How to make an offset smoker?
Offset smokers can be made at home according to your requirements and interest, steps required for homemade offset smokers are discussed in detail. Keep reading!
How is a Reverse Flow Offset Smoker constructed?
It consists of a steel baffle plate that keeps direct heat away from the meat; the firebox is off to the side of the cooking chamber. The smoke bathes the meat in flavor and protects it from direct heat. Several parts are recycled, and some are new metals for this build. You’ll need thick steel to build the firebox, which will be the most expensive part. To maintain a stable temperature, thick steel is a good choice. This build requires a welder, either a wire feed or stick; if you already know how to weld, you’ll be able to do it.
The significant steps in the construction of a reverse flow offset smoker are as follows:
- The construction of the body of the cooking chamber.
- Construction of firebox.
- How to construct a baffle plate and cooking grate?
- Last step is to explore the fire basket.
- Test the cooking process.
We will talk about all these steps in detail;
The construction of the body of the cooking chamber
Using an expansion tank from a boiler is a good idea. Use anything you want, be creative, but remember that the meat needs a place to rest, so smoke and meat can flow over it. Build a frame and weld on some casters so the whole thing can be rolled.
A piece of metal is saved from the tank opening and used for the door. Cooking chamber doors are welded to hinges and connected with bolts. Additionally, a gasket is added to prevent smoke from entering the space by screwing aluminum stock around the opening. Because smokers don’t get very hot, you can use cotton for a gasket, felt, or silicone.
Construction of firebox
A temperature control device is the first step in maintaining a smoker’s cooking temperature. Fireboxes are made from 1/4 plate steel, so they are heavy but keep a steady temperature that is evenly distributed. You can construct it using different methods like constructing a square shape box. After selecting the shape, drill a hole on one side of the firebox that acts as an air vent and is used to draw air inside the firebox. The air vent acts like a sheet of metal.
You can attach a handle to the firebox made of steel or wood. The handles made with wood are much better than steel because they provide a safe cooking process and prevent your hands from burning. A chipping hammer is used for welding the handle on the firebox door.
How to construct a baffle plate and cooking grate?
A baffle plate is made up of steel and is found in the smoker’s body. It is used for many purposes, such as keeping direct heat away from the food, acting as a heat sink, and providing radiant heat. The cooking chamber is mainly enclosed by it, and it is welded together. Thus, smoke and heat leave the firebox, pass under the baffle plate and return to the firebox on the other side; however, since the baffle plate is there, the smoke and heat exit through the chimney.
Cooking grates are welded inside the cooking chamber where meat is placed for cooking. It is welded horizontally inside the cooking chamber of the offset smoker.
Last step to exploring fire basket
Heat is produced inside a chamber to heat the cooking chamber slowly. When heat exceeds the limit, you have to extract the heat from the chamber to stabilize the cooking chamber’s temperature. A chimney is a place that provides a space to take out extra heat and smoke from the chamber. In order to construct the chimney, a 4″ ventilation pipe was fabricated with a flange and a chimney attached. It is located on the upper side of the offset smoker.
Test the cooking process
Start the smoker and allow it to reach a suitable temperature before burning any oil. You can use both charcoal and wood as fuel. If you like wood as fuel, you first burn the wood to create the coal and then add more wood to produce smoke. To make this cooking process worthwhile, you should practice it.
How to build a professional offset smoker?
You can use a large-size offset smoker, an almost 250-gallon propane tank. It has a large size and perfect qualities for professional cooking. For professional cooking, your primary focus should be constructing a simple and easy offset smoker. You have to follow some steps to build a professional offset smoker. These steps are undermentioned:
- How to design the smoker?
- Which are the tools and materials used for the offset smoker?
- Steps involved in cutting the doors.
- How will you make door handles?
- What is the process of door sealing?
- How to build a smokestack?
- How are cooking grates built?
- Firebox construction process.
- How can the firebox be attached to the chamber?
- Seasoning process.
How to design the smoker?
The first step to make an offset smoker is to select the design of the offset smoker. Using an offset smoker made up of thick, durable steel would be best. You can use a 250-gallon propane tank which is readily available in the market. It is not necessary to use an old offset smoker to make a new one; you can use high-quality steel to make the new offset smoker. It would help if you use different types of steel, both for the cooking chamber and firebox. A 1/4 plate steel is preferred to make the firebox. The heat is retained during the cooking process inside the chamber by using insulation materials.
A 1.5″ of ceramic insulation is helpful to control the heat inside the chamber. The thick steel will be a great choice; it results in greater control of the heat. Also, thick steel helps to increase fuel efficiency and cook food with less fuel. The insulation of the firebox depends upon your choice. It is not a requirement of a firebox. But, the insulation will help to increase the performance of burning fuel.
The best way to decide the size of your firebox is that first calculate the size of the cooking chamber. The firebox will be 1/3 of the size of the cooking chamber. Take a calculator to calculate these values.
Which are the tools and materials used for the offset smoker?
There are many valuable tools that are used to construct an offset smoker;
- MIG Welder
- Cut off wheels
- Angle Grinder
- Abrasive wheels
Some materials that are used to make the best professional offset smoker are listed below;
- You required a 250 Gallon Propane Tank which is used to construct the cook chamber.
- To construct the firebox, 1/4 Steel Plate is required.
- Firebox and cooking grates are made from square tubing.
- Ceramic insulation is required to increase the fuel efficiency of the firebox.
- Expanded metal is used to make the cooking grates.
- Angle Iron is used in the process of cooking grate.
- Round Stock is used in hinges and handles.
- Flat Bar Stock is used for door sealing.
- A thermometer is required to measure the temperature.
Steps involved in cutting the doors
In the first step, mark a point where you want to weld your doors. Measure the length of the tank and cut the piece you want to make a door. Measure it by using any leveling tape. The leveling tape will make sure that you mark a point on the straight line. If you are making a medium offset smoker, you can make only one door for the cooking chamber. But for large offset smokers, it is risky for you to make a door. The extra heat and smoke can destroy a large offset smoker. Using two doors can release extra heat and smoke quickly from a smoker, which will help to stabilize the smoker’s temperature quickly.
How can you make door handles?
The handles of the door can be made in the same method as hinges. Turn the round stock pieces and put the tube in between them to make the handles. The tube works well and helps to open the doors. Anything that is used to open the door of an offset smoker is named as handles. You should make strong handles that help to open the door quickly and protect your hands from fire.
What is the process of door sealing?
Adding trim along the doors won’t help to stop the smoke and heat while leaking out the cracks in the cooking process. The best material for the sealing is 1″ x 1/8″ flat stock, which helps to rotate it easily. You can weld it easily with the smoker. Use a tape that is flexible to measure the length of the curve. After welding it, you should trim it once.
How to build a smokestack?
After completing the construction process of the doors, start building the smokestack. The process of building a smokestack is started by welding a pipe at the upper side of the cook chamber. First, cut a hole in the top and then fix the pipe. The smokestack in the middle of the chamber is moveable. By moving it, you can get better results. A large steel pipe will create some difficulty in this process. So it would be best if you prefer to use the short one.
It is not easy to make the shorter length of the stack taller. Make a mark on the entrance point of the smokestack. Make a point in the center of the line and some points on the upper and lower of the center line after marking the point, cut with the help of a grinder.
The next cut is of the same height notch as your opening into the pipe. Then cut out pieces to make the remainder. You can use 1 by 8 sheets of cardboard to make these pieces. After cutting all the pieces, weld them with the tank. You should ensure that the bottom plate is welded firmly and can easily handle the long smokestack pipe.
How are cooking grates built?
- In the next step, you will prepare cooking grates. Cooking grates are placed inside the cooking chamber, they hold the food for cooking. There are different methods to build the cooking grates.
- Cooking grates can be fixed inside the chamber. Some cooking grates can be removed after cooking, which is a valuable source of cleaning. The simple design and removable cooking grates remain best for cooking.
- The cooking surface inside the cooking chamber can be increased by adding more shelves inside the chamber.
- You can construct the cooking grates by taking an expanded metal sheet, and weld it quickly into the cooking chamber. These cooking grates are easy to remove during cleaning.
- The best size for the cooking grates of a professional offset smoker is 3/4 x 1/8 angle iron and 3/4 square tubing.
- Angle iron is used to provide vital support to the cooking chamber. You should ensure that the support is parallel and should be perpendicular to the cooking chamber and fits firmly with the cooking grates.
- In the next step, cut the expanded metal sheet by measuring the required size of the cooking grates. The frame is constructed by cutting the square tubing.
- First, cut the square tubing in a rectangular shape, and weld it with an expanded metal sheet to provide support. Once you weld all the pieces, your cooking grates are ready for cooking.
Firebox construction process
- After completing the main chamber, start the construction of the firebox. Mostly the firebox is a 1/3 part of the cooking chamber. You should select the volume of the firebox by keeping in mind the area of the cooking chamber.
- If you use the firebox, which is made up of thin steel, you will feel challenged in controlling the temperature. The thin steel body of the firebox cannot sustain temperature in the whole cooking process, especially in cold climates. This problem can be solved by insulating the firebox with high-quality materials. The insulation material increases the retainment of heat and fuel efficiency.
- Cut the piece of steel tank and a steel pipe to construct the firebox. The required materials for the firebox are 1/4 thick steel used for the internal surface. The external surface requires an insulation material of 14 gauge steel.
- Now, you must cut the box’s corner. You can cut the sides using a circular saw or other material. After cutting all the sides, you can weld the corners together.
- One thing you should keep in mind is that the corner should not be so close during welding. There should be a gap between the welding which can fill with the help of welding for the solid attachment.
- Once you complete all the welding processes of the firebox, you can cut the connection of the firebox with the cooking chamber. You can make a separate door for the firebox.
- Now insulate the firebox with the help of the best quality insulation sheet. You can buy the insulation sheet from any market. The 14 gauge sheet will be suitable for the firebox, which is best in case of price and weight.
How can the firebox be attached to the chamber?
Now it’s time to attach the firebox to the cooking chamber. First, measure the volume of the firebox with leveling tape and cut one side of the cooking chamber whose volume is equal to the volume of the firebox. It is a tricky part of the whole construction process.
Now place the firebox in the hole so that amount of air and smoke also remains stable during attachment. After finding the firebox fit with the cooking chamber, weld the upper and lower corner of both the firebox and cooking chamber. Also, weld the insulation sheet with a firebox for a better burning process.
After completing all the construction processes, you should season the smoker for the best BBQ results. For seasoning the smoker, you should follow these steps;
- Fill the cooking chamber and firebox with coal.
- Burn the coal so the remaining paint or any chemical will be cleaned with the burning process.
- After burning, spray the best quality oil inside and outside the smoker for a better cleaning process.
What are the benefits of building your own offset smoker?
There are many benefits of making your own offset smoker;
- You can make the capacity of offset smoker according to your requirements.
- By building your smoker, you can make it portable and enjoy outdoor cooking.
- You can use the best insulation material for cooking. Insulation is not much costly, so you can easily use it.
- You can use the best and most highly durable steel according to your choice.
It is concluded that homemade offset smokers are easy to build, but you must take care of different components to minimize risk. Chemical barrels can add toxins to food when used for smoking meat. Your smoker’s portability and airflow should be considered during construction.