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SnP mods Part 2 - New parts!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Set up:
Brinmann SnP
- Afterburner propane burner
- oven gasket lining
- Vent extender
- new thermos

So, as a continuing project I am looking to optimize my SnP design such that it is as fuel efficient as possible, and a really nice even cooking area. I am focusing on heat distribution now as everything else seems to be in place. Also I'm a sucker for perfection in the things I use, and I wanted to learn more about these designs when when I build my own.

For several months I have been using this setup: (minus the extra metal heat deflector on the right side I put that there in the picture only)

Heat Baffle with a small angle
2-3 tuning plates
made from 1/8" steel

Pros (over no setup):
- Much better heat deflection / distribution
- Can move plates a lot to change heat areas

- Gaps in plates leave very hot spots
- Vent side always a bit cooler on the grill

The hot spots were very evident on my last smoke of 4 dozen chicken wings. I purposely left them in the same area to try and map out the spot. In the end I had some significant hot areas in between vents and the firebox side cooked much faster (normal for this setup).

So after I saw a few pictures of a more complex setup on this forum, i decided I wanted to make a change. Since I do not have access to metal working equipment, or those skills, I had to get this made for me. After a few PMs I got the info I need and made an exchange to have a forum member help me acquire:

First thoughts... "So THIS is what 1/4" steel is like! Damn its heavy!"

This new setup came in two pieces. The first piece is meant to act as the heat baffle, and extend the heat / smoke along the cooking chamber.

The second piece was suggested to me, and then requested by me, to further extend the heat / smoke along the chamber for cold weather cooking. I live in the Pacific North West, and I expect to be BBQing in cold rainy weather!

Installation was a snap. Pull out old parts, put in new ones!

One thing I forgot to do during my initial seasoning was to move the vent extension all the way over. It was overlapping the second plate, and although the setup worked great, I think it may have hampered some airflow.

New setup (with grills):

From my seasoning time, with digital probes all over the area I can say this:

Pros (over old setup)
- very even heat distribution all over the grill.
- Recovers heat from lid lifting VERY fast

- Takes a longer to warm up
- Some hot spots on the far edges along the front / back where the heat baffle part is. Not really a big deal.
- Firebox side thermo now gets a much hotter reading, even tho a digital probe in line with it on the grill registers cooler

I had my probes everywhere on the smoker and they were very constant. No significant hot areas anywhere that I would have food on. I am doing a 15 lb brisket this weekend for my first smoke on it. I'm very excited, so far everything looks promising!

I thought I would share this with you all. Aside from the Afterburner propane burner, which I installed as an experiment / battle high charcoal costs in Canada, my total costs for this have come to about $450.

This includes the BBQ itself, all materials I installed, plus the cost of acquiring these new parts (shipping too!). That is 1/2 the cost of a Horizon (dont get me wrong tho, I would love a Horizon!), and a gradual cost. I added things and changed things and spent money over time, after the initial SnP purchase.

Its been a fun build, who knows I may keep going. But for now I'm waiting for the weekend, and a great brisket smoke!

Q on!

PS - I still love and use my WSM!
post #2 of 8
Nice job on the comparison. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

I have thought about making a baffle and plates as shown in your 2nd version. I have the setup in version 1 now. I don't use my SnP much since I build my drum though so I've never got quite motivated enough to make the other baffle.

Some day maybe though.

post #3 of 8
Nice upgrade. Good luck with your first smoke on the new mods.
post #4 of 8
post #5 of 8
Great post -- I like the comparisons. And I am VERY happy to see your results. I just built my Char-Griller (similar to yours), and before I took it out of the box had a fellow I know make two baffle/manifold plates just like yours (saw then in a couple other posts here). I too was amazed at how heavy the metal is -- it just seems like it has to help. The weather and schedule have not yet allowed me to season it. I can't wait!!! And the weatherman is calling for more rain this weekend here!

I'd love to see pics and your description of the afterburner.

Great job!!

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Here is the link to the Afterburner I am using.

Originally I was using it as a cost effective alternative to charcoal, as prices of charcoal in Canada are double what I pay in Oregon (I was thinking of moving home).

Right now with a $14-17 refill on my tank of propane, I can get 36 hours of smoke, more or less depending on temp used. A single bag of charcoal in Canada (large) is about $14.

Customer service for the unit was great. I got the wrong one shipped to me (newer SnPs need a slightly different one), and I got a new one shipped back right away.

For months I was focused on the description on the web page about how to use the burner, specifically the dark blue flame / little orange flicker. Now I know better, thanks to SMF guidance from DDAVE!, I just use it as is and it works great.

Comparing lighting my WSM with charcoal (basically lighting charcoal Minion Method) vs the afterburner I'd say:

Afterburner Pros:
- Super fast to start up and walk away (vs minion method)
- Direct control of temp with the propane / exhaust
- Easy to pre-heat SnP hotter and dial the temp down. This is useful for heating up the 1/4" steel manifolds fast and dialing down the temp fast.
- get tbs very fast and accurate
- Can control amount of TBS easily

Cons (vs charcoal)
- different taste (slight, no charcoal flavor if you like that)
- need coffee / tin cans to generate smoke, and if they have a liner it needs to be burned out
- need to change out wood more often (burn through it a bit faster)
- flames can go out if you are not careful with the wind, or dont turn it up far enough
- Propane costs may vary vs charcoal (more expensive)
post #7 of 8
Man a guy sure can get divided on this forum. I've really wanted a WSM for awhile now for the convience, long burns & tolerence to winds (its been 20-30 MPH winds for a week) but then I see these kinds a post & think I kinda like tending to the meat? I think I'm just gonna have to find a way to get both??icon_wink.gif
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
WSM is out of the box awesomness. Pure Q Power! Wind is actually not a good thing for the WSM, as it can mess up your charcoal. a wind breaker will do wonders to keep temps steady.

The SnP was more of a work in progress kind of thing. I could apply as much time / money as I wanted to make it work better. I actually got the SnP for Ribs, as my WSM is 18.5" and had issues with larger rib racks or multiples, and some larger brisket cuts.

I like both, and I use both. Getting 2-4 Pork butts on the WSM with its super efficient charcoal burning BBQness is really great, and with a spray bottle of Apple juice, i dont need much more access than lifting the lid.
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