bar-b-chef baffle and tuning plates....

Discussion in 'Side Fire Box' started by chefrob, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i know XLAXX was wanting some info on my baffle and tuning plates for my SFB so after i cleaned it up today i took some pics for him.

    here is the empty smoke chamber for reference...


    i put the smaller extra grates in the bottom for storage and to act as a heat sink....


    here is the baffle, notice the rounded corners on the bottom......


    here it is in place.......


    here are the 3 tuning plates, notice the first one is a bit longer and resting on the baffle also notice the spacing and they are about 3/4" or so above the bottom grates.


    here is the distance from the plate to the top grate...........



    with everything back in it............


    i hope this helps someone...........

    and as usual thx for stoppin' by..........
    hodgepodge likes this.
  2. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Looks great.chef
  3. whittling chip

    whittling chip Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Thank you for this post. I'm getting ready to do the same type of mod with mine. Your post will really help me out!

    Thanks again.

  4. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    glad to be of some help............
  5. raymo76

    raymo76 Smoking Fanatic

    Great post, I had sold my BBChef to a buddy, I should pass this info along.
  6. steamboatwilly

    steamboatwilly Fire Starter

    For the distance between the plate and the grate. Does it have to be a certain amount of distance, or does that really make a huge difference. I fear that my plate might be too low. I think i am up around 6 inches between the plate and the cooking grate.

    Also i dont really have the baffle, its just the piece of steel that is butted right up against the semi circle hole for the SFB. I gotta put some pics up but i dont want to threadjack either...
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
  7. raymo76

    raymo76 Smoking Fanatic

    Willy are you getting good even temps across your cooking surface? That's really the whole point of adding these modifications and I would say if you accomplished that goal then just leave your tuning plates where they are.
  8. steamboatwilly

    steamboatwilly Fire Starter

    The only way i will know for sure about my temps is to install 2 more stem jobbies in the unit. I will be doing that this weekend.

    I feel like since adding the steel, i cant seem to get the smoke chamber hot. That steel holds alot of heat i guess. So maybe i need to go hotter on the SFB.

    I took some pics but need to edit them first.

    Does the height location of the charcoal grate matter in relation to the inside of the side box?
  9. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    mine are 3" from the cooking grate.........i think it is important to be close so the heat it self will be closer. i have no test studies on this, just thinkin' aloud......
  10. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     i used cheep oven therms @ around $5 each.........


    it can but more importantly a charcoal basket will let you have more lump and the a hotter fire......

    i went from this....


    to to this.....




    i hope this helps and gives you some ideas..............
  11. steamboatwilly

    steamboatwilly Fire Starter

    yes it sure does. I will continue to move forward and post progress. thanks for your help,
  12. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    no problem at all............
  13. raymo76

    raymo76 Smoking Fanatic

    Willy you can always do a test run and use bread across your cooking area and at set intervals check on it and that will give you an indication on hot spots.
  14. steamboatwilly

    steamboatwilly Fire Starter

    @Raymo, I actually just did that this weekend when taking these photos.

    So here is what i was able to figure out.

    With the plates like you see in the pic, the bread for the most part stayed on the white side.


    if i move the piece on the far right side away from the smoker box, the bread closest to the right side become dark and caramel in color.

    The other thing i have found that it is now difficult to keep the surface temp at 200 *F.

    I made a chuck roast over the weekend.

    I could not keep the temp up to 200 so i decided to remove the plates all together. With the plates shown like above, it was a steady 180, but i would load it up with charcoal and open it wide open and i could get the temp back to up 200 for a short period. I feel like with the plates, i would use way more charcoal that if i did not use it. I could also just use one and move it just about a finger width away from the edge.

    The box is literally 17" x 17", so it is a smaller area maintain. Is it possible that i need to drill holes in the plates or maybe i should not use them at all.

    i like the idea of having something to help maintain the temp. Also, the sizzle of fat and the goodness that it releases goes back up the meat.

  15. raymo76

    raymo76 Smoking Fanatic

    I would definitely suggest to not open your cooker door often while cooking, just trust that the meat is cooking. You can try drilling holes in the tuning plates. I never did that when I had a traditional flow smoker, it was on my list to do I just didn't get to it. As far as I understand tuning plates are just trial and error until you get it right. Any other areas you might be losing heat from?

    Do you have good airflow in the firebox? Are you leaving your exhaust vent fully open while cooking?
  16. mr500

    mr500 Meat Mopper

    I used cheap canned biscuits. I took 8 of them. spread them around my grill and gave it a few to cook up.  Then just look and see what dough got cooked/burned and you have your hot/cold spots...

    Worked for meeeeee
  17. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Good ideal with the can biscuits.
  18. steamboatwilly

    steamboatwilly Fire Starter

    canned biscuits is a great idea actually..

    I feel like i am getting good draft from the box to the smoker. Yes, I have learned to keep the top damper wide open, but that is when the temp will start to drop.

    If i close it by just a little bit, (less than 25%) i can get the temp to hover at 200ish.

    no other areas that I know of where a heat loss would be.

    if they are there, i do not know how to recognize them. 

    There is much trial and error here and it can frustrating. But for every test, you may end up cooking some decent meat and gives you more experience to draw from.

    I enjoy a good challenge!

    thanks for the tips and i will keep the forum posts coming.
  19. raymo76

    raymo76 Smoking Fanatic

    Well leaving it slightly closed like you say won't hurt in my opinion. If you're trying to control your fire by mainly using the exhaust then I would think that would be an issue.

    As far as heat loss just make a really smoky fire and that will help see where heat is escaping from by seeing where it leaks. You can also go on and check out the suggestions for Cheap Offset Smoker (COS) modiifications.
  20. steamboatwilly

    steamboatwilly Fire Starter

    I did the smokey fire and it really had just a few little leaks, nothing to freak out about. The seal that i made improved it huge.

     I drilled 15 3/8 inch holes through out the piece of steel. I did 5 rows of 3 holes. Semi evenly spaced.

    i got some nuts and bolts and put them on the charcoal basket that i made to help elevate it.

    I started a fire, and am doing temp tests.

    So i filled the chimney up about half way with briquettes and got that going. I added some lump charcoal on top of the glowing briquettes.

    I let it come up to temp for 30 min or so. Then i started keeping an eye on the temps. I added a 2nd therm right in front of the handle, but it is not shown on the pics. Its about 2" off the grill surface. Would be level with most of the foods. But the stem is not super long like the stock one.

    Top vent open 95% and lower intake vent open 60%

    With the tuning plates setup like they are in pic 1, the lower therm will hover at about 160. The upper therm is closer to 200.

    If i move the plates away as illustrated in pic 2, the lower therm temp will spike to 210 and hold steady and the top to 285.

    The problem i feel i am having is i cannot get the internal temp higher than 210 on the lower and 300 on the upper therm.

    Does the charcoal basket have an "ideal" placement.

    I did read that you want the air to go through the coals, not up and over them. So raising the basket up is the better way to go.

    Do i fill the whole chimney up? Maybe that is part of the problem for me. I usually go about 3/4 to 90% full.

    I also bought a little cookie sheet and bent it to fit as a heat deflector(guide) to add above the charcoal in the side box. I dont think that makes too much of an impact to be honest. It flows on an angle to guide the heat into the cooking chamber.

    I do know for sure that the steel plate is below the bottom therm about 4" away, But that is what is keeping the temps down at the 2 therms.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012

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