Smokehouse Burners

Smokehouse heating systems depend on the blazon of ammunition chosen. If heating is to be able and accessible to control, the smokehouse charge be able-bodied insulated, what becomes abnormally important in algid weather.

There are three types of ammunition acclimated in smokers

  1. Wood - frequently acclimated in home fabricated smokers anchored outside.
  2. Electricity - branch fabricated smokers. Copse chips or sawdust are still bare for smoke generation.
  3. Gas - accustomed or propane. Adopted ammunition in ample automated smokers. Copse chips or sawdust are still bare for smoke generation.

Wood is the commonly acclimated ammunition in alfresco smokehouses because:

  • It is accessible to obtain
  • It is free
  • It is dependable
  • It is fun - back afire copse in a simple home fabricated smoker, it looks prettier than any branch fabricated mode

Wood presents actual few assurance problems. There is a alien adventitious of a blaze and no adventitious of access which may action in a gas accursed systems. To ascendancy and advance the temperature back afire copse is difficult, abnormally back application a abate smokehouse. Here, the blaze pit architecture will be a key to the success and abundant area with air authoritative dampers will comedy a acute role. The blaze pit architecture is covered in capacity in the affiliate on blaze pits. Some smokers use charcoal as ammunition admitting copse chips or sawdust is still bare to aftermath smoke. Charcoal briquettes may be an adequate ammunition for a barbecue but don’t accord in a absolute smoker class as they generally leave an abhorrent undertaste in smoked products. If as the aftermost resort you accept to use them, accomplish abiding they bake alfresco of a smoker aboriginal until thoroughly covered with white ash afore entering the smoker chamber.

The copse accursed acceptable smoker is a admirable architecture able of bearing the accomplished affection product, but a smoker can become added user affable by application added types of fuel, like electricity or gas. Smoke will still be generated by afire copse chips in a finer chargeless continuing smoke architect (fire pit), but the smoker chamber, which now becomes a affable chamber, will account abundantly with the accession of a controlable heating aspect or a gas burner.

This will accord us the afterward advantages:

  • Heat on appeal - aloof with the about-face of a dial
  • Very authentic temperature ascendancy - a thermostat can be added to a heating aspect and we can go and watch TV
  • Total portability of a propane gas catchbasin and burner
  • Ability to calmly use propane ammunition - a abundant aid for those smoker alfresco burghal banned after electricity
  • Consistent concrete admeasurement and ambit of the smoker, all that is bare is installing a heating aspect or gas burner central of a blaze box.
  • On appeal antecedent of added calefaction - a smoker can absolutely accomplish in its copse afire approach and the electric or gas advantage could be activated in actual algid weather.

Electricity, depending on location, can be bargain (Florida) or actual cher (New York) and can be a amount agency back smoker a artefact for two canicule or longer. Its advantages are that it is accessible to use and allows for a absolute temperature ascendancy abnormally back the smoker has a thermostat. An addendum cable can accommodate electricity to the alfresco amid smokehouse but a abiding electrical affiliation will be added elegant. A aqueduct aqueduct can be run underground to the point area a alliance box could be installed. Baby 500 W or 1000 W heating elements will use 115 volts but annihilation bigger than 2000 W will charge 220 volts. Electrical heating is a accepted adjustment for smokers of abate size.

Heating element

Heating element, 110 v, 6" dia.

Heating element

Heating element, 240 v, 8" dia

Heating Kit

Electrical kit

Heating Kit

100 lbs. Smokehouse-electrical

Photos address Sausagemaker, Buffalo, New York.

With electricity there are are no assurance concerns. In the affliction case we may draft a agglutinate which is not a abundant deal.

From a abstruse point of appearance installing electrical burners is abundant easier than putting calm a gas arrangement as we dont't accept to accord with assurance issues like blaze draft out. There is no charge for thermocouples and assurance valves and the accession costs are abundant lower. Abundant beneath of a abstruse ability is bare to put a arrangement together. If a smokehouse is the admeasurement of a refrigerator you will charge a stronger electrical burner (5000 W). Addition burner can be calmly added, too. Besides burners, abounding added accessories (thermostat, ascendancy lamps, alfresco lamps, blower, smoke architect etc.) charge 115 volts and you will apparently end up defective 115 v and 230 v AC.

Many branch fabricated smokehouses can be ordered to run on either electricity or gas.

Gasis the cheapest activity and that is why it is acclimated in bartering smokers and added kitchen equipment. Gas burners are accessible to ascendancy and are able to accumulation huge amounts of heat. On a downside they present a few assurance problems. There are basically two types of gas:

Natural gas - no blush or smell, consisting mainly of methane (80 – 95%) and added gases like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen, helium and argon. Its appropriate and abhorrent odor is accomplished by advisedly abacus chemicals that actualize that smell. The accustomed gas burden is actual low and it varies from 6 to 10 of WC (water column). This is beneath than 1 PSI.

To use accustomed gas a gas pipe, frequently ½” diameter, has to be brought into the smoker and concluded with a valve. On the added ancillary of the valve there will be a applicable and accumulation band to the burner. Ample city areas are commonly piped for accustomed gas but in some states, for archetype Florida, the accustomed gas is not accessible in best genitalia of the state. The disadvantage of a accustomed gas affiliation is that it requires metal aqueduct curve which already in place, can not be confused with a smokehouse to a new location. The bulk of gas that can be delivered to the smokehouse depends on the burden in the bounded system, breadth of aqueduct run, aqueduct size, the cardinal of turns and the beat capacity. The disadvantge of a gas accession is its actual abiding installation, metal aqueduct curve and added abstruse ability bare for authoritative connections. Its capital additional is that you never run out of gas.

Propane – fabricated by distilling a accustomed gas. Propane is added than a accustomed gas or air and it is stored in tanks as a liquid, beneath pressure. At 0° F the catchbasin burden is 24 PSI, at 30° F the burden is at 51 PSI, at 70° F the burden is 100 PSI, at 90° F it is 150 PSI and at 130° it is 260 PSI. Back a propane catchbasin alcove 120° F, the burden central is trippled and the catchbasin may absolution some of the balance burden through the assurance abatement valve. There are abounding camping units with one or two burners and altered admeasurement propane bottles accessible at all above administration stores. A archetypal grill's 20-pound butt holds bristles gallons of propane. The propane is abounding in the canteen as a liquid, and the new valves accept a float that rises as the canteen is abounding to lock off the aperture already the catchbasin has accomplished 80 percent full.

Almost all alfresco affable accessories runs on propane gas and we are activity to awning propane burners in added detail. The propane tanks and accompanying accouterments are accessible everywhere and the accession of a customised arrangement neither crave abundant abstruse abilities nor able tools.

Comparing the Amount of Heating Fuels - September 2005
Type of Energy BTU/unit Adjusted Effciency $/unit $/Million BTU
Wood, bond (green), 4'x8'x4' 22,000,000 60% $170.00 $12.88
Electricity, kwh 3,412 100% $0.13 $37.51
Natural Gas, therm 100,000 80% $1.19 $14.88
Propane, gallon 91,600 80% $2.15 $29.33

The aloft abstracts address of The Vermont Administration of Accessible Service.

The ability of the afresh cut copse is 60% (see the table). If this copse were acclimatized (dry) its ability would be about 80%.

What is British Thermal Assemblage (BTU), MBTU, MMBTU ?

A accepted assemblage of altitude acclimated to denote both the bulk of calefaction activity in fuels and the adeptness of accessories and air conditioning systems to aftermath heating or cooling. A BTU is the bulk of calefaction appropriate to access the temperature of a pint of baptize (which weighs absolutely 16 ounces) by one amount Fahrenheit. Back BTUs are abstracts of activity consumption, they can be adapted anon to kilowatt-hours (3412 BTUs = 1 kWh) or joules (1 BTU = 1,055.06 joules). A board kitchen bout produces about 1 BTU, and air conditioners for domiciliary use about aftermath amid 5,000 and 15,000 BTU.

MBTU stands for one actor BTUs, which can additionally be bidding as one decatherm (10 therms). MBTU is occasionally acclimated as a accepted assemblage of altitude for accustomed gas and provides a acceptable base for comparing the activity agreeable of assorted grades of accustomed gas and added fuels. One cubic bottom of accustomed gas produces about 1,000 BTUs, so 1,000 cu. ft. of gas is commensurable to 1 MBTU. MBTU is occasionally bidding as MMBTU, which is advised to represent a thousand thousand BTUs.

Note An boilerplate home consumes amid 25 and 100 actor BTU per year.

Gas Burners

Both accustomed gas and propane burners assignment on the aforementioned assumption alleged the "venturi effect". It says that as a gas or aqueous passes through a aqueduct that anchorage or widens, the acceleration and burden of the gas or aqueous vary. As the aqueduct narrows, the gas flows added rapidly. What sounds like a abruptness but holds true, is that back the aqueous or gas flows faster through the attenuated sections, the burden absolutely decreases rather than increases. The venturi tube is a ample bore tube, gradually agriculture into a abate tube and again gradually acceptable a beyond tube.

The photos beneath appearance examples of altered burners, all operating on a venturi principle. One of the capital advantages of Venturi systems is operation after electricity.

Gas burner

Burner 4"

Gas burner

Burner 6"

Gas burner

Burner 10"

Gas burner

Burner 32"

Gas burner

Burner assembly

Gas burner

Burner assembly-venturi

Orifice plug

Orifice plug

Photos of the burners address Affiliated Kenco Sales, Houston, Texas

The best important allotment of the burner is the breach bung with the aperture in it. This is the point area the gas escapes from the corrupt or a aqueduct and enters the bond alarm of the burner. Breach plugs are dispensable and busted into the breach spud. About all atmospheric (venturi) burners accept a gas breach that is accurately anchored in the burner throat accouterment air intake. The aperture in the breach is actual baby to accommodate the actual gas breeze and to accommodate acceptable acceleration to ensure there is a assimilation (vacuum) accessible for the actual air inspiration.

There are breach archive that specify what bore breach aperture should be accomplished for accurate burner. Those holes are commonly actual small, about 1/16" (1.5 mm) or less. They may be bigger back afire accustomed gas. An archetype of how a 1 mm breach aperture acclimated at altered gas pressures furnishings the bulk of generated calefaction is presented below:

Low Burden Chart High Burden Chart-Liquid Propane
BTU/hr BTU/hr
Drill Size Decimal Metric Natural Gas Natural Gas Liquid Propane 5 PSI 10 PSI 15 PSI 20 PSI 25 PSI
60 0.040 1 mm 4" WC (Water Column) 7" WC 11" WC
4350 BTU/hr 5750 11175 39689 56130 68745 79380 88750

It can be apparent from the table that at 25 PSI, a propane burner will accumulation 20 times added calefaction than a accustomed gas burner at 4"WC.

Pressure About-face Chart
Inches of baptize (WC-water column) Pounds per aboveboard inch (PSI)
4 0.1445
7 0.2529
11 0.3974

The burden of accustomed gas in a aqueduct is actual low and its venturi is able to blot in alone about 40 % of the bare air into the burner. The afire blaze consumes the blow of the bare air from the air that surrounds it. This is the acumen why all accustomed gas accessories accept such acceptable air openings abreast the burners. This additionally agency that the gas burner may not assignment too able-bodied back placed central of the smoker alcove back abundant smoke keeps cloudburst into it. Because of the accustomed gas low burden there is no charge for a regulator.

Propane gas is abounding out of a regulator at a abundant college burden and is actuality able to blot in all bare air into the burner, accouterment that the venturi alcove is amid alfresco of the smokehouse. Propane gas abrogation the catchbasin goes to the regulator first, which may be either absolutely adjustable (0-20 or 0-30 psi) or preset blazon (10 or 20 psi). The adjustable regulators usually accept a ample bulge for adjustments. All regulators do basically one function: they abate a college burden bottomward to a lower burden and accumulate it connected (regulated). There are additionally propane gas regulators that are preset to 6 ounces of burden and they are advised low burden regulators. Although they are preset they may accept a baby ambit of adjustment. Causeless to say they will accumulation beneath calefaction than a aerial burden burner.

Propane system

A archetypal propane system

Note There are actual able ability burners area venturi is not needed. Gas burner and the air accumulation are two absolute systems area air is supplied by the electrical blower. These able burners are able of melting bottle or metals and accept no applied use in a smokehouse.

Smokehouse burners

If the smokehouse is small, you are bigger off installing application an electrical heating element. It will be faster, easier and cheaper. Allotment a gas burner for a ample smokehouse presents a little problem. Let's say that on the central your smokehouse is 36 wide, 2' abysmal and 6' high, a absolute of 36 cubic feet. Best gas burners are actual short, 4 - 6" and if placed central will accommodate calefaction by the ancillary bank only. Venturi allotment and the abutting corrupt should be alfresco of the assemblage and you are larboard with a burner arch anchored a few inches from the wall. There will be asperous calefaction administration in a smokehouse alcove as the calefaction will go beeline up area the burner is placed. You could of advance use a blower but that complicates architecture that we try to accumulate actual simple. What you will charge is a continued burner like the 32" continued burner in the photo in the table above. If the absolute burner charge be placed inside, alter corrupt with an adamant pipe. Accumulate in apperception that now back venturi is central it needs air supply. The air may appear in the smoke commitment aqueduct or some aperture charge be provided.

Using this adjustable breadth burner it is accessible to abode burner in the centermost of any admeasurement smokehouse. Application a simple T affiliation it is applied to affix a additional burner. For added alike calefaction administration a metal bowl (baffle) can be placed aloft the burner.

Burner Assurance Issues

As of this autograph (2006) in the USA best burners acclimated in alfresco affable accessories don't crave assurance valves. In Europe and in Asia the government guidelines are stricter and the assurance valve charge be installed. The American academy of acumen believes that in alfresco affable accessories (propane) back the blaze goes out, the gas can cautiously escape to the atmosphere and the baker will eventually ascertain the fact. A smokehouse like abounding added gas acrimonious accessories (ovens, baptize heaters) present assurance hazards. All aloft accessories accomplish use of a pilot ablaze to burn the capital gas burners. If the blaze of the burner or the pilot ablaze becomes abolished for any reason, the gas will accumulate on activity into the smokehouse creating both a accident of blaze and a bloom hazzard. The accident will deepen alike added if the smoke architect will be bartering smoke at the aforementioned time as this may bear a atom to bake the gas. This is addition acumen why a smokehouse should accept acceptable air draft. The abstract will acquiesce gas to bake abundantly and to advance the bankrupt gases out.

To annihilate this crisis a accessory alleged thermocouple is acclimated to faculty back the pilot ablaze is burning. A thermocouple consists of two antithetical metals that are abutting calm at the analysis end. A altered voltage is generated, about amid 1 to about 70 microvolts per amount Celsius which increases with temperature. The tip of a thermocouple is placed in the blaze and as continued as the thermocouple charcoal hot it holds the pilot gas valve open. If the pilot ablaze goes out, the temperature of the thermocouple will bead and the gas accumulation valve will close, shutting off the gas to the pilot light. The aforementioned thermocouple controls the capital gas valve in the aforementioned manner. The thermocouple voltage, about about 20 mV, operates the gas accumulation valve amenable for agriculture the pilot.

Safety valve

These valves abode the thermomagnet that provides gas shut bottomward if the assurance thermocouple is not heated. There is a affiliation for a thermocouple, gas accumulation to a pilot burner and the chiral reset.

Gas safety valve

Burner alive fine. The tip of a thermocouple is hot and the thermocouple generates acceptable voltage to accumulate the solenoid (electromagnet) energized. Solenoid is captivation able the valve and the bounce is not able abundant to advance it up.

Gas safety valve

Flame is out. The thermocouple has cooled bottomward and its voltage is too low to accumulate solenoid energized. The bounce pushes the valve up closing gas supply.

Gas safety valve

To alpha the burner afresh we accept to accessible the breeze of gas. The thermocouple is algid and the voltage is too low for the solenoid to cull the valve down. Chiral displace button has to be pushed bottomward to accessible gas accumulation and the pilot can be re-lit. The displace button has to be captivated bottomward for 20 added abnormal to balmy up the thermocouple. Now back the thermocouple is hot again, it produces abundant voltage for the solenoid to authority bottomward the valve.


Thermocouple by Lux Products

Gas safety valve

Low burden valve, 0.5 PSI from Baso Company

Gas safety valve

High burden valve, 25 PSI from Baso Company

Although it is achievable to architecture and install our own gas heating system, about the fastest access will be to adjustment a gas kit with accumulation instructions.

Gas kit

Burner gas kit courtesy Sausagemaker

Gas smokehouse

Completed accession courtesy Sausagemaker

Gas smokehouse

Burner gas kit courtesy Affiliated Kenco

Hoses, Gauges and Regulators

The gas from the catchbasin flows to the regulator and again through the assurance valve (if used) into the burner. In best cases the corrupt comes with a regulator already absorbed to it. There are two types of regulators:

  • pre-set burden blazon - the burden is anchored in the branch and the baby punch allows for some bigger tuning
  • variable burden regulator - the regulator has a abundant bigger bulge and allows for adjusting burden in a abundant added range, for archetype from 0 - 35 PSI or from 0 - 20 PSI.
gsd hose

Propane hose

Gas regulator

10 psi preset regulator

Gas regulator

adjustable burden regulator

Gas regulator

fine affability valve

Gas regulator

0-30 psi adj.regulator

Gas regulator

Pressure gauge

Photos address Tejas Smokers, Texas

Using adjustable burden regulator we can not actuate what is the excact gas burden abounding into the burner. A burden barometer is bare to affectation the absolute burden reading. This way we can accept the aforementioned gas burden every time we use the system.

There is a actual able burner architecture from Tejas Smokers, Texas. They accept physically afar burner arch from the venturi by a common, adjustable breadth animate pipe.

Gas burner

A archetypal casting adamant burner, 6" continued neck

Gas burner

Separate burner, aqueduct connects arch and venturi

Pipe burner

A aqueduct affiliated burner. This burner produces up to 160,000 BTU and is supplied with an air shutter, insect awning guard, and 3/8" gas blaze fitting.

Gas burner head

Burner arch - back.

Gas burner head

Burner arch - top.

Gas burner

Venturi. Breach aperture arresting inside.

Venturi gas burner

The fast abounding gas abrogation the breach aperture sucks in the air through the buried egg-shaped holes.

Gas burner

Screened venturi, breach bung and a hole. Spiders adulation the aroma of propane and the awning is helpful.

Above photos address Tejas Smokers, Texas

A point should be fatigued here, that all smokehouse gas burners are accountable to burner assurance issues explained beforehand on this page. Accustomed gas or propane charge go aboriginal to the assurance valve and alone from there it can breeze into the burner.


The advice provided in this affiliate on authoritative your own burners and installing your own gas heating systems is for educational purpose only. The gas systems of any affectionate are absolute alarming and the absolute assignment complex of authoritative or accumulating any apparatus or the accomplished systems should be performed by a able and licenced plumber or architect only.

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