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Smoker Modifications

Big Green Egg Stainless Steel Table

The Table is a 30" x 48" Gorilla Table from Sam's Club.
The legs are a tight fit inside of 1 1/2" galvanized iron pipe.  The Table legs were shortened by 8".  I would suggest doing all work on the table legs before putting the table together. The hole was cut with a jigsaw.  For best table integrity cut inside the outer verticle of the tophat braces as shown in the detail picture.

General Modifications

There are many inexpensive smokers on the market that with a few easy modifications can easily turn out great BBQ.  For those folks who don't want to modify I highly recommend sticking with genuine Weber products.  With the very kind help of the folks credited below here are some ideas to get you started.

If you are using wood or charcoal The BBQ Guru is an easy and wonderful modification. The guru controls pit temp and monitors meat temp.

The Stoker does the same thing with an IP interface so you can access it over the internet

Smoker Modifications is a great Adobe Acrobat document on Modifying the New Braunfels Hondo and Black  Diamond smoker grill (although the principles will work just fine with a Brinkmann).  This was created by Dan and is posted here with his kind permission.  Dan also reports great success with Barbeques Galore's house brand of chunk charcoal, long consistent burn and very little ash.

This page was started back in 2002.  BBQ has benefitted greatly from the growth of the internet.  There are lots of great resources listed on our links page. Our first suggestion is search for a group or forum for your specific smoker.  One of the best is The Virtual Weber Bullet .  For general advice on a classic pit or UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker) head on over to BBQ Brethren Forum .

Charcoal Baskets

This is a good basic design.  If you put the solid sides to the direction of air flow it burns slower.  Using the Minion method with the fire burning top down also gives a longer burn.   Charcoal baskets are the #1 way to get longer burns out of a smoker. 

Pit Tuning

With a pit that has the fire box at one end and the chimney at the other you will have a difference in temperature unless you "Tune" the pit. Professional builders do this with a series of metal plates that lay in the pit under the grate with small gaps between the plates closest to the fire and the gaps getting bigger further away from the fire.  Here is how I added tuning and a water bath for under $10 to my Klose.  The 12"x24" steel grate the aluminum pan is sitting on was on clearance at Home Depot. The lip on the pan was bent in to just fit under the baffle.  I fill it with water or water and apple juice.  After I'm done cooking I let the dripping get hard so I can scoop them and throw them in the trash.

Here is the Aluminum water pan method described above

This is tuning with a Pizza stone. 
It is less expensive and does not need water added.  The down sides are it will not control temperature spikes while you sleep or add moisture.  Cooking area is greatly increased compared to no tuning but not as much as the water pan method.  You can get meat a lot closer to the fire box than the water pan method.  Meat which is above the stone is fine, meat at the edge got too much heat and got crunchy.

Bandera Modifications

The New Braunfels Bandera is a great entry level smoker that has its own following on Yahoo Bandera Group

These modifications are from the "Avon Lady" zip file by Gary Wiviott  posted with his kind permission.  Gary gives full credit to Max Lorenz who did the CAD drawing for the Bandera baffle and Mikey Lulejian who generated quite a bit of the information contained in the 'Avon Lady' package.

Here is Text file from the Avon Lady zip file.  The entire content of the file is the pictures and illustrations you see on this page and the Text file.  The only thing I did was crop white space from some drawing and arrange it on this page.

This shows the Dimensions of the Bandera before any modifications are made.  This is of real value to folks who want to create their own out of heavier gauge steel than the version sold in stores.

This shows where the baffle is placed.  Without the baffle the heat and smoke tends to rise up the right side making for uneven heat distribution.

Detailed dimensions for fabricating the baffle

Two views of the Baffle installed

This shows expanded metal in the firebox for grilling and a water pan in the smoker for moderating the heat

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Last Updated 11/05/2012