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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 01-13-2007, 08:27 AM   #1
Plowboy
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Default Traeger 075 Mod Considerations

Q_Egg and I have chatted about some potential mods to our Traeger 075 pellet cookers to control temp spikes and maybe reduce fuel consumption a bit. Here are some thoughts on Mods that I hope to try this weekend despite the ice/snow storm.

Stack Inversion
The stack on the 075 is bolted on the end of the pit. Removal of a copule bolts allows you to invert the stack to point down. This restricts flow and doesn't send so much heat and smoke out of the pit so fast. This one that Dr BBQ had shared from someone he had heard try this. One negative to watch for will be any moisture that may collect in the stack and drip down onto my deck.

Stack Pie Plate Baffle
The stack isn't adjustable, so I was thinking an aluminum pie plate baffle on the stack might accomplish similar if not more potential restriction than the stack inversion. You could even cut up an beer can and create an aluminum baffle that way, too.

Pizza Stone Mod
I saw this on a site discussing smoker mods where a pizza stone like a water or sand pan would be to more evenly distribute heat from the heat source to across the cooking area. The fire source on the Traeger 075 is in the middle of the pit. The center of the cooking area tends to be a hot spot. I'd like to try a pizza stone on the metal base directly above the fire.

I'll take pictures to better illustrate these ideas. For testing, I'll use three temp probs placed on the left, center, and right of the grate.

Here's a picture of the pizza mod that I found on a different site. This isn't my smoker, its apparently a Klose.
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Unread 01-13-2007, 08:43 AM   #2
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No, you can't restrict the exhaust. A pellet cooker HAS to breathe like that. If you restrict it the fire will run back up the tube, which makes a mess in the auger tube, will gunk things up and shut down the cooker and in the worst case go all the way back into the hopper and start a fire. I speak from experience.

You need to be thinking more along the lines of insulation for the top.
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Unread 01-13-2007, 08:50 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drbbq
No, you can't restrict the exhaust. A pellet cooker HAS to breathe like that. If you restrict it the fire will run back up the tube, which makes a mess in the auger tube, will gunk things up and shut down the cooker and in the worst case go all the way back into the hopper and start a fire. I speak from experience.

You need to be thinking more along the lines of insulation for the top.
Ah, thanks for the insight, Dr BBQ. Pizza stone sound like something to try though?
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Unread 01-13-2007, 09:12 AM   #4
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Good comment from Dr. Ray re. air flow and gunk in the auger tube ... had not considerd that, ALTHOUGH George, at Traeger svc., has always cautioned about doing things ON the stack to restrict flow.

I like the pizza stone though (already biased toward thermal mass) and this takes less vertical space than a drip pan in that limited area.

I have already spoken with a local welding shop about a fairly heavy gauge steel 'cover' that wold simply sit on the existing top area like a hat, but with a small handle so it could be easily lifted off during a cook. This would really limited to heat loss in the most important surface area of the 075 and it would likely cost less than $100. Dr. Ray had mentioned this earlier as well, and it seems like a way to 'simulate' a much heavier gauge cooker.

Thanks Todd for continuing to pursue this.
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Unread 01-13-2007, 09:58 AM   #5
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I like the stone idea but not sure how much clearance you will have under the drip pan. Rather than having a steel condom fitted for the unit why not find someone that can sew and get them to make a sort of jacket out of a heavy blanket. The biggest issue I have with my Traeger is thermal heat loss during cooks.
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Unread 01-13-2007, 10:13 AM   #6
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My 075 is running right now and I'm not seeing much on temp spikes. holding steady between 230 and 240 and the outside temp when I started this morning was 15 degrees and now it's 25 dgrees. I think I'll leave well enough alone. Besides if I was worried about spikes I would invest in one of Spice's (Jay's) cookers, they're already insulated. (May anyway)
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Unread 01-13-2007, 01:27 PM   #7
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Just put a pizza stone on. A little small. A larger, rectangle stone would be better. We'll see how it goes.

Sloppy, Tom and I see a lot of swings at lower temps. Seems like 325 and higher stays more steady. I'm more concerned with distributing the heat better across the grate. Trial and error, trial and error.
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Unread 01-13-2007, 01:48 PM   #8
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Hey plowboy. Maybe head to home depot and get some unglazed quarry tile. They come in 6 X 6 and larger sizes. Easy to cut with a tile scoring tool. If you get the unglazed it's just a ceramic or clay tile with no nastys coating it. Just a thought. Oh yeah, cheap as can be too. I've seen them as low as .39 at menards. They won't take the heat of a firebox, but may work just fine in your situation.
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Unread 01-13-2007, 02:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin
Hey plowboy. Maybe head to home depot and get some unglazed quarry tile. They come in 6 X 6 and larger sizes. Easy to cut with a tile scoring tool. If you get the unglazed it's just a ceramic or clay tile with no nastys coating it. Just a thought. Oh yeah, cheap as can be too. I've seen them as low as .39 at menards. They won't take the heat of a firebox, but may work just fine in your situation.
They'd work great on the drip plate, too. Good idea. Since the drip plate is covered with foil, it won't be an issue. I'll check it out.
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Unread 01-13-2007, 05:07 PM   #10
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... good thought Kevin ... the space is small and a quarry tile ... or 2, or 3, could really 'spread' the heat in the 075 chamber.

An earlier post rasied a very interesting and important thought. If materials are available and cost effective, .... why not a thermal blanket that would tolerate the 075's external temps and still provide a substantial insulation layer during long cooks ?? Must be some very decent solutions out there.
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