Well, you asked for it. Here, Smoky answers the most commonly asked questions. He is direct, honest and offers an insight into the time proven techniques to preparing great barbecue that is unavailable elsewhere. If you are unable to locate the exact answer you are seeking, feel free to contact him directly and ask!
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FAQ Subject: Understand the right baffle is important
Firstly , thanks for all your wisdom on the barbecuen website. I am from New Zealand and a BBQ addict and without the Internet and people like yourself I would still be burning sausages.
95% of Kiwis (New Zealanders) grill their meat with either charcoal or gas and this is what they call barbecuing which is a shame as we produce some of the best meat (especially lamb) in the world and have a plentiful supply of a native hardwood (manuka) mainly used here for home heating but is perfect for cooking and smoking. Even better we produce world class beers to help with the cooking process. :))
I am using a Meco grilll with fire bricks on to one side for indirect cooking and while this is OK for small cuts and chickens it is a poor mans substitute for the real thing.
We are unable to purchase wood smokers due to lack of demand plus with the distance from the US it costs more to freight it than the cost of the BBQ. We can get the water smoking cans which i bought and was extremely disappointed with and as per your recommendation it is now an expensive trash can. (looks great )
I am wanting to get a wood smoker made with the help of a local engineering shop and i have been looking at designs on the net and decided that one based on the Pitts & Spiitts model with the upright smoker is the type i would like to make. I have a fair idea of the basic structure but I am baffled as to what baffle design to use . I understand the right baffle is important to avoid heat missing the meat and going up the chimney and a wrong design can choke the cooking chamber.
I plan to use cast iron for the firebox and upright smoker and a steel drum (once used for soya oil) for the cooking chamber and have been collecting materials over the past year from scrap dealers. Would you by any chance have any plans to help me with this. I want to try and get it right first time and as it is the start of our summer would love to have it built asap.
PS- am prepared to throw away the above ideas if they are unrealistic or if you have any easier or better ways of building a BBQ. Getting materials and engineering expertise is not a problem.
Once again thanks for your website info and hope you can help
Thanks for the kind words.
I do enjoy your lamb and given a chance will enjoy your beer.
Click into The Barbecue Store at www.barbecuen.com and check out "The Great American Barbecue & Grilling Manual" which has chapters on design considerations, construction materials, plans and illustrations including several made of steel drums. My favorite, I designed for my video shoot years ago. It consists of one drum set horizontally into the top a vertical drum forming a "T." It has a fire grate 4" below the meat grate for broiling and a fire grate at the bottom of the vertical drum for barbecuing and roasting. I made mine by cutting with a jig saw with a metal cutting blade and screwed it together without any welding. It worked well for 10 years until I let the bottom rust out.
What baffles me about baffles is that anyone expects them to work. Where ever the baffle ends, the heat goes straight up to the top, making the temperature at the top much higher than at the meat grate. The easiest way to handle this problem is to put the entrance to the exhaust down at or below the meat grate level.
The "T" design mentioned above does not have that problem since the coals are directly below the meat. I have sent you a copy of a photo.