BBQ Smoker Build “The Tower”

So during the busy summer I wanted to smoke more meat at one time on one smoker you know for parties and catering. This was a problem because all I had was a small uneven Brinkman offset, a Weber, and a few Ugly drum smokers… It was about as fun as getting your teeth pulled. Dragging out and setting up four or five smokers to cook a bunch of meat. So I set out on a mission. After cooking on the 55 gallon drums (ugly drum smokers) many times and understanding how they worked and why they worked so well I decided to build something better… Something bigger.

After a couple of weeks or days or hours of looking through CraigsList and keeping my eyes peeled around the neighborhoods I am around and not being able to afford a big smoker or my dream smoker the Cook Shack.

I found something…

A computer sever tower from the 80’s. The ad read: big steel cabinet 7 foot tall $100 bucks. I sent out an email and offered $50. I quickly received a yes and was on my way out to pick it up! When I got to the building I found out that the company makes these and they cost around $1500 new. I met the guy who was selling the cabinet for the company and we walked back through the maze of cool stuff. When we came upon it I felt like the monkey’s in the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey. Since the pictures on the ad did not do it justice I will just tell you now this thing is 8 feet tall I am 5 foot 9″! What have I gotten myself into I could have just walked away… But I didn’t. I looked at it for a few more minutes walked around it knocked on it and could see the goal… A big not just big but huge smoker. I had them load it up with a fork lift and gave them some cards and a few pounds of left over meat and I bid them farewell.

On the way home I can’t wait to start working on this thing. First I have to figure out how to get it out of the truck I think it weighs 500 pounds! But I have to stop and get my first big meat order ready for my boss at work. I stop by the area Restaurant Depot and get meat. Also, I meet a new friend Gary who has all ready seen my cabinet in the back of my truck and see’s my vision! Hey this thing doesn’t just make meat it makes friends too!

So I get home and I have to this thing out of the truck… I don’t have a fork lift. So called over the neighbor Mark. Apparently waking him up from a good dream because he was not a happy helper! Some of the comments were how I was crazy and how big is to big. I let the grump go back after we get it out. Here it is laying there on it’s back and the build begins…

First off it’s the middle of the summer 100+ degrees so I can’t do much during the day. So I wait till the sun goes down and I start pulling the left over wires and plastic parts out. I got all the extra stuff out and cleaned off all the double sided tape from the wire holders off. next I removed all the old tar based door seal off mind you it’s 30 years old and it is the first time this thing has seen heat and that seal stinks! I found some heavy duty casters at Harbor Freight and welded them and bolted them to the bottom (The welds weren’t going so well). While I had it on it back I drilled three 1″ holes in the bottom of the base. I put in some 1″ threaded pipe and some 1″ gas valves to control the air intake. Now I need to stand it up…. I don’t know if you have ever tried to stand up a 500 pound steel box with no handles and no help but its not fun! Some 2X4’s and ratchet straps and my truck made short work of it… Scary but not to bad! After I got it at a 45 degree angle Mrs. Chop and I were able to get it up right!

Next was the shelves. I kept it as simple as I could I had a goal in mind use every inch of the inside. So I went down to metal by the foot and got some expanded steel from their cut off bin. I had a bed frame so I cut that down to fit in as shelve holders. I had Metal by the foot cut the expanded steel to the right size so all I had to do was weld it to the bed frame angle iron not to bad one evenings work. To hole the racks to the walls I drilled 1/4″ holes evenly spaced at 7″ so I could fit turkeys or big pork butts on the shelves and put 2″ 1/4-20 bolts in the holes.

Then the fire basket. It was a hard choice how big do you make it? I had done some research on the size and couldn’t find the right answer… So I winged it and made a two foot by one foot by one foot cage open on the top with 2″ legs.

I am a a safe person when it comes to cooking and I don’t want anyone to get sick because of paint. I had to find away to get rid of all the paint on the inside and outside… I decided to have it sandblasted. So I started calling around. The first place I called said sure we can do it for $100… I thought cool so I loaded the beast up. (not fun ratchet straps and fingers crossed..)

As I pull into the sandblasters the guy that I talked to on the phone started back peddling well this thing is bigger than I expected and it’s not paint it’s powder coated. I got a message from him the next day with a new quote $300+ I was not happy I headed out to take it somewhere else. I ended up down in an older part of town at I place that did huge trailers. They did it in an hour and only charged me $110!

But the day I wanted it back it was raining… HARD! If you have ever had freshly sanded metal before but it can rust in a matter of minutes… I had them wrap it up in plastic still it rusted before I even got it home…

After getting it home it of course stopped raining. A couple of buddies had come over to work on their projects so they helped me get it out of the truck. and they mocked me also about the size of the Beast.

Now it was time I couldn’t waste anymore time so it would rust anymore. I wiped down the outside with acetone witch took off most of the rust that had formed and I loaded up the spray gun with Rustolum high temp satin black and thinned it just a little with acetone. I sprayed 3 coats on it and it looks great!

The next day I came out to start the seasoning process. I filled a spray bottle with vegetable oil and sprayed every inch of the inside down. Then I mixed charcoal and wood in my fire cage and lit it up with my weed burner torch! This was a test I had everything done as far as I could tell and had put in a couple of thermometers to see if it could get up to temp… It did and it kept going no matter what I did it rocketed past 250 past 300 past 400 past 550… Did I forget to mention I didn’t seal the door because I thought the metal on metal seal would be enough. Nope it wasn’t. I just let it burn.

The next day (yes 15 hours later) it was still over 200. I opened it up to find that the oil that I had sprayed all over was now a perfect non stick seal! The high heat has burned the oil perfectly all over!

So a few days later I found fiberglass wood stove seal at the local hardware store with some pure silicone. I went around the door twice and made a perfect seal.

After it had dried a day or two I fired it back up and what do you know IT WORKS! It works so well I can make adjustments and see a change it a matter of a few minutes!

So now comes the real test meat. I preped a couple of briskets and butts and fired it up I let it cook just like I did on the the Ugly Drums. The results where awesome. I have noticed now after cooking close to 1000 pounds on “THE TOWER” that I get a very good smoke ring every time without it ever being over smoked!

Here are some pictures of the build and so on.

P.S. It’s for sale the the first $3000.00 cash takes it!

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BBQ Eye Candy! Pics from the last year. More to come!

Here are last years pictures. Click them for full size!

I will put up more soon! -Chop

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I am BACK!

Well you may ask where I have been… BUSY! We (Barbeque Kansas City also know as Chop Quey) have been cooking a lot!

Our summer in review the short version;

We started a competition Barbeque Team Chop Quey and went to our first contest. At the Raytown Missouri summer fest contest we learned what it was like to be in a BBQ contest. We also started learning what not to do! One thing to remember shredding really good tasting pork does not make really good looking pork!We also learned that it is a ton of work to get ready for a contest a ton of work while you are at the contest and a ton of work after you get home to clean up and so on… We finished low overall but had a lot of fun in the process!

Contest #2 the first annual Olathe Kansas contest. One word HOT! Shortly after we got done setting up the A/C went out in the camper! This was not what I had planned at all for a nice family weekend of cooking. I had to send Mrs. Chop, Lamb Chop, and Chop Jr. home at about 10pm because it was over 100 degrees in the camper. I was able to get a little sleep after getting the meat on the smokers with the help of Famous Davis who was a huge help throughout the summer! We ended up with a 3rd in pork! That was huge I will never forget that feeling! Over all I think we finished 12th not bad for our 2nd contest! ( It took $7.00 to fix the A/C)

Contest #3 Jesse James Days Kearney Missouri. 3 words Wet and Cold. Thick cool air is not something you want to cook with I like it when it is in the 75-85 degree range to cook outside. Not the case it was in the 50’s and raining… I fought smoker temps all night long! I did turn out ok meat but not the best I have ever made… We finished right in the middle in everything.

We haven’t just been cooking for contests!
We have cooked well over 1000 pounds of meat this season! We would have a hard time paying for all this meat with out catering here and there. We have found that catering is a great way to make the extra cash needed to buy meat and equipment. Also, it is a great way to practice. (I am working our catering price lists and I will publish it soon)

Projects, We have been building! I needed to be able to cook more meat at one time so I had to either try to save up thousands of dollars or I had to find something I could build on the cheap. I came up with a little (HUGE) Smoker I call “The Tower” for a Thanksgiving turkey sale I loaded it with 10 turkeys and 40 Pounds of turkey breast for a total weight of 200 pounds! and I still had room left! I will type up a post of how I made it soon!

Another project was the a grill I purpose built for hamburger and hotdog burning. I used the bottom 1/3 of a 175 gallon home heating oil drum to make a cooking surface of two and a half feet by almost five feet! 4 people can cook on it at the same time and not run into each other! It works awesome! I will post the build soon.

And of course lets not forget out the Ugly drum smokers that started it for me I have built a few and plan on building more soon. I am thinking of building them with a low cost power draft unit that I can control the temperature easier. I will let you know how that works soon!

Soon I hope to start a new Chop House build. I am looking into a 8.5 X 16 foot trailer that I can turn into a kitchen on wheel completely self contained!

That’s all I got for now!

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Some Updates!

I had a few minutes to work out some updates today.

#1 I got rid of the drop ship Barbecue Kansas City Store! Why you ask? I really don’t think it work liked we need it to… I have a vision of what the Barbecue Kansas City Store needs to be. It will for now be a part of the main page of Barbeque Kansas City. It will be items that we make ie., Smokers, Grills, Meat, Sauce, and more!

Over the past six plus months I have learned a lot about Barbeque mostly how to make great Barbeque! I learned about what it takes to be a great competitive Barbeque cooker since we cooked in our first three contests! (we even got 3rd in pork at one of them) It takes a lot of work and equipment!

Soon I also hope to start catering I am putting together a price list and getting the equipment together!

Over the summer I built some really neat stuff! One Smoker I built is 8 feet tall! I almost have it ready to sell. I have cooked in it a few times one of the best smokers I have used! I call it the tower!

Hopefully I can sit down and do some great updates for you guys and gals out there! What do you what to know? send me an email


That’s all I got for now!



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Hi we are still here!~

I haven’t forgot about everybody looking for the latest and greatest Barbeque Kansas City news… But, we have been ubber busy! In our second contest we got 3rd in pork! and 14th overall! So, stay tuned I will find a rainy day some time soon to type away and tell my stories!


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Meet Our Competition BBQ Team Chop Quey!

So as many of you know the purpose of the Barbeque Kansas City Blog is to give you information about whats going on around Kansas City’s vast BBQ scene. From restaurants to recipes and so on. One of the major points I wanted to do was to talk about taking my back yard barbeque to the next level.

It all started a few years ago after talking to one of my best friends about cooking which led into talking about competition BBQ. I was hooked. I needed equipment and recipes. I needed knowledge! So I watched from the sidelines and learned. I helped with loading after the contests and tried the left overs. I smoked pork, brisket, ribs, burgers and chicken what ever I could get my hands on! I collected and built smokers, tools, and equipment.

Then we took the plunge we signed up for our first contest!

At that point of signing up I didn’t have enough room to cook all the competition meat! So I made some calls and got a hold of a couple of 55 gallon drums. I made a couple of trips around town to collect parts and built a Ugly Drum Smoker! They only take a couple of hours to build and about 50 bucks!

A couple of weeks before the contest we did a full practice smoke. I made phone calls and did research. I started cooking at noon and prepped everything hours before. Since I had never cooked so much meat before I had to be careful and organized.

The contest, I spent the week before the contest loading and cleaning. Since I choose to go to the Raytown contest I was very close to home just in case I forgot anything I could run home or send someone to pick something up. We rolled in and started setting up at 9am on Friday. I am glad I got there early so I could take my time getting set up. Soon after we got set up we had meat inspection that was painless. I do wish I had made some time the day before to trim all the meat in the comfort of my home near the sink… But I just had ran out of time getting all this stuff ready! So we cut trimmed rubbed and marinated for a couple of hours. After that we got cleaned up and relaxed!

After midnight we started the fires and the the thunder storms started and the lack of sleep began to creep in! There is something about a storm and meat smoking that puts me into a nice sleepy mood! But, I powered through! I dosed in and out. I kept the temps under control all night long. Low and slow…

As the sun came up I began cooking chicken and ribs. Then I realized that I had started them over an hour early… Ops! The funny thing is it was the best chicken I have ever made! we got 12th! The Ribs turned out wonderful also 27th!

More to come!


Barbeque Kansas City

Meet Our Team!

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Where have I been???

Well first off sorry for the long pause between posts things have been very busy around here with the start of summer and are first BBQ contest! That’s right our competition BBQ team went into full effect a couple of weeks ago and cooked in the Raytown BBQ summer fest! Go Chop Quey!

We have been working non stop building smokers and trying new ways to make the best barbeque on the planet! I’ll tell you what one of the best things about BBQ is eating some of the best food that I have ever had!

I am thinking about putting on a BBQ cooking class! Anyone want to come? Contact me

We also are looking for sponsors. We will hang banners wear t-shirts and/or hand out flyers. For a full or part sponsorship. I am really looking hard for some BBQ control systems!


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Update project smoker!

We did some work on the smoker yesterday! As you can see it grew! I added a couple of Harbor Freight 8″ castors and 12″ legs to one side. A pair of 10″ 300 pound capacity tires with 18″ legs on the other and a 5/8″ axle.

After the fire box is attached, I will add another leg under it for one of the wheels to attach for stability.

I can’t believe how easy it rolls now! Since just the container weighs somewhere around 100 pounds, it was a pain to move around…

Hopefully I will get a steel delivery soon! So I can get to building the rest of it!


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One of the best BBQ videos!

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Sponsors wanted!!

Or Sponsors needed!! I am asking for your help! If you can spare a few cents or bucks to help us cover the cost of the site or meat for the next contest, that would be great! As you can see we have gotten rid of most of the adverting on the site to help clean it up, so now it would be great if you could Donate a buck or ten! Really, anything helps!

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