Okie Joes Highland - REVIEW AFTER TWO COOKS....

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by noshuz, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. noshuz

    noshuz Newbie

    Hey Folks!

       I thought this needed a review posted after two cooks. Well, three counting the seasoning fire. I can't be more pleased with the way everything turned out. I did the addition of the gaskets, hood thermometers and home made baffle out of .080 alum. and fire basket (see pics below). This set up cooks so even and fire management is so easy that I almost feel lazy doing it. The first cook was without my new Maverick 733 so I got too lazy with it and over cooked everything. Now I can be lazy and dialed in to boot! I'm about 15 degrees difference from right to left and 20 degrees top to grill according to my thermometers. Fire has become a no brainer thank god. I'm new to smoking and everything I read about this model and smoking in general I thought this was going to be a challenge. Now I just need to to learn the craft of COOKING! OH WHAT FUN! [​IMG]

  2. rogerwilco

    rogerwilco Meat Mopper

    Looks like you are well on your way, and with some improved equipment!
  3. smokeyjobe

    smokeyjobe Newbie

    Looks great - question on your exhaust extension and basket. How did you know the materials you were using were not going to give off any toxins being that close to the food?
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Nice mods!

    Looking forward to seeing your next cook!

  5. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    Make sure the nuts & bolts connecting your firebox to your smoke chamber are tight. After a few smokes they tend to loosen a little.
    Nice Job!!
  6. gonavy

    gonavy Smoke Blower

    Looks good I did pretty much the same mods.  Gave up on the stove pipe elbow after I installed my tuning plates because it actually caused a temp difference from top to grill, and made the meat a little too smokey.  It will even the temps out without a plate, but doesn't help with the plates.  I also gave up on the basket as well, because I now just use the grate that came with the smoker and only burn wood, except for about a half chimney of briquettes to get the wood going and make a good bed of coals.  Works so much better and maintains temps much much easier.  Usually two splits to get going after the temps are steady and good smoke put on the food and then a split every hour to hour and a half, food tastes so much better when you as a stick burner rather then a briquette burner.  I also drilled a small 5/16 hole just above grate level and slightly behind the smoke stack to run my Maverick lines, works great, just hang the sending unit on the rack handle next to the hole, either probe can then reach to anywhere on the CC grates

    edit:  Also forgot to mention, one other issue you'll have with Highlander is the firebox vent.  Using a single bolt it WILL loosen up you'll constantly have to tighten it up, and what sucks is when you get it just right, when it's hot it will be loose, tighten it up for when it hot and when it cools down you can't hardly move it...lol...catch 22.  What I did was put a longer stainless steel bolt in and used washers on both sides of the door then used two nuts on the inside to lock it down so it never loosens up.  Been working great every since, I move it 1/16 of an inch open or any other open position and it will stay all day long and works the same whether its hot or cold.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016
  7. noshuz

    noshuz Newbie

    Hey SmokeyJobe!

      The fire basket was made from expanded stainless steel metal and steel angle. With all that heat in the box that was an issue but the chimney extension is galvanized but there's no fire in the cooking chamber and I never let the heat get over 275. I feel confident that it won't cause any harm since its not ever hot enough to eat the coating of the metal. There's such a great coating of oil and smoke on it now it's buried in goodness! I did throw it out on the forum when I realized it was galvie. coated and others have felt the same. 

      Hope this helps![​IMG]
  8. noshuz

    noshuz Newbie

    Thanks for the heads up HC! I'll check it before I cook this weekend,
  9. noshuz

    noshuz Newbie

    Hey GoNavy,

       I'm real happy with the way the temps are working. I feel like the firebox basket is a "MUST HAVE" to keep the coal bed together. I drilled a 1/4" hole right around the bend from the left side of the shelf where the transmitter sits. It works great. One the first things I did before first fire was tighten up the dampener door. Haven't had any issues. 

      I'm real surprised how little smoke leaks I'm getting out of this setup. You can tell where the leaks are by the darker shaded areas on the gaskets.
  10. valleypoboy

    valleypoboy Smoke Blower

    Just my 2 cents but always keep your exhaust wide open while cooking.
  11. sauced

    sauced Master of the Pit

    Yep.....only adjust dampers on the fb! 
  12. noshuz

    noshuz Newbie

    Thanks for for the tips folks! I would have the chimney closed a bit after i threw in a chunk of wood for smoke wanting to make sure the cook chamber got thoroughly smoked out. I thought there was a throttle and brake on both ends!

      So...WEEK 3 and the 3rd smoke.

      Another rack of ribs, pork butt, garlic bulbs, stuffed and regular peppers and the curve ball my wife threw at me, red snapper! 

       I'm gettin' better at  this! The Mav 3 thermometer (now I've figured out how to program it) Is making the game MUCH easier! I've learned probably the 3 most important things with this craft is.
    However I didn't practice patience when my butt got stuck at IT temp 170 degrees.(HA! That's funny at 55 years old! I'll always have a lil' juvenile in me!) Of course I got on the forum today and read about it after the fact so at least I'll know next time. So I ended up pulling it off too soon.It was cooked but not tender. The ribs probably should have gone another 30 minutes out of the foil but the fish was great! I cooked it on foil, open so it would get smokey.

      So next weekend, probably another rack o ribs and a beer butt chicken....or not. My wife use to be seafood manager at a major grocery store so I never know what she's gonna suggest!

      Happy Days![​IMG]

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