Well, for a year or so now I have been telling myself that my (Brinkmann) offset vertical was doing a decent job - yes, she leaked heat and smoke but I kept trying to convince myself it was not that bad. Better than springing for a "quality" pit of some kind.
Boy was I wrong to think she was not leaking much ...... I finally broke down and bought an after market mod kit (see pics attached) and does it make it difference!!! She is now completely sealed, not leaks, and my maiden cook with the mods of spatchcock chicken (halved) may be the best I have turned out yet. Pics attached.
The mods to seal her up are straightforward and I won't waste anyone's time with those pics. But, I would like opinions at my effort to rig a tuning plate in the cooking chamber. I found that the left side of the chamber was considerably hotter (40 degrees and more) than the right so in an effort to even out the heat distribution I rigged a 15 3/4" 1/4" cast iron plate on the water pan holder. Seemed to really make a difference when I test it (less than 10 degrees differential side to side now all the way up).
Comments/insight/opinions appreciated on whether the tuning plate rig makes sense. . Spatchcock pics also follow as well.
Added this piece of cast iron to the water pan rack then replaced water pan with sand pan. Seemed to function well and really even out heat, etc.
Spatchcock bird follows. Marinated 24 hours in apple juice, white wine, salt, pepper, garlic, turbindao and ranch dressing seasoning. Then dried skin for 4 hours in frig. Then injected, added rub, and dried another 2 hours before smoking. Sauce is a bourbon-chipotle glaze. Glazed at 400 degrees for 20 minutes but skin was still fairly rubbery. Damn!
Pic below is after 2-plus hours @ 300 and at a 160 internal temp when I moved the halves.
First glaze of the halves on a Charbroil Red Convection Grill (propane) @ 400 degrees for 20 minutes
Just out of 400 and 3 coats of glaze
Turned out very juicy - rubbery skin, however.