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RaginCajun87
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Jul 2013
285 posts

1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
Debating if I should make my pit out of 1/4" pipe or 3/8". I have the 1/4" pipe to build the pit but I am debating if I should go thicker. Anyone have any experience with either size? My 2 concerns are how long the 1/4" will last compared to the 3/8" and cooking difference.


pdubya76
Ole Miss Fan
Amite County,Ms.
Member since Mar 2012
2667 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
1/4" is plenty thick for a pit. I am very close to finishing a vertical cabinet smoker build. It's 1/8" tubing frame with double wall 1/8" plate and insulated . It's heavy as a quality gun safe. People underestimate the strength of steel. I trimmed mine out with 1/4" angle and that stuff is stout.
If you have the 1/4 use that and don't look back.


RaginCajun87
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Jul 2013
285 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
Thanks for the help!


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cave canem
Mississippi St. Fan
land o sand
Member since Oct 2012
5878 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
quote:

Debating if I should make my pit out of 1/4" pipe or 3/8". I have the 1/4" pipe to build the pit but I am debating if I should go thicker. Anyone have any experience with either size? My 2 concerns are how long the 1/4" will last compared to the 3/8" and cooking difference.


Both will last a lifetime, the schedule 80 will hold heat better but be a pain for short cooks and burn a pile of fuel to get up to temp, decide what you are going to use it for most and go from there.


RaginCajun87
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Jul 2013
285 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
I'm not sure what schedule it is. I'll only be using it for bbq'ing, not smoking.


Rando
USA Fan
When IPs were Visible
Member since Apr 2015
8533 posts
 Online 

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
I have a 3/8s pit...and it's good and bad.

It's 50 years old and looks new. Even though the ashes never get cleaned after a cook.

The bad, it takes a huge amount of fuel to get to temp. I actually dump a bag of charcoal in minus two chimneys worth. Dump the chimneys in, then typically throw 4-6 pieces of oak firewood on top of that.

Once it burns down, I can hold 350-400 degrees for 4-6 hours.

It will still be 200 24 hours later.

They are great for long cooks. Terrible for short ones.



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BiggerBear
Oral Roberts Fan
North La. Backwoods
Member since Sep 2011
1561 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
1/4 is overkill. So if you like 1/4, go for it. I am currently making a stainless cabinet smoker with a 14ga tube frame and 18 gauge walls. It will be insulated. If I were making a bbq pit, as opposed to a smoker, I would be very unlikely to use anything thicker than 3/16 due to the weight and would more than likely lean toward 1/8. But I use sheet instead of pipe.

If I was going to insulate the smoker, I doubt that I would use anything thicker than 16ga for anything other than the firebox. Even then, I'd probably just make a removable, sacrificial part to absorb any damage from contact with the fuel.

If weight were no concern or if the pit was too large to store out of the rain, I'd probably go with somewhat heavier materials. But 1/4" is plenty.


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NASA_ISS_Tiger
LSU Fan
Huntsville, Al via Sulphur, LA
Member since Sep 2005
6026 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
Mine is schedule 20. It's held up for 30+ years...just now starting to rust thru.

Looking at the chart 24" Schedule 20 has a wall thickness of 3/8".

The other thing to consider....is the warping it'll do. Even at 3/8" mine warps where the door doesn't shut so every 5 years or so I have to take a torch and reheat it to get it to seal. 1/4" will warp more for sure.


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cave canem
Mississippi St. Fan
land o sand
Member since Oct 2012
5878 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
quote:

I'm not sure what schedule it is. I'll only be using it for bbq'ing, not smoking.



1/4 inch is more than enough then and will last several lifetimes.


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cave canem
Mississippi St. Fan
land o sand
Member since Oct 2012
5878 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
quote:

The other thing to consider....is the warping it'll do. Even at 3/8" mine warps where the door doesn't shut so every 5 years or so I have to take a torch and reheat it to get it to seal. 1/4" will warp more for sure.


Damn man you must be roasting on that sucker to warp 3/8 steel


NASA_ISS_Tiger
LSU Fan
Huntsville, Al via Sulphur, LA
Member since Sep 2005
6026 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
Not really...over time it gets hot. No more than 20-30 briquets of charcoal sometimes more if I'm doing a brisket.


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Texas Gentleman
Texas A&M Fan
Texas
Member since Sep 2015
496 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
Either will serve you fine, 1/4 is probably your better (cheaper) choice since you already have it. Both will likely not rust through anytime soon and will hold up well to years of cooking.

That being said I am partial to 3/8 because my smoker is made from an old propane tank which has a wall thickness of 3/8 inch. Remember that the thicker the metal you have, the more resistant it is to outside factors and the more heat it will “hold”, you won’t be losing a lot of heat radiating out the sides like you do on thin walled pits. Once I get mine to temp, it’s exteremly efficient at staying at a level temp even if it’s a windy, cold, or something else out of the ordinary type of day.

A best of both worlds might be 1/4 pit, but insulate/reinforce the firexbox or make just straight make it out of 3/8 so it’s a lot more effiecient at holding heat.


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CHEDBALLZ
South Central LA
Member since Dec 2009
13113 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
What size diameter pipe?




RaginCajun87
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Jul 2013
285 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
18" Diameter x 27" long


CHEDBALLZ
South Central LA
Member since Dec 2009
13113 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
You have a piece of pipe or you going to have someone roll it for you?

1/4" will be more than enough and will outlast you and your kids with a little upkeep. I wouldn't expect it to warp with such a small diameter and the low heat of a smoker.


RaginCajun87
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Jul 2013
285 posts

re: 1/4 vs 3/8 Pipe for BBQ Pit
I have a piece of pipe.


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