Hi y'all. I have been looking into pig cookers for
A bit and I wanted to see if the good people of
JF have any recommendations? Also I would like
something I can tow behind my vehicle. Thank you for any help.
Now you are talking Chris and I would be happy to help you with ideas if you like.
Mine has a 3' by 16" round horizonal smoking area with an off set firebox that is 20"x20"x20" that is also a grilling area with a grate and a griddle on top too if you want to use it .
All of it is 1/4 inch If I remember right .
And I am going to make it be able to run off of propane too next.
I have put together the needed parts and just need to drill a hole to mount them inside the smoker.
After I get done I will be able to cook with wood for the first few hours and then switch over to gas and walk away and leave it going for hours for stuff that needs to cook for a long time low and slow .
I used a old golf cart rear axle and tires as my wheels.
If you want to make one to pull behind a vehicle/ride then get the rear trailing axle and tires off of a junk front wheel drive car.
I have one set aside from a 1990 Buick Century that is perfect for such a thing and you ought to be able to get an junk axle and tires for under a 100 bucks easy.
If you can lay your hands on an old wood stove I think one would make a killer firebox and be alot less trouble than all the metal cutting and welding that was necessary to build my firebox.
If you like I would be glad to do some searching and PM you some links on building plans if you wish .
I got many of my ideas from thesmokering.com I think.
You have have me some awesome ideas already. If you could give me some links I would be grateful. Do you happen to have any pics of your rig? Or maybe some links with pics. I'm kinda a visual learner. I definitely would like to make it propane off the bat. Again thanks for the info Phit
I would like to build a horizontal cooker. I would like to be able to cook a piece of meat as big as a pig. I like to build big. Lol. This is a whole other world like jeeps but for cookers. So much info to read. But I am excited to start this. Thank you for your help so far
never use galvanized, welding the crap is bad enough for you.
Pig cookers are normally big, if you intend to cook a whole hog. Whole hogs are normally split down the belly and cooked belly down, legs out and insides to the grill. My current pit isn't big enough to cook a whole hog. My previous pit, which I built sent many young pigs into hungry bellies.
My current pit uses 1/4 steel on the main grill and upright smoker with 1/2 on the fire box. The offset fire box is 20" x 24" pipe, this is one part I'd change since I'm not a big fan of round fire boxes. The main grill is 48" x 24" and the upright smoker on the end is 36" x 24". I'm not fond of the setup, my wife bought it for me as a gift one year. While it is a custom built, not standard cookie cutter model, there are a few things Id do differently had I built it. I gave my previous pit away when I moved closer to her during college years ago. I have learned how to cook on it and tuned it over the years but it doesn't cook like my last one. Make sure to "season" or cure a new pit, its almost like cooking on a cast iron skillet for the first time. I went to the local butcher and asked when he was trimming pork butts. He gave me a call and I picked up 15lbs of pork fat which more than did the job.
I don't use gas and once I get it set I can leave it for several hours without touching it. I use 4 digital thermometers when I cook brisket, two in the meat and two in the grill. I keep them all on high low settings get my fire set and then go to bed. The alarm will go off on the remote if the meat or pit temps fall or rise above the set points. Proper tuning is key, enough draft and the ability to regulate the incoming air. Keep the main grill the same cooking temp across the length of the grill is another key issue. Read those two sites and you will have all the info you want. In the meantime here are some brisket, St. Louis and baby back rib pics to get you motivated.
Thank you sirhc for the info and pics. There is so much to take in. Lol. Plus I have to start from scratch. I can't wait to get into this and start building. What wood do you prefer to cook with?
depends on the meat. I generally keep pecan, mesquite and live oak on stock. I cut and split my own oak and mesquite since I have plenty of it available at the family ranch. Oak burns long and hot, mesquite is hot and fast. Pork takes in wood flavor pretty well so you want to keep that in mind when cooking it. I don't like the taste of mesquite on pork or brisket for that matter. I keep it on hand to normally get my fires going, I use a propane pear burner for that. I think there is a really good guide for cooking wood on bbqforums. I preburn my wood to get rid of the bark and most of the smoke. The thing I have learned is you will ruin a lot of meat before you get it right. I still ate it all but it wasn't quality BBQ
The biggest thing to consider is your draft and ability to regulate incoming air. Not having enough or more of one than the other can be a bad thing. Read BBQforums and you will have all your answers. Propane tanks make great pits. You can also fill them with CO2 or CO via your car exhaust to push the leftover propane out. Dry ice also works although Ive never done that route. With the price of steel Id think they would be expensive right now, I recall when people would give them away if you hauled it off. Remember they don't have to be round you can use plate steel and build them as a box. My first pit was built that way and I loved it.
That is a very nice looking rig. As you guys suggested the propane tanks. That's something I would have never thought of. But like a jeep I'm trying to do a million hours of research before I start anything.