Thermostats for new Oklahoma Joe Longhorn

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by manik36, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. Just got a Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn smoker..  I have started doing a few standard mods and was looking to replace the stock thermostat  and drop 2 better quality ones in... Can  anyone give sugestions for what thermostats would be good for this smoker.. I do know about using grate level digital probes and will be ordering one next week

    please reply with a link so i can see where to order

    the most i can spend is around $80
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
  2. Get the maverick et732 and dont waste your money on another thermometer. I have the same rig and thought about doing the same thing but went with the maverick., My stock thermometer is about 50 degrees hotter than it is at grate level. What other mods are you doing; just curious.
  3. I am going to get a digital one next weekend. More then likely a Maverick. So thanks for the heads up on that model.. Looks like that one would be a nice one.

    Im still gonna replace the one on the smoker with 2 new ones.. im gonna move them down closer to grate level so i still would like some suggestions on what would be some good one to do this with.

    As for the mods: First off im making a convection plate, Dropping my chimney down a bit closer to the grates, I may extend my chimney as well.. not sure yet.. and im building a charcoal basket out of expanded metal. Not sure yet if im gonna need to seal up anything yet, but if so i'll get some gasket sealer for that.
  4. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    One of our site sponsors also has the Maverick on sale with Free shipping  and Amazon could never match his level of customer service!!!

    I see this is your first post here, when you get a minute would you do us a favor and go to Roll Call and introduce yourself so we can get to know you and give you a proper welcome, also would you add your location to your profile, we like knowing where you are when we talk to you, Thanks!
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012
  5. You got a great smoker/grill Manik! Welcome!

    I bought a 90 degree elbow from Lowe's for $4 that went right in my Longhorn's stack and brought the stack level down closer to the grill surface. The stack itself was a bit loose fitting into the sleeve that's welded into the side of the food chamber, with a substantial gap there between the stack and the sleeve - especially on the jam-bolt side. I jammed steel wool into the gap with a screwdriver, and then I spray it with PAM, along with everything else inside, each time I clean it out the inside of the food chamber with my pressure washer (just put a bucket under the drain stub to catch the food bits and goo). BTW, I had to shorten the fixed legs at the drain end of the food chamber, and lengthen the wheel legs to get good normal flow out of my drain into my normal catch can.

    I also sealed the food chamber door with black high temperature automotive gasket sealant. Now I get very little smoke leakage around the door, and smoke comes out the drain stub under the food chamber!

    The firebox chamber leaks/gaps around the ash drawer can be greatly reduced by a little creative bending. Otherwise it's real hot in the firebox so I have ignored gasketing the firebox doors.

    Yes, charcoal baskets are helpful, and a diffuser plate evens out the temperature in the food chamber giving you more smoking surface - though you lose the searing/grilling ability at the firebox end of the food chamber. A drop-in diffuser plate lets you take it in and out depending on how you want to configure the heat in the food chamber.

    Let us know what you do and how it works out for you!
  6. Sounds like you got a good start. My buddy is a welder and we are In the process of doing those same mods as well. We are just going to do the tuning plates though. I figured it would be easier doing it that way. And ski freak thanks for the good info. I had the same problem with the drain snub. I was always having to lift it up on the firebox to get gravity working in my favor. Also do you remember exactly what kind of elbow you bought. I need to get one as well. Im still debating on getting a charcoal basket. I dropped the firebox grill grate lower into the firebox and then laid one of the smaller grates across it. This has worked really well for me because it raised the fire off the bottom and allowed the ash to fall through. Mine did not come with an ash drawer so I put a small cookie sheet under my grates and it works fantastic!! Anyhow I'm glad I found some other Oklahoma Joe users. Let me know if y'all have any other good ideas!
  7. Here is a picture that shows my additional "Tel-Tru" thermometers as purchased from FireCraft - they were $25 each:

    Here is a picture of my interior stack extension I bought from Lowe's for $4:

    Yeah, it's galvanized but at the temperatures it sees it really doesn't matter - plus it was coated with a nice layer of smoky sealant after the first couple of smokes.

    A nice quality cover is available from Char-Broil on their website for $30 plus $10 shipping, if you're interested (this picture taken in the rain):

  8. Here's a picture of my home-made labyrinth charcoal basket, made from store-bought expanded metal:

    It's just 2 sheets of 18 Gauge expanded metal (steel) from Lowe's, bought for $10 a sheet - they came 1 foot X 2 feet from the store. I bent both of the two sheets each into a "U" that was 1 foot on the bottom and a half foot on the sides. Then I sat them one over the other, but offset them a quarter turn to each other, to get four side walls and a double thickness bottom for longer burn-thru life. I welded the edges/corners with a small 120 VAC MIG welder with the power dial turned way down, making short quick welds to not liquify too much of the thin stock materials. The baffles are cold rolled sheet steel (0.060" - 16 Gauge), each 6" high X 8" long, also delicately welded in place onto the expanded metal. It holds a half cubic foot of charcoal. The idea is that you fill the basket with mostly unlit charcoal and put a half a chimney full of lit briquets on one end, then the "fire" slowly works its way through the unlit charcoal maze giving you a long burn time. My above picture showing the additional 2 thermometers I added also shows my Weber chimney burning away at the right side of the picture.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012
  9. Here's a picture of my "fancy" catch can - just a coffee can with two punched holes and some baling wire:

  10. Im still trying to figure out the dimensions for the plates and for the baffle. Currently i am planning on doing a 10x10 for the baffle and 16x10, 16x8, and 16x6 for the plates. Any idea as to whether or not that would work well. There are 4 inches of clearance between the bottom of the smoker and 6 inches between the cooking grate.
  11. Thanks for all the input.. I am ordering 2 tel-tru thermometers this evening.. maybe i can get them by saturday (crossing fingers).

    Finished my convection plate today on my lunch break at work .. I made it with 11 gauge steel. Plz let me know whatchall think

    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  12. Very nice mods Ski-Freak!!!  Are those 2" thermometers? 2 1/2 or 4 inch stems?
  13. That looks awesome Manik!!! Can you share the dimensions?
  14. Manik, the two thermometers I added were the less expensive 1.75" dial Tel-Tru 30523.0006. The probes are around 2" long. They mount through a 0.25" hole with only slight reaming, and are secured by a supplied wingnut on the inside. $24.95 each from

    I located them 7.5" in from the left and right edge of the door so that the left one is directly under the OEM one, and I went 3" up from the bottom edge of the door so as not to hit most food onthe grill. I have the electric Maverick one but hardly use it since the dial units are just easier and accurate enough for me.

    You did a really nice job making your diffuser plate, you will be happy! It's like the Horizon version I ordered but seems like it will never come. Good idea to keep it drop-in, so you can have the whole food chamber surface for when you're smoking with it in place, and removing it returns the searing ability at that last 6 or so inches right up against the firebox for corn on the cob, asparagus, romaine lettuce, and thin steaks.

    One thing to start thinking about is how you're going to regularly clean the food chamber since it's fairly low itemperature ndirect heat and it collects a lot of thick drippings and food debris. Much of the thinner liquid dripping goes into my regular catch can, but the heavier debris often doesn't - even after improving the pitch. I have a tiny Karcher pressure washer I already had for getting salt off the cars in the winter, and that's what I use. I swap a joint compound bucket under the drain stub for my little normal can, and blast it out for maybe 5 minutes, or until the bucket is full of smooze, whichever comes first. Then I leave the doors open to dry in the sun, and once it's dry I spray the whole inside with PAM.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
  15. I used an 11gauge steel cut at 32" x 18" ... holes punched at 1/2" 3/4' 1" 1 1/4" 1 1/2"  ... bends at 2" and 9 1/2
  16. Thanks. I will probably do this instead of doing the plates.
  17. Thanks for sharing your diffuser dimensions Manik! I ended up making my own when I called Horizon about my already late diffuser plate shipment, and that's when they decided to tell me it was now on backorder - so I cancelled the order. More fun to home-brew it myself anyway!

  18. A plain charcoal basket to dump a lit chimney of coals into, and then to layer wood chunks, lump, and sticks into is also very useful in my OK Joe:

    Dimensions: 1 foot X 1 foot X 6 inches tall.

  19. Just cut 2 pieces of 3/4" expanded metal (steel) to 1 foot X 2 feet and bend each into a "U" that is 1 foot on the bottom and 6 inches tall on each side. Some box stores sell it already cut to the 1 foot X 2 feet size! I used a small bench mounted bending brake but you could bend them around a 2X4 piece of lumber too (wearing leather work gloves of course).

    Then sit one "U" at right angles to the other "U" so that there are four sides that are 6 inches tall, and a double thickness base that's 1 foot by 1 foot (will last twice as long before burn-thru). I welded my corners together, but there's no reason some steel wire couldn't be used to simply twist tie the corners together...

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