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Unread 03-28-2013, 11:23 AM   #1
nopantsdan
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Default tuning plate options..

not sure if this is right place to post this - delete if needed.

i have a large side box smoker, that takes a lot of fuel/large fire to get up to temperature. this obviously creates a very very hot spot in the smoker box, adjacent to the firebox. i have read a lot about tuning plates, but really do not have the tools or availability to custom steel plates.

my smoker already has a deflector off the fire box that somewhat deflects heat, that is 1/4" steel. i was at lowes the other day and was walking around and saw some patio pavers that looked like a perfect fit in my smoker. i dropped them into my smoker and they do fit great. looking forward to trying it out and seeing if I can even these temps out some with a little bit of tweaking.

before i proceed, i just wanted to ask if this was an OK idea? I am more concerned about food safety and any chemicals that may come off the pavers as the heat up... any ideas?

from the fire box looking into the smoker.



looking into the smoker side.

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Unread 03-28-2013, 11:40 AM   #2
ButtBurner
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I made plates out of 1/4" steel, they work great.

I have heard for people using ceramic tile, I dont know if those bricks are ok or not

One thing is you will need to close off the opening between the firebox and the first (right side) brick. All the heat will just shoot right up that gap
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Unread 03-28-2013, 11:47 AM   #3
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I don't think it would work to well and without knowing the make up of the dye used in the pavers I wouldn't use them in my smoker. Not a good substitute for steel. After awhile they will crumble and the one closest to the fire box will explode if it gets hot enough.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 12:25 PM   #4
DownHomeQue
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+1

i would check into the makeup of those bricks if possible.. or switch them out for fire brick tiles... which you could get at a brick store..
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Unread 03-28-2013, 12:25 PM   #5
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Damn good idea though..
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Unread 03-28-2013, 12:32 PM   #6
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I would not use those, for one they are too thick and 2 you run the risk of air pockets in them expanding and exploding. If you only have access to lowes, go to their raw material section that has flat steel, angle, round etc. They do not sell 1/4" flat but they sell 3/16" x 3" wide flat steel. Lowes will be overly expensive on they're raw material JYI but you can make some good tuning plates with these and a simple jigsaw to cut them to size if you don't have a bandsaw. Length will depend on the diameter of your smoker.Mine is a 20" smoker so I cut my plates at 18" which left them about 2" below my grills.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 12:36 PM   #7
nopantsdan
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awesome, thanks for the responses. glad i asked.

cold rolled sheet steel that you can pick up at lowes or home depot - would that be acceptable? i don't have a welder or way to cut - but I am sure i can set something up for my needs.

edit, wow great information and ideas guys! thanks a ton!
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Unread 03-28-2013, 12:37 PM   #8
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What Bayou said.
My local steel supplies store sales 1/4 flat metal in up to 4 inches in width. You can cut to lenght as desired-I use an angle grinder- depending on how high or low you want them to sit and just lay them in the pit.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 12:45 PM   #9
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most bricks are colored not from dyes but mineral contents.

i use some as a damper in my firebox and have not noticed any hazards.

but i would go with steel anyways in the smoke chamber.

the inlet from my firebox is almost right under the grate, i used a couple of foil pans flattened out and angled down to level out the temps, reduced the difference from 50~ degrees to 15-20.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 01:21 PM   #10
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Those might work. Not sure of their temperature threshold.
Firebricks are quite a bit smaller than those tiles.
If you want some metal, you could probably get some drops cut to size for a few bucks at a local welding shop. Promise them to return with some Q.
Why not try them and see?
I would wrap them in alum foil so they are easier to clean after the cook.
Pushing them closer to firebox is good idea.

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Unread 03-28-2013, 01:53 PM   #11
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Another vote for steel.

The pavers from Mexico are known to contain lead.I dont know how that translates to using in a smoker, but I'd pass just to be on the safe side.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 02:35 PM   #12
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I agree, great idea! But definitely switch them out for firebricks. They are about $0.50 each at a masonry store.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 03:11 PM   #13
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heres my plates, they work quite well
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 100_2426.jpg (83.4 KB, 112 views)

Last edited by ButtBurner; 04-23-2013 at 06:49 PM..
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Unread 03-28-2013, 07:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtBurner View Post
heres my plates, they work quite well
Aren't the plates usually below the grates?

Doesn't look like much smoke gets to the food...
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Unread 03-28-2013, 07:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just BS View Post
Aren't the plates usually below the grates?

Doesn't look like much smoke gets to the food...
ummmm

I took the grates off for the pics....
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