I can't understand why these smoker manufacturers don't design their smokers already tuned for smoking. Maybe I am missing something, but I have yet to see the point of producing smokers that you have to modify to do the job. I have just assembled my OK Joe Highland and made my modifications. Now, I have to wait for the rain to pass by so that I can start it's first fire and clean and season it. I won't know if my mods were done properly until I can check the temps on both ends of the smoker. After looking at the pricing and work required to fab tuning plates and convection plates, I decided to look around for something that could be used with the minimum amount of cutting or welding. In Wally World, I found a porcelain covered, corrugated steel adjustable plate used in gas burners. I also picked up an angled tin burner tunnel that is also used in gas burner grills. I only had to drill three holes, none in the smoker to make some temporary mods. After I make some fine tuning adjustments, I can make it more permanent. Once I try this option out, I will add photos. I have no idea if this will work, but I am sure that it will force some of the heat past the opening of the fire box, toward the exhaust end. I added another thermo that I also picked up at Wally World so I should be able to get a general idea if I have spread the heat out evenly. While assembling the Highland, I used permatex copper in seams likely to leak. I purchased some Nomex lava rock tape for the doors. You have seen all this on other threads so it would just be repetitious to upload photos of the same thing. I will send some photos of my plate mods IF they work. Right now, I am waiting for a rain free day to stoke up the fire and get this thing going. I have two racks of baby backs and two racks of spare ribs waiting.
I was scoping out some whole briskets at Wally World yesterday. Last time I smoked a brisket, I was still in NC and I used a modified Charbroil set up. The brisket came out perfect, no credit given to the smoker. It was so bad trying to get my temps right that I gave up on the fire box and just built my fire on one side of my smoker area. This time, I plan to do it right so I am taking my time to make the mods up front.
I had to up the size of my smoker here in Florida because when I used my small grill to smoke, I accumulated a small crowd. Apparently, it is hard to cover up the smell of smoked beef ribs and pork spare ribs. Of course, I had to adjust the heat in my rub so that these seniors wouldn't end up in the ER.
Last time I smoked three racks of beef ribs, a rib roast and grilled some rib eyes, I had everything out on the dining room table except the steaks and when I brought the steaks in, all three racks of ribs were gone except one rib that they kindly left for me. I noticed that no one seemed embarrassed about scarfing up what I thought would be the last to go item. Turned out that the beef ribs were almost fall off the bone tender and had the perfect flavor. Some folks did not care for medium rare so there was still some rib roast left for me. Instead, they slaughtered the rib eye steaks. The food went so fast that I was afraid to dig in, less I lose a hand or arm to the hungry horde.
Sorry about the rambling, but my question still stands; why is it necessary to modify new smokers to do what they were supposedly designed to do in the first place? If a grill has a side firebox, doesn't that make it a smoker? Why charge someone $500+ for a smoker, and then charge them another ninety bucks for the plates and charcoal basket? It's early, I just finished my second cup of coffee and it's raining, so I have to wait to fire my new smoker up. That's my excuse for being grouchy.