New - Oklahoma Joe's Highland Smoker

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by fastback, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. valleypoboy

    valleypoboy Smoke Blower

    I figured with it designed like this, I could save space on my grilling surface, since it only comes out 3" from the inside wall. I couldn't tell you it works better or worse than a the common 90* vent elbow.

    My diffuser right now is thin sheet steel approximately 16" x 12". I did bend it up on about a 45* angle for the last few inches and it sits perfect, meeting up with the right side wall of the CC just above the FB hole and just below the 2 bolts that hold the FB and CC together. It does not have any holes in it right now and left NO gap between it and the CC wall. It sits flush, but it is NOT bolted in.

    I have nothing on mine right now for sealing the top lids. Mine has several areas where some smoke gets through, but I've been hesitant to seal it. I did a temporary seal on the side door of the FB... I just folded aluminum foil down to about a 2" to 3" wide strip and folded it over edge of the door all the way around then closed the door. It doesn't look great, but it sealed the heck out of the door and has stood up to 3 cooks so far. If I could find an adhesive that could take the heat, I could do the same for the 2 top doors, but keep it nearly invisible because I'd just be covering the inside lip.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2015
  2. thood

    thood Newbie

    Finally got around to getting some pics posted. 

    Outside pic with 4 thermos to monitor heat at the grill plate and the top of the chamber, and front to back. 

    The wire basket bent from a single 24 x 24 sheet, bent corners, no described in this forum.  (Thanks)

    Inside the firebox, coal basket showing the opening with the variable damper to the smoke chamber (wide open).

    Instead of the diffuser plate with holes, I used this method.  Much less expensive, and easily adjustable.  Seems to work really good, can balance out the heat flow from end to end within 10*F.

    The deflector plate covering the variable damper and directing the heat in the firebox to the smoke chamber.

    Variable damper plate.  Pic from the smoke chamber side.

    Variable damper plate.  (pic from the firebox side)

    Variable damper plate with the damper flapper closed almost completely, except for about an inch at the bottom.  (pic from smoke chamber side)

    More pics to come on the firebox door as I work through that adventure.  As you can see from these other pics, I have sealed everything with the copper RTV gasket material and it's worked ok everywhere except the firebox door.   I used felt on the smoke chamber door and it seals completely, no smoke coming out that door.  Right now, I've got felt again on the firebox door but I'm sure it will burn out during the next fire.  I've got some 1/4" wood stove graphite rope to try next time.  Pics once I get there.  I've also adapted a simple furnace fan to fit my firebox air inlet so I can build a fire really quickly, and re-fire if the heat drops too low.  Kind of a poor mans pit fan, without the automation.  The fan was a throw away and the vent tube material was about $3.  Works like a champ. 
  3. Very nice mods.

    Q: Can you explain what the "variable damper" would be used for?
  4. valleypoboy

    valleypoboy Smoke Blower


    Have any pictures of your furnace fan adapter?
  5. thood

    thood Newbie

    The variable damper is just another way of controlling how much heat gets from the firebox into the smoke chamber.  There seemed to be a lot of discussion about how much area to block off from the firebox to the cook chamber.  There are some websites showing the flow calculations of the opening and such, so I just decided to make mine variable.  Seems to work out very well, especially on longer smoke times. 
  6. thood

    thood Newbie

    Yeah, here are a couple.  I still need to make one more mod on the fan.  The side with all the holes is the air inlet side, but it needs a damper to control the air intake.  right now it just blows full on.  Since I'm not using it with a digitial feedback contoller the volume of the fan isn't so important.  I mainly just use it when I start the fire, and if I have to feed any additional fuel along the way.  It can raise the temperature in the cook chamber by 20* in just a couple of minutes. 

    The firebox with the felt seal (that I'm sure will burn out again on the next cook)

    The fan from the air intake side.  This still needs a damper plate to control the air intake to the fan.

    This is the fan coupled with the adapter I got at Home Depot.  The tricky part was cutting and shaping the adjustable vent pipe to be square on the fan end and round on the flared end.  Used snap rivets to hold it all together, and covered it with duct tape. 
  7. Im glad I found this feed. I just purchased the ok highland last week. I ran it dry to burn off any oil and paint smell. Then I ran again with peanut oil all in the inside to season it. Saturday I smoked a 18 lb turkey, which took 7-1/2 hrs. Hard to keep the temp at 325 using charcoal and cherry chunks. I will need to get ahold of split wood using thd chunks for flavor. I was going back and forth on what to seal the doors with, but mainly that Fire box. I was thinking between the green egg felt stuff, but figured it would be fine for doors not the firebox. I seen they had I believe 1/8" rope gaskget for wood stoves. It has adhesive already on it like the green egg felt. Im not to fond of the caulk sealent for me. Hopefully i can take the box apart and apply the rutland grapho-glas to the lower half and drill holes were the bolts go. I already have some SS bolts that are longer to compensate the added thickness of the rope. I like the locks you put on the doors to help hold it down because of the gasket.
  8. great way to one man job this thing.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
    martpoz likes this.
  9. Ok I decided to go with the rutland grapho-glas to fix the gap between the firebox on my oklahoma joe highland. It worked out great if it holds up to the heat(which it should) of the firebox.
  10. valleypoboy

    valleypoboy Smoke Blower

    Your Grapho Glas sure looks a LOT better than ugly orange RTV poking out my cracks.
    Are you able to close up any gaps you have between the FB and CC with it also?

    If you have slight gaps at the door cracks, some folded heavy duty aluminum foil works wonders. I had a crack at the top of my FB door where the lip had a slight bend for some odd reason. I folded a strip of heavy duty aluminum foil into about a 12" by 3" strip then taco'd it over and under the lip. It's REALLY not pretty because I wasn't sure how it would work, but it's worked so well I haven't had to replace it since I put it in several weeks ago. No glue is necessary to hold it in place. If/when I redo it, I'll take my time and fold the aluminum all nice and make it fit perfect.

    I'm debating building a wind blocker for the intake, or going all out and building a PID with fan for it. I already know I'd have to drill the inside of the FB to avoid possible ash problems when blowing from left to right, so that in itself would cut my wind problem, as the wind comes in from the left side.

    4 day weekend coming up, so I'll have to do something!

    Oh, FYI everyone, Lowe's has the 2 19lb bags of charcoal on sale now and I read HD will have 2 18.6lb bags on sale starting tomorrow?
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
  11. thood

    thood Newbie

    Hey VPB,

    Yeah that was a little item I missed in my fan system, blowing the ashes up in the cook chamber. But since then I took a frying splatter screen that fits right in front of the opening and that seems to have solved the ash blowing problem. I still need to damper the fan though. This fan blows way too hard for what I need. Got to throttle it down so it just "fans the fire" when I need it.

    BTW, I haven't used my smaller graphite rope yet on the firebox door. The felt gasket held up better than I thought. I'll run with that until it burns out.

    On another note, I was never really able to use my Vision Kamado cooker (ie:big Green Egg) as a smoker because I could never control the temperature low enough. But since all the talk of sealing things, I re-sealed if with new felt, sealed the air door and the vent damper and now it's like a whole different cooker. I can control within a degrees. What a difference. 👍
  12. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    The easiest way to control fan speed is to use a variable fan speed controller. All you do is plug your fan into the controller, and plug the controller into a wall socket. They're cheap and easy to use.
  13. Valleypoboy I have not yet put between the firebox and the smoke chamber. I do plan on doing that though, just wanted to see if it would actually hold up: so far it seems stout enough. Before I did this I could feel the heat coming out of the gap, so much in fact it was heating up my siding more than I wanted. Now I cant feel anyheat. You probably seen my pic I took at njght with the light in there. No light means no air. Im still learning how to control the temp, but this did seem to help out. The bolts on the smoke chamber seem to be long enough for me to put that grapho glas all the way around. I havent noticed any of it burning off. I dont recomend using it to "seal" the door, because it created a big gap. On my OK Joe there is not much of a gap on the doors, but I do like the idea of using foil. If you have any more questions or want close up pics dont hesitate to ask. It may be a few days before I reply back though.
  14. smokenbones

    smokenbones Newbie

    I am looking for the link to give me the dimensions and type of material for the charcoal basket that will fit in my firebox for the Oklahoma Joe Highland.   Please help.

    Also What is the dimensions for the extended tube from inside of food chamber.

    Thanks for your help

    Rod Young
  15. smokenbones

    smokenbones Newbie

    I purchased a Oklahoma Joe Highland and have been going by other peoples suggestions on sealing this bad boy up.  Now I need help on getting a charcoal basket for the off set wood box and what size of extended tub that I see people putting inside the food cambers.

    Thanks for Your Help

  16. vslvsl

    vslvsl Newbie

    Hey User " fastback " that was an Awesome Post about OJ Highland Smoker~!   Thanks.   

    I had some questions:

    1)  What Kind "Brand"  "Designation" etc...   sealant did you utilize that will adhear and stand up to the HEAT on the smoker.

    2) It appears that the infared? or Convection??? plates are below the cooking grate... what is the thinking on that?

    3) What is the purpose in extending the Chimney Vent down to the surface of the Cooking Grate?

    4) what is the advantage or purpose of the fire basket?

    5) What is the purpose of reducing the opening between the fire box and the cooking/smoking chamber?

    Thank you so much for your post AND for your personal reply to me.

  17. vslvsl

    vslvsl Newbie

    Hey Fastback

    I am trying to figure out how much of the opening between the fire chamber and the main chamber to 

    block off on MY Oklahoma Joe's Highlander (Identical to yours) (the formulas you shared were

    very helpful but I was also trying to gauge some of my ideas from your ...  so,   in your post of 9/314 where you

    describe and show your modifications to your smoker is photo #7 down from the top the Fire Chamber 

    or the main chamber and likewise is Photo #8 the Main chamber or the Fire Chamber?   Thanks

  18. fastback

    fastback Fire Starter

    Photo 7 shows the opening view from the fire box - 

    Photo 8 is within the cooking chamber where I bolted on the sheet metal.

    Hope that helps.
  19. vslvsl

    vslvsl Newbie

    2015Nov28, S

    Thanks Fastback,

    Yes that is what I needed to know... I thought that was the vantage point, but 

    there were just a couple things that made me wonder.  
    Thanks Again and Happy Thanksgiving Weekend...   

               We are not finished tuning up our Smoker but already,   Wowza~!  NumYummie~!!!


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