Photo Tour of a Backwoods Smoker

If you’ve been following along here, you know that I’ve been in a continuous upgrade pattern for the past couple of years.  I still enjoy cooking on my Big Green Egg & the Bubba Keg, but I first purchased a Backwoods Fatboy for more capacity.  Then, I upgraded to a Backwoods Pro Jr. for even more capacity.  This cooker seems to be big enough and still take up a reasonable amount of space in my garage since it’s a cabinet/vertical style unit.

I thought I’d take a minute to breakdown how this vertical smoker is put together.  First, the units are all configured with a firebox below the cooking chamber.  The firebox is seperated by a water pan at the bottom of the cooking chamber.


Optionally, a heat deflector is available to act as a further barrier between the hot coals and the bottom of the water pan.


The commercial fire grate (on the Fatboy & larger models and optional on the smaller cookers), is suspended above the bottom of the cooker.  An ash pan sits on the floor to collect the ashes for disposal.  This grate is made of expanded metal to allow the ash to drop through onto the ash pan.


The stainless cooking racks are evenly spaced and mounted on rails that allow you to slide them out for easy access to the items that you’re cooking.


The back wall of the cooker is hollow and seperated into 3 chambers.  The 2 outside chambers allow smoke & heat to travel from the fire box, up the back of the cooker, and into the top of the cooking chamber.  The heat & smoke are then drawn down through the cooking chamber (and over and around the meat) to the bottom of the cooker where the exhaust port is located just above the water pan.  The exhaust then runs up the middle of the rear wall of the cooker to the vent on the top of the cooker.


Here’s a shot of the top vents or point of entry for heat & smoke into the cooking chamber.And this is a shot of the exhaust port at the bottom of the cooker.The air flow is controlled by two vents at the bottom of the cooker. The vents have slider openings and one is located on the right front side, the other is on the left rear.The exhaust stack on the top of the cooker is very simple and has a door to swing over the opening. On the Fatboy, I always cooked with the exhaust wide open. The Pro Jr. works a little differently and I run with it about half open.Finally, when you’re done cooking on a Backwoods you will have to drain & dispose of the greasy water in the water pan. There’s a large drain valve on the side of the cooker to help with that task since the water pans aren’t removable unless custom ordered.That’s a quick (and picture heavy) overview of how a Backwoods Smoker is put together. There are variations and you an customize your cooker. However, for the mid-sized cookers this is pretty accurate.

Questions about a Backwoods Smoker? I’d be happy to help. Drop me a note or leave a comment below.



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