smokers Cheap offset smoker upgrades

I found a New Braunsfels smoker on CL for $50. It's been used 3 times to cook steaks, it was kept outside with a cover then eventually in the garage. The metal is in good shape, no rust holes but the bottom shelf is dented. This thing hasn't been used enough to call it seasoned.




I fired it up and threw in some wood chips to check how bad it leaks and holds temp. I wasn't impressed so I started looking for mods and noticed that this fire box is about 2" higher than some of the better models. So I had to start making changes.
I picked up some 3/16" plate and started marking it out for a lower fire box and a smaller fire box to cooking chamber opening. I used a few of the pit calculators to determine the intake and exhaust opening and if that doesn't work I'll make changes later. I pulled it apart and here's where I'm at right now.
You can see the outlet from the fire box is at grill level and that makes a very hot spot so that part of the smoker is useless, maybe a water pan there would help but I'm going for better results.

I cut part of the fire box top and left that hole to mount it for hopefully a solid seal. I cut off about 5/8" of the top lip to help the heat flow into the cooking chamber.


You can see the ash door with all those leaks, they should've installed some plate inside the fire box to make a better seal but I'll do a temporary fix for now.

Here's the mounting plate, you can see how much smaller I'm making the outlet for the fire box. It's 4" x 9" and should work better with a nice even flow compared to wide open burning charcoal/wood like crazy. When I tested it I used 5lbs of charcoal and it burned for about 2 hours with the temp over 300 for most of that time. I'm sure the ash door leaks had something to do with that.

Here's the new stack I ordered, it's a 4" instead of 3" and should make a nice draw when I mount it on the side instead of the top.

Time to get back to it, my battery is charged. More pics later.
Yeah, I thought it would be rusted bad but sometimes you get lucky.
I'm done for today and ready to do a test run. I have everything back together and even cut some baffle plates to help even out the temps.

The baffle plates are just sitting in there, I ran out of plate and probably need one more. This might take time to figure out what position works best.

You can see the fire box opening is about 2" from the grates and that heat deflector should help direct the heat down under the baffle plates.

From the fire box into the cooking chamber, notice how much I closed off.

I used an old barrel top to close off most of the door, I think it should work better.
I have a water pan with some thick cut bacon in it to spread the oils inside. I cleaned the inside and sprayed it down with canola oil cooking spray too. I'm heading to the store to see what cheap fatty meat I can find to season it.
Rajun Gardener said:
I have a water pan with some thick cut bacon in it to spread the oils inside. I cleaned the inside and sprayed it down with canola oil cooking spray too. I'm heading to the store to see what cheap fatty meat I can find to season it.
See if you can find some straight lard. Works very well.
No lard but I got some fatty pieces they cut off of pork roast. I seasoned it and it's on there now. I also bought some fatty pork steaks cut from the butt that I might put on later after the smoker has seasoned some. It's already looking good, I'm using charcoal and pecan limbs from the yard for smoke.
Door leaks everywhere, I'll order some Lava-Lock to seal those up. I still have the 3" stack, it seems to be working with that light blue smoke rolling.

Junk factory thermometer like always

True temp close to the fire box

I used a sprite can to extend the stack down to grate level to hold in the heat.


I plan on running it for a while and see what it cooks like and it's making me hungry for BBQ.
I'm thinking this might work out, I added another thermometer to to other side so I can see both temps and twice now they were close to each other. The steady temp in that zone should be perfect for a brisket/butt or what ever I smoke. I'll need to adjust the charcoal amount to get the right temps but this is really close with just a little charcoal and a pecan branch/log. I think a charcoal basket set up for the minion method might put this almost on auto pilot.
That sprite can is slowly getting covered on smoke, won't be long before you can't read it.




I might end up smoking those pork steaks tonight to have for breakfast!!!!!
The turkey wings came out great but I was more impressed with the leg quarters. I cooked them low=about 250. That means the skin is kinda rubbery but the meat is off the chain. The chicken taste like rotisserie and juicy to the point it dripped in the plate when I cut it apart. I didn't get pics of the chicken but they were so good I ate 2 leg quarters for a snack.


I'm happy with the mods but I still want to add that 4" exhaust stack. I think it'll help especially using wood for fuel. 
Leftovers for supper, turkey wings and leg quarters from yesterday cooked low and slow-all meat supper chasing it down with Beam and coke and a few shots of vodka!!!
Turkey wing skin is so different from chicken when cooked right like this, it's a sticky gooey treat. It's like the burnt ends of poultry! Stuffed is the way to go.

The chicken was good too, juicy and a nice smoked flavor.
I've been busy all day and finally done enjoying a Drank after a much needed shower. Mowed 3 acres then cut and split some pecan to use for smoking. I kept some 3-4" branches from trees that were removed because of rot from lightning strikes.
I broke out the chop saw and made 3 different sizes then split them. They split easy being fresh cut. I used a hatchet and a small sledge for the few that didn't split easy. I don't expect these to be dry enough to use at least till fall but it's a start.
I'm calling it a bonus, I could've kept more but pecan is easy to get here already dried and split.
I plan on smoking a butt tomorrow but I had to do some testing using just wood for heat first. It's working but I can't get the heat above about 250, it's probably becauce I closed off the fire box door and can't open it to get more air. I'll fix that in the morning before I start.
While playing I smoked some eggs, just raw eggs on the grill. They were good with a mild smoke flavor. I got this from people saying they make deviled eggs with them. You can't tell from the pics but these were green, white and dark brown eggs when I started. I have 2 left and want to see if letting them sit increases the smoke flavor.

Here's the butt rubbed in mustard and seasoned with a new rub I made yesterday. I'll post the rub if anyone wants it tomorrow.