Ok.....pics of the OKJ project

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ammaturesmoker, Jul 9, 2016.

  1. ammaturesmoker

    ammaturesmoker Smoking Fanatic

    Some of you know the story. Last year I gave my brother my OKJ to use since I was playing with a WSM. Well the WSM was stolen out in California at a park Tri-Tip and all. So anyway a few weeks ago I am at my brothers place and he had neglected the unit badly so I took it away from him, brought it home, and started a complete cleanup and advanced mods. Last year I had the firebox welded together. Yesterday I had it sandblasted and the firebox welded to the cooking chamber. It is glorious so far. Expose size NASA paint go on tomorrow as well as a cure and season session. Anyway here is the progress so far. I am also going to grind down the older firebox welds so they are flush. That RTV crap SUCKS BALLS!!!! I have a propane kit on order. Cannot wait.

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2016
  2. gearjammer

    gearjammer Master of the Pit

    Looking good, keep 'em coming.

  3. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks great so far. Keep us informed.
  4. smokinal

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

    Wow, your doing a great job so far!

  5. ammaturesmoker

    ammaturesmoker Smoking Fanatic

    She is now painted with the special NASA paint. Supposed to bond, protect, and insulate as if it was a thicker metal. It better at 500 dollars a gallon. Good thing I had a hookup for it. I have now coated her in lard on the inside and will now season her tomorrow and cure the paint. It has to reach 450 degrees for that.

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2016
  6. bauchjw

    bauchjw Master of the Pit

    Wow! Looking awesome! Looking forward to seeing it finished!
  7. ammaturesmoker

    ammaturesmoker Smoking Fanatic

    Well it's going to be a week or so. The kit for the gas will not ship till Monday which means a Friday delivery.
  8. ammaturesmoker

    ammaturesmoker Smoking Fanatic

    It's not important how it looks for a finish. It's how it finishes the food.:biggrin:
  9. ammaturesmoker

    ammaturesmoker Smoking Fanatic

    Ok an update that is really awesome. I reseasoned it today. Went very well. Now before when the heat went up to 400-450 in the cook chamber, the firebox would pop and bend inward towards the doc chamber. It was the metal warping. Which mean the firebox was probably around the 650-750 range or higher. Well the next day I would always pound and rebend the warping. Well the temps with having it welded together seem to take much more. The chamber needle was berried passed 625. It was a big and hot fire. But the unit did not flinch. I paid a total of 30 dollars to have this thing welded up. Both the two peices in the firebox and then the firebox to the cook chamber I recommend For every OKJ highland and longhorn owner to have done.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
  10. ammaturesmoker

    ammaturesmoker Smoking Fanatic

    Ok I did it...she's ready for the new propane kit coming. Spent 50 dollars having it sand blasted.....70 dollars on the new propane kit.....paint was free and the welder was 30 dollars. Not too shabby.

    bauchjw likes this.
  11. ammaturesmoker

    ammaturesmoker Smoking Fanatic

    OK....She's all done and ready for some BBQ. OK well the Propane kit has yet to arrive but that is s 5 minute job.

  12. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Amazing work!  Now all we need is a pic of a big brisket on there!
  13. ammaturesmoker

    ammaturesmoker Smoking Fanatic

    once I get my kit....I will do a brisket. I am excited about those long smokes with the propane being added. I detest those long long days waking up in the wee hours of the day to get get a brisket done by 5:00.
  14. ammaturesmoker

    ammaturesmoker Smoking Fanatic

    One thing about this.....I look at the total cost and it did sorta make sense for me. But the starting out was a nightmare. The next step will be adding a second rack. But I am going to break this down.

    Bought the Highland model at Lowes with blowout sale in fall of 2014.

    OKJ 200.00

    Sand Blaster 50.00

    Welding 30.00

    Heat Retention Bricks 40.00

    Heat management plate 80.00

    Water Pan 40.00 (specially made for the management plate)

    Lavalock gasket 17.00

    2500 degree NASA paint *FREE*

    Gate latches 24.00 (I cheated and used rivets)

    Lavalock gauges 20.00

    Propane conversion kit 79.00

    Total comes to 580.00 when doing it correctly!

    As for the cost of the what I initially tried.

    RTV 11.00 (firebox got too hot and it melted....cannot do bbq roasting with this stuff on the unit)

    Stove Rope 24.00 (never got it to seal correctly)

    Make shift tuning plate made from large cookie sheet. 17.00 (did not work)


    Would I do it all again since I do not live in the mid-west or Texas to pick from nicer units? Only the latter mods. 580.00 is not a bad cost if done correctly. I believe I did it with complete value all around with my resources. Now as for how this guy compares to my 1/4 inch thick Old Country Pit from Uvalco, it does well after the mods and holds its own with it. Out of the box? NO WAY JOSE!!! When you only have Lowes, HD, Walmart, SAM's, and Costco....that is what we have unless you go to a backyard specialty store and pay over 2 grand for a Yoder unit. There is no middle ground for us here. If you live near an Academy Sports and outdoor store, you can get the Pecos model that is all welded up and ready to go for less than I paid out. But for us OKJ owners, it can be a fight.

    bauchjw likes this.
  15. bauchjw

    bauchjw Master of the Pit

    Great effort and cost breakdown! I especially like the comments on how geographic location limits options. I've looked around my relative area (days drive) for any type of pit worth dropping more money on, but I'm a few days removed from any option. That limits me for now. If you get a chance can you take some pics of tuning plates and location of heat retention bricks? Thank you, beautiful mods!
  16. ammaturesmoker

    ammaturesmoker Smoking Fanatic

    Thx for the compliments. Whenever I hear somoene around here say they have a smoker I just assume it's a Traeger. That is all that is in the mindset of some people here because that is what gets sold and marketed.

    The plate and bricks can be found at bbqsmokermods.com
  17. bauchjw

    bauchjw Master of the Pit

    Haha! I was just on a hunting trip (prairie dog shoot) in West Kansas and everyone there seemed to have Traegers! Nothing against them or using them, but it suprised me. They cost a ton of money and the guys I was with were frugal about everything but firearms. I was expecting backyard UDSs.
  18. ammaturesmoker

    ammaturesmoker Smoking Fanatic

    What sucks is shipping from Texas to Utah is 1/3 of the price.

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