OK Joe and alternative heat

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by bdougt, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. bdougt

    bdougt Newbie

    I don't know if this is blasphemy, but I thought I would ask.

    I have a 16 " OK Joe offset that does a fine job , fairly easy to regulate the heat, but, as some have mentioned before me - sometimes I just don't have the time to tend the fire for 14 hours when smoking up a big ole shoulder or two.

    My question - what about an electric element in the fire box and maybe some ceramic briquettes to get the Joe going at night, then stoke up the wood and charcoal in the morning.

    Ok - it is an outdoor oven - and in Louisiana, having the oven outside is a good thing in the summer. Also, keeps the smell outside so someone I live with doesn't get too crabby.

    I am thinking that gas might be easier, but gas fumes and meat, in my mind, should be avoided.

    Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks
  2. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've got a 20 inch Joe and right off I'm thinkin it's going to be hard to get enough heat going in the firebox to keep the smoker box up to temp. I'm sure someone with some experience with this will come along. Honestly... that's why I have the MES. It is awesome to set it on 200 degrees, put my meat in it and go hit the pillow. Next morning there it is with the butt or chuckie sitting on 200. Good luck with it and I'll watch the post. I'm interested to see if anyone has tried converting to gas or electric and if it worked well for them.
  3. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't think electric element would work either. I thik the only alternative would be Propane but that would be pretty much a permanent conversion.

    The best idea would be to get a second box like the MES or a Bradley for those times you can't baby sit the smoker.
  4. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Welcome to the addiction .Where ya at in Louisiana? B.R. here.
    have to agree w/ beerbq the MES is the best way to set it an forget it.
    I have a large new braunfuls offset a small ECB and the MES 40"
    The MES gets the most use unless it's an all day sit back w/ friends and drink kinda smoke.
  5. bdougt

    bdougt Newbie

    Calhoun - just West of Monroe. Thanks for the welcome.
  6. bdougt

    bdougt Newbie

    Yeah - an elecric smoker would be a great option. I need to start shopping - I wonder if the wife would notice if I brought home another cooker!!!
  7. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Seems they only stay mad for a little while eventually they get over it [​IMG]
  8. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Not sure were you are located but you might try watching Craig's list. Someone always has smokers listed on the Kansas City list and you can usually get a steal if you are patient.

    Of course if you get too many your wife may think you should be a mental patient. LOL
  9. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have a Horizon 20", basically the same thing as an Ok Joe. I have to agree with the others, get an electric for the times you don't want to tend a fire. My other smoker is a UDS and it's about as close to set and forget as there is without having to plug it into the wall.
  10. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well remember the old saying "It easier to get forgivish then it is to get permissition". Then welcome to SMF. I think the propane way would be the easiest fix to your problem.
  11. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have a propane smoker and it actually takes way more attention than the electric. Although it is much less time consuming than the Joe, I've never felt comfortable with it running on the back porch at night when I'm asleep. I've always been comfortable with the MES running all night. I'd go electric for what your wanting to achieve.
  12. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I had a small gasser for a couple of years and I will tell you this; the uds is far easier to maintain steady temps than the gas burner was, far more.
  13. bdougt

    bdougt Newbie

    Thanks for the suggestions - it really looks like, unless I want to buy an electric smoker, I better learn to work with the OK Joe.

    I have been reading a lot about minion method, lump - as opposed to briquette, a basket, and deflector/baffle (baffle has nothig to do with this).

    I am going to find or make a charcoal basket and try a different approach using the minion method. If I start it out about 1:00 AM, I should be able to get a good 4 to 6 hours sleep before I need to tend the fire - I hope. I am guessing it will take some practice.

    Thanks again - I appreciate the input and will keep reading.

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