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MikeUSMC's Whiskey Barrel Smoker


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#21 oldsalty

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 08:18 AM

Wow Mike fantastic looking cook for someone who is new to smoking i give you and A. And your smoker build is outstanding Marine. This sailor will be making one soon. Just love this post. Have a few mods i'll add but just amazing. Thanks for posting the how to. :)


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#22 MikeUSMC

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 10:13 AM

Wow Mike fantastic looking cook for someone who is new to smoking i give you and A. And your smoker build is outstanding Marine

Wow! Thanks Old Salty! That means a lot, coming from you, man! Thanks for the kind words

Have a few mods i'll add but just amazing. Thanks for posting the how to. :)

I'd love to hear what mods you'd do. Like I said, I'm still very new to the whole smoking game. I can honestly say, I haven't had any real "failures" yet through any of my cooks. Would I change a few things I've done along the way? Absolutely. There's always room to learn ;)

A couple things I'd definitely change about this build are:

-I'd lose the little grill in the bottom, and build a new (bigger) charcoal basket. It works fine for now, but even fully loaded up, it'll only last about 5-6 hours. If I were to do a 15lb brisket, I'd hate to have to reload (dismantle everything) the charcoal basket 2, 3, or even 4 times
-The eye bolts holding up the two cooking grates; I'd use 3 NOT 4. I can't take the lower grate out without removing 2 of the eye bolts that hold up the top grate. It sucks, and it wastes a LOT of time taking those out, if I need to load up more charcoal or whatever. Obviously, the longer the lid is open, the more heat you lose. I think there'd be a little more wiggle room if there were only 3 eye bolts
-I might have even skipped cutting the door in the back. I put it there in case I had to access the charcoal or water pan. 9 times out of 10, I just put the water pan directly on top of the charcoal grill grate. If I'm not using both of the top cooking grates, I'll just put the water pan on the lower one to catch the drippings. Having the door an the back is just another place for leaks to show up. I put stainless sheet metal around the inside of the door opening, but I really need to incorporate some rope gasket in there too

I'd love to hear what you'd do differently, if you don't mind letting me know :)

I also wanna build a steel UDS this Summer, but that's pretty low on my list of stuff to get done around the house, haha

Edited by MikeUSMC, 18 March 2017 - 10:18 AM.

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#23 MikeUSMC

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 09:19 AM

Cappuccino Scotch Bonnets, 7 Pot Douglahs, Chocolate Scotch Bonnets, Orange Manzanos

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6D4F5534-2AFE-4040-9378-B88D2DE79239_zps

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Fermented sauces and AJ's purée to follow.....
:cheers:
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#24 Thegreenchilemonster

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 10:01 AM

Nice smoker!

Edited by Thegreenchilemonster, 21 April 2017 - 10:02 AM.


#25 Chilli_Jay

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 08:41 AM

Nice looking rig Mike. How well does it hold temp with the lid on? Does it take much babysitting?

#26 MikeUSMC

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 10:17 AM

Thanks Jay! No, doesn't take too much babysitting. Holds temps pretty well. I just have to be careful I don't let it start running too hot because it's really hard to get it back down once it starts climbing unintentionally. All in all, it "works." I do tend to babysit it a little though. Truth be told, I'd probably do the same if I had one with an automatic thermostat though. I mean, what the hell else am I gonna do, sitting there with a cooler of beer? ;) My thinking is: if you don't have the time to sit by your smoker all day because you've got other shit to do, you probably shouldn't be smoking that day. I won't even fire it up if I have other stuff to do, or I'll cancel all of my other plans, haha

I've been having a few little problems with small leaks showing up here and there, between the stave joints, but I should be able to easily fix that with some more caulk. Those leaks (I think) are letting a little too much air in, causing it to run a little hot. I ran it last week, smoking the pods (above ^). I wanted to stay around 180-185*, but it climbed to about 201*. Wasn't much I could do about it, even after I tried choking off the air intakes.

Everything I've read online about these types of smokers says that you're supposed to fill them up with water (every other cook) so that the oak absorbs the water and swells, essentially sealing it tight. I've probably done 15 or so smokes with it, but I'm afraid to try to fill it with water, for fear of ruining the stain on the outside. I really don't feel like sanding it down and restaining it again.
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#27 Chilli_Jay

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 11:06 AM

Thanks Jay! No, doesn't take too much babysitting. Holds temps pretty well. I just have to be careful I don't let it start running too hot because it's really hard to get it back down once it starts climbing unintentionally. All in all, it "works." I do tend to babysit it a little though. Truth be told, I'd probably do the same if I had one with an automatic thermostat though. I mean, what the hell else am I gonna do, sitting there with a cooler of beer? ;) My thinking is: if you don't have the time to sit by your smoker all day because you've got other shit to do, you probably shouldn't be smoking that day. I won't even fire it up if I have other stuff to do, or I'll cancel all of my other plans, haha

I've been having a few little problems with small leaks showing up here and there, between the stave joints, but I should be able to easily fix that with some more caulk. Those leaks (I think) are letting a little too much air in, causing it to run a little hot. I ran it last week, smoking the pods (above ^). I wanted to stay around 180-185*, but it climbed to about 201*. Wasn't much I could do about it, even after I tried choking off the air intakes.

Everything I've read online about these types of smokers says that you're supposed to fill them up with water (every other cook) so that the oak absorbs the water and swells, essentially sealing it tight. I've probably done 15 or so smokes with it, but I'm afraid to try to fill it with water, for fear of ruining the stain on the outside. I really don't feel like sanding it down and restaining it again.

Yeah I get what you mean about babysitting. For me it's an all-day thing but as I get older, I prefer a little less stress (but that's what the beers for right?). I learned my trade smoking on an old 22inch kettle grill so temp control is in my blood 😀 . I do have a DIY PID controlled Alton brown pot smoker that just kills large butts and just about anything that will fit the grill but you just can't beat building and maintaining a lumpwood fire.

I toyed with the thought of doing a barrel smoker but horizontally, not like your uds-type idea. Managed to get hold of a water expansion tank though that I'm welding up when I get the time. Going to run it as a reverse flow electric/stick hybrid with a 3kw element supplementing a traditional firebox for my long smokes. Sounds bonkers but hey, what the heck?

I share your feelings on the whole filling the barrel and ruining your finish belief. Get that caulk out - the odd leak adds 'character' to the build anyway 👍

#28 MikeUSMC

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 06:26 AM

I toyed with the thought of doing a barrel smoker but horizontally, not like your uds-type idea.

If I ever get around to building a steel UDS, I'll probably end up doing the same

Managed to get hold of a water expansion tank though that I'm welding up when I get the time. Going to run it as a reverse flow electric/stick hybrid with a 3kw element supplementing a traditional firebox for my long smokes. Sounds bonkers but hey, what the heck?

PICS!!! ;)
Post 'em here: http://thehotpepper....moker-or-grill/
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#29 dragonsfire

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 10:00 AM

Awesome Smoker, looks fantastic, nice steampunkish :)



#30 MikeUSMC

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Posted Yesterday, 05:19 AM

steampunkish :)

I had to google that, but thanks! ;)
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