Q: Dear Dr. BBQ,
I’m considering building a large-scale wood-burning cooker with a firebox on the side. I wanted your opinion on the best way to attach the firebox to the cooker and if heat baffles are needed throughout the cooker to maintain even cooking temps. Thanks!
A: Hi Chris,
I am not a BBQ pit builder but I’ve sure seen a lot of them and cooked on most. I much prefer a setup where the fire is below the meat with a barrier in between but many people disagree. I would definitely weld the firebox on. Over the course of time bolts could rust or loosen. As for the inside, I would always want a baffle system of some sort. I kind of like the reverse flow design that has a plate almost all the way across and the exhaust stack back down on the firebox end. It just makes sense that this will eventually even out the temp throughout the cooker. Now I know some very good cooks that prefer no baffles. They use the hot end to their advantage. It will be hotter with no baffles. You can even it out some by dropping the stack down to the level of the cooking grate.