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The Ultimate New Braunfels Makeover

 
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Smokin Mike
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Joined: 02 Dec 2008
Posts: 3144
Location: Winston-Salem, NC

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28 15 3:10 am    Post subject: The Ultimate New Braunfels Makeover Reply with quote

Guys & Gals, I'm posting up some changes I made to my New Braunfels offset cooker that I did over a year ago.
First, apologies for how bad the cooker looks with all the rust. I never got around to putting a coat of paint on
it after the mods... but plans are to remedy that this spring.

This cooker was given to me many years ago. It was my first smoker and what got me into this hobby / pastime. It
was a nasty mess and I don't believe the original owner ever cleaned out the fat and creosote. After some
Internet research I did the basic things that most COS owners have to do which is put in a heat shield and lower
the exhaust stack. That improved the performance a bit but there was a major temperature difference from the
firebox side to the other side and I constantly had to do the meat shuffle to keeps things on par. The firebox
door didn't seal at all so I had to stuff tin foil around the perimeter of the door and even then I barely
cracked the intake damper to get air to the fire. Anyway, I dealt with the issues for a couple of years and
actually got some good BBQ out of the thing. I fianlly decided to break bad and modify the crap out of it. So
here goes the story;

First up, I dropped the firebox significantly. You can see the original cutout and how much it got dropped.





This is the view looking into the firebox towards the cook chamber. There's a new reverse flow plate in there.





Next, you can see the flange that I put around the door opening. This helps to seal up the door when it's closed.
You'll also notice an angle iron frame for holding my charcoal basket.





Here's the charcoal basket with a slide out ash pan so that I can clean out every several hours. Ash accumulation
was another issue with the cooker on long cooks.





Here's a removeable reverse flow plate. There's a small drain hole near the end with a pipe nipple welded in. I
made it removeable for clean out purposes and in case if this whole thing didn't work I could pull it out and
start over. You can see the flat gasketing material around the perimeter of the door opening.





Here's where the pipe nipple comes out the bottom. I screwed on an extension nipple to get it into the grease
bucket. If I need to remove the reverse flow plate, simply unscrew the extension nipple and pull her out.





I got lucky and found a couple of cast iron cooking grates that fit perfectly in the cook chamber. Easy to pull
out and clean.





I put a couple of TelTrue thermos in the door and got them down to grate level. With all the mods I got the
temperature difference down to 25° side to side, a significant improvement from before. Also the door thermos
read about 50° cooler than mid grate. It's importatnt to map out the difference so that you know what's really
happening in the cooker.





Here's the new smoke stack placed on the opposite side from the original. I extended the length and diameter a
bit and now she breaths so much easier. I got pretty good draw now. You can see the place the original stack came
out on the opposite side.





So that's pretty much it. I made it into a mini-reverse flow cooker with much better perfomance than the original
design. Thanks for lookin'
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necron 99
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Joined: 04 Aug 2007
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Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28 15 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great job of telling the story on how each mod affects something Mike! Lucky you having weather worth working outside in to do your mods at this time of year too. Razz

I like the cast iron grates too. The ones I have are from Char Broil and are designed for my old C-B gasser (and I use them there) but also fit my 1/4" wall Brinkmann patio smoker so when the original Brinkmann chromed steel grates give out I'll replace them with the C-B cast iron grates, if C-B is still making them at that point.
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missionsusmc
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Joined: 14 Apr 2008
Posts: 633
Location: Rogersville, TN

PostPosted: Sun Feb 01 15 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is that the original FB door or did you scrap the original and fab a new one? My COS is a Deluxe American Gourmet....cant remember the brand name. Char Broil I think. Had it at WM a few years back for 158....they're 169 now i think. It's the larger on, not the small one. I've thought about doing some mods to it, but there's so much wrong with it. Stack needs more diameter and length. FB door is warped. The air intake is on the door. If I get some thicker sheet metal to remake the door, I'd have to replace the intake as well. Adding pipe nipples and ball valves can get expensive, and heavy. Calculator says I would need 4 2" inlets. Nobody around here carries 2" or 4" black pipe nipples. Largest I've found is 1". then there comes the hardware on the back side (inside FB.) A 1" pipe nipple takes 1-1/4" or 1-1/8" nut and washer. Nobody carries anything that size in black or stainless, let alone 2" or 4". I can get all the zinc and galvanized hardware I want, though. Any ideas? I've run fiberglass stove gasket around the inside of my CC door, and I stuff the rotisserie holes and around the FB door with foil. The cooker works fine for me. I've never stuffed it full of groceries before, either. I did a whole deer hindquarter in it a couple years ago. That was probably the most meat it's seen at a time. That or i've done a couple butts before.
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Smokin Mike
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Joined: 02 Dec 2008
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Location: Winston-Salem, NC

PostPosted: Sun Feb 01 15 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Robert. I got my grates from Barbecues Galore, back when they were in business. They had a house brand COS which looked a lot like the Char-Broil. Who knows... it could have very well been a Char-Broil private labeled for those guys. The cast grates beat the heck out of the original wire frame thing that was in there.

missionsusmc, My cooker is one of the older models that was made from 11 gauge material vs. the flimsy stuff they make them with today. I don't see much door warpage except when the fire is really rocking. With that huge circular pinwheel damper they have on the door makes it kind of hard to put any bracing on there. So to answer your question, it's the original door on the firebox. In my opinion I'd nix the valve intake and nipple idea and go with either another pinwheel damper or some type of slider. I'm usually keeping the pinwheel damper no more than 1-1/4" at the widest spot and that leaves tons more adjustment. I may go half open when the coals are starting to die down. Valves seem to work fine on vertical cabinet cookers and that's what I did on my vertical but if I had to do it again I'd make some sort of slider.

As far as gasketing, try this Nomex brand. I used it on my vertical and I'm pleased with how well it's held up. I used the Rutland brand on the offset and the adhesive sucks and I've had to re-glue several times. Maybe a better quality RTV sealant would hold better.

http://www.amazon.com/Nomex-High-gasket-smoker-stick/dp/B00CI7A69I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1422755031&sr=8-2&keywords=smoker+gasket+seals&pebp=1422755040110&peasin=B00CI7A69I
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Wreckless
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Joined: 15 May 2009
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Location: New Braunfels, TX

PostPosted: Mon Feb 02 15 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup, the older NB smokers were pretty stout comparatively. While still actually the NB smoker co., I stamped and later QA inspected many an end cap and intake damper disc while in the metal stamping business. Just up the road from me, I stopped in on several occasions both business and pleasure. Small little shop compared to how many smokers and grills they cranked out. I also had the pleasure of rehabbing a vert NB smoker posted somewhere here on the Ring. Just a bit of trivia. Fun stuff, enjoying your thread, nice work! Very Happy
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Smokin Mike
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02 15 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Wreckless. I knew you were from New Braunfels but I didn't know you had been interacting with the New Braunfels Smoker Co. That's pretty interesting. It's a shame that things happened the way they did with those guys. They had a really well built product and I hate that Char-Broil cheapened them up just to remain competitive in the big box stores. They (NB) may have an anti-compete agreement but I keep hoping to see them emerge out on the market again.
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03 15 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome job on the re-hab and mods Mike I like it. Very Happy It is always a good feeling to improve a cookers performance. Very Happy
Very nice work my Friend. Very Happy
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Smokin Mike
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Joined: 02 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03 15 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

k.a.m. wrote:
Awesome job on the re-hab and mods Mike I like it. Very Happy It is always a good feeling to improve a cookers performance. Very Happy
Very nice work my Friend. Very Happy


Thanks Kevin, I appreciate it. Yeah, this was well worth the effort. It's so much less stressful using this cooker now vs. fighting all the problems with it before the mods. I'll get a good coat of paint on it this spring and make it look a little bit better than what you see in the pics.
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Beertooth
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Joined: 03 Nov 2007
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Location: Central Washington

PostPosted: Wed Feb 04 15 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smokin Mike - Very cool man! Very Happy


I have been wanting to give my ol' Chargriller new life for
a while now. This might just be the inspiration that I needed.
It was my first real smoker & I still use it from time to time.


Great job on the mods & rehab! Very Happy
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Smokin Mike
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05 15 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Beertooth! Yeah, I think you will be pleased with the improved performance. I've been thinking about adding an additional plate nearest the firebox side, to sit on the reverse plate, and I may be able to get the side to side temperatures even closer. I'll post that up when I can get to it.
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Heimelswine



Joined: 13 Jul 2015
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18 15 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice makeover!

I have a Brinkman I made very similar modifications to. I made it a reverse flow by putting 2 steel plates in it, one on top of the other so I could adjust the opening at the opposite end from the fire box. I relocated the stack and extended it so its 1-1/2" above the cooking grates. I added a second damper to the fire box to keep the fire in the middle of the fire box, but the second damper has become my primary heat controller.

It's a fine cooker now. After looking at your mods I see some additional things I'd like to do to my cooker.
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Smokin Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19 15 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Heimelswine. Glad you could get a couple of ideas. I'm tinkering with a secondary plate that sits at the hot end on the RF plate to see if it'll buffer the temperature and get me even closer on the side to side temperatures. It's all a work in progress. Very Happy
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JimH
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19 15 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine is as bad if not worse but plenty of steel to go. A great smoker for ribs, none better.
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