Submitted by: Jay Rizzo
I loved my Lincoln Electric Square Wave® TIG 175 TIG welder and used it for years without issue, but I traded it in for a Lincoln Electric POWER MIG® 180C wire feeder welder for this project.
The majority of the octagon-shaped smoker -- named Smokezilla -- is made from 11 gauge cold rolled steel. It is 4 feet in diameter and 4 feet wide, sits just under 8 feet tall (I almost had to let the air out of the tires to get it out of the garage) and weighs 1,280 lbs. Full of food, its weight tops 1,500 lbs.
The fire box is about 22 inches in diameter and 4 feet long. It can hold 80 lbs. of charcoal and generates the right amount of heat and smoke for 5 hours without reloading.
Smokezilla has controls for incoming airflow, dual stacks for heat exhaust, grease drains, and a clean-out. Inside the unit are six 38 X 12 inch removable swinging racks. Each rack sits on a spoke driven by a motor and rotates at 3-1/2 rpm. My son calls it "The Ferris Wheel of Meat".
One of the unique things about Smokezilla is that it sits on a re-purposed Lincoln Electric Ranger® engine driven welder trailer. The trailer was trimmed back, new fenders fabricated and slight modifications were made to the mounting brackets enabling the smoker to be mounted on the trailer. New removable trailer jacks were installed on both sides for stability.
Smokezilla is our "best friend" at church festivals, tailgate gatherings, graduation parties, and charitable events. With its capacity for cooking 45 slabs of ribs or 32 pork butts at a time, Smokezilla can be used to feed the masses.
Over 15 lbs. of MIG welding wire were used on this project and the POWER MIG® 180C performed flawlessly; I could not imagine welding with any other machine.