What I did yesterday (mods trial and run)

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by nh3b's, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    After doing yet MORE snow removal [​IMG] and with the wife in VT for the weekend (no honey do's) [​IMG] I had the perfect opportunity to start modding my smoker.

    Heres what I did. The pics are self explanatory and the arrows represent smoke and heat flow. It somewhat made sence to me to use the backside of the smoker, since its curved, to maybey create some sort of vortex effect? I welcome all criticizems and suggestions.



    Here is the top view:



    I ran approximately 4 lbs of Cowboy lump, in witch I wasent impressed. For like I read on here, it burns quick. However, the max temp I got was 240 at mid grate. I dont have multiple thermometers but could feel its still hotter on the firebox side. Today Im gonna run it again and seal up the edges to notice differences. More to follow.
     
  2. smok'n steve

    smok'n steve Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Seems interesting!!

    What a original idea too, let us know how it works after you test again:)

    We need to think spring, I am sick of snow too!!

    I like your drawings, you guys must have special software for that?

    Steve
     
  3. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Naa Steve, I used MS Paint for that. Click your start menu, go to programs, go to accesories and it should be there. I have windows XP. That was the first time Ive used that but Ive played with Adobe Photoshop before. Just open it up and start playin with it...thats how Ive learned puters.

    Well Its time to start playin with the smoker....I will post my findings and further progressions.
     
  4. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Ok, so I sealed the openings up with duct tape.......SIGH....dumb move! The heat was too high for the firebox end. The glue on the tape just melted away.

    This expieriment was to just see the differences in sealingt the gaps around my plate....

    Before the tape fell off, I noticed that the heat did rise more quickly and obviously more direct through the opening in back. I put a few chunks of mesquite in there to track flow. It was flowing even and like i thought it was and pumping out some Thick BS as well as Thin BS.......some Belching white.......anyway it was working and highest temp I got mid grate was 270

    Same amount of lump and 10 degrees (outside temp) higher than before

    I feel things are going to plan. I have an idea that implements the baffle inside the firebox since I see you lose alot of heat through that. Thank God I was a tin-knoker at a point in my life as I know sheet metal. I will do my fabrications "the primitive" way w/o Breaks, rollers, spot welders so maybey people can duplicate for thier own
     
  5. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Ok, so I sealed the openings up with duct tape.......SIGH....dumb move! The heat was too high for the firebox end. The glue on the tape just melted away.

    This expieriment was to just see the differences in sealingt the gaps around my plate....

    Before the tape fell off, I noticed that the heat did rise more quickly and obviously more direct through the opening in back. I put a few chunks of mesquite in there to track flow. It was flowing even and like i thought it was and pumping out some Thick BS as well as Thin BS.......some Belching white.......anyway it was working and highest temp I got mid grate was 270

    Same amount of lump and 10 degrees (outside temp) higher than before

    I feel things are going to plan. I have an idea that implements the baffle inside the firebox since I see you lose alot of heat through that. Thank God I was a tin-knoker at a point in my life as I know sheet metal. I will do my fabrications "the primitive" way w/o Breaks, rollers, spot welders so maybey people can duplicate for thier own
     
  6. husker-q

    husker-q Smoke Blower

    The one thing that struck me was you may get some turbulence which would break up the air flow pattern as it moves across the smoker. One possible idea (and no idea if it would work) is to modify your chimney extension inside in a manifold fashion, horizontally, under the grate along the front with multiple intake ports - you would possibly have to extend the outside chimney length to get proper draft through it.
     
  7. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    2" TH

    I beat my brains HQ and hear what your sayin. I had a couple of designs in mind, however with no offence, this isint NASA. However, nothing wrong with trying to be[​IMG] .

    With the current mod I noticed the smoke "bouncing" across the sheet to the backside. The only improvement I can think of is the following:



    I can see that being an improvement and thank you for bringing that to my attn.

    I wish I had a camera, the wife has it in VT
     
  8. smok'n steve

    smok'n steve Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How about temp differences? Are they better for you? I usually use those cheap 3 dollar oven thermometers and place them in different locations.

    One thought on your discussions about watching your smoke flow....i am sure you thought of this, but when the door is open so you can see it, it must be acting differently than when the door is closed. When closed, I would think smoke permeates the entire vessel.

    Thanks for the drawing tips. I have a Mac, but I will prope around this thing to find similar software:) Pretty cool ideas you have:)

    Steve
     
  9. husker-q

    husker-q Smoke Blower

    I dont think I'd bother with the "bounce plate" - You should measure temps across the grate, horizontally and if you are getting even temps - you are golden! Dont forget when you put meat on the grate - that will also affect the air flow patterns, making more turbulent areas.

    Post some pics - will be interesting to see!

    good luck
     
  10. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I do agree Husker. I said what I said about NASA because I had to tell MYSELF that plenty of times upon modding my smoker. The one thing that did even out my temps was sealing up the edges around the sheet metal and blocking the top half of the opening from the firebox.

    During that run I was taking my hand and feeling the top of smoker and that felt evened out going across. I dont have 3 thermometers as of YET[​IMG]. In fact before I joined this site I didnt know they existed....I just used my Fluke multimeter! Yea that always got a laugh at parties!

    As far as the turbulent areas go, Thats true there will be from meat. As it stands now, when I peeked inside chamber to just see whats going on, It was all filled with smoke and I could see on the backside where the vent is, I could see the smoke "rolling" like I thought. Also the smoke is exiting out of the stackpipe, so, Its working, and I think Ill take it for a test drive this weekend.

    As far as temp differences go, like I said to husker, it feels even enough and yes, I will be getting thermometers! I made some mods yesterday and ran another run with same amount of lump. I feel comfortable like it is. By the way, when I said earlyer that ive been expierimenting with 4 lbs of lump I was wrong. I have just been doing 1 weber charcoal starter full witch I think is approximately 2.5 lbds.

    2.5 lbds and she peaked at 240 mid grate. I added about a lbd more and she peaked at 295.....so again, I feel comfortable to try her out.

    As I said to husker when I opened the door to check it out.....the chamber was filled with smoke and it just "poofs" out so....Its working. Also I could see it "rolling" up the backside by the dryer vent. Wife comes home today so I will have the Q-View soon.
     
  11. smok'n steve

    smok'n steve Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The real test------food!!!!!!!

    Good luck, we will be interested in how you like it:)
     
  12. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Ok, so in the age of no pics -didnt happen, now that monsoon season has ended, I got some pics.



    This is what it looks like



    Here is the backside



    Here is a flange piece I bent up to try and direct more heat inside the belly, used in conjunction with a top piece (next picture). Can someone tell me what that lip on the bottom is for??? Why did they punch it out like that??? seems it would DEFLECT heat from entering. Im thinking about sawing it off and dropping the firebox entirely. Also running 8 inch aluminum pipe to mid chamber.



    Here was an attempt to direct more heat inside chamber. There is alot of heat loss from firebox and I would like to prevent it as I like to get the most out of the least. It didnt work as heat went around sides. I will do it again except I will make it into a hood....trap the heat and make it flow. If that dont work Ill make a frypan or a griddle out of the top.
     
  13. wavector

    wavector Smoking Fanatic

    The more I think about it the more I wonder why we try to fight nature and not just manipulate it. What I mean is heat wants to go upward so why use a side firebox and try make it flow where it doesn't want to go? I think a bottom firebox is the answer. Even with the Bandera the side firebox has issues and has to be modded. I'm thinking vertical all the way.

    Another thing is heat and smoke travel seperately. Smoke is always ahead of heat on an open flame/fire.
     
  14. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I agree.

    Maybey a 5-7 gallon steel bucket w/lid, sitting on ground or lowered platform, piped into side or bottom might be answer?

    Im gonna use it a few times because I REALLY NEED to get smoken.
     
  15. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I can appreciate your ideas on modification, but there is only so much you can do. These offset smokers are very useable, and with slight mods, can be quite efficient.






    The above shows a heat diflector, it works great, the plates work better than nothing, but these work better.




    shown above with my old deflector. These two things in combination with

    a charcoal basket and an exhaust stack extension, and thats about all you can do to make these smokers any more efficient( just my opinion). I have mine in a weatherproof OSB shack to keep the wind and temp element out of the equation. A good lump charcoal, and your all set!
     
  16. husker-q

    husker-q Smoke Blower

    Capt Dan

    I notice you have the charcoal basket and your picture shows new lump on the right side and I assume a chimney full of lit coals. Is that how you normally set up a smoke and if so, how long does it last between adding new lump?

    I seem to go about 1.25 hrs between adds - but I just add about 1 chimney of hot coals each time - and dont have any unlit like you show.
     
  17. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thats the beginning load for a smoke, it lasts about 2 - 2 1/2 hrs. After the fire works its way to the unlit side, and the beginning side is all ashed out, I just shake the basket, and add unlit to the empty side, and the fire works its way back. This happens evey hr or so after the beginning load is about gone.
     
  18. ibsmoking

    ibsmoking Smoke Blower

    Husker whats holding the plate up?
     
  19. husker-q

    husker-q Smoke Blower

    The Chargriller comes with cast iron grates for the SFB, to be used for grilling if you want to just use the small box. I took those grates out and set this new one on those guides.

    Once the weather warms up - I think I'll add 4 or 6 bolts through the unit to make the coal grate height just above the side air intake. However, I like the idea of the basket so may fashion some sides to it. You dont want to make the grate too low because you may want to be able to slide out the ash bin during a long smoke
     
  20. nh3b's

    nh3b's Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I made a charcoal basket today. Just like BBQ Bubbas with the expanded metal. I think im going to just have it sit on flat stock. Ive never seen the Chargriller but if it has a round firebox you might want to use flat stock instaed of drilling holes. Plus if you dont like it, you can remove it.

    I dont have a pull out tray in my Charbroil but am going to mod one. I think that the charbroil silver is the cheapest out there plus has the smallest cooking chamber. Pros and cons to that.

    A monsoon is going to hit us again so I wount be able to work on anything. [​IMG]
     

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