cajun express smoker mods

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djtexcarr

Newbie
Original poster
Jun 3, 2024
9
10
Came across this forum as one of the only places anyone mentioned the cajun express smoker. I guess there aren't many out there?

I will give you my honest view, I spent a lot on this thing, and I am liking it.

This is a heavy duty smoker, built well, but I am going to call it a dumb smoker...I guess I wanted a little smarter smoker. lol. It is a sealed box with just a 3/4 inch pipe out the back going into the bubbler, I call it, where it outputs the heated air into a container of water, or what you put in it.

Problems: I live in the Texas panhandle, one of the windiest places anywhere. When I first used it, the flames kept getting blown out. So then it is just letting out gas and nothing is cooking. I had to stand there the whole time to relight it. It has a warning to wait a few minutes to relight it, and it is not kidding because I did not wait long enough sometimes and it had a big boom when I lit it! The gas running noise is so loud that, along with the wind, it was difficult to know if it was burning or not. To make it worse, the hole to light it is in the rear...I have the unit against my brick house, very inconvenient. The bubbler was also plumbed straight out the back, making it hard to place where my grills normally go.

Solutions: I immediately started thinking of ways to improve on this beast. I created a little control panel box. I took out the burner unit and installed two sparkers for lighting. I also ordered a safety valve with a thermocouple so now, if the flame goes out, the gas shuts off. Later I also discovered that the valve they supply is difficult to control, so I bought a variable 0-30 psi valve with indicator. I usually run at about 1-5 psi. I replumbed the bubbler to go off to the left and my control panel is on the right. I put in a flame sensor and gas sensor indicator LEDs. I needed power so I have a tiny 12v SLA battery, and a voltage indicator so I know the system is ready.

Now, I just set the gas pressure, click the sparker, and watch my flame indicator. The LED is bright so I can see it from in the house looking out the window. I am still learning about actual cooking, but I feel better about controlling and using the smoker now. I was running blind before.

In the process of these improvements it seems the go out less in the wind, so that is good. If it is a problem again, I had a plan to buy an automatic relighter unit, but it was $80 so I held off on that so far.

I also added a pressure valve to the outlet to the bubbler. It varies depending on what fluid you put in there, so it is nice to have a visual.

I would be interested to hear anyone elses experiences! We need to put together a cookbook since the cooking time is so much faster in this thing. 3 hours is about the longest I ever had to cook so far.

Thanks, David
 

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Interesting to learn about the Cajun Express, it seems like a lot of mods (many almost a must have) for a $1500 Smoker. How has the end result (for the food) been? Do you give up flavor and tenderness for the speed?

- Jason
 
Interesting to learn about the Cajun Express, it seems like a lot of mods (many almost a must have) for a $1500 Smoker. How has the end result (for the food) been? Do you give up flavor and tenderness for the speed?

- Jason
I was disappointed in the lack of features. There is minimal information on the website and very few reviews to be found. I thought about buying for about a year then decided just to go ahead and try it.
On the other hand I had fun modifying it and coming up with ideas. So that's worth something I guess. I spent maybe $120 on the changes.
There is definitely no issue with flavor. I'm still learning to adjust it. The turkey breast I cooked was delicious all the way through. The tuna I just cooked was almost too smoky flavor, I could have scaled it back.
I've had mixed results for tenderness. Turkey was great, pork butt was great. I cooked some frozen chicken breast that came out chewy but these had been in the freezer a long time ago it could have been freezer burn. The tuna was a bit chewy, could have been my fault for cooking it too long... Cooked pork ribs that fell off the bone.
I haven't tried a brisket yet but I bought one. Might try next week when the kids are back home.
 
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I was disappointed in the lack of features. There is minimal information on the website and very few reviews to be found. I thought about buying for about a year then decided just to go ahead and try it.
On the other hand I had fun modifying it and coming up with ideas. So that's worth something I guess. I spent maybe $120 on the changes.
There is definitely no issue with flavor. I'm still learning to adjust it. The turkey breast I cooked was delicious all the way through. The tuna I just cooked was almost too smoky flavor, I could have scaled it back.
I've had mixed results for tenderness. Turkey was great, pork butt was great. I cooked some frozen chicken breast that came out chewy but these had been in the freezer a long time ago it could have been freezer burn. The tuna was a bit chewy, could have been my fault for cooking it too long... Cooked pork ribs that fell off the bone.
I haven't tried a brisket yet but I bought one. Might try next week when the kids are back home.
Tuna is not something that works well in a smoker. It really needs to be run fast and hot and served Rare/Med-Rare. Anything beyond that is going to be tough and chewy. Good to hear that the flavor is good.

- Jason
 
Tuna is not something that works well in a smoker. It really needs to be run fast and hot and served Rare/Med-Rare. Anything beyond that is going to be tough and chewy. Good to hear that the flavor is good.

- Jason
I made what was left into tuna salad, and it is good with a smoky flavor, made the best of it I think.
 
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