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Master Forge smoker major mods

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

As I've previously set out in my review of this smoker, I had trouble from the beginning keeping my heat up in this unit.  No matter how warm the weather, keeping a constant temp at or around 225 was impossible (a real 225, not 225 on the unit's thermometer).  I've talked to others with the same problem.  I took some suggestions from fellow expert smokers on this forum and made some modifications.  


First, I added fireplace gasket rope to the doors.  This helped keep the smoke and the heat in.  It still leaks some smoke, but not so much to worry about.  Here's a pic of the smoker heated up and smoking after the rope was added.




I removed the old burner and purchased a new one from Tejas Smokers.   This is a super sturdy cast iron burner that more than tripled the BTUs of my old burner.  I know this may be overkill, but until you've stood over a smoker all day that won't get hot enough, don't judge!  The burner was the perfect size.  I also took the suggestions of others and bought one with a needle control valve.  After I removed the old burner, I found some thin metal from the top of a drum and cut it out with a cutting torch.  I then attached the burner to the metal and attached it to the smoker.


I also had to cut a hole in the back of the smoker to accommodate the burner and the orifice. 



I then hooked up the new gas line which I also bought from Tejas to match the burner.  It came with a regulator and a shut off valve, which I like, and which I've found is really handy.



I fired it up and it burns beautifully!



I can already reach temps twice as high as my old burner.  And while I likely won't need to get it that hot, it's nice to know I won't have any problems even on the coldest of days.  I'm also able to maintain a constant temp suitable for slow smoking thanks to the needle valve.    


All in all, I spent about $100 and a couple of hours.  I feel like I have a great unit now and I didn't have to spend twice or three times that to buy a new one.  I'm a cheapo, so this is the kind of project I like: fix something you've got for less and make it better than you had!  I know it's not as pretty as a new one, but I'm proud of it.


Now, I'm ready to throw some meat on this baby and see how she does!!

post #2 of 3
Now that's a neat mod that does what you expected it to.

Well done.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

6/25/16 UPDATE:  As you can see from the pic above, I've drilled about 12 holes into the plate holding the new burner.  I found out that the burner wasn't getting enough O2.  It makes sense: the bottom of the smoker used to be open and the old burner was attached from the front of the smoker.  When I added the new burner, I had to create a plate for it to set on, which covered the formerly open space.  I tried to compensate by leaving the side vents open, but that was inefficient and still didn't provide enough O2 at higher temps. This seems to be the solution though!  I fired it up after I drilled the holes and it seems to heat so well, I actually had to reduce the flow of propane into the burner.  Now, the burner will be more efficient and in turn I'll get better temps with less fuel.  Win/win!  Amazing what happens when you understand (which means I didn't really understand until it didn't work and I had to search for a solution) the laws of physics.  Or is it chemistry?  I don't know which it is but basically fire needs O2.  Duh.  Live and learn man, live and learn!  

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