They say you never forget your first. Well, this smoker is our first. We named it Max Woodruff in honor of the widow’s husband and the town of its origin. You might have seen the Facebook posts during its creation.

After the property opportunity opened up, we immediately started sourcing a 1,000 gallon propane tank for the smoker body (empty, of course). Just call up a gas company and buy a used tank, we thought. Oh no! We soon found out it’s not that simple. Apparently, gas companies cannot sell used tanks. We were told we needed to buy one from a private party. A quick Internet search for propane tanks resulted in tanks readily available in Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Wow! That’s a long haul. Then, we got a lead to one available in Woodruff, Arizona. That’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from Snowflake—Clay’s old stomping grounds. “Call now!,” I said. We quickly discovered the widow selling the tank, was married to a fellow pig farmer. Apparently, her husband had bought the tank prior to his passing. It was an extra tank for her and she just wanted it cleared off the property. “I’m not sure what he intended to use it for. You know, Clay, Max was no Chatty Cathy,” she said. We laughed. Clay knew that was definitely a true statement.

Well, we quickly struck a deal. Our friend, Tom Baker, volunteered to pick it up for us and haul it down to the Valley. His welder, Randall, and Clay’s son, Dan, worked many weeks creating the smoker.

And that’s how it all began . . .