SnP mods Part 2 - New parts!

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by herkysprings, May 6, 2010.

  1. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    Set up:
    Brinmann SnP
    - Afterburner propane burner
    - oven gasket lining
    - Vent extender
    - new thermos

    So, as a continuing project I am looking to optimize my SnP design such that it is as fuel efficient as possible, and a really nice even cooking area. I am focusing on heat distribution now as everything else seems to be in place. Also I'm a sucker for perfection in the things I use, and I wanted to learn more about these designs when when I build my own.

    For several months I have been using this setup: (minus the extra metal heat deflector on the right side I put that there in the picture only)

    Heat Baffle with a small angle
    2-3 tuning plates
    made from 1/8" steel

    Pros (over no setup):
    - Much better heat deflection / distribution
    - Can move plates a lot to change heat areas

    - Gaps in plates leave very hot spots
    - Vent side always a bit cooler on the grill

    The hot spots were very evident on my last smoke of 4 dozen chicken wings. I purposely left them in the same area to try and map out the spot. In the end I had some significant hot areas in between vents and the firebox side cooked much faster (normal for this setup).

    So after I saw a few pictures of a more complex setup on this forum, i decided I wanted to make a change. Since I do not have access to metal working equipment, or those skills, I had to get this made for me. After a few PMs I got the info I need and made an exchange to have a forum member help me acquire:

    First thoughts... "So THIS is what 1/4" steel is like! Damn its heavy!"

    This new setup came in two pieces. The first piece is meant to act as the heat baffle, and extend the heat / smoke along the cooking chamber.

    The second piece was suggested to me, and then requested by me, to further extend the heat / smoke along the chamber for cold weather cooking. I live in the Pacific North West, and I expect to be BBQing in cold rainy weather!

    Installation was a snap. Pull out old parts, put in new ones!

    One thing I forgot to do during my initial seasoning was to move the vent extension all the way over. It was overlapping the second plate, and although the setup worked great, I think it may have hampered some airflow.

    New setup (with grills):

    From my seasoning time, with digital probes all over the area I can say this:

    Pros (over old setup)
    - very even heat distribution all over the grill.
    - Recovers heat from lid lifting VERY fast

    - Takes a longer to warm up
    - Some hot spots on the far edges along the front / back where the heat baffle part is. Not really a big deal.
    - Firebox side thermo now gets a much hotter reading, even tho a digital probe in line with it on the grill registers cooler

    I had my probes everywhere on the smoker and they were very constant. No significant hot areas anywhere that I would have food on. I am doing a 15 lb brisket this weekend for my first smoke on it. I'm very excited, so far everything looks promising!

    I thought I would share this with you all. Aside from the Afterburner propane burner, which I installed as an experiment / battle high charcoal costs in Canada, my total costs for this have come to about $450.

    This includes the BBQ itself, all materials I installed, plus the cost of acquiring these new parts (shipping too!). That is 1/2 the cost of a Horizon (dont get me wrong tho, I would love a Horizon!), and a gradual cost. I added things and changed things and spent money over time, after the initial SnP purchase.

    Its been a fun build, who knows I may keep going. But for now I'm waiting for the weekend, and a great brisket smoke!

    Q on!

    PS - I still love and use my WSM!
  2. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice job on the comparison. [​IMG]

    I have thought about making a baffle and plates as shown in your 2nd version. I have the setup in version 1 now. I don't use my SnP much since I build my drum though so I've never got quite motivated enough to make the other baffle.

    Some day maybe though.

  3. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Nice upgrade. Good luck with your first smoke on the new mods.
  4. glgoodwin

    glgoodwin Meat Mopper

  5. jak757

    jak757 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Great post -- I like the comparisons. And I am VERY happy to see your results. I just built my Char-Griller (similar to yours), and before I took it out of the box had a fellow I know make two baffle/manifold plates just like yours (saw then in a couple other posts here). I too was amazed at how heavy the metal is -- it just seems like it has to help. The weather and schedule have not yet allowed me to season it. I can't wait!!! And the weatherman is calling for more rain this weekend here!

    I'd love to see pics and your description of the afterburner.

    Great job!!

  6. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    Here is the link to the Afterburner I am using.

    Originally I was using it as a cost effective alternative to charcoal, as prices of charcoal in Canada are double what I pay in Oregon (I was thinking of moving home).

    Right now with a $14-17 refill on my tank of propane, I can get 36 hours of smoke, more or less depending on temp used. A single bag of charcoal in Canada (large) is about $14.

    Customer service for the unit was great. I got the wrong one shipped to me (newer SnPs need a slightly different one), and I got a new one shipped back right away.

    For months I was focused on the description on the web page about how to use the burner, specifically the dark blue flame / little orange flicker. Now I know better, thanks to SMF guidance from DDAVE!, I just use it as is and it works great.

    Comparing lighting my WSM with charcoal (basically lighting charcoal Minion Method) vs the afterburner I'd say:

    Afterburner Pros:
    - Super fast to start up and walk away (vs minion method)
    - Direct control of temp with the propane / exhaust
    - Easy to pre-heat SnP hotter and dial the temp down. This is useful for heating up the 1/4" steel manifolds fast and dialing down the temp fast.
    - get tbs very fast and accurate
    - Can control amount of TBS easily

    Cons (vs charcoal)
    - different taste (slight, no charcoal flavor if you like that)
    - need coffee / tin cans to generate smoke, and if they have a liner it needs to be burned out
    - need to change out wood more often (burn through it a bit faster)
    - flames can go out if you are not careful with the wind, or dont turn it up far enough
    - Propane costs may vary vs charcoal (more expensive)
  7. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Man a guy sure can get divided on this forum. I've really wanted a WSM for awhile now for the convience, long burns & tolerence to winds (its been 20-30 MPH winds for a week) but then I see these kinds a post & think I kinda like tending to the meat? I think I'm just gonna have to find a way to get both??[​IMG]
  8. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    WSM is out of the box awesomness. Pure Q Power! Wind is actually not a good thing for the WSM, as it can mess up your charcoal. a wind breaker will do wonders to keep temps steady.

    The SnP was more of a work in progress kind of thing. I could apply as much time / money as I wanted to make it work better. I actually got the SnP for Ribs, as my WSM is 18.5" and had issues with larger rib racks or multiples, and some larger brisket cuts.

    I like both, and I use both. Getting 2-4 Pork butts on the WSM with its super efficient charcoal burning BBQness is really great, and with a spray bottle of Apple juice, i dont need much more access than lifting the lid.

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