Modded Dyna Glo smoker

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by mark218, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. I started smoking a few years ago with a cheap Char Grill offset but it was difficult to maintain temps whenever it got below 70 or there was a steady breeze.  I thought about building from scratch but instead decided to modify a Dyna Glo upright offset.  The plan was to weld 1"x1" steel tubing to the frame then insulate.  

    Here is the stock photo...

    Here we have it with most of the tubing welded to the Dyna...

    Nothing to complicated at this point.  We had to change the cook chamber handle a bit and the grab handle on the firebox but in all it was pretty easy fixes.

    Here is a shot of the insulation.  I found it online from Buy Insulation Products . com.  I was able to get 50 sqr feet of 24" x 1/2".  Surface area was under 23 sqr feet so we just doubled up the insulation...

    As you can see in the back, we cut a new hole for the chimney as the stock setup was basically a hole in the top with a little chimney and an adjustable baffle.  I prefer the whole chamber filled with smoke so it made sense to relocate the opening to the base of the cooking chamber.

    To make clean up a little easier we added a ball valve to the floor...

    Here we are with most of the sheet metal on...

    To help the heat flow more efficiently into the cooking chamber we tack welded a small sheet into the top right corner of the firebox.  Not sure how much it will help but I just envisioned a big heat buildup in that corner so we went with this idea...

    And here we have the final product...

    First of all, yes the chimney is yellow.  I am a displaced Pittsburgh'r so I bleed black and gold.  I'm thinking of naming her "The Terrible Smoker".  Speaking of the chimney we went down to our local Meineke and bought a piece of 3" pipe with a 90 degree bend.  For the baffle we took the guts from the existing baffle, took the square butterfly off and replaced it with a 3" round piece and we were in business.  As for the insulation it has 1" all around except for the bottom which only has 1/2".  The doors are a little different in that they were concave to begin with so we placed the insulation on the inside and then covered it with sheet metal.  As you can see in the early pictures we also left a gap around the air intake to allow it to work without modifications.  Finally we added the wheels to make it more maneuverable.

    Lessons learned:

    I was hesitant to build from scratch for fear that the firebox would be too big or too small or my airflow would not be just right so I figured if we went with a known product all those worries will go away.  Admittedly the Dyna is a cheapo smoker but most complaints revolve around cheap thin steel.  What I would do differently though is try to cut weight.  This thing is a beast!  If you try this on your own, get the thinnest square tubing you can.  I think our supplier must have had this lying around because it was way to thick for what we needed.  As for the sheet metal initially we were going to go with sheet steel but even the 14 gauge we looked at was very heavy.  In the end we went to our local parts shop and bought sheet metal used for patching up auto body work.  The other thing I think about before undertaking this task is to know your welding skills.  The metal on the Dyna is thin and your sheet metal is thin so it's very easy burn a hole right through.


    Dyna Glo $163 @ Amazon

    Square tubing $100

    Sheet metal $50

    Insulation $97

    Chimney $25

    Paint $15

    The rest such as rivets, bolts, ball valve were just lying around but I think you could do this whole project for around $500.


    So far I fired the smoker up twice.  What I'm noticing is that I need less than half the charcoal I needed in my old smoker.  To be honest my problem has been more about keeping the temperature down than anything else.  At around 250 the cooking chamber is warm to the touch but you can hold your hand on it as long as you want.  The firebox is hotter but you can still touch for a second or so with getting burned.  With the toast test it is obviously hotter right about the vent with the firebox.  To combat this I built a heat shield that seems to break up some of the heat and push it to the other side.  Otherwise it is pretty even top to bottom and side to side.  I did notice that I have some significant gaps in the doors.  I ordered gaskets today so I believe that will solve that problem.

    If anyone has any questions or suggestions I'm here to help.

    Finally, I couldn't have done this without dear old dad.  He provided the welding skills and a good bit of the materials.

    Thanks Dad!
    wally4702 and stjoeguy1122 like this.
  2. pighog

    pighog Fire Starter

    GO PENS!!!!!!!!! Pens fan myself. Good work!!
    wally4702 likes this.
  3. patrick367

    patrick367 Newbie

    This is really impressive. How is it working out? I'm getting the exact same smoker next week and thought I was ambitious with my plan to install a gasket and some wheels. :). I have never welded anything in my life and of course don't have any welding equipment so I think this plan won't work for me but great work.

    Any other thoughts on the smoker? I noticed there is not a dedicated group for it on the group page. Maybe we can start one. Cheers. :sausage:
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  4. Patrick,

    The smoker has been great.  I noticed right away that I need about a third of the charcoal that I used with my old cheapo barrel smoker.  I still end up adding charcoal about as frequently as I used to but overall I use far less.  My version is pretty different from yours and I did my mod as soon as I got the smoker so I don't know how your's will work out. I would definitely recommend buying the stick on gaskets and possibly a welding blanket if you want to smoke in colder temperatures.  Based on the similarities in construction from the Dyna and my old smoker, your biggest problem will be wind and cold.  On a nice clear sunny day you'll be fine but anything else you'll have to pay attention to your temps.

    Good luck and let us know how it works out.

  5. Can you tell me how you installed the wheels? My Dyna Glo is supposed to be here on Friday and I want to maybe work the wheels before setting anything else up.
  6. Also, I made a bad mistake on my last Charbroil smoker, how and which sealant should I use on this smoker and where? The last one I put the red rtv on the inside of the smoker box and the cooking chamber. Took forever to get that smell out.  Is there a sealant you can put on the inside of the smoke chamber so it doesnt look bad on the outside?  Any ideas from the group would help.  Thanks guys. 
  7. Dave,

    Here's a picture of the wheel setup, I think we used a couple wheels off an old lawnmower and a steel strap bent to a 90 degree angle.  Bolt the strap to the leg and then weld a bolt to the strap for the axle.  Since you're lifting one end, it makes the smoker sit a little crooked but only by an inch or so.  As for sealing the smoker, I've got a small gap between the two boxes that I'd like to close but haven't gotten around to, otherwise it's pretty tight as is.  Obviously the doors don't seal very well but buy 30 feet of Nomex high temp BBQ gasket from Amazon and you can seal that off as well.  As for any other leaks, I've never tried it but I've read you can use JB Weld on the exterior to fill in any small gaps or cracks.

    As an update to mine, I smoked this past weekend in 30 degree weather and although it took more charcoal than usual I was able to smoke a nice pork loin without any trouble.


  8.  Well I was able to get some good gasket sealer and decent 3 inch temp gauges.  Did my first smoke last weekend and was surprised that after two hours, the meat was actually a little overcooked. I guess when I put in the lump charcoal and had left a little bit burning and put in the smoker box, it never went out and just overcooked the food. I'm going to have to figure out how much I should be using because it appears the smoker is really sealed so no heat or smoke is leaking other than the smoke stack.  See the pics of this all.  Overall I'm very happy with it. Lots better than the horizontal ones I've bought in the past.
  9. Dave,

    Did you rely on the new thermometers only?  I've read even the better ones can be off quite a bit.  I have an older Maverick two probe digital thermometer which gives me the cooking temp and the meat temp if I'm doing a shoulder or brisket.  I guess you could have been cooking at a higher temp than you thought.  What did you smoke?

  10. I monitored the therms and they barely got up to near 250 which is low and why I was surprised the chicken parts meat skin was cooked so fast.  I plan on smoking a pork roast sometime this weekend and will not have any fire burning when I put lump charcoal in  the firebox container.  All in all its definitely fun experimenting with the new smoker. :)
  11. [​IMG]
  12. Every smoker is going to have it's own personality.  One way to identify where your hot and cold spots are is to throw 6-10 slices of bread in your smoker after it gets to the temp you plan to cook at.  Places the slices in various spots, top, bottom, right, left, front, back, etc.  Give it 5-10 minutes and when you check your "toast", you'll quickly be able to see where your hot and cold spots are.
    ericalan likes this.
  13. So Saturday I'm going to smoke my first brisket. It will be a flat brisket.  I've seen mixed approaches and trying to figure out which is the best:  Put in foil pan, smoke till 160 then cover with foil and remove at 190 or smoke, not in a pan then pull at 165 and then foil and then remove at 190.  So my question is the option without the pan, do you still put a pan down below and keep that juice?
  14. shoten2003

    shoten2003 Newbie

    I am interested in making the chimney mod to mine. I am in Europe with the Army and would like to order the parts online. Could you give me some specifics and what you actually used to make the mods.
  15. Well not sure if you have the same smoker I do but I went to for sealing my smoker. Everywhere there was a screw, I used the gasket sealer. For the thermometers, I got a good deal on Amazon

    Go for the 3 inch. A key I learned is drill your holes in the smoker smaller than the stem and then when you go put it in, the seal of the metal of the smoker and the stem will make it seal tight vs trying to drill a hole and seal around the stem. Let the metal do metal and then with cooking, it will get even more tight. The first time I ran my smoker after all the seals. I thought I didnt have enough charcoal which, I only use lump charcoal. It held hot for hours with just one batch of chimney.  Let me know or send me pics of your smoker and I can try and give you some advice on more mods.
  16. shoten2003

    shoten2003 Newbie

    Thanks Dave, I had not heard of I have the Dyna-Glo that is pictured in the original post. I cannot get it past 200 without a fan to continuously stoke the coals. Once I saw this I realized it is exactly what I need to keep the heat and smoke in. I have modded others to make them reverse flow not sure why the idea never came to me to move the chimney to the bottom on this one!
  17. Sounds good. You'll be impressed how much heat is retained when you apply the gaskets. Again, apply it everywhere there is a screw, door, opening.
  19. jmangini19

    jmangini19 Newbie

    what is the benefit of moving the smoke stack to the bottom?  Does it make a big difference?
  20. bahfotl

    bahfotl Fire Starter

    I have the dyna-glo also and am thinking about enclosing it in a frame along with my charbroil infra red grill to make an "outdoor kitchen" I am thinking about using fire brick but I like the idea of the insulation better. Less weight. I don't think the steel tubing is necessary though, just some appropriate tape to seal the blankets together then frame it all up with some 2x2's and finish it off with either cultured stone or a brick/stone veneer and cement counter tops. 

    As far as temp stability goes, I did my first run in the middle of winter with temps in the 30's and it took over 12 hours for a 10 lb brisket. I live in Michigan so the winters can be brutal, but that doesn't mean you can't smoke in it! I just did a 12 lb brisket, a 5 lb pork shoulder and a 3 lb chicken yesterday. The chicken was done in 3 hrs, the brisket in 8 and the butt took the full 12 hours at 78 degrees ambient temp. The brisket and the butt were both smoked to 203 degrees with out crutching and the chicken went to 170. I read the gauge wrong and was going for 180 when I noticed 160 was enough! All this on a stock unit.

    I agree, we need a stand alone forum for this underutilized gem but am willing to chime in when necessary on this page.

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