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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.

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Old 05-21-2008, 04:39 PM   #1
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Join Date: 11-30-07
Location: Dayton, OH
Default It's Alive again....I present The Bride Of FrankenWeber! (pron included)

Okay so I know I am long winded on this site, but this just worked out too perfect and I want to share the whole story.

I was blessed to be part of the Pretty Good Barbecue this past weekend, and in typical rookie fashion I way overpacked for the event. Some of the Brethren were talking about doing this type of event at their church, and being that if this happened and I wanted to help, it got my brain going. Now in order to participate in the PGB, I had to borrow my neighbors truck, so I was trying to figure out how I could go a long distance to a Brethren event, and pack a smoker in my little Dodge Neon. I really liked the Drum's that Bubba and Divemaster had, and also the WSM that Harbormaster had, so they served as inspiration. After rescuing an 18" kettle from Craigslist for $15 on Monday, I went to work.

I cleaned the kettle up on Tuesday, and found that with the legs removed it fit very nicely in my trunk. I just needed a fire base so I could use both the cooking and charcoal grates in the kettle to cook on, thus increasing my available cooking space. Using both levels on the kettle I should be able to smoke 2 butts, a brisket and a rack of ribs at the same time.

I thought about using a clay pot or a stainless steel kitchen garbage can as a base, and setting up a vent system like the drumhead's use. But then I stumbled onto a cheapo BBQ Pro smoker at Kmart that fit the bill. Don't get me wrong, this thing is no Weber, but for $40 it would be perfect to hold some fire and create some distance between the fire and cook grate so I won't need a water pan and the juices can drip directly on the fire.

The smoker was an open bottom design like the ECB, so temp control would be impossible by itself. However, by turning the unit upside down, and mounting the legs on the lid, it had a vent that would allow me to control the airflow nicely. As well this particular smoker is segmented similar to the WSM, and had fluted edges to hold the pieces together and keep the smoke and heat from leaking.

In order to prevent scorching of the meat on the lower cook grate in the Kettle, I kept the One Touch vents in place, and bent them upward to create a baffle to spread the heat throughout the kettle. Plus since the Weber only has the 3 holes in the bottom, it diminishes the direct heat from 20 inches below.

It still needs a few things like extra handles on each segment (I'm thinking garage door handles) for moving them while hot, and maybe a charcoal basket to minimize fuel usage. I think I am going to add wheels to the bottom also.

I dumped a 1/2 a chimney of lump in it just to see if it would work, and without a water pan, was able to run 225 to 250 in the top of the kettle with the lower intake about 1/2 open. It held for 1.5 hours without moving with just this small amount of charcoal and a chunk of cherry.

Now I can get my 6 foot table, EZ up, smoker, and utensils in the back of the car, and am mobile for around $55 total. Gas won't kill me if I travel long distances, since the Neon does around 35 MPG Hwy.

I have a 2nd 18 inch Weber so I may build another one and put them both on the porch (next to FrankenWeber of course), and junk the Char-Griller for good. Gonna cook on it this weekend, so will update with food pron as that happens.

Here's the pron, for your viewing pleasure....

Cleaned and rescued Kettle..

BBQ Pro cheapo smoker under assembly...

Stripped Kettle ready to become a smoker....

The 4 pieces side by side...

Lid from the BBQ Pro turned upside down with legs mounted on it...

The charcoal chamber of the base...

The upper chamber of the base....

Weber mounted on top...

Vents bent upward to create a baffle...

First burn in to see how she does....

225 on the money and holding...

Rear view...

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Old 05-21-2008, 04:41 PM   #2
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Haha she's beautiful. No doubt Frankenweber would be proud to call that his wife.
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Old 05-21-2008, 04:53 PM   #3
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SO the heat only enters the top kettle via the bottom air vents?
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Old 05-21-2008, 04:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kidcurry73 View Post
SO the heat only enters the top kettle via the bottom air vents?
Yes. I originally thought I would need to cut some of the kettle bottom out, but by leaving the One Touch vent covers as baffles, the kettle got right up to temp, with only the 3 holes allowing heat and smoke in. Plus, the measurement from the bottom of the coal box, to the first cook grate only worked out to about 20 inches, so I need some kind of baffle in the bottom to avoid using a water pan. It worked out much better than I expected....
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:13 PM   #5
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That is one sweet mod. Nice job, I can't wait to see pron of your first cook!
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Old 05-21-2008, 06:29 PM   #6
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Old 05-21-2008, 06:32 PM   #7
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Too Cool...!!!
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Old 05-21-2008, 06:39 PM   #8
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That's Top Notch Ingenuity! Outstanding! Looking Forward to the Pron..
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Old 05-21-2008, 06:49 PM   #9
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Jeff, what can I say, genius man!!! You are indeed a genius. Keep us updated with some food pron!!
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:28 PM   #10
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Excellent idea!! Let's see some food pron off it!!
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:46 PM   #11
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Dude- You gotta post those pics on the Grill Decency site!
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:51 PM   #12
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Awesome engineering their Jeff!
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:12 PM   #13
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Old 05-21-2008, 11:01 PM   #14
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That is way cool. Mixing and matching those parts is pure genius. Thanks for the set up
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Old 05-22-2008, 07:27 AM   #15
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Very nice! Looks like one of those androids the Jawas are carting around in Star Wars.
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