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Impulse buy - Ok Joe Longhorn Reverse

WarrenWood

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Joined Feb 21, 2020
I've been smoking food for about 12 years, using WSMs. But my family has grown: my three children have gotten married, grandkids have arrived and now for Sunday BBQ, I can add my GF and her kids as well. So as you can guess, the WSM doesn't have the capacity for all of us, and running multiple WSMs can be problematic. For a while I've been thinking about a reverse-flow offset, but I couldn't justify the cost of a Lang patio. Then last week I found an Oklahoma Joe Longhorn reverse flow locally, and on a whim I bought it.

I've been reading the forums and watching YouTube videos on necessary mods. I've ordered gasket material and high temp silicon caulk to seal it up (should arrive Monday) and I've been reading different threads on fire management. I think by next weekend I'll be ready to season, and play with getting some fire management experience. I use RO lump charcoal for grilling steaks, so I'm thinking about using it to season the smoker since lump burns hotter and leaves much less ash than briquets. The smoker came with the charcoal basket so that should help, too. I use Fruitawood chunks in my WSM, and I'll probably order splits from them (local wood supply is questionable.) I can be patient and have several practice runs before cooking food for the family.

I would like to ask the group about any experiences in moving from a WSM or similar to cooking on an offset, please. What mistakes to look out for, what skills with the WSM will I have to relearn?

Thanks!
 

1MoreFord

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If you plan on burning sticks in your pit you don't want to buy them from Fruita Wood. That will be a costly proposition. Burning charcoal in it will be expensive too. Local wood bought by fractions of a cord are the way to go. Get used to feeding it regularly.

Look on Craig's List for wood dealers. Check with tree trimmers and lawn care companies. Even the local paper usually has wood for sale.
 

WarrenWood

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Local wood bought by fractions of a cord are the way to go.
That's a good point of course, but unfortunately where I live (Hot Springs Village) I haven't found anybody (yet) who will make sure that the "oak" is really "oak" and not something else. To be honest, I prefer peach wood over any other kind of wood, and finding that locally is going to be a difficult challenge. I'm not good at telling wood apart.
 

1MoreFord

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I haven't been down toward Hot Springs in some time but there used to be a guy East of HS on the South side(IIRC) of Hwy 70 that always had a firewood for sale sign out front. It was a little way from the road and his house was mostly hidden by trees. I can't precisely place where it is relative to anything. Ole timer's ya know. I *think* it's just West of the RV Park on the hill.
 

TNJAKE

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Man you are in the south and hardwood is plentiful. I found my wood guy on craigslist. Delivered,stacked and most importantly honest. Identifying wood isn't hard. We will help. But most honest folks gonna bring you what you ask for. Don't rely on a brand, it's expensive, kiln dried which won't add much flavor
 

WarrenWood

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Yeah, I grew up in Arkansas but I'm a city boy (:emoji_wink:)! I've called a couple of local tree cutters and have some leads, but since it's November they're slow in responding. Deer season just opened, the guys have their priorities ya know... :emoji_laughing:
 

WarrenWood

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Hello, all! Today I'm seasoning/burning in the OKJ (my granddaughter named it "Miss Bessie.") Before today I added a gasket around the cooking chamber door and two clamps to hold it closed. I also ran a high temp silicone bead around the seams to reduce the leaks. Last, I purchased a stack extension that will give me another 24" of draft.

I used a pastry brush and oiled the cooking chamber with safflower oil. I started a chimney of KBB. While the KBB was coming up to temp, I put a half chimney of unlit KBB in the charcoal basket with half a chimney of Royal Oak lump. Why half and half? I didn't have enough of either for a full chimney :emoji_wink: (yes, to restock charcoal...) When the lit KBB was ready, I added it to the charcoal basket and closed the upper door.

With the doors closed, the stack 100% open and the side door vent 100% open, Miss Bessie took a good 30 minutes to come up to temp. I have a Maverick 733 hooked up, with temp probes at 1/3 and 2/3 along the grates. There is a very consistent 25 degree difference, with the firebox side hotter. Assuming the probes are calibrated, I need to play with the reverse flow grates.

As I post this, Miss Bessie was been rock solid at 270/285 for about an hour. Outside temp is 50 degrees. I'm planning on adding the stack extension to see if I can get the temp higher without opening the side door. Then I'll try opening the door. I have a mini split of applewood, but I'm not sure I'll use it.
 

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WarrenWood

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And a follow-up: I added the smoke stack extension, then looked at the coal bed. Holy cow, this thing ate two chimneys of charcoal! So I went ahead and added my apple wood split.

After adding the chimney extension, I was surprised that my temperature difference dropped from 25 degrees to 10-15 degrees. But then thinking it out: if the original stack was too short and blocking the exiting airflow, I could see the extension improving the airflow and evening the temperature.

As the apple wood caught and burned, the temperature went up. Again I kept the side door closed, but the vents at 100%. The temp increased to 350 degrees by the firebox. For a short period of time I had some white smoke, but the smell wasn't unpleasant. After a few minutes it moved to TBS. I also noticed there was no more smell of burning oils or other manufacturing products. Miss Bessie smelled like a good smoker!

Then the temp difference started changing. Instead of 15 degrees, it shot up to a 50 degree difference! So obviously my theory above had some holes in it. Then I remembered the tuning plates do not seal 100%... could the hotter and faster exhaust be sucking hot air between the plates? I let the fire burn and after 30 minutes the temp dropped back down to 275 by the firebox. The temp difference between the probes also dropped back to 25 degrees.

So when I actually cook, I'll be using a foil layer on top of the tuning plates for cleanup, and that should seal up some of the gaps. And to be honest, I'm not sure about the calibration of my thermometer probes, so the difference might not be as bad as think.

My other purchase was a small poker to scrape ashes from the firebox. KBB leaves a lot of ash! So I opened the firebox door, and after a couple of minutes I was able to use the poker to grab the charcoal basket and shake out the ash.
 

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Workaholic

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I had seriously considered getting one of those. Great looking smoker. Good write up. Can't wait to see your first smoke on it after the burn in. If you continue to have problems evening out the temps, holler at me, I may have a few suggestions.

-Rich
 

1MoreFord

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WarrenWood, there are at least four BBQ joints in Hot Springs. There's Micky's, Stubby's, McClards, and Smokin' In Style. Try finding out how they source their cooking wood.
 

WarrenWood

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Joined Feb 21, 2020
WarrenWood, there are at least four BBQ joints in Hot Springs. There's Micky's, Stubby's, McClards, and Smokin' In Style. Try finding out how they source their cooking wood.
Good idea, and an ex-co-worker friend of mine has a BBQ supply shop and food truck. He competes with a Jambo, so I'll ask him about local sources.
 

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