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New - Oklahoma Joe's Highland Smoker - Page 6

post #101 of 248
I never ran mine without mods but with them this is the easiest pit I have run into leave the stack wide open I had the vent on the burn box wide open till it got to 240 then went to 1/2 I use charcoal and haven't added any since the start up and it's been 6hrs or so I think the ash box I built is the reason it works so well with long burn times
post #102 of 248

I just bought a new OJ Highland. Planning to seal both doors, elbow on stack, put firebox deflector in and plates. I have a question on sealing the fire box to cooking chamber. 

 

I bought the display model so it was already assembled so I was wondering if over time and with use would that joint seal itself with natural build up?

post #103 of 248
It could maybe over time, but make sure your nuts and bolts are tight joining the cook chamber and fire box together. Recheck them after a few smokes.
post #104 of 248
Has anyone made or bought a heat plate for their highland? I made my own out of 1/8" steel and drilled holes in it from 3/8 up to
1 1/4" holes. The dimensions are 16x32. When I first fired it up I still had temp differences of up to 40-50 degrees, so I covered the first row of holes with foil and temps stabilized within 10 degrees so I thought I was set until I did my first full cook last week. I loaded the smoker down with 40 lbs of butt and it completely covered the cooking grates. I fought with my fire for almost the whole cook, just didn't seem like I had a good draft. I'm wondering if I have made my plate to long as the cooking chamber is I think close to 34-36"? With my baffle and the plate I am essentially covering the whole opening. I also had a bowl under my wood grate in the firebox to collect the ash and that may have restricted airflow under the fire. I have no other mods like the exhaust elbow, sorry about the long post just trying to figure out if I should maybe cut 3-4" off the end of my plate. Here's a picture of my plate
post #105 of 248

just picked one up at walmart (las vegas) for $150, brickseek helped me track one down, 3 left at that store... i had to remove the firebox and smoke stack (the chimney thing) so it could fit in the compact suv, and with the help of a passer by, it was loaded!

 

now......... my plans for modding are:

 

- 3" elbow duct down to grate level

- 1/2" x 1/8" High Temp Nomex around CC and FB

- DIY firebox basket upgrade

- tuning plates and convection/baffle mod

 

*tuning plates and convection/baffle mod*

 

i'm either going to bite the bullet and buy the premade ones for around $100 or try to redneck a solution. i have a jigsaw and a 4" angle grinder, but not sure they would be sufficient to do what i want

 

i was considering these cutting these down to 16 inches or so: 6 in. x 18 in. 16-Gauge Sheet Metal - but that sounds too thin at 16 gauge (1/16in thick)

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-6-in-x-18-in-16-Gauge-Plain-Steel-Sheet-Metal-801467/204225705

 

I've read some people use cookie sheets for a baffle, angled at 45 degrees and supported by the top bolts (used to secure the firebox), then another cookie sheet with holes drilled in as a tuning plate

 

I've been reading the forums (and other sites) about baffles and convection plates and what not for days and days, and the more I read the less certain I am with what I'm going to do

 

There's also a convection plate made by horizon, but i've read they take forever to ship

 

Any advice on what I should consider for the baffle would be welcome

 

One last thing, I did see a cool mod on youtube where a guy custom cut and fixed a welding blanket on the lid for heat retention. i wonder if it helps.

post #106 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozsmoker View Post
 

just picked one up at walmart (las vegas) for $150, brickseek helped me track one down, 3 left at that store... i had to remove the firebox and smoke stack (the chimney thing) so it could fit in the compact suv, and with the help of a passer by, it was loaded!

 

now......... my plans for modding are:

 

- 3" elbow duct down to grate level

- 1/2" x 1/8" High Temp Nomex around CC and FB

- DIY firebox basket upgrade

- tuning plates and convection/baffle mod

 

*tuning plates and convection/baffle mod*

 

i'm either going to bite the bullet and buy the premade ones for around $100 or try to redneck a solution. i have a jigsaw and a 4" angle grinder, but not sure they would be sufficient to do what i want

 

i was considering these cutting these down to 16 inches or so: 6 in. x 18 in. 16-Gauge Sheet Metal - but that sounds too thin at 16 gauge (1/16in thick)

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-6-in-x-18-in-16-Gauge-Plain-Steel-Sheet-Metal-801467/204225705

 

I've read some people use cookie sheets for a baffle, angled at 45 degrees and supported by the top bolts (used to secure the firebox), then another cookie sheet with holes drilled in as a tuning plate

 

I've been reading the forums (and other sites) about baffles and convection plates and what not for days and days, and the more I read the less certain I am with what I'm going to do

 

There's also a convection plate made by horizon, but i've read they take forever to ship

 

Any advice on what I should consider for the baffle would be welcome

 

One last thing, I did see a cool mod on youtube where a guy custom cut and fixed a welding blanket on the lid for heat retention. i wonder if it helps.


Here's some advice, in no particular order.

 

1.  You're going to have a battle keeping a constant heat on this rig--I've already said enough about current OJ vs. old school, and you've heard me preach.  Your baffle with the cookie sheet is fine.

2.  Pre-made plate --now you're up to $250 all in

3.  Welding blanket.  Umm...okay?  I'd rather not look like amateur hour, but that's me.  Another $60

4.  Charcoal basket.  Call it $75

5.  Etc.

6.  Etc.

7.  Etc.

 

In summary, you've bought a smoker, and that's great.  However, you brought up several units a few weeks back--this being one of them--and consensus from many at that time--myself included--was to go to a higher grade smoker for many reasons, not the least of which being that you'd spend what a better rig would run you on countless modifications and still not have near the quality. You state above that you could "...try a redneck solution":  really?  Out of the box, brand new, and going straight to redneck repairs?  I really hate to be preachy, Oz, but you were give some really good advice a few weeks ago about steering clear of something where you'd have to spend as much (if not more than) the unit cost on mods, save up for a few weeks/months for a better quality unit (remember:  buy quality, buy once??) and you chose not to heed any of it.  Best of luck to you, sir.

post #107 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr0uch0 View Post


Here's some advice, in no particular order.

1.  You're going to have a battle keeping a constant heat on this rig--I've already said enough about current OJ vs. old school, and you've heard me preach.  Your baffle with the cookie sheet is fine.
2.  Pre-made plate --now you're up to $250 all in
3.  Welding blanket.  Umm...okay?  I'd rather not look like amateur hour, but that's me.  Another $60
4.  Charcoal basket.  Call it $75
5.  Etc.
6.  Etc.
7.  Etc.

In summary, you've bought a smoker, and that's great.  However, you brought up several units a few weeks back--this being one of them--and consensus from many at that time--myself included--was to go to a higher grade smoker for many reasons, not the least of which being that you'd spend what a better rig would run you on countless modifications and still not have near the quality. You state above that you could "...try a redneck solution":  really?  Out of the box, brand new, and going straight to redneck repairs?  I really hate to be preachy, Oz, but you were give some really good advice a few weeks ago about steering clear of something where you'd have to spend as much (if not more than) the unit cost on mods, save up for a few weeks/months for a better quality unit (remember:  buy quality, buy once??) and you chose not to heed any of it.  Best of luck to you, sir.

Hey grouchy....maybe the op could not afford to spend over $1000, ever think of that? I am sure everyone here wants a $1000+ smoker, but funds are limited.
post #108 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sauced View Post


Hey grouchy....maybe the op could not afford to spend over $1000, ever think of that? I am sure everyone here wants a $1000+ smoker, but funds are limited.


No, Sauced, north of a grand was never the issue at all, nor did I ever even put that in play:  there were sub-$500 options and reviews provided that would have alleviated a lot of the "redneck fixes" that were just mentioned, not the least of which being something that was a thicker gauge steel that would hold heat better and stand the test of time.  He stated then that he was going to hold out and save up for higher quality, instead of an immediate knee-jerk purchase.  Go take a look before diving blindly into a 6" puddle of water. 


Edited by gr0uch0 - 2/18/17 at 10:44pm
post #109 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr0uch0 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sauced View Post


Hey grouchy....maybe the op could not afford to spend over $1000, ever think of that? I am sure everyone here wants a $1000+ smoker, but funds are limited.


No, Sauced, north of a grand was never the issue at all, nor did I ever even put that in play:  there were sub-$500 options and reviews provided that would have alleviated a lot of the "redneck fixes" that were just mentioned, not the least of which being something that was a thicker gauge steel that would hold heat better and stand the test of time.  He stated then that he was going to hold out and save up for higher quality, instead of an immediate knee-jerk purchase.  Go take a look before diving blindly into a 6" puddle of water. 


Except it wasn't knee jerk. I've been reading these forums for weeks and read this entire thread over and over again

I concluded that spending $150 for the smoker and another $100 for the baffle plate and maybe another $50 for other mods would give me a smoker that would rival those in the $500-$1000 range for much less

If I can fabricate a baffle plate myself the costs will be much less. The diy firebox grate is under $20. That's easy to do.

The smoker I bought was preassembled, the lids on CC and FB close and line up perfectly without any adjustments. Others in the store did not

This isn't some flimsy piece of metal, it is very very heavy

I live in Las Vegas, there is no rust issue
post #110 of 248

2/4/17--"thanks for the suggestions, i will give these models a miss for now and save up for something better.

 

in the meantime, i will keep trying to improve with my kamado"  Ozsmoker.

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozsmoker View Post


Except it wasn't knee jerk. I've been reading these forums for weeks and read this entire thread over and over again

I concluded that spending $150 for the smoker and another $100 for the baffle plate and maybe another $50 for other mods would give me a smoker that would rival those in the $500-$1000 range for much less

If I can fabricate a baffle plate myself the costs will be much less. The diy firebox grate is under $20. That's easy to do.

The smoker I bought was preassembled, the lids on CC and FB close and line up perfectly without any adjustments. Others in the store did not

This isn't some flimsy piece of metal, it is very very heavy

I live in Las Vegas, there is no rust issue


OK, Oz.  Enjoy.  Have a good day, sir.

post #111 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr0uch0 View Post

2/4/17--"thanks for the suggestions, i will give these models a miss for now and save up for something better.


in the meantime, i will keep trying to improve with my kamado"  Ozsmoker.








OK, Oz.  Enjoy.  Have a good day, sir.

Thank you, you too
post #112 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by THood View Post

Instead of the diffuser plate with holes, I used this method.  Much less expensive, and easily adjustable.  Seems to work really good, can balance out the heat flow from end to end within 10*F.

 

 

The deflector plate covering the variable damper and directing the heat in the firebox to the smoke chamber.

 

 

How many tuning plates are people using for their Highland?

 

I was thinking 4 of 6"x16" plates and using one of those angled up insider the cooking chambing up toward the firebox opening as a difuser/baffle

post #113 of 248
My wife wanted to know why I still have this smoker when I have two other offsets that are better. My response was because the Newer OKJ is much lighter than the original unit and the Old Country. And only after it was welded together, did the performance increase and has been fantastic. It's also light enough to take places like camping and such. I have turned it into a gas unit for the most part. But still does great burning wood and charcoal as well. She wanted to know why I do not take the other units so I had her lift the 3/16 and 1/4 inch units and that was all she needed. Storing firewood is becoming a pain the rear, keeps getting rained on and snowed on. tarps only seem to last a litttle while. But here is the sad part. I have been using the OKJ more and more than my nicer units. With a few mods done prefessionally by a metel guy, it has been great. I had the lids re-bent and the whole unit welded together. I bought a baffle tuning plate and some heat bricks to maintain temps. Those provide enough compensation to odd set the thin metal. Sadly though last two weekends I have been using the slow and sear for my Weber and it has been so dang efficient that it's hard for me to justify burning wood.a
post #114 of 248

Sorry for the late reply.  I just saw this.  I think I bought 5 of these.  They were a standard size at Home Depot and didn't require a of cutting, etc.  I noticed on another similar smoker last week that the angled diffuser plate from the firebox is a standard item.  

post #115 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike3ga88 View Post

Has anyone made or bought a heat plate for their highland? I made my own out of 1/8" steel and drilled holes in it from 3/8 up to
1 1/4" holes. The dimensions are 16x32. When I first fired it up I still had temp differences of up to 40-50 degrees, so I covered the first row of holes with foil and temps stabilized within 10 degrees so I thought I was set until I did my first full cook last week. I loaded the smoker down with 40 lbs of butt and it completely covered the cooking grates. I fought with my fire for almost the whole cook, just didn't seem like I had a good draft. I'm wondering if I have made my plate to long as the cooking chamber is I think close to 34-36"? With my baffle and the plate I am essentially covering the whole opening. I also had a bowl under my wood grate in the firebox to collect the ash and that may have restricted airflow under the fire. I have no other mods like the exhaust elbow, sorry about the long post just trying to figure out if I should maybe cut 3-4" off the end of my plate. Here's a picture of my plate


This is a very impressive looking plate, and I'm sure you invested a lot of time.  Looks great.  However, kind of defeats the purpose if you still had to cover some of the holes to balance out the heat. Pretty much the same as using the multiple 4 x 16 steel sheets and spacing them like you want them.  Lot less work and probably less money.  Just my 2 cents.  

post #116 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozsmoker View Post
 

How many tuning plates are people using for their Highland?

 

I was thinking 4 of 6"x16" plates and using one of those angled up insider the cooking chambing up toward the firebox opening as a difuser/baffle


By the way, I scrapped that variable deflector from the firebox to the cook chamber.  I found I was just leaving it wide open all the time so it really wasn't doing much.  The angled deflector plate in the pic though is definitely a good idea.  

post #117 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozsmoker View Post
 

How many tuning plates are people using for their Highland?

 

I was thinking 4 of 6"x16" plates and using one of those angled up insider the cooking chambing up toward the firebox opening as a difuser/baffle

 

 

 

 


Oz, it's been a while since I posted these original pics of the mods.  Here's a good pic of the multiple rectangular sheets I use for dispersing the heat.  These are just laid in there for the pic but you can be very creative in how you space them to get the effect you want.  The other pic is the wire basket to keep the wood or charcoal from clogging up the inlet air path.  Maybe my best mod was the little blower that hangs on the air inlet with a variable speed control for the blower.  I can get the fire up to temp very quickly and I use that blower to control the temp til I get it where I want it.  Be careful though, it will blow ashes into the cook chamber.  I use a little section of screen to keep that from happening, and just throw it away each time.  The 4 temp gauges may be overkill but it does given a good indication of the heat from the grate to the top of the chamber.  You really only need to know this once.  You can get a grate temp from your Maverick or iGrill thermal probes.  Final note on sealing things up.  I used a felt seal to seal the main cook chamber.  However, I was never able to get anything to seal the firebox door.  Just too hot.  It burned up everything I used.  I finally gave up and frankly I don't see any difference in how it cooks.  Hope this all helps somebody.  It's almost smoking season again!  

post #118 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by THood View Post


This is a very impressive looking plate, and I'm sure you invested a lot of time.  Looks great.  However, kind of defeats the purpose if you still had to cover some of the holes to balance out the heat. Pretty much the same as using the multiple 4 x 16 steel sheets and spacing them like you want them.  Lot less work and probably less money.  Just my 2 cents.  

The plate works great after I figured out what I did wrong. I essentially started the first 2 rows of holes closest to the firebox to soon. When I covered them it evened out my temps, with the plate already made there isn't anything else I can do. Plus I can remove the foil and get the area closest to the firebox hotter if I need to during cooking time without any major adjustments, works out nice now that I got it figured out
post #119 of 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike3ga88 View Post

 


Mike, please note I wasn't being critical.  I think that plate looks great and I know you put a lot of work in it.  Glad to hear your figuring out how to tune it.  I've played around a lot with my multiple plate tuning method depending on what and how much meat is on the grate.  One thing I've learned about cooking Q, it doesn't matter how you do it or what you do it on, it's all about what it tastes like at the table.  I've seen people cook in a metal trash can (tailgating at Arrowhead) and make some great BBQ.  Smoke 'em if you got em! 

post #120 of 248
Oh absolutely understand what your saying, one great thing about the plate I made is that only thing I have in it is the step down bits and the time. I had a guy from my church cut the steel to size and just gave it to me, I made sure I got him some que in return. Each time I fire my smoker up I learn something new and that makes it fun, I just made me one of the 20/20 coal baskets that I found the how to on this site. It helped my fire control incredibly. Cant wait for my next smoke, we have had absolutely no winter at all here in Georgia and I've been taking advantage of that. Happy Smoking
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