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dbhost 01-18-2008 01:48 PM

Bandera Fastener Question...
Not sure what the fastener is called. But on top of my Bandera's smoke stack, is a steel rod, that the baffle is held on by. There are those fasteners that you hammer on and can't ever seem to get off. Mine is missing. I have put up with it for now, but I want my smoker right... Can anybody tell me what those fasteners are called, and what size I need to replace my missing one?

sajones97 01-18-2008 01:55 PM

From what I've learned from the Brethren about Sweet Blue, you don't need that anyway.

Other's here have told me you never close that, leave it wide open at all times, and never choke that fire! Also, closing that even part way will keep some of the ash floating around from escaping, possibly making it back to the meat.

My understanding is that replacing it will be a waste of time.

dbhost 01-18-2008 02:06 PM

Okay, that brings an entirely new question to mind then. How then do I control the heat / smoke in the smoke chamber?

At any temp below 60 F outside, I find it next to impossible to get the smoke chamber temp up to 200 degrees without shuttering it about half way. I am all ears on how to better do this..

sajones97 01-18-2008 02:19 PM

Hey, I'm new at this too, so get confirmation before you take any recommendations from me!

I think others here would tell you it's all about the fuel. Lump charcoal will get your temp up quickly, then there's hardwoods (chunks or logs) such as mesquite, hickory, oak, maple.

Also, I've seen pics from guys using old blankets around the smoke box as insulators.

50's shouldn't be too much of a problem. I fire up the 'Dera in the 40's with mesquite chunks and am able to maintain 250-260*.

Did you make the mods listed in "Bandera 101"? Firebricks in the bottom on both sides, and a good charcoal basket (purchased mine from Spicewine) at a bare minimum. That'll solve many fire/temp control problems from the start.

dbhost 01-18-2008 02:23 PM

I'm going to have to re-read the Bandera 101... Temp control on this thing has been a pain in the ash... My old Silver Smoker was a LOT easier to regulate...

sajones97 01-18-2008 02:24 PM

Also, in KCQuer's ROADMAP there's a link to threads concerning fire control.

Good luck!

dbhost 01-18-2008 02:38 PM

No problem. I hadn't seen the bit about the firebrick in the cook chamber... Somehow I missed it... I did however get the following mods in mine so far...

#1 Baffle, of sorts. I took the baffle template from this site, and made a baffle out of Reynolds Heavy Duty aluminum foil doubled twice (quarupled) so it's a nice thick baffle.

#2 Gasket. High Temp silicone Gasket mod. This DOES help keep the smoke in the smoke chamber, and DOES help with temp control... But I haven't used it in c-c-c-c-cold weather yet...

There are a couple more mods I want to do after re-reading the Bandera 101...

#1. Fire Grate. Not replacing, but actually using fire bricks at each corner to lift the grate.

#2. Pavers on the bottom of the cook chamber. I like the idea of the way they distribute heat. Kind of like cooking with Cast iron.

#3. Weep holes. My Bandera lives a pampered existence in the garage when not in use or cooling off. But it is about to get evicted into a permanent home on the deck as I need the space in the garage.

BobBrisket 01-18-2008 03:53 PM

I think what you are looking for is a push on cap fastener.

sajones97 01-18-2008 04:29 PM

Yep. That's it. Should be able to score one at a Menard's/HD/Lowe's?

Just need the size. Do you think he really needs one though? Most here seem to advise against it. . . ?

Arlin_MacRae 01-18-2008 04:39 PM

Regarding your low temps - try this:

Damper - WIDE OPEN
Intake - WIDE OPEN
Wedge a small rock or something else thin between the firebox and the lid, say half an inch thick. DO NOT WALK AWAY lol

If it works like it does on mine your temps will skyrocket and anything cooking in there will go POOF if you don't watch it. :)

Good luck!

eagle697 01-18-2008 05:04 PM

Are there any other issues with trying to smoke in the cold? It may get into the 20's this weekend in my neck of the woods and i wanted to smoke some ribs this weekend.

StLouQue 01-19-2008 11:41 AM

The fastener on my Bandera is a 3/8" axle cap nut. I've removed mine only twice in nearly five years. Twisting and pulling the cap nut with a vise-grip pops it off fairly easily. Does one need the axle cap nut? Absolutely not.

The only time the exhaust damper should be closed is when the cooker is not in use. In my opinion, if the cooker is fired up, the exhaust should never be anything less than wide open. Never. Otherwise, it is said, creosote can build up on the inside. Yech!

If you are going to store the Bandera outside, I suggest keeping it covered while not in use. After four seasons of lackadaisical upkeep (and then a grease fire), my 'dera received a thorough sandblasting and repainting. It now lives in the garage, covered, when not in use.

Norcoredneck 01-19-2008 11:50 AM

Cap Nuts for Unthreaded Shafts Style
Shape 1
Shape 2

Any hardware store, usually in little slide out drawers in hardware section. Most likely 3/8"

StLouQue 01-19-2008 12:01 PM


Originally Posted by Norcoredneck (Post 540532)
Cap Nuts for Unthreaded Shafts Style
Shape 1
Shape 2

Any hardware store, usually in little slide out drawers in hardware section. Most likely 3/8"

Coincidentally, I was just wondering whether one could cut threads into that shaft? Hmmm.

Norcoredneck 01-19-2008 12:09 PM

Used for rethreading and repairing damaged and rusty threads. No special die holder is necessary; almost any wrench can be used.

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