Oaklahoma Joe's Highlander, Dropping The Chimney Down To Cooking Grate Level

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by kvl505, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. kvl505

    kvl505 Newbie

    Does anyone have insight into lowering the vent to the cooking grate producing bad smoke? I just purchased the OK Joe's Highlander a few weeks ago. I have been attempting to modify it to be more efficient. I see many people  here(all over the internet as well) recommend and use vent duct to lower the chimney down to grate level. So I did so as well. However, this is counter intuitive to me for smoking.  Yesterday I smoked baby back ribs(brined).  When I thought they were finished, I opened the lid and noticed my ribs were darker than usual. This was only after 3.5 hrs. They tasted ok, but I wasn't satisfied. I had a few others try them and they did detect a pungent taste in the bark. 

    It seems lowering the vent produces bad smoke. If the smoke cannot escape and builds up in the chamber it creates an unclean smoke. I always though that smoke flowing over the surface is what produces flavor. It seems the extended vent stops that. Perhaps someone can tell me what I am doing wrong? BTW, I smoked a Pork Butt with the same hard wood charcoal & Post Oak without the vent extension and it produced a fabulous flavor.
  2. I have an RF my stack sticks down about an inch or two I'm thinking is your stack is on top and not a plenum on the side that extending it down all the way to the grate is to much bring it up about half way 

  3. kvl505

    kvl505 Newbie

    Thank you for the info. I'll try that. It's kind of funny, such an inexpensive mod and such major difference in results. I'll keep trying. I want to tune this thing before I do a full brisket.
  4. red farr

    red farr Fire Starter

    Make an angled baffle to redirect the heat upward as it comes out of the firebox,get all of it up to the top that you can, then raise up the cooking grate to near the bottom of the exhaust port,put the meat in the heat, leave the exhaust port alone except to remove the 90 degree elbow, that elbow produces a restriction to the air flow.

    The changes above can be made with a drill and some nuts and bolts.

    Heated air rises so let it, get yur meat up there in the air currant and it will flow across.

    The exhaust port is 3 inches across,some say a 90 degree elbow will reduce air flow by 50 percent, thats now 1.5 inch venting way to small,3 will work,if you need a stack make it curved smooth flowing no square shoulders.Checking the stack length; if the end or top is cold cut it off, a cold or cool stack means the air has chilled and is sitting there atop the hot exhaust creating another restriction to the smooth flow of air.

    You can use water heater vent pipe for an exhaust stack,attach it to the outside of the stubby 3 inch pipe with a hose clamp.

    The cooking grate needs to be adjustable ,ribs are up high but when you do brisket or shoulder gotta be able to drop it down some and of course don't let the meat slam into the top of yur rig.

    Some of the modifications you'll read about are trying to force the air flow in directions that only produce medicore results as you've already found out. Hot air rises leave it alone, get the food up there.


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