Charcoal Smoker Modifications

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by smokemack, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. I haven't made one out of metal yet, and may not now that I've made one out of foil and it worked great. Here's a pic that shows how I done it with foil. Easy, cheap, and throw away each time. Just remove the cooking grate on the end near the fire box, drape foil down and out onto the upside down fire grate angling away from the fire box, wrap it around the top of the fire grate handle to make it stay in place, replace the cooking grate... and cook!
  2. gypsyseagod

    gypsyseagod Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    you got it dude.[​IMG] now if ya like just get some aluminum flashing & some tisnips & do it permanant.
  3. squeezy

    squeezy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's what I did! [​IMG]
  4. Have all that on hand. Might bend one up someday when I have nothing else to do. [​IMG]

    I had obtained a piece of steel pipe to make a dispersion pipe from the firebox across the bottom of the chamber... but after simple foil done so well I can't bring myself to waste time trying to cut and weld something elaborate. If cheap & easy works, then by all means... right? [​IMG]
  5. gypsyseagod

    gypsyseagod Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    cheap & easy works- plus i've used the pipe thing & ya actually lose a lot of heat that way. but- if ya ever go to a home built trailer model- ya can run 1"-2" pipe under your firebox(if it's big enough)from a water tank for hot water & a cold tap straight off the tank.
  6. agent

    agent Newbie

    I saw the baffle and chimney in the picture which sounds good to me. Baffle is use to deflect the heat down.
    But i am confused that whether it is for food or for smoke??
  7. xtexan

    xtexan Meat Mopper

    [/quote]BTW, be forwarned, usinfg a NB offset may be habit forming and lead to the use of larger and more dangerous smokers.[/quote]

    I just saw this old post and was Smokey Okie right or what???
  8. canyonshark

    canyonshark Newbie

    Good morning, all!

    I've been smoking meats for about 10 years. Started in TX, now restarting my little obsession in NC. I started with a one of the "atom bomb" style smokers (can't recall if it was Brinkmann or not), graduated to a nice-sized New Braunfels rig with separate fire box, but had to give it up - a sad day, I assure you - while downsizing for the move to NC. While the previous owner of our new home/property left an "atom bomb" behind, it was not in the best of shape. Yesterday, itching to get back into smoking shape with ANYTHING, I purchased a Gourmet Smoker from Brinkmann. For the most part, it was quite familiar. A few design differences, but the only major one is the subject of this forum entry.

    It is not sealed. Much to my astonishment, there's about a 1/4" to 1/3" "ring" open around the lid. This is not a "mistake." It's designed this way. No question about it. All my previous "atom bomb" style smokers have had "sealed" lids. What gives? Is this a "good thing" (if I may use a Martha Stewartism) or do I need to find something heat resistant to add to the rig to seal it? If so, does anyone have any ideas?

    I just can't imagine losing that much heat/smoke. It seems very inefficient and counter-productive. Can't understand the new design.

    Thanks in advance for access the the vast brain trust this forum no doubt has contributing to it.

    Smoke on!

  9. squeezy

    squeezy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It is a good thing ... every smoker needs ventilation otherwise the smoke would get nasty. Some folks have modified them to let more smoke and heat out by drilling etc. Not needed in this model. Most difficult thing is keeping the charcoal fire going ... there are many mods to this end.
    I personally used a propane conversion from
    There are others here.
    Hope that helps!
  10. canyonshark

    canyonshark Newbie

    OK. Thanks for the reassurance. The old-style bullet style (sorry about the "atom-bomb" reference...didn't mean to bring back any disturbing Cold War memories) smokers I'd used before didn't have this "feature." The ol' New Braunfels smoker, of course, had the adjustable exhaust, so the "concept" is not foreign to me. Just the use of it with the bullet-style unit caught me by surprise.

    I'll have to rethink my approach to temperature control, I suppose.

    Hey, great site! It's great to be back in the smoking "bidness." Now, if I could only find a decent cut of brisket up here. Having a hard time getting folks up here to believe that not all brisket is corned beef. And what's behind WNC's aversion to smoked chicken? I mentioned smoked bird up here and you'd think I'd insulted the Tar Heels basketball team. Hey, if I can get used to WNC's version of 'cue (and I have), you'd think they'd give this expatriated Texan a break on what meats he chooses to smoke.

    Smoke on!
  11. squeezy

    squeezy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Had to look at your profile after reading 'up here' ... God, I'm way up here in comparison. I have to go to a butcher to get one at all, otherwise it is like you say corned or pastrami.
    Temp. control is less an issue than just keeping it there, whish is why I wen LP.

    Good luck and have fun!
  12. caleb827

    caleb827 Newbie

    I'm new here and couldn't figure out how to post a new question so the people here I hope you can answer a question for me. We have an offset smoker with charcoal. We are having one heck of a time maintaining the correct temperature. Is there a trick to this. It's almost ridiculous how much charcoal we are going through. Hope you can help
  13. coyote

    coyote Master of the Pit


    great link. It helped a lot..

  14. rednek

    rednek Newbie

    getting ready to drill holes for dual thermometers on Char Griller Smokin Pro. this is the last of th SMF suggested mods on my new smoker, found thermometers at ACE (Holland Grill $10 ea). before i drill far in and up for the best results?
  15. I drilled mine about 1/2 inch above the grate level. Hope that helps you out.
  16. Got my grill/smoker for free and modded it by doing the following: Added 2"id damper on bottom right side, added 3"id smoke stack on opposite end and dropped it down to about 1\2" above cooking surface. Can't put meat directly below stack but small decrease in cooking area is worth it for the results I'm getting. Bought a cheap grill surface thermometer from Lowes and put it in amongst the meat to monitor cooking temp. and lowered the charcoal grate so it is about 6-7" below cooking surface. After doing all the mods I "burned" in the smoker. This is a good way to see what does what. Basically I set up my smoker just as I would to smoke meat but without the meat. I fired it up and started to monitor temp. To burn it in I initially got the temp above 300* for about an hour and then put in my wood chips and began to play with the intake damper to see what kind of temps I was getting. I left the chimney open about 1\2 to 3\4 of the way open and played with the intake to regulate the temp. You may have to mess charcoal amounts and such but bottom line is to play around with the airflow and you can get to a setting to maintain that all important 225-250* temp. I use the lump charcoal instead of the briquettes and a cheapo smoker box I load with chips and put it across the back of the charcoal pile. I offset smoke now until I build my firebox and I have a horizontal barrel smoker which has great natural convection. I think you have an offset firebox already so putting a diffuser to in to spread around the heat and smoke is a great mod. Don't give up because I can tell you once you get it right the first time you will never go back and your friends and family will start asking you when you going to smoke again? Good luck and keep at it.
  17. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    Based on my recent experience with an offset, I can see the validity of this concept. See, with offsets one of the first modifications we do to even out temps across the grill is to extend ths smokestack down to grate level. This forces the smoke to rise into the smoke chamber and then, only after it circulates and cooks the food a bit, does it cool off and fall down to grate level. At that point it exits via the smokestack.

    Your bullet smoker is doing exactly that: the heat/smoke are rising into the top of the dome, and as they cool they are falling out those side vents that are at grate level! Simple, elegant.

    It's a good thing. No need to mess with it at all.
    ronald l jordan likes this.
  18. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This smoker has a Propane burner mod, but was manufactured for charcoal fuel...the pics to follow look crusty, 'cuase the metal has been pre-used in this smoker for 6 months.

    I used the ash pan from the cook chamber for part of the sheet metal, and a couple of steel baking sheet pans for the rest.

    I put a fire grate in from my old Brinkmann gas grill to support the sheeting so that warpage and sagging should be minimized.

    This is the first piece on the fire box end, fitted and ready to secure:

    The first section is started and the second (sheet pan) is trimmed and ready tie-in:

    A look from the front at the grate and the sheeting:

    The first joint of sheets is near finished:

    The right hand end...had a piece of ash pan towards the front and a medium baking sheet towards the rear...tieing it all to the grate:

    I had to roll my sleeves up and get dirty while I reached in under the grate to feel my way to stab the last 1/3 of the wires from the pan/grate tie-downs:


    Forgot pics of the's a pretty fit on all three sides, with a 1" gap on the vent end of the smoker. I drill a series of staggered holes in the sheeting, less on the firebox end/center, and more on the vent end and towards the edges.

    Temp testing on the gates and mid level reveals that I came out too cool on the vent end (40* cooler on the racks, and 25* cooler at mid-level...more holes to drill when I figure out the placement.

    Cover End-Seals...the edge of the charcoal grate:


    Used a Vice_Grip to hold the metal in position for drilling:

    Rest of pics in following post...
  19. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ist rivet is in on the R/H end:



    Building heat for a temp check:


    I need to get more pics of the seal itself, I wanted to get it fired up to check temps for the tuning plate (got ahead of myself)!!!



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