Originally Posted by mastfalk
Consider me a newbie at this.
I'm ignorant of the terminology you used. Sorry. I bought a cheap smoker for $90 5 years ago and didn't know what I was doing. Now it is rusted out and I need to replace it - want to replace it with something better.
While I tried smoking with it, I didn't like burning through so much fuel and baby sitting every half hour. Never could get the temps right. So I mainly used it for grilling or indirect grilling/smoking and not as a smoker for some time.
I feel the call of the smoke though, and want to do it right this time with a better rig.
I looked at some of the mod posts.
I get the baffle and vent riser. Not sure about the tuning plates, I usually try to regulate the temp with fuel.
When you say coal basket, you mean the plate to put coals and wood chunks on, the fuel, and catch the ashes? This was in the main barrel of the snp and could be raised up or down for grilling. Nothing in the fire box.
I'm also not sure what you mean to remove to do beer can chicken. The grates were on top and don't have any other ledge to go on that I can tell. Are there photos of what you are talking about?
This is the only info I posted on my tuning plate mod, at least that I could find...this rig is no longer used as a smoker and the plate has long ago been removed. There is just one pic of the plate under the cooking grate. To clarify, the tuning plate mod does not regulate smoke chamber temps so much as it regulates grate temperature variations...without it, you have hot and cold spots on the cooking grates based on how the heat is flowing through the smoke chamber and the proximity to the fire-box, as well as the presence of a vent stack-riser. I didn't use a riser and baffle plate, but opted instead to use a tuning plate...probably would have been better off going with a baffle and riser due the loss in efficiency, and just took the hit on having a bit less grate space to smoke food on. Anyway, here's a little discussion on the tuning plate:
As for removing the warming rack in the SnP, I took off the retaining pins/washers and completely detached and removed the warming rack from the body and lid so I could have more clearance above the cooking grate...never used the warmer for smoking anyway.
Sounds like the Horizon has a system very similar to the tuning plate that is a stock feature, referred to as a convection plate. What a tuning/convection plate does is even out the heat at grate-level so that you don't have a hot-spot near the fire-box end of the smoke chamber, and a cold spot on the far end and at the front/rear, away from the fire box. Mine was a home-made custom design and install...very tedious to dial in the grate temps while having the smoker at temp and taking multiple (I had 10 thermometers on the grate)simultaneous temp readings at grate level in various areas...worked very well after it was completed, but caused and extremely high amount of fuel usage due to inefficiency...heat flow through the smoke chamber was slowed down so much that it took a long time to reach stable temps. Higher smoke chamber temps (above 240* or so) were generally not even an option, even with a very large and hot fire.
If the Horizon has this feature built-in, that would, in my opinion, add a lot of value in itself, just due to the fact that it will increase your usable grate space. Without the tuning plate mod, my SnP lost over half of it's grate space capacity due to hot/cold spots, so if you buy one with it built-in, you'd be money ahead for those days when you really want to load up the smoker for a gathering or just to load up the freezer with smoked meats for lunches, etc. A full smoker is a happy smoker...(usually...without the necessary mods, not so much). BTW, the Horizon would not loose efficiency due to the convection plate like mine did...I'm sure they did their design much better than I could do with the tools and materials I had at my disposal.