The great smoker design debate

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MEAT
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The great smoker design debate

Postby MEAT » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:03 am

First off I don't build smokers and the smoker I use is an offset...firebox on the side.
It's something (offset) that I grew up seeing and cooking on.
But I have this buddy that likes to question/discuss/argue everything I do or have.
So his question is "why is the firebox on the side and not underneath or behind"?
I could argue the point of not having it underneath but I've seen a few smokers
with fireboxes behind the cooking/smoking chamber...seems like this would be
the best way to evenly smoke and control the temp while cooking your food.
And if so, "why isn't there more of them"?
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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby OSD » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:55 am

I'm not sure why other than tradition and ease of building that most pits are built with the side firebox. There are only a few that build the rear firebox, not sure why.
But as to the bottom firebox, there are many great and very popular smokers built with the firebox on the bottom like Backwoods, Spicewine, Vaults, Stumps, and quite a few others.
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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby BluDawg » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:56 am

Just tell him it was some D A Yankees idea ta screw up a good thing as usual.the right way is with the FB on the side, accept no imitations!!
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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby niget2002 » Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:35 pm

I may not have the correct answer, but I'd say it's ease of use, minimizes working space, and ease of build.

If the firebox is on the back, then every time you need to make an adjustment to the intake or add another log, you have to walk around back. That means you now have to have room to work on both the front and back side of the pit.

Having the firebox under the pit might work, but knowing me, I'd rest my leg on it and burn the crap out of myself, or bump my head on the shelf in front of the cooking chamber. Also, most people that BBQ that I know are lazy, and who wants to have to bend over to stoke a fire or put a log on?

Also, unless you you have some weird setup, you still have one intake, one direction of air flow, and one exhaust.

Like someone else mentioned, Why make building the thing difficult when putting it on the side allows you to just weld to things straight together.

Last just tell him it's tradition.

Edit: You could also just tell him if he doesn't like HOW you do it, then he doesn't have to eat any of the outcome either :)
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MEAT
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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby MEAT » Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:44 pm

niget2002 wrote:I may not have the correct answer, but I'd say it's ease of use, minimizes working space, and ease of build.

This is basically what I said to my buddy...ease of built, work space...etc
But wouldn't it be more efficient and give a better smoke and controlled temp if it was behind instead of to the side?
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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby OSD » Sat Oct 23, 2010 5:45 am

As to the rear firebox, I think it would be harder to build to get even heating and air flow ( traditional offsets use tuning plates for this or a reverse flow design ), plus it's harder to move around the pit to tend the fire and makes for an inconvenient use of the trailer.

"I could argue the point of not having it underneath"......just curious why??

The up-right smokers have the smallest foot print in the size department, but their capacity can be large. They also are the most fuel efficient and require a lot less fire tending ( longer times between re-fueling )to maintain steady temps.
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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby MEAT » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:43 am

Isn't having the firebox underneath the cooking chamber a lot like grilling...lol
Plus talk about direct and uncontrollable smoke flow...but I guess that's where
a damper or baffle would come into play.
Hmm...so maybe a firebox underneath is the better design?
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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby n2dabluebbq » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:45 pm

well if the firebox is below the meat, one would have to take precautions so as to not start a grease fire from the dripping of the oh so precious brisket. of unless one wants a true hot and fast cook. hahaha
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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby HarvestMoon » Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:15 pm

Diamond Plate Pits is the only company/builder that I know of for their design on the firebox behind the cooking chamber. Here's their website: http://www.diamondplatepits.com/index.html
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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby MPH » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:07 pm

Man, don't you love overly critical people? If it ain't broke don't fix it. I have been totally jazzed about Gator. A quick e-mail to them and a very well thought out response back, another e-mail and another response. If they can put out such a great product and have that kind of customer service with no idea if they will have a customer (they will, just waiting to get the moola) they have to know something about what they are doing. If it was better they would do it, Klose would do it, shoot all of the makers would do it! All I can say is proper air flow from an offset, the ability to set your hot spot with damper plates, grilling if you want to, they do it all. I WILL have an offset. I know it isn't the cooker but the cook, but dude I love tradition.
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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby NewBQ » Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:58 pm

I'm not a smoker builder so I'm just thinking out loud here. I think it might be tough to maintain an even temperature; intake and exhaust placement 8) 8)
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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby Grillatarian » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:37 pm

HarvestMoon wrote:Diamond Plate Pits is the only company/builder that I know of for their design on the firebox behind the cooking chamber. Here's their website: http://www.diamondplatepits.com/index.html



We have one of their Fat 40's and it does a fantastic job of delivering heat from the rear. They designed it with two large horizontal flow pipes from the firebox to the meat chamber. Those pipes enter into the meat chamber at the bottom of the meat chamber at almost center of your racks, but have fluted openings that help direct the heat towards the front a bit (usually the coldest spot). Don't know what them San Angelo boys do for real....but their little rigs do a good job of rolling smoke and providing even cooking temps.
We've always been happy with it...and now we are weigh a lot more than we did last year! :lol:
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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby Holy Smoker » Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:58 am

Vasbinders Texas Style Pits in Richmond, Texas makes some with the firebox behind the pit. I bought my small offset there 3 years ago and love it. My "Holy Smokers" group at my church bought one of their trailered pits with the firebox attached at the rear. Sorry I don't have a pic yet but we've done a lot of cooks the last year on it and it turns out great Q. The damper between the firebox and pit is the only issue we've had. It was designed so that most of the heat went immediately into the top of the cook box so we had it modified so it pumps it into the bottom now. It has a smoke stack at both ends of the cooking pit. Stoking the fire from the rear is no great hassle since it only needs it about once/hour and we always have at least 2 guys cooking at any one time on long cooks. Vasbinders doesn't have a website (they are a real laid back bunch) but here is a newpaper article with some pics. At any one time they have probably 30 different styles and sizes of pits on outdoor display. They also always have tons (literally) of pecan, hickory, oak and mesquite for sale. You can buy $5 bags or load up your pickup. Merry Christmas to y'all and a blessed New Year!

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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby PinoyPitmaster » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:05 pm

What do you guys think about a smoker with a separate firebox directly beneath (vs offset) the cook chamber with baffles and tuning plates? It would seem this would allow me to use entire grill space vs an offset
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Re: The great smoker design debate

Postby TwoGuysBBQ » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:43 am

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I have a custome smoker that the company I work for fabricated and gave me for Christmas a few years ago. It has the fire box on the back side and works very well. I have used a few smokers over the years including my comp trailer which is an traditional offset.
I really like the design of the box on the backside it really works awesome.
Like every cooker out there it takes a bit of learning to use your own smoker.
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