide open throttle. It's 8:45 pm and it's still has coals to burn so I will let it go. I started with a 15# bag of cheap store brand charcoal for this test. I was hoping to get 6-8 hours at 250* but when the sun went down so did my temps. I know during the daytime I can get 6 hrs at 225* with 10# of charcoal so my 15# basket should get me much more time at 225*. This was the first test at 250* and that seems to be pushing the limits of charcoal. I only got 4 hrs at 250*

Last edit. Shut it down at 6 hrs 15 min and a temp of 221*. I closed it down to see if it will shut down and save what charcoal is left in the basket.



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 11th, 2018, 7:51 pm

I bit the bullet and smoked four racks of baby backs and a 12# brisket all at once today. Pretty bold for my first cook in this thing......I put the ribs on one side and the brisket on the other. First issue to come up was air flow drag over the food caused the smoke to want to go to the brisket side more than the rib side. Noted that food should be similar end to end. Second issue was part of the first one....I only had one temp probe in the cc and it was on the rib side. My temps took forever to get up to 225*. Like 4 hours forever. Once I wrapped the ribs the temps started to go higher. I could tell they had not cooked hot enough but wrapped them at 3 hours. Did a two hour crutch and one hour to firm back up. Six hours and the ribs did not have the pull back on the bones and were tougher than I like. At six hours I pulled the ribs and stuck the probe into the brisket and it was 160*. I wrapped the brisket in foil and back into the smoker it went. I ended up adding charcoal at 4 hours and 7 hours from start up. 30# total used. I had to run everything wide open...it was making heat it just was sucking it all up in the meat I guess. Brisket is still on and temps are above 180*. I'm hoping the charcoal will last until it makes temp but if not I will finish it off in the oven. I need to get my temps probes ordered so I can keep an eye on things better. I will have to try lump charcoal next to see if I can get the temps up quicker. Being a center feed I sure thought heat was never going to be an issue...boy was I wrong.
Anyway, here are some Q views....anyone got a recipe to fix tough ribs after they are done? =))
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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by Dirtytires » October 11th, 2018, 10:40 pm

Bummer. Tough ribs suck.

Hopefully next cook will go better as first cook is always a learning experience. Keep with it.



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 11th, 2018, 11:01 pm

Dirtytires wrote:
October 11th, 2018, 10:40 pm
Bummer. Tough ribs suck.

Hopefully next cook will go better as first cook is always a learning experience. Keep with it.
The biggest issue I had was the air flow went to the brisket side more than the rib side. I am going to arrange my slabs lengthwise next time and make sure to have each side of the smoker filled with the same food with the same air flow restrictions. Getting another probe will help me catch it sooner too. I caught it by watching the paint burn in on the fb....it traveled to the one side and when I checked the coals it was almost out on the hot end and still had coals on the cooler side. I can tip the smoker to help direct air flow too. I'm switching fuel to see if I can get the temps up hotter as well.

Before the next burn I will get my new probes and get some lump charcoal to try......and I'm cooking the same stuff on each end to make it easier on myself.

I pulled that brisket at 7pm with an internal temp of 203*....it's been in the oven, still wrapped, at 250* for two hours and it's now 204* internal temp. I'm taking it to 110*-115* just to make sure I don't flub it up too. 8 hrs on the smoker and a finish in the oven...cheating I know but I'm out of charcoal =))

I pulled that brisket out after checking it with a probe....it went through like butter, very much done and very tender......I do believe it came out as good as a Select grade brisket can. I'm happy with it for sure. I'll get some pics once it's cooled off a bit.



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by Dirtytires » October 12th, 2018, 11:38 am

Air will always flow path of least resistance. Super tough to make it go both ways at once. Putting a divider in the top/middle and a dampered chiminey on each side would allow you to draft off either side and give you some control. A single pipe just lets the air decide how it is going to get there on its own. I agree that better temp readings on each side would help you understand the difference and maybe it can be easily controlled with the tongue jack.

I have found the sweet spot temp for brisket is an internal of 203. At a certain point, the collagen/fat breakdown is not enough to overcome the moisture being lost due to the heat and it will dry out. And the oven isn’t cheating....it’s just another tool we can use.

Now go get some sleep!



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 12th, 2018, 1:32 pm

Dirtytires wrote:
October 12th, 2018, 11:38 am
Air will always flow path of least resistance. Super tough to make it go both ways at once. Putting a divider in the top/middle and a dampered chiminey on each side would allow you to draft off either side and give you some control. A single pipe just lets the air decide how it is going to get there on its own. I agree that better temp readings on each side would help you understand the difference and maybe it can be easily controlled with the tongue jack.

I have found the sweet spot temp for brisket is an internal of 203. At a certain point, the collagen/fat breakdown is not enough to overcome the moisture being lost due to the heat and it will dry out. And the oven isn’t cheating....it’s just another tool we can use.

Now go get some sleep!
The brisket turned out pretty good for a cheap one. The flat was a little dry but the point turned out great. I am going to chop up the flat into BBQ beef for sammich's. Out on the smoker the temp probe was at 206 when I pulled it off. I wanted to cook it a little more and by the time I got it in the oven it fell to 203. Two hours later it hit 204 and I quit there...good thing as it was done and a probe went right through it like butter. I managed to save the ribs....I had to cheat but it needed to be done in order to eat them. I pressure cooked them for 25 minutes and that did the trick. I will add more sauce when I reheat them to eat, and they will be good.

As far as the smoker....I learned a big lesson on path of least resistance for sure. Not having a temp probe on the brisket side I am guessing I was up around 250 or more on that end. I do have a damper plate that I can use to close off the fb/cc openings and it looks like once I get my dual probes I can fine tune that plate during the cook to even out each side. Playing with the level of the smoker is an option too.

Takeaways from the first cook...air flow difference was huge side to side, the fire burns towards the hotter/ better flowing side making the difference even more drastic, I want hotter fuel, I'm going to have to add fuel during a cook, a minimun of four temp probes are needed when cooking what I just did, ribs are best left naked and sauced after cooking, starting the coals evenly is a must, and most of all....It Works!

If it turns out to be a huge pain to get the sides to cook evenly I will split the chambers in half and the two sides will cook independently.



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 12th, 2018, 1:48 pm

Here are the brisket pics...I did not take too many as I was tired.
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Fall apart tender.



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by ajfoxy » October 12th, 2018, 3:37 pm

Nice :kewl:


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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by Big T » October 12th, 2018, 3:48 pm

:needfood: :beer:


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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 13th, 2018, 4:19 pm

I sat down today and put pen to paper and came up with a way to split the system internally. I'm going to split the fire box into two halves each independently controlled through a new split intake. I am going to put a divider in the cc and split the stack too. The stack divider will drop in and hold the cc divider in place. The fire box dividers will be attached to the charcoal baskets.

This way I can cook on both sides at once,at different temps, or just one side much easier.
No modifications will be made to the main body of the smoker.



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by ajfoxy » October 13th, 2018, 5:02 pm

Sounds like a plan. Be interesting to see how it all works out for you.


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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by Pete Mazz » October 14th, 2018, 6:23 am

:yth:


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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by AndrewPalmer71 » October 14th, 2018, 6:52 am

Well, it's at least unique and looks good. Get it tuned and you'll have a one if a kind smoker.

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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 14th, 2018, 11:39 am

I got the cc plate and stack divider in place. Next is working on the charcoal trays and the fb divider and the split intake.
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All this will come out for cleaning and the plate is held in by the stack divider.
I am going to split my existing charcoal basket in half, replace the cut end with a steel plate like the cc divider, the two charcoal baskets will butt up to each other at the intake divider. Then I will split the intake controls to run each side independently. Not a bad fix and it's an easy to do fix.

Once I get the division done the next step will be laying out a work surface. That was most needed on the first cook. I think I will stick with covering the back half only but I may make it come forward if I have the right material. I'm thinking an expanded metal top with angle iron frame that goes over the smoker and comes out mid way over the fenders. About 3' long x 5' wide. If I find the right material I may go forward of the stack and angle it off towards the front of the smoker. I still need to wait and see if I want anything else on there before I cover it all with a prep surface. For now the back half will get it for sure. Some storage down low will come in after that. I need places to store grates and stuff that is not in use.



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by AndrewPalmer71 » October 14th, 2018, 7:35 pm

So each side will share the one exhaust stack? I anticipated that you would put exhaust vents on each side. But that would be more work than you envisioned. Hope it works out bro.

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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 14th, 2018, 8:12 pm

AndrewPalmer71 wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 7:35 pm
So each side will share the one exhaust stack? I anticipated that you would put exhaust vents on each side. But that would be more work than you envisioned. Hope it works out bro.

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When I originally calculated the intake and exhaust I did it for each side independently. I then doubled the numbers and rounded up for some extra wiggle room. With the exhaust stack split into two sides, with the divider plate, they each have their own exhaust. They will each have their own intake as well once that is split. It will basically be two smokers back to back that look like one from the outside.
It may not work or it may work very well.... time will tell.



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 18th, 2018, 2:07 pm

The process to split it in half is done. I build a divider for the intake and a new face for the intake. I split the charcoal basket and made blocking plates that are attached to the charcoal baskets. I lit a smokey fire on one side today to see how it burned and it did very very.....
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Next I will get some lump charcoal and smoke something...I'm still eating ribs and brisket so I have to wait a bit =))

edit to add.....My buddy made a small reverse flow smoker a few years ago and it did not work out for him. The fb is too small, the openings are all wrong and it just was a failure from the start looking at the numbers. He wanted to get rid of it and I wanted something to cook burgers and steaks on that could be mounted to the trailer. I picked up the smoker and I will be cutting the fb off of it, making slides for the cooking grates, and drilling out holes in the too thin bypass plate. I am going to run charcoal on top of the bypass plate once the holes are cut. When that plate burns out I will replace it with expanded metal. I am going to mount it over the left fender as a BBQ and will be putting in a work surface on the right side.



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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by towtruck » October 20th, 2018, 5:14 pm

Cooking brats and ABT's today in one half of the smoker with lump charcoal. It's working pretty well and I have learned a few things. This smoker likes to be lit with a full chimney on the end of the fire basket nearest the intake. Spreading the lit chimney out over the top of the coals takes too long to build heat. I have to cut some grease grooves at the end of the cc's to direct all the fat drippings down the hole into the fb. I have a catch pan under each opening to catch the grease but currently its running past the hole and dripping out the door. I have to find dedicated grease pans that will fit inside the fb and I need to run a bead of silicone around the underside of the openings so the grease will drip off of it and not run down the sides and miss the pans.
It slowly comes together.....

I had the brats in the back and the ABT's in the front so I could check the bacon.....the brats got a tad over done so those will get watched closer on the next one. Yummy stuff...
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Re: Center feed tube build

Post by Big T » October 20th, 2018, 6:49 pm

:LG:


Measure Twice.....Cut Three Times.

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