Converting Side Fire Box to Propane?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by mavrick813, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. mavrick813

    mavrick813 Smoke Blower

    Anyone ever made their Own After Burner? I'm thinking the burner from a Side Burner, Or Turkey Fryer, a Tank, and a Regulator to control the height of the flame???

    I mean What all else does the Afterburner have going for it beside the Little Grate to lay a Can down on?

    The parts could be had for less then $30.00 I suppose. Maybe even find a Junk Grill with a Side burner to salvage?

    Figure something like this might do the trick. Salvage it in a way that it could still be used as a Fryer if ya wanted?

    Anyone done anything like this? Pics? Links to what you've used?

  2. daddio

    daddio Meat Mopper

    i have done exactly that on my chargriller and it works great another easy set it and forget it way to go,takes about 4 min if i want to change it back to charcoal or wood. good luck
  3. mavrick813

    mavrick813 Smoke Blower

    That's what I'm thinking. If I feel like tending the fire I can Yank the unit out in less then 10 seconds and have my basket back in.

    I have looked at the Afterburner and am considering one. BUT Over a $100.00 to get it to my door just isn't something I think i want to do right now.

  4. azrocker

    azrocker Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

  5. graybeard

    graybeard Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I like FREE! Find you a side burner.

  6. mco

    mco Smoke Blower

    I've done what your describing,I've taken the side burner off of an old chargrill that I had laying around. It had 2 hoses coming off of the regulator so I cut the the one going to the main burners, mixed up some JB weld and stuck a bolt along with the JB weld and a clamp into the end of the hose. I took the door off of the end of the fire box and slid the burner in.I cut a peice of sheet metal to cover the opening,I'm able to remove it with only 2 screws.
    The burner itself is not able to produce enough heat by its self, so I end up using charcoal and some oak I had laying around. Just using the burner the best I could get was about 190, adding wood and charcoal I was able to get it up to about 285. I've made all the mods, 3 tuning plates and a peice 45ing down from the fire box opening.I left the opening under the burner open to get air into the fire box.Also I extended the exhaust down to grill level. All in all it worked pretty good, but I wondering what I could do to boost the heat output.I'll take Pic tomorrow and post all of my mods.By the way this a Brinkman S & P that I picked up off of Craigs List last week for $30 smackaroos
  7. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well, it comes with the regulator, hose, etc. The grate is sized properly and just drops in place so you don't have to do any fab work. And someone else has done all of the design work so you know the burner is properly sized to do what you want it to do so you don't run into problems like this.

    Mine will go from 140° (for jerky) to 380° if I wanted it to. But the biggest plus for me was avoiding the chance of blowing myself up since I don't know anything about building propane units.[​IMG]

    Now don't get me wrong . . . I understand lots of people have done their own conversions with varying degrees of success. If you're more of a do it yourselfer, go for it. But believe me, the Afterburner makes the conversion a whole lot easier.

  8. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Got one...Brinkmann SNP 40"...did one coal burn in it and she's been a gasser ever since.

    I can melt snow off of my patio @ 0* from 5 feet away if I go nut's with it!

    Here's the link: have a peek:

    Note: I recommend that you read post #9 thoroughly, if you seriously want to do this mod. This was my experience with the initial set-up and testing...good stuff to know and could save you some heart-ache.

    ON EDIT: you will need alot more than a grill side burner to get enough BTU output...12,000-15,000 won't get it done, unless you will be smoking in 100* weather with no wind.

    SECOND EDIT: My mod is a high pressure burner, so it has infinite flame adjustments, from just a a few thousand BTU (without going out) to 88,000.

    Let me know if you need help. Good luck.

    That mod was simple with minimal effort, and only requires the drilling of ONE hole in the sfb. It works great!

  9. mco

    mco Smoke Blower

    Great post, I went back and read what you have posted, and you absolutely right, I cant get enough BTUs out of a side burner. I have access to a sheet metal shop, so making all the other mod are no problem, I even cut me a piece of 1/8" black iron and rolled it to to fit the bottom of the fire box, even though I don't plan on using it for charcoal any more. I've been seeing burners that look like the one your using at the local flea market here on week-ends, I know there asking $30.00 including the hose, I think there made in China, and I'll check on the BTU out put.If I didn't accomplish anything else,it does make it easy to light the charcoal.LOL Actually I did get a nice flame, just not enough of it.I knew it was too easy to work.
  10. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks, mco...just glad to help someone out when I can.

    Yea, if you had a vertical smoker with a similar internal capacity (cubic inches), then a small burner will do OK, as the heAt is rising straight into the cook chamber[​IMG] , unless it is used in extremely cold ambient temps.

    Being a horizontal smoker however, there is a huge loss in thermal efficiency from the sfb...too much heat lost to atmosphere. If you find a burner in the mid 40K to 50K= BTU's, it will be enough for most any smoke. I run mine at about 1/3 output on a cold day (well below freezing). Sometimes I will fire it up and get carried away building temp, then the hot paint smell starts to greet me........[​IMG]! I still have to excersize some patience, a 10 minute warm-up is pretty common...and I can stabilize temps in 5 minutes, give or take.

    If you can find a high pressure burner (it will have the control knob on the regulator)...that's definately the way to go, and especially for $30.00.

    And, yes to the charcoal chimney[​IMG] ...I use my sfb burner mod for this all lthe time, I have used my grill side burner and even my GOSM (both with the grate removed).

    Good luck!

  11. mco

    mco Smoke Blower

    here is a Qview of wont work for a side fire box that won't work, but it does make a dandy charcoal starter. lol As soon as I get time I'll move this burner to my ECB
  12. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It looks like you might be blocking most of the heat from entering the cook chamber. I had a similar issue when I first did my tuning plates.

    I eventually took out the right most plate and split the difference on the gaps. Worked much better.

    Or you could drill holes in yours to make something like this.

    May not completely solve your heat problem but will make a big difference I'll bet. [​IMG]

  13. mco

    mco Smoke Blower

    Thanks Dave I'll give that a try
  14. mco

    mco Smoke Blower

    I opend the plates up so that I had about 5" open in the middle and another 5" at the far end. After 1 hour the temp near the fire box was at 191, mid way 155 and stack 170. I think I just need more BTU's, but thanks for the suggestions,I'll be looking for a bigger burner.[​IMG]
  15. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hmm, I thought it would have made more difference that that. Oh well. I would agree you need a bigger burner. The Afterburner in my SnP is WAY bigger than the side burner on my gas grill. [​IMG] Good luck with your search.

  16. mco

    mco Smoke Blower

    I got my after burner this after noon, took about 20 min to install.Had her up to temp in about 20 min. Can't wait to burn some flesh, Thanks for all the help, now I'll start on putting that side burner into my ECB, Qveiw to follow.[​IMG]
  17. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The Afterburner is AWESOME. You're going to love it.


Share This Page