Oklahoma Joe's Long Horn modification

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Original poster
Aug 27, 2023
Hello All,
Upgrade from a Royal Gourmet offside smoker to an Oklahoma Joe's Long Horn and while I'm happy with the smoker build quality over the Royal gourmet I'm not very happy with the first few trial burns I had. Unfortunately I'm limited with choices on what is available locally as shipping here is crazy as well as prices here begin at least double the online prices.... yet I'm sure with few mods I would be able to improve the performance of the Long horn.

I have added high temperature gaskets to the smoking pit and the fire pit to minimize smoke leaks worked fine so far alsot minimize probe squeeze when it goes under the lid, not sure if there is a better solution for the probe cables.gasket did detach a bit from the fire pit door guess due to much higher temp or because of flames hitting it. Not a big deal so far and might just replace the gasket on fore pit with high temp silicon


I already seasoned the smoker by painting with PAM canola oil. wonder if on next seasonings I can skip the outside as it was a bit messy with oil dripping on the floor...

my main concern and issue witl the longhorn is that I'm not able to get the temperature up inthe cooking chamber at grate level unless I open the door completely which is annoying as I can' t control the temps easily. Even wide open and with temp at grate level at 250 smoke isn't clean necessarily which is another thing I'm struggling with.
I modified the inlet to add a connector for Thermoworks billows which is known to have a rather stronger fan, it barely could raise the temp to 250-275 and when billows shifted from constant to intermittent fan on the smoke was on the dirty side most of the cook time.
Note that I only get one butterfly for fire control while online I see longhorn with dual butterfly controls. I can always take out the door and have a much larger vent and better control but that would require cutting the door connection as there is no hinge with screws as well as requiring to weld it back

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So starting with few of the mods:

I added a plate as well as a charcoal grid in case I want to BBQ on charcoal in the smoking chamber. The plate is 4mm thick metal and the grid is 12mm thick so they'll retain heat and help with a bit of heat in the smoker when fore stalls or I open the lid... most important they'll protect the smoker metal if I have to barbecue inside the smoking chamber. The plate curves help woth slwrapping foil sheet on the plate when smoking so all drippings that fall outside of tray go on foil that I remove easily instead of having to clean the smoker heavily every cook.

I also added this plate for burning charcoal and wood above it, believe its better than the one that came with the smoker. Not sure if I should raise it more so air goes more from below it .



Also added this rack inside the smoking chamber to heat the wood chunks before using them. this heats them much more than on the fire pit top plate and allows for instant take when I add a wood chunk even larger ones. Most important I can avoid the hassle of removing wood chunks every time I open the fire pit.
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And final mod was having a replica fire pit vent inlet cut and adding a fitting so I can connect my thermoworks billows via a threaded connector they sell. Made sure to push the connector and the small handle as much as I could to the left so I don't lose air inlet space


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And final mod was having a replica fire pit vent inlet cut and adding a fitting so I can connect my thermoworks billows via a threaded connector they sell. Made sure to push the connector and the small handle as much as I could to the left so I don't lose air inlet space

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I have a highland and struggled at first because i was using the basket and waan't doing a bed of coals the adding splits. I saw this on a joe mod ite, but don't remember where. by making a V with small grates i could add whole small splits and the them char to get blue smoke.
I ended up being too lazy to tend an offset in 95degree temps and am selling it .I also put lid clamps from harbor fr
joe fire chamber.jpg
eight on to keep smoke chamber tight with lava lock gaskets.
Ran a couple test burns and smoked a brisket and then ribs with manual and with Billows control.and struggled in both cases to get the temp to rise as much as I wanted or to get clean smoke. Even woth fore pit door fully opened I couldn't get stable clean fire nor clean smoke. Meat tasted okay still without any bitter flavours but I'm.sure I should be getting better flavour and easier fire control. So I decided to check things and experiment to try to pinpoint the cause.
I added 3 probes at cooking grate level and 2 oklahoma joes on the top of the cooking lid



Then I experimented with different scenarios and got the following readings.
With each scenario temp reading will be as follows
Smoke stack told lid thermometer - fire pit side top lid thermometer
Left or exit sode probe- middle probe- fire sode probe

Test one with original smoke stack, air inlet and outlet fully open fire pit door closed, waited for 30 min for smoker to heat up
225. 250
197. 205. 229
Dirty smoke

Test two opened fire pit door around 1/2 inch. Gave it 10 min to stabilize
270. ----------------- 300
219. 230. 283
Smoke little cleaner but still not clean desired smoke

Test three Opened fire door completely and gave it 10 min to stabilize

275. ‐‐--------------- 325
229. 240 278
Smoke comparable to test two

Test 4 added a 90 degrees elbow on inside of the exhaust


Door fully open
268. 291. 310
Clean smoke

Test 5 closed fire pit door inlet fully open
280. -----------------------'zz325
257. 266. 276
Clean smoke

Test 6 added a 3.5 ft galvanised steel smoke stack. 3 inch like original.stack but has a 2 45 elbow turn vs the original tight 90 degrees elbow. Also is 3.5 ft long

Immediately I could see crazy air draw in the smoker and had these results. Inside elbow in place

325------------------- 375
283. 302. 329
Smoke was the cleanest possible to the point I dodnt see smoke at all. On opening the smoker there was still good smoke in the smoke pit. Smoker was going fast through chunks of wood and giving high temps. Not sure if there is something as too much air draw. Will definitely add a stack damper to slow down air draw.

Test 7 inlet vent half closed
325.-------------------- 375
288. 300. 323
Clean smoke

Test 8 inlet vent 10 percent open
375. --------------- 425
320. 347. 378
Clean smoke

Test 9 same as 8 but removed inside elbow
309. 310. 368

Test 10

Removed coal bed
Vent 30 percent open and used a small wood piece

300.----------------- 350
238. 251. 255

My observations
Original stack can't be used as it's restricting draw and causing dirty smoke and fire stalls

Moment I put longer stack draw improves dramatically and I get super clean smoke yet temp goes crazy high and I'm not able to bring down. I will Add a damper to the stack to try to control temp yet I still need to get to minimize top thermometers vs grate level probes temp difference. Also need to minim8ze differences from right to left side if smoker and get a bit of a slower burning fore. Nit sure if a smoke stack damper alone will help solve that or if I need anything else. Input appreciated here.
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