Keep original for smoke or chop for a Santa Maria?

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
May 31, 2015
I posted this earlier in the charcoal section but wanted broader opinion. Ok here is what I have....I have an original Oklahoma Joe barbecue from the early 1990's. Made from 1/4 inch steel. It's not a smoker there is no fire box. It measure 20x36. So it's not very big. Adding a firebox to it turns out will be very expensive as well as adding shelves in the main chamber. I can do better with my current Old Country. However if I was to have the top cut in half horizontal wise, I can put a custom made Santa Maria insert on top.20x36 isn't a bad size at all. Drain hole is there for cleaning, I will mod the side vent door to be utilized for cleaning it out. This seems like a slam dunk to me. The are those that would think I am nuts cutting up an original OKJ. But that doesn't bother me. It's quality gives me a good base. Opinions?
They are now Horizon making it like they used too. But the difference between then and now is they do not have steel from the USA. It all comes from China now.
How often do you use it? How often do you think you'll use the Santa Maria setup? If I thought I'd use it, Santa Maria more then as is i'd go for it as you already gave a more economical option to smoke. Personally I would rather have a rotisserie setup but maybe it can be setup as both?
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Got one of the Gabby's grills already.....needs to cook for 50 people
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Help me save it boys....found a company in Texas that will sell me a firebox. Wil run 350.....but will run 350 in shipping. Anyone driving from Texas to Utah in the next few months?
Got a Private Message from a member saying I should go reverse flow with it. Thoughts?!
If you'd be paying someone to chop it, why not pay someone locally to build and attach a firebox?  You may have to show them the calculator and go over exact opening and location, but it should easily be done for a lot less than $700, at least in these parts.  As for RF, that requires moving the stack and patching the old hole, building a plate, etc.  You could add the firebox now, use it as an offset, and switch to RF as funds allow.
I have a guy in Texas that can do it for me for 300 including shipping. Craig Bell is his name. He is going to build me a firebox. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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