Tuesday, March 27, 2007


My Smoker Project

A few months ago I decided I needed a more efficient and less labor intensive smoker than my current stick burner. I came across the Prairie BBQ Association Forum and started reading about gravity fed, insulated smokers modeled after the popular Stump's Smoker. Being from Texas, I has never seen or even heard of a Stump's. The closest think I've seen used around here was a Backwoods smoker. Anyway, I decided I would build my own gravity fed smoker and add a few modifications that I had in mind. I began drawing the plans and ended up with a cook chamber 40" tall by 30" wide and 24" deep. This was going to be big and heavy so I knew I would have to mount it to a trailer to haul it to competitions. After the plans were drawn I ordered the steel from a supplier I knew and prepared to start building. First off, I had to by a welder and learn how to use it. Yes, I had decided to build my own steel smoker and I had never welded a single scrap of steel. I bought a Hobart 140 at Northern Tool and a cheap plasma cutter from China off Ebay. Lack of experience had never stopped me from other endeavors. I had taught myself how to build and recondition old tube amplifiers just a few years ago with no experience in electronics. Before I knew it, I was welding decent beads and it was time to start my build. So far I have built the frame, drain pan and charcoal chute/fire box.
I think I have a few novel ideas that differ from the traditional "Stumper". I'm going to add a convection fan inside the cook chamber and well as a pellet feeder to serve as the smoke source. I've also decided on a tubular heat diffuser that will go across the full width of the cook chamber bottom. Construction is slow for it's cooking season and I've been going to a few comps. The weekends are about the only time I have to work on it. Maybe I should take a week off and knock it out.

Here is a link to a photo album with the construction picture up to now.


Saturday, March 17, 2007


West Volunteer Fire Department Cook-off

Went south to West for the annual West Volunteer Fire Dept. cook-off. This was my first entry in this event which annually draws a big crowd of cookers. In fact, most of the top cookers in Texas come to this event. The competition was tough to say the least. The event ended up with 101 teams entered. I hooked up with my buddies Tony, Eric and Robert and we cooked in the same general campsite. At the end of the day I didn't get a call to the stage despite some very tasty product. With a 101 teams and the top cookers you have to be on the very top of your game to get a call. Congrats to Eric for his 2nd place finish in chicken and to Robert for his 8th place finish in ribs. I'll be back to this one next year and try again. Those Czech folks in West know how to put it on.

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