Okay you all, here's my basket thread. It's a great design that has several members of the SMF that will vouch for it, since they have one too....
Great post by Dan, by the way. He's the one who got my idea-juices flowing and sparked my designs.
The stock grate takes a big hit early on. After my first 14 hr brisket it was warped crazy. Still used it for almost a year, but it drove me nuts. This mod will make one of the 3 best overall improvements to your SnP
Cause the grate holds the charcoal too close to the bottom of the firebox and after a few hours the ashh chokes off your draw. Not good. I wanted a design to maintain the awesome draw the SnP
is known for, as well as allow for fuller loading without having the coals come into contact with the body of the firebox, something that happens without a basket, and will shorten your unit's lifespan. I've seen a lot of basket mods, mostly DEEP ones, but that is not what I wanted. That just continues the ash-choking problem. I designed a basket that sits higher and wider than the ones I'd seen.
Result was a real nice even hot burn, hours and hours and hours without worryin' about cleaning out the ash, and plenty of space to add or just use pure wood, for your fuel. I like to cook a PPB on wood alone, just like back in North Carolina.
And a shot inside-
So, my design was roughly a 13" X 14 " rectangle. 3" tall, using 1 inch angle iron for bracing all around. Length, width, and corners for warp-prevention and quality fit. It's tight in the box and bullet-proof. I cannot remember the type of expanded metal my welder said he used, but I do recall it seemed way too heavy-duty for my application when he showed me the sheet. He recommended against my original application preference as being too thin and would warp quick. He recommended a brace underneath the basket if I decided to go with my original choice, but I went with his expanded metal recommendation. Glad I did!
He did a professional job in that instead of bending the expanded metal, he cut it to length and spot welded each point to the angle iron. He understood bullet-proof, and made it the way he knew I wanted it.
Fits snuggly in the fire-box. The most important part, I think, is keeping your basket UP OFF of the bottom of the firebox. Thus, I designed mine to sit 4 and 1/2 inches up off the bottom dead center point of the firebox arc.
You can see how much more air space there is available for flow and clean burning. It makes all the difference in the world.