Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Smoker Cleaning

Please understand that every customer cooks different kinds and amounts of meats in their pit so cleaning regimes will vary from person to person. However, it is important to check the inside of your smoker EVERY TIME before you use it to ensure that the interior is clean and there is not grease and residue buildup in the bottom of the smoker that could impede proper draining of grease during the cook. Also check the drains to make sure they are not stopped up in any way or closed, they should be open during the entire cook for proper draining. We understand that the grease buildup inside the cooker is “seasoning” and is fact part of the curing of the smoker for continued flavor in the BBQ industry. However we want to stress care and caution that this buildup is kept at a minimum. In other words if its more than a thin glaze inside the pit we recommend you scrape or wash it out to keep it from building up more. No one wants a grease fire, but improper maintenance whether it be not cleaning it period, or not cleaning often enough can result it one which will ruin your meat on there for that cook! So be careful and always take a look before each cook, kind of like looking in your review mirror every time you put your car in reverse.

Q: Smoker maintenance?

A: Please contact us for specifics on individual models or customized units. But, generally the smoker only has a couple areas to address.  First on the vents on the firebox, the handle basically is used to open and shut the vent, there is a threaded bolt that allows for the handle to rotate. Those threads on the vent should be lubed with a light cooking oil for example as needed to keep the threads from rusting which can cause the vent to be hard to operate. Second if you have a smoker with a vertical tower there will be a inlet that connects the main chamber to the vertical tower that is a flip-open and shut unit. This vent uses a heavy duty hinge for operation and once again should be lubed with a light cooking oil if it were to every look dry or form surface rust.


A: Generally without writing a 10 page long legal terms page which hopefully doesn’t have to happen some day. We stress that our customers use basic common sense on the smoker safety. It is hot in operation. Please take caution with children and animals and wear insulated gloves to protect yourself  and others from the smoker at all times.  Do not let children operate the smoker or climb on it. Do not place the smoker in the vicinity of any combustible materials. Do not leave the smoker unattended in operation. Use common sense on moving the unit, they are all heavy, don’t hurt your back, for example. Keep the cooking racks clean and oiled with cooking oil and take care of them so molds or other foreign items are not allowed to be on your cooking surface. Be aware of the doors on the smoker, do not allow the smoker to be off level or exposed to circumstances where the door could slam on a finger or arm.  Once again just some basic precautions on the units in general. Be Safe and have fun.

Q: Do you offer Shipping?

A: Absolutely, all of our patio and tailgate sized smokers can be shipped via LTL truckloads. Please contact us with the item you want and the zip code of the delivery location. We will provide you with an estimate of the shipping cost and will get a firm quote if the buyer wants to proceed. Our larger trailer mounted units can be shipped on flatbeds or through private freight haulers, but please contact us for information on that process. In most cases the larger smoker trailers are picked up in Ennis, TX.

Q: What thickness of steel do you use?

A: The majority of our smokers are built from ¼” steel. Larger 36” diameter units are built from ¼” and 3/8” steel.

Q: Where are you located?

A: Johnson Fabrication is located in Ennis, TX.

Q: Do you always stock your items; if not how long does it take to build them?

A: We strive to keep our items in stock all the time, but depending on sales at certain times of the year we are out of stock on particular models. In that case we can build your smoker in 2-3 wks depending on the orders in front of you at the time.

Q: What is Reverse Flow?

A: Our Reverse Flow concept basically involves a removable, adjustable tube that directs the heat from the firebox to the opposite end of the main chamber.  At that time the heat is then allowed to come in contact with the cooking racks and travel back towards the stacks which are placed at grate level for added efficiency. This process is the most user-friendly of all the heat transfer processes as it will cook at the same temperature across all the cooking racks. And, once the smoker is setup, it needs no adjustments. In our opinion, the tube has a better seal obviously than plates that other manufactures use for their systems.  We have used several Reverse flow engineering variations and have found that our current design yields the best results and is the easiest design for cleaning and removal.

Q: What kinds of customizations/personalization can you do?

A: Pretty much anything! We can match logos, initials, or names and cut them out of steel plate and install them on your smoker. We have a library of images within our Metal Art division of over 5,000 images.

Q: How does the Charcoal Grill option work?

A: The independent charcoal grill on the front of some of our smokers allows for grilling steaks and chickens etc, while the main chamber of the smoker is cooking at its own temperature. The charcoal grill has its on separate charcoal tray, vents, and adjustable stacks. There is also an inlet that connects the charcoal grill and main chamber together that can be opened or left shut. With this option you can induce a natural wood smoked flavor into your meats that are cooking in the charcoal grill.

Q: How does the Vertical Smoker/warmer work?

A: The Vertical chamber is placed on top of the firebox on some units. It has racks that rotate on a center shaft for easy loading and saucing purposes. With that being said, the racks can be built without the rotating shaft on request. The vertical unit gets its smoke and heat via an adjustable inlet from the main chamber. It does not get direct heat from the firebox. If the inlet is open the vertical smoker will run at around 40 degrees cooler that the temperature within the main cooking chamber. If the inlet is closed the chamber simply serves as a warmer for cooked meat, beans or vegetables.

Q: What paint options do you have?

A: The smoker is triple coated with 1200 degree high heat paint. We can paint your trailer virtually any color and often match company colors upon request.

Q: Can I order a smoker on a different trailer?

A: Absolutely, just send us a message or give us a call. We can take any of our smokers and put them on any trailer, or build you a custom smoker of your design from the ground up.

Q:  Subtle differences in your smoker from the website pictures?

A:  We have been in business quite a few years although it doesn’t feel like it.  Over the years we have come up with small changes like pull-tab handles on the racks and oversized channel racks slides based on customer feedback and/or our testing.  Flat end caps on the patio smokers vs Round ends on the larger ones due to CNC machining now done in the shop.  Lots of the photos on this site have been on here many years and still represent our products very close. Please understand we have lots of machines involved in cutting out parts for these units and if one of those machines breaks we have to switch to another method to produce that part. In cases like this something like the handle that opens the doors or maybe the design of the charcoal pan might alter some as we produce these parts utilizing other methods other than the norm while we get our machine back online.  We never do this on purpose but also understand the “show must go on.” So if you see something on your product that is a little different than what you see online feel free to call and ask, but most likely it will be due the reasons just mentioned.  

Q: Privacy Information. 

A: Johnson smokers does not keep any personal information from any of our customers other than the receipt of sale with name and address.  We do not sell or share any information to any outside agencies for any reason.  Please contact Johnson Smokers if you have any questions regarding the protection of your information provided to us in the course of our communication.