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View Full Version : New $500 Budget Starter Offset


doubt3
10-07-2015, 08:54 AM
I have enjoyed cooking on my kamado but wanted to try an offset smoker. I wanted to stay around $500 and hopefully have it last 4-5 years at which point my youngest will be out of college and then I would be willing to spend several thousand (if I enjoy this type of smoker). From reading several threads, I knew I wanted to make some mods from the start so I decided on the smaller (18") Oklahoma Joe Highland. I found it at Lowes for 10% off a couple of weeks ago, so I paid $293 with tax. I ordered a baffle plate for $90 and a coal basket for $74. The nomex tape (1/2 " and 1"), aluminum vent, aluminum tape, and RTV cost $53. My total was $510 until I remembered I needed a cover which I found for $36. Grand total: $546. The wife was happy I was within 10% over budget.

http://i614.photobucket.com/albums/tt224/doubt32/Mobile%20Uploads/20151004_103051_zpspbjf1cvj.jpg

MAB52
10-07-2015, 09:01 AM
Congratulations, that is a nice looking offset.

WhitesideJC
10-07-2015, 09:06 AM
Congrats! Looking forward to hearing how it pans out for you - I'm itching to find an offset myself...

doubt3
10-07-2015, 09:09 AM
Mod pics:

1" nomex tape between fire box halves:
http://i614.photobucket.com/albums/tt224/doubt32/Mobile%20Uploads/20151002_165758_zpsrudzoul0.jpg

1" nomex tape between fire box and smoke chamber:
http://i614.photobucket.com/albums/tt224/doubt32/Mobile%20Uploads/20151002_171629_zpssgfcm2ej.jpg

Nomex sealing all of the bolt holes:
http://i614.photobucket.com/albums/tt224/doubt32/Mobile%20Uploads/20151002_174658_zpsqd1goajp.jpg

http://i614.photobucket.com/albums/tt224/doubt32/Mobile%20Uploads/20151002_180554_zpsoke9wss8.jpg

Aluminum tape on the smokestack for a snugger fit:
http://i614.photobucket.com/albums/tt224/doubt32/Mobile%20Uploads/f0c528fa-505b-413a-9ebf-f8ae10116e15_zpshtr14z9r.jpg

http://i614.photobucket.com/albums/tt224/doubt32/Mobile%20Uploads/20151002_181616_zpsfv77lwsb.jpg

Vent to lower smokestack intake sealed with RTV:
http://i614.photobucket.com/albums/tt224/doubt32/Mobile%20Uploads/20151003_094451_zpswhl9ixly.jpg

1/2" nomex tape on smoke chamber lid as well as fire box lid:
http://i614.photobucket.com/albums/tt224/doubt32/Mobile%20Uploads/20151003_100121_zpsjsur1we9.jpg

Baffle plate installed:
http://i614.photobucket.com/albums/tt224/doubt32/Mobile%20Uploads/20151003_110239_zpsknfsptyp.jpg

Coal box doesn't arrive until tomorrow.

ButtBurner
10-07-2015, 09:14 AM
looks good

On my OK longhorn, I found that it drafted better without the vent ducting.

Stale air builds up in the upper part of the chamber and has no place to exit

longhair75
10-07-2015, 09:32 AM
I bought a OK Joe Longhorn a few weeks ago and also modded it a bit. It has been great.

MAB52
10-07-2015, 09:37 AM
:pop2:

Woody Butthrie
10-07-2015, 09:40 AM
Good looking smoker. Can't wait to see pics from the first cook.

doubt3
10-07-2015, 09:43 AM
Good looking smoker. Can't wait to see pics from the first cook.

Depending on weather, first cook should be this Sunday.

Bludawg
10-07-2015, 09:47 AM
JM2C Loose the stack extension & the coal basket so the pit can breath or your gonna be fightin & cussin it. Burn all wood. Good luck.

Grimm5577
10-07-2015, 09:48 AM
those plates are nice, wonder if they would fit a Brinkmann trail master... I use cookie sheets now.

doubt3
10-07-2015, 09:54 AM
those plates are nice, wonder if they would fit a Brinkmann trail master... I use cookie sheets now.

They have several plates available for specific smokers and I recall seeing Brinkmann listed. Came from bbqsmokermods.com.

ButtBurner
10-07-2015, 09:55 AM
JM2C Loose the stack extension & the coal basket so the pit can breath or your gonna be fightin & cussin it. Burn all wood. Good luck.


agreed

I made a coal basket but ended up using it on another pit as it did not work well on my OK Joe

16Adams
10-07-2015, 09:58 AM
I recently sold my offset. Patio no longer screams Texas Q. Sad- but it went to a better place

SmittyJonz
10-07-2015, 10:26 AM
I'd of saved the $74 and whatever the exhaust ext cost.............

allboy
10-07-2015, 12:01 PM
Crazy talk here......but you would think the manufactures would want to send these out ready to go without having to do a bunch of mods. I guess you gave to spend $1,500.00 and up to get a turn key smoker.

ButtBurner
10-07-2015, 12:11 PM
Crazy talk here......but you would think the manufactures would want to send these out ready to go without having to do a bunch of mods. I guess you gave to spend $1,500.00 and up to get a turn key smoker.

you can use it the way it comes

I did for quite a while. it worked fine

just wanted to make it better

all I did to mine was add tuning plates, not all that other stuff

htrisna
10-07-2015, 12:16 PM
On my Chargriller outlaw, the stack extension works wonderfully and my pit still drafts well.
So, I'd say try it and see if it works for you.

Nice clean work!

allboy
10-07-2015, 12:53 PM
you can use it the way it comes

I did for quite a while. it worked fine

just wanted to make it better

all I did to mine was add tuning plates, not all that other stuff
I guess my point was that they should seal these better for what they are pricing these at. $300-500 dollars isn't chump change for most of us.

churrodog
10-07-2015, 01:10 PM
A few short months ago I would not have found myself so envious of this shiny new offset, but here we are. Looks like it will be a blast to cook on.

pjtexas1
10-07-2015, 02:13 PM
nice work. my old offset had the exhaust in the same spot and it worked great as is. i like all the nomex as a leaky cooker drives me nuts. what kind of wood will you be using?

landarc
10-07-2015, 02:19 PM
Nice new cooker and some well thought out mods. I don't believe the vent ducting was needed, but, cook away

landarc
10-07-2015, 02:21 PM
Crazy talk here......but you would think the manufactures would want to send these out ready to go without having to do a bunch of mods. I guess you gave to spend $1,500.00 and up to get a turn key smoker.
Not at all the case, I have known many folks who cooked on these out of the box, it is just nicer with the mods. By using the sealing tape, he will get more efficient burns, use less wood, and have a nicer experience. Some of the best ribs I ever had came off one of these, that they guy bought, built, and cooked on that day.

mike-cleveland
10-07-2015, 02:41 PM
I have yet to do anything to mine. I added a roasting pan to catch ashes when cooking direct, but nothing else. After awhile the grease/whatever helps to seal it. I leave the door wide open and sometimes the top on the firebox if it is burning too hot.

ButtBurner
10-07-2015, 03:08 PM
I guess my point was that they should seal these better for what they are pricing these at. $300-500 dollars isn't chump change for most of us.

the sealing in not as big an issue as people make it out to me

its not a fridge, its a smoker. Air leaks here and there make very little difference in the big picture in a stick burner

frognot
10-07-2015, 03:25 PM
Great job with the mods and thanks for posting detailed pics!

robert-r
10-07-2015, 05:21 PM
I'll be watching to see how you do with the OKJ Highlander.

Just got one myself. Haven't had time to work with it yet.

Doog
10-07-2015, 06:28 PM
Great job!! Now comes the learning. Most important thing is maintaining a clean fire.
Also using dry wood makes a difference.

COS
10-07-2015, 06:50 PM
I just got one these a couple of weeks ago. Only thing I did was use high temp rtv between firebox halves and smoke chamber along with the exhaust stack. I put two aftermarket temp gauges grate level. When I went to season it with just a baffle plate, small fire. I noticed I couldn't get the exhaust side up to temp, 100* difference. My baffle slipped down and was to hot to put back up so I left it there. Within a minute the temps evened out a lot better, 25* difference. The firebox side was sitting at a nice 275*. I really can't explain why the difference with the baffle. I would think it would even out more.

marvda1
10-07-2015, 11:35 PM
the $500 old country at academy has most of the mods and thicker metal.

doubt3
10-08-2015, 08:15 AM
On my Chargriller outlaw, the stack extension works wonderfully and my pit still drafts well.
So, I'd say try it and see if it works for you.

Nice clean work!

That's the plan. If it causes draft issues, then I can cut it off.

doubt3
10-08-2015, 08:17 AM
nice work. my old offset had the exhaust in the same spot and it worked great as is. i like all the nomex as a leaky cooker drives me nuts. what kind of wood will you be using?

Primarily oak since I had an oak tree cut down last year but I also bought some cherry chunks from Academy.

doubt3
10-08-2015, 08:25 AM
I plan on drilling and installing silicone grommets for the thermometer probes to pass through. I'll post pics when done.