Modding my OKJ Longhorn Offset w/QView

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by dburne, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. dburne

    dburne Meat Mopper

    I am beginning the process of modding my OKJ Longhorn Offset smoker. I have had this smoker about 2 months now, and have done three smokes so far. Last weekend, I did my best to seal the lids with aluminum foil for that smoke, and the firebox door and smokestack where it exits from the chamber. I got much more consistent temps this last time.

    Now I feel I am ready to start doing some modding, to make what for me at least is a good smoker, into hopefully a really good smoker. I certainly am still quite the rookie, but have learned a lot from the great folks on this forum, so thought I would share some of what I do as I go along.

    My first step: I ordered a Nomex gasket kit from BBQ Gaskets, they offer specifically for this smoker. Along with the gasket, came a tube of hi-temp RTV silicone (red) to apply it with . The OKJ is bad to leak around the cooking chamber lid, firebox lid, and where smokestack exits. I will probably just leave the aluminum foil I wrapped around the stack rather than try to seal it with silicone.

    I have applied the gasket with the silicone tonight, it is supposed to cure in 24 hours and be ready to go, so will certainly be ready for my Sunday smoke.

    Below is a pic with the gasket applied to the smoke chamber and firebox:

    Tomorrow, I should be receiving my custom ordered convection plate and charcoal basket for this smoker, that Horizon offers - has been a bit of a wait, but finally it is almost here. I will also be picking up some bolts/nuts to raise my fire grate more, and perhaps an elbow to bring the smokestack down at least closer to the cooking grate.I will update this thread as I progress on this project. Perhaps someone might come along like myself, that finds this info helpful as well.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  2. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    I will be keeping an eye on this mod as I have the New Braunfels which is almost identiacal, except the FB is on the left on mine.  Thinking I will turn mine into a RF this winter
  3. dburne

    dburne Meat Mopper

    The convection plate and charcoal basket from Horizon, have just arrived!

    Convection Plate dropped in: Hope I have it right!

    Top view of Charcoal Basket:

    Side View of Basket:

    Don't know if you can tell from this pic, the charcoal basket I thought would sit right on the fire grate - however it actually sits about an inch above the fire grate.  I was going to pick up some 3" bolts, nuts, and washers today - to raise the fire grate a couple of inches, but now am wondering if I should just take the fire grate out and see how it performs with that extra inch...
  4. dburne

    dburne Meat Mopper

    Final mod , I am done for now.

    I picked up a 3" elbow at Lowes this evening, and just put it right in there - fits snug enough.

    At least it does extend the stack closer to the cooking surface.

    And yes, I have already removed the bar code label - just put it in for a quick shot :)

    Ok so in summary , this week :

    Added a custom convection plate and charcoal basket, Horizon offers for the OKJ.

    Sealed the cooking chamber lid  and firebox lid, with Nomex gasket applied with hi-temp rtv silicone.

    Added a 3" 90 degree aluminum elbow, to get the smokestack down closer to the cooking surface.

    All totaled, I have about 180 bucks in these mods.

    I am hoping it will accomplish what I want - allow me to have much longer burns with the charcoal, allow me to control and maintain the temps much better, and even out the temps going across the cooking grate, from the firebox side to the smokestack side. I will be using my Maverick ET-732 to monitor the cook chamber temp, also will have a couple of oven thermometers on the cooking grate, one on each end, to see how the variance is this time.

    I will find out how it does on my rib smoke Sunday. I now have to learn how many coals to load up the basket with doing the minion method, to give me best temps and duration of burn.

    Hopefully it will now be, where I can be comfortable moving on in my smoking learning curve to doing pulled pork, and brisket.

    And again, I can't thank the great members of this forum enough. I came onto this forum a couple months or so ago, knowing not the first thing about smoking, just that I picked up a grill/smoker at Lowes and started to read up and learn what to do. None of the above I have done, would I have known to do without this forum.

  5. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    Good job on the mods!  I would do a test run before cooking anything just to get a feel for how it's going to do this weekend when it really counts
  6. dburne

    dburne Meat Mopper

    Thanks Radio!

    That probably is a good idea, and I probably should.

    On the last smoke I did, I used aluminum foil to seal up all the leaks the best I could - as well as the gap in the firebox door. It was the best smoke I have done to date ( my 4th smoke).

    I was able to maintain temp much better and more consistent, only issue really was having to replenish charcoal too often, and the last hour or so, the ash buildup was choking my fire.

    I don't think I will have those problems this time, and feel pretty good I will be able to get it where I want it even with the new mods.

    We'll see, right now I am leaning toward waiting for the smoke on Sunday... if I get some spare time tomorrow though, I may. We will have company coming in tomorrow and doubt I will have much spare time before Sunday.


  7. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    The reason I recommended a trial run was I put a baffle over the FB opening and a couple of tuning plates in the bottom and it completely changed how it cooked.  I had to make adjustments on the fly and don't like to do that if I can help it
  8. dburne

    dburne Meat Mopper

    Certainly makes sense, I will see if I can squeeze in the time to do so tomorrow at least for a short while.

    Thanks for the suggestion!
  9. dburne

    dburne Meat Mopper

    Hey gang,

    I thought I would report back on how it did today for me with the mods.

    The Nomex gasket on the chamber and firebox lids, sealed it up pretty good. I still have a little leakage on the chamber lid, up toward the top on that curve on each side. Not too bad though. The gasket took care of all the leak on the firebox lid. Once again, I used alum foil to seal up the gap on the firebox door where it mates to the firebox.

    The charcoal basket for this smoker from Horizon, was great. It is about a 12"x13" basket - and sits higher than the stock fire grate. I did not have any issue with ash choking out my fire today , like I have had previously. I used minion method, got about 5.5 hours without having to add any coals, added just a few lit to get me that final hour. I probably used around 8 lbs of charcoal total for this smoke.

    The Convection Plate for this smoker also from Horizon, did pretty good. It did not level off the temps from one end to the other as close as I thought it might. Previously I had about a 50-55 degree differential - with the convection plate, it has reduced it to app 30 degree differential. Certainly much better, I was hoping for more like say 10 degrees. The upper part of the bent end of the plate, that butts up to the firebox opening, actually butts up to two bolt heads, leaving a little gap actually between the top of the plate and the firebox. Don't know if that is why it did not do better or not, might try tucking some aluminum in there next time to see if that reduces it little more.

    Not sure exactly what the elbow has done for me, figure it can't hurt anyway and probably is helping a little.

    And the ribs, turned out awesome - best of I have done to date. Next smoke I will try a butt for the first time, for some pulled pork now that I am comfortable with long burns on this thing.
  10. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    Glad the cook turned out well, but [​IMG][​IMG]

    To get more even temps you will likely have to do a reverse flow mod, but you did get a good long burn time which is a good thing
  11. dburne

    dburne Meat Mopper

    Thanks, I may check that out. It is certainly very workable now.

    Q-View in this thread in the general forum:
  12. richjt92

    richjt92 Fire Starter

    I recently ordered the same convection plate and charcoal cage from Horizons....did you just drop in the plate or did you seal it with Hi-Temp RTV or JB Weld?

    I just bought the Longhorn Smoker since my old and true Cast Iron OKJ just finally could not make the trip up I am in the process of modding it with the Green Egg seals this weekend.


    Gig 'Em Aggies!!!

  13. With the nomex... I have the self stick version. I noticed  you put it on the barrel and not the lid. Does that matter? Should I only but it on the barrel part? I was thinking of putting it unter the lip of the lid.
  14. buttburner

    buttburner Meat Mopper

    an easy way to raise the firegrate is ti just turn it 90 degrees in the firebox, it makes it sit up higher.

    What I did was take the unused charcoal grates from the smoke chamber, lay one next to the the one in the firebox, then take the other one and lay it the other way on top, giving the fire grate square holes so the coals stay longer

    But, I dont use a basket. I had one but did not like it

    I would rather burn sticks than charcoal in mine
  15. dburne

    dburne Meat Mopper

    I just dropped it in. I like the ability to remove it as needed, especially  for cleanup of the stuff that collects in the bottom of the barrel.
  16. dburne

    dburne Meat Mopper

    Sounds like a good idea! I don't need to now , as my new charcoal basket sits up higher than the original fire grate did. Wish I had thought of that for those weeks I was waiting for the basket.


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