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Offset Firebox Smoker Mods?

I never win raffles.
(Well almost never. I won a really cool Chimay bar light/sign at the Crescent City Homebrew Competition in NOLA back in 1997.) This weekend I won a offset firebox smoker in a raffle. It's pretty nice - a Char Griller model 1624 (see the youtube vid below).
I'm thinking with a few mods it could be lean, mean smokin' machine. The main box lid is clamshell style and has a significant gap between the lid and the bottom. I'm sure that needs to be sealed.

Can anyone recommended mods to improve my new machine?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyWhzA9YgkM

I'm more like I am now than I was before.

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Comments

  • edited October 22

    CharGriller Deluxe Offset smoker @ AD

    Everything you'd ever want to know.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Thanks @punkin. That's the one I was thinking of but could not remember where it was.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • You are welcome. I had honey/soy pork ribs last night with a couple mates, but did them 36 hours at 63C in the sous vide before finishing over charcoal on the weber. Melt in your mouth, but a lot less trouble than tending the offset.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • edited October 22

    Sous vide is a bit more laboratory-like and less cooking-like than I like. The whole fire-and-forget thing is a bit too hands off for me. Gave mine away to a friend.

    My preferred cookstove is a campfire 2,200m up the side of Mauna Kea. Everything tastes better with a hint of woodsmoke and frost in the background

    (FWIW we got our first snowfall of the season on Friday night):

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    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • I like to do various things cooking wise, love smoked foods, cold smoked foods etc.

    The offset is a great bit of kit, i use mine as a stick burner nowadays.

    The sous vide is great in it's place, best steak i've ever had came from the sous vide as well as best prawns and lobster.

    I can definitely hear what you're saying though.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited October 22

    For those who are welding challenged.
    I cut box corner tie wires from the expanded metal trim pieces instead of using rebar tie wires shown in this vid.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4mxUUE9OjI

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited October 23

    Measured the air gaps and found these to fill them:

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    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited October 22

    Anybody have any recommendations for hood-mountable thermometers?
    Online reviews are all over the place/contradictory.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited October 23

    Survey says, "Dis kine da bomb!"

    River Country RC-T2 @ eBay (scroll up)

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    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • Analog? No pid control? I'm sure you can rig up a Johnson actuator to an arm to open/close a vent to regulate temp.

  • You would be surprised by how inaccurate an analog hood probe can be. Ideally you want a probe at grill level, and in an offset you want to be mindful of the fact that the firebox side is going to be considerably hotter than the chimney side.

    On the subject of auto temp regulation in a charcoal pit there are a whole bunch of products that use a thermometer/controller and a small fan you attach to one of the vents (you close all the other vents)

  • edited October 23

    I put hood analogue probes in at grill level but i never look at them. I rely on my maverick bluetooth thermometer. It has twin probes so i can measure meat temp and grill temp remotely.

    I also have a pid controller and fan setup that one of the members here built for me. I haven't used it yet as i haven't had the offset going.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • edited October 23

    What do you think of your looflighter @punkin ? I had not heard of it until I read your post on AD. I use newspaper and a propane plumbing torch in a chimney. That adds about 30-40 minutes to startup.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited October 23

    @grim said: Analog? No pid control? I'm sure you can rig up a Johnson actuator to an arm to open/close a vent to regulate temp.

    If I wanted all of that automation I would have kept my sous vide.

    My big concession to automation was when I got my KitchenAid mixer for kneading bread dough 22 years ago. (my wife got tired of hearing me slam the dough down on the kitchen counter to develop the gluten).

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited October 23

    @mark85 said: ...in an offset you want to be mindful of the fact that the firebox side is going to be considerably hotter than the chimney side.

    You use baffels and rocks in the bottom of the smoke box to even out the heat.

    I won't use scorria as fill in my VM, but high density/low porosity "blue rock" lava (unvesiculated basalt) makes real nice firebricks. It's just laying on the ground (it is the ground) waiting to be picked up and used around here.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • The looftlighter is a great bit of kit. They stopped selling them over here a few years ago, my mate bought all the stock from his local bunnings at $40 each and sold them for $130 on ebay.

    Takes about five minutes to get a chimney started and no fluid smell. I use it a few times a week for the charcoal weber i mostly cook on.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Thanks Thats good to know. I like the concept. They are still available here in the States, on Amazon for around $75 including freight.

    I cannot eat bbq that has been cooked on a naptha started fire. It's worse than trying to gag down an infected homebrew.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited October 24

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited October 24

    I also have a looftlighter and love the thing. I like to use heat beads because they seem to burn the longest in a nice consistent way but they’re a nightmare to light with chemical starters, a looftlighter solves all that, you can just blast away at your chimney till it’s hot as the sun, the inclusion of a bottle opener on the unit is a nice touch

    The parts of the metal casing that gets hot when you use it also gets quite malleable so it’ll bend a bit if youre not careful with it ;))

  • Would think you guys would use some fine spirit to start a fire. I could see a nice gin adding to the aroma of a rub.

  • Silly wabbit, gin is for dwinking!

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited October 24

    Half of the island here (the dry side) is covered with kiawe (local kine mesquite), free for the cutting, so I'll be running my grill as a stick-burner. Kiawe is as hard as a wedding dick though. It will dull a chainsaw chain pretty quick.

    Plus, every Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day the local Home Depot sells 25# Kingsford two packs for $9.00 each (18 cents/pound). After a few years of holiday sales I have hoarded about 50 cubic yards of charcoal as well.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited October 24

    Hey, I think beef marinated in whiskey is awful, but that doesn't stop people from doing it. I could think of more egregious alcohol sins than using it to start a bbq.

  • Acutally, foreshots make a pretty passable charcoal lighter... in a pinch.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • Rum heads and jerk spice

  • I use foreshots to start the outdoor wood heater but use the looftlighter for food fires.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • I'm using my kitchen torch (creme brulee) to light my coals for smoking. Just getting a good start on the snake does the trick for me. Benefit - I don't have to drag a cable over to my grill.

    What's wrong with using a chimney though for bbq starting? Costs $20 bucks and you can still open a a beer on it ;)

  • I still use a chimney for charcoal, i just use the looftlighter to start the chimney.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • edited October 25

    Williams-Sonoma has a deal where you get 15% off and free shpping on your first order, if you sign up to be on their email list. I signed up using my sacrificial spam email address - and bought a looflighter for US$67, delivered. Best deal for a looflighter out there, for delivery to Gilligan's Island.

    10 ft (3m) cord. That will reach from where my grill sets up for work, to an electrical outlet. No stenshun needed.

    I just bite bottle caps off. Doesn't everybody?

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    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

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