Propane conversion of side fire box smoker

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by GaryHibbert, May 19, 2015.

  1. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I've never been happy with the wood/charcoal supplied heat in my well-used El Cheapo Wally World External Firebox Smoker. The mods to upgrade it would have cost more than I paid for the smoker and, one of these days, I plan to buy a MES 30.  I've been kicking around the idea of converting it to propane, and finally decided to do it.

    I first tried a leftover side burner from an old grill, but I would have been lucky to have toasted marshmallows over that heat.  So I dug out my turkey fryer and took the burner off it (haven't used it for 9 years, so doubtful it will be missed).  Discovered that it came with a variable regulator--bonus!!

    So, now for the big test. I set the burner in the fire box and fired it up.  With the variable regulator valve open about 1/4, I maintained a steady temp of 250 degrees for the 1/2 hour test. Opening it up just a little further gave a very constant 300 degrees. Happy Happy Happy.  I have no idea what maximum temp I can hit.  But I am really  looking forward to finding out. More power.  Har Har Har.

    Didn't have a mailbox for my AMNPS, and didn't feel like driving 2 hours into Edmonton to get one, so I built an 11" x 13" x 9" box out of some 3/4 inch plywood I had in the garage--just a little overkill, LOL--and attached a 3" flex hose to it.  Stapled the flanges to the inside of the box to hold it in place while I applied the high temp silicon, inside and outside the box.

    While that was curing, I mounted the burner solidly to a bracket in the fire box and ran the propane hose through the vent--a little cutting, and the vent was still fully functional.  

    Didn't have a 3" metal hole saw, so I had to cut through the wall of the cook chamber with my saber saw. As you can see, a round hole doesn't actually have  to be round......

    And hooked everything together. Couldn't use staples this time, but a couple of dabs of contact cement kept things in place for the silicon.

    All I have left to install is a thermocouple (didn't have one).  Guess that means that, in the name of safety, I'll be forced to sit next to the smoker for the entire cook--its a tough job, but somebody's got to do it!!!

    Since I had everything on hand except for the flex tubing and the high temp silicon, total cost of the conversion was $17 plus whatever the thermocouple costs (about $10)--pretty cheap for highly successful retrofit.

    There's country style ribs (loin end) slathered in mustard and covered in Jeff's Rub sitting in the fridge.  Tomorrow afternoon they go on my "new" propane smoker--can't wait!!

  2. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Very cool, Gary...nice mod! Back when I was still cooking on a cheapo New Braunfels offset, I briefly considered a similar mod...but then decided to sell the thing and buy a propane fueled cabinet smoker.

    Looking forward to seeing how she cooks! Thumbs Up

  3. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks Red.  I have meat on the smoker right now.  Will post it soon.


Share This Page