Firebrick Traeger Mod

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by mccumath, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. mccumath

    mccumath Newbie

    Hey guys!

    Just added some firebrick to the bottom of my Traeger Junior. I know it has been done before, but here is my take on adding them. The bricks help take up space, will hopefully decrease pellet use, and should help keep temps from sagging during the long winter coming up. Took a few pictures, see what you guys think!

    Here I am scoring all the way around the firebrick by gently hammering a chisel line across the brick. Then I scrape the chisel along the line to make the score line a little deeper. After scoring all the way around the brick, I placed the chisel back into the score marks of the longer sides, and hit it harder with the hammer. After a few smacks (back and forth along the longer brick sides) and moving the chisel down the score line on both of the long sides, the bricks will break quite nicely, producing a cut brick that needs a little bit of grinding on to clean up.

    To clean up the cuts, I used a grinder with a 50 grit coarse sanding disc. I imagine a flap disc of similar grit will also clean up the bricks nicely.

    Next, I started arranging the bricks in the bottom of the grill. One cut brick on either side of the flame pot, 3 full bricks in the bottom, and a cut brick on the sides/partial cut brick on the ends. In this pic, I had two more bricks to cut to fill in the gaps on the right of the picture.

    Here it is after all the pieces are in and I am running the temp up in the smoker to test it out.

    The bricks do not block air/heat flow that I can see, just decreases open space in the bottom of the grill. Bricks are close enough in proximity to decrease cleaning woes also. Should be able to suck the ash right off the top of the bricks and out of the hot pot without having to move any bricks around.

    Cooling Down.

    Hope that this helps this fall/winter when the temps start to drop, and hope it decreases pellet use. Guess we will see. If not, I am only out a few bucks. Will report back in the next few weeks when I get another chance to use it!

    Ryan M.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice mod...... hope it works well......

  3. tim nutt

    tim nutt Newbie

    let me know how it works,i have a big texas,and i like your idea,it should help hold the heat better,,you live in a very cold state.if you can afford it i would buy the insulationing cover too.they are not cheap,direct from about 150,for thejunior.i live in california,near never gets below 25 degrees.theres a web site called pellet accessories who has a downdraft hood too hold in heat and smoke also so you can get a better smoke and hold heat inside your traeger while cooking,it runs about 70 bucks.if your looking at all for some real wood pellets check out are not cheap but retain temps very well at all settingsdont let anybody7 you cant sear a steak on a traeger,bullcrap,take out your drip pan and leave difusser plate over firepot at high setting.get some grill grates fron  and i promise you can sear any steak with nice black crisscross marks.let me know how those bricks worked out for you.have a happy new year and a awesome 2015.LO(VE MY TRAEGER.
  4. tim nutt

    tim nutt Newbie

  5. It looks like your objective was to improve efficiency of your pellet consumption.   I am curious what this modification ultimately did, or didn't do for you?

    I smoked a brisket over the Christmas Holiday and monitored the Grill Temp (see graphic below).

    - The brisket was allowed to come up to room temperature for two hours prior to being placed on the grill.

    - Winds were calm, and ambient air temperatures ranged from 45F - 48F. 

    - My 2014 Traeger BBQ 07E was located under a large patio umbrella on the north side of my house and not exposed to any direct light. 

    - Temperatures on the grill and in the product were measured with an IGrill2.

    - The temperature was set at "Smoke" for exactly two hours, and then reset at 180F for the remaining time. 

    - The lid on the unit was opened only once during the smoke, at which time the brisket was injected with one quart of a 35F injection, wrapped in aluminum foil, with the product placed in the center of the grill to provide for maximum air circulation in the convection oven of the unit.  Aside from opening the lid on the unit, the following two graphics show how the cool injection may have caused temperature spikes in the oven.

    I'm a bit dense on what exactly is taking place here.  The first graphic shows a fairly tight grill temperature during the first five hours of the smoke (I expected greater volatility here until the Point reached its stall), followed by temperature swings of 50F+.

    Does your modification reduce volatility of oven temperature?  If so, do you believe that this is due to the insulation properties of the fire bricks (I suspect not as these are in the lowest part of the oven), or because the fire bricks act as a heat sink?  Have you experienced any detrimental impact to the smoker or its component parts as a result of this modification?

    Thank you in advance for your assistance on this matter.

    - Matt
  6. tim nutt

    tim nutt Newbie

    i feel honestly the problem with heat loss in the traeger pellet grill is because of low grade thin steel  production in the drum smoker because it needs too be thicker in mass.i am very happy in performance cooking foods at all settings.if you look inside the grill with drip pan and and disfusser cover out ,there are NOT seam welds all the way around the inside of the traeger.only spot welded ,the outside circular ends on both ends are not seam welded all the way around.the steel being being used in production is very thin ,too be honest not much thicker then a beer should be atleast as thick as the traeger lid which is twice as thick as the actual smoker box.i dont know if you have ever seen the oringal traeger pellet grills  when they first came out in 1992 but they were well built with solid construction.welded seam for legs and main body was much thicker i said the quality of performance cooking food is there still but quality of craftminship is gone due too mass production overseas being built in china.go online and look at a image of the amnerican  made traeger and you will see the differance its like nite and day.heat loss in a smoker is directly due too thickness of steel being used .how can you hold heat and retain heat if the product is leaking out hot temps.its all about quanity and sells not quality.i would trade my traeger right now for a old american built traeger that was in good working condition,because i know it was built with pride too last a long long time.
    mlstanley1956 likes this.
  7. hungryoprah

    hungryoprah Newbie

    I'm curious, if you take out the drip pan so that the steaks are over the heat shield that is over the fire pot, and you use those grill grates who do you keep the drippings out of the body of the traeger?
  8. tim nutt

    tim nutt Newbie

    i just put alumumian foil in the bottom of traeger too get the drippings.when im done cooking the steaks which is fairly quick,i roll it up and trash it.pretty simple .even if you dont put foil in there,wait until it cools all the way down,and clean the bottom with paper towels.give it a try,any type of steak

    will come out awesome with nice deep grills marks,just like cooking on a open flame with real wood .
  9. westby

    westby Smoking Fanatic

    I decided to do something similar to you, but I believe my method has a few more benefits.  I put 20 lbs (half bag) of fullers earth (floor dry - basically just clay) in the bottom of my pellet grill to hold temps better and recover faster.  It seemed to work well during our MN winter and I believe it did exactly what I wanted it to.  The benefit to the fullers earth is that it soaks up any drippings that get past the drip tray.  I just suck up the ash sitting on top of the fullers earth every 4 cooks or so.  I expect it to last me about 6-8 months before I have to vacuum it all out and add another 20 lbs, but it may last up to a year - that is yet to be seen

    k-dog likes this.

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