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Steve in Mass

Sweet Roadside Find, But Need Some Help

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About 10 days ago in my travels, I ran across this at the curb for free:

 

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smoker1.jpg.f8f67220d01b2bcf1e0fa8107531ef59.jpg

 

smoker3.jpg.905abadc09a39af3542d04fbc51bd661.jpg

 

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The racks, which usually in something like this are full of crude, were nearly pristine, And the rest of it was pretty clean, so I know it was only gently used.

 

So I cleaned it up, fashioned a pipe with an adjustable damper for the top vent. Over the weekend, did a smoke of ribs to try it out.

 

Long story short, the ribs came out really good, but this thing used a ton of fuel (charcoal briquettes and chunks of hand split seasoned oak), much more than my kettle or bullet smoker. And the temp in the box never really got over 240, which is fine, but keeping it at sweet spot of 200-220 required a lot of tending and addition of chunk wood. While it wasn't burning very hot, it would burn fast, even with opening or damping the top chimney vent.

 

My thought is, that as you can see in the last picture, the bottom under the pan for the fuel is pretty wide open with no way to close it off.

 

Ideas how to improve this thing to get the box a bit hotter when needed and cut fuel consumption?

 

 

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Put a sheet of aluminum or maybe even just some aluminum foil, on the shelf that the burner plate sits on? Seals off any heat escaping via the bottom opening.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Those things have pretty thin walls which don't help it retain heat.  They are serviceable though and a few modifications will go a long way.  I would add some of the big green egg type felt gap sealer around the door to retain heat & smoke.  Retrofit or buy a better charcoal bin to let the fuel breath; pretty much standard advice on most smokers.  I'd also close or narrow some of those holes on the bottom somehow too, perhaps just placing some sheet metal over top?

 

If you really wanted to go crazy you could fashion a way to access the firebox without opening the smoke top to help retain heat while adding fuel.  Take the door off & cut it into two smaller doors?  Add a door to the back to access firebox only?  Just spitballing ideas.

Edited by sbcbmx112

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Posted (edited) · Report post

for the bottom holes, I'd use a piece of sheet metal to close off all but one hole.  On that hole, I'd fashion a plate baffle to give more control over airflow, like the weber kettles have on the bottom.  See the top piece on the stack below.  Mount it from the underside of the smoker so you can adjust it without opening the box.  Can't tell how tight the door fits, but sealing it tightly would help.

 

Nice pick up!

baffle.png.de16d8af3c09af1a76002e63ec8c06dd.png

Edited by PeterO

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Thanks guys. :) I like Peter's idea, I can just make my own pivoting cover like the top of what he pictured and attach it directly to the floor of the smoker. Maybe for two of the holes, and then just permanently cover the other two.

 

And yes, the door needs some type of gasketing to seal it better, but as you can see in the second picture, there is not much metal around the edges to work with, so I have to find just the right type of fiberglass rope or other rope like insulation material.

Edited by Steve in Mass

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