I love BBQ and I love to BBQ. Unfortunately I have a condition that makes smoking meat extremely difficult, adult attention deficit disorder - self diagnosed ; ) Smoking ribs takes about 6 hours. That's not bad. But a descent sized butt or brisket can take 14 - 16+ hours! That's a long time to tend to a smoker. While there are no shortcuts in BBQ, there are tools to make life easier.
There are gas and electric smokers but those do not appeal to how incredibly cheap I am. So I decided to investigate the feasibility of converting my Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) from charcoal to gas.
I ventured into the junk lovers underground of freecycle and quickly picked up an old turkey fryer.
Step 1: Putting It Together
- Remove the burner from fryer stand.
- Remove the supply line and route it through the smoker and the charcoal ring.
- Place burner in the bottom of the smoker.
- Add wood
Step 2: Results and Conclusion
Smoking is about 3 things; temperature, smoke, and time...
With this setup, it was all I could do to keep the WSM temperature around 225. This required the regulator valve on the turkey fryer to be set to just barely open. It was, however, way less work to maintain temperature then using charcoal.
Foil was not a good solution for smoke. Very little of my wood actually burned releasing it's smokey goodness.
Propane use. I measured my propane by weight but sadly have misplaced my figures. I used a little less then 2 lbs. of propane over probably close to 7 hours of fire time. This is cheaper than charcoal.
Results: The ribs came out good, but not great. There is a smoke ring but the smoke flavor was much more subdued then usual.
Conclusion: I would call the proof in concept as a success. I believe a smaller burner and/or a low pressure regulator would probably offer more control over temperature. Now I'm on the hunt for an old grill with a side burner as I imagine that would have a lower BTU rating. As for smoke, I believe foil does not provide for an adequate transfer of heat. I will use a steal plate or old cast iron frying pan in hopes of better smoke. So I will continue this quest. If anyone has done this with success, please share! Updates when available.