I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

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I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by ed-ct » July 6th, 2018, 10:06 am

Got it as a gift over the holidays and have smoked st louis ribs, beef ribs, and a pork shoulder. The results were good but not great.

The reason I expressed interest in smoking meat was for brisket.

One of the problems I had was maintaining a proper charcoal fire, and the time spent on the shoulder suggests I look at alternative heat sources for type of time needed for beef brisket.

Some quick research showed weber smokey mountains modified for propane, lng, and electric. I'd like to try propane first with a box for wood.

It looks like cutting open one of the lower vents for the burner is common.



Some things I don't know:

high pressure vs low pressure (i assume low)?
how many btu burner will i need?
Is something like this all I need?
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Cast-Iron-Pr ... /189097948
Images welcome





Any input/suggestions/recommendations welcome.

I was planning to do this as a winter project but maybe it will be easier than I expect. Thx



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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by Pete Mazz » July 6th, 2018, 10:19 am

That's way too much burner. I'd guess 12 or 15,000 btu and low pressure is plenty . I'd work on maintaining a charcoal fire or electric but most folks that have them love them .


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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by ed-ct » July 6th, 2018, 4:28 pm

Pete Mazz wrote:
July 6th, 2018, 10:19 am
That's way too much burner. I'd guess 12 or 15,000 btu and low pressure is plenty . I'd work on maintaining a charcoal fire or electric but most folks that have them love them .

Thanks for responding! I'd really like to move away from charcoal since ultimately I'd like to do 12 hour+ briskets.

Going electric seems easier too, maybe that's a better first modification, looks cheap and is easily reversible.



ok, so assuming I continue the propane route:

12 or 15k btu burner should work for a wsm 18.5
low pressure hosing/regulator/controller


I'm going to check on parts and see what i can come up with.



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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by Dirtytires » July 14th, 2018, 11:10 pm

Propane is best left to a grill. If you don’t want to tend fires, go electric burner or pellet.



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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by akjeff » July 14th, 2018, 11:59 pm

http://virtualweberbullet.com

Go to this site and you'll learn how to run your charcoal no problem. I've done briskets with charcoal on 18.5 and 22 WSM's. Only time they're fussy is in high winds.

Jeff



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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by ed-ct » July 27th, 2018, 12:48 pm

akjeff wrote:
July 14th, 2018, 11:59 pm
http://virtualweberbullet.com

Go to this site and you'll learn how to run your charcoal no problem. I've done briskets with charcoal on 18.5 and 22 WSM's. Only time they're fussy is in high winds.

Jeff
Dirtytires wrote:
July 14th, 2018, 11:10 pm
Propane is best left to a grill. If you don’t want to tend fires, go electric burner or pellet.
Thanks for the responses, i certainly need to work on maintaining a charcoal fire. I'm uncomfortable making the time commitment for a brisket at this point, so here's what i did:

Cut between the holes on one of the bottom vents for access, bent the metal back, and bought these for about $40

Image

Image

Image




I put a flat stone on the far side of the charcoal grate, and didn't use the legs. the burner sits level.

It's been running at 250 for over 4 hours, not sure i can get it lower without risking the flame going out. The smoker is in the sun and it's hot today, maybe it'll run lower on a different day and loaded with meat. The burner claims 15,000 btu, a lower btu model would have been better.

Image



I'm going to try some beef ribs with mesquite over the weekend, it seems like this should do what I want.




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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by Dirtytires » July 27th, 2018, 2:03 pm

If you are going to continue to use a burner in it, remember it is now treated like a gas bbq grill. I recommend opening up the bottom with some holes to provide for the increased air that is needed. Thiswill also increase the safety factor of trapped gas should the flame go out.



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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by Pete Mazz » July 28th, 2018, 5:48 am

Try plugging every other hole with a screw


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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by ed-ct » July 28th, 2018, 8:05 pm

Pete Mazz wrote:
July 28th, 2018, 5:48 am
Try plugging every other hole with a screw
Dirtytires wrote:
July 27th, 2018, 2:03 pm
If you are going to continue to use a burner in it, remember it is now treated like a gas bbq grill. I recommend opening up the bottom with some holes to provide for the increased air that is needed. Thiswill also increase the safety factor of trapped gas should the flame go out.
thanks guys.. i think i will drill some holes in the base for more air, and try plugging holes in the burner.. good ideas.

i ran it today for 5 hours at 225.. it was cooler today and both racks were loaded with beef ribs.

overall, this was a pretty easy modification and the final product was super tasty.

I think i'm ready for a sun up to sundown brisket smoke.

Image
Image



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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by Big T » July 28th, 2018, 8:56 pm

:kewl:


Measure Twice.....Cut Three Times.

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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by Rodcrafter » July 29th, 2018, 7:44 am

Looks great


Making memories!


Current Smokers: Backyard RF Offset and Hybrid RF Offset trailer rig with Cowboy cooker and fish fryer, always room for more........

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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by ed-ct » August 5th, 2018, 2:43 pm

Dirtytires wrote:
July 27th, 2018, 2:03 pm
If you are going to continue to use a burner in it, remember it is now treated like a gas bbq grill. I recommend opening up the bottom with some holes to provide for the increased air that is needed. Thiswill also increase the safety factor of trapped gas should the flame go out.

I'm ready to try an all day brisket smoke and would like to do this prior..

Would you suggest I drill some holes directly beneath the burner, or add some holes around the lower vents, or some of each? thx, ed



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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by ed-ct » August 5th, 2018, 2:48 pm

Pete Mazz wrote:
July 28th, 2018, 5:48 am
Try plugging every other hole with a screw

I'm going to do this before the brisket too, but I'm wondering if i should start with every third hole to be sure i can maintain heat once we get into fall/winter in new england.. i can always plug more holes if needed. thx, ed



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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by Dirtytires » August 6th, 2018, 1:05 am

Propane likes bottom air...



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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by Pete Mazz » August 6th, 2018, 3:59 am

:yth:

The most important thing is to allow propane to escape should it blow out. Propane is heavier than air and needs a way to escape so you don't wind up blowing the smoker up....

I went down that path and even every other hole wasn't enough with those large burners. You can always take screws out if you start with the right size.


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Re: I'm going to try converting my Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 to propane

Post by ed-ct » August 6th, 2018, 11:34 am

Dirtytires wrote:
August 6th, 2018, 1:05 am
Propane likes bottom air...
Pete Mazz wrote:
August 6th, 2018, 3:59 am
:yth:

The most important thing is to allow propane to escape should it blow out. Propane is heavier than air and needs a way to escape so you don't wind up blowing the smoker up....

I went down that path and even every other hole wasn't enough with those large burners. You can always take screws out if you start with the right size.

OK, I'll start with several holes on the bottom.


I'll bring the burner with me to find screws I can also remove. This thing is running at a good temp now and when the weather gets cooler it'll need to run higher, so it may be a little trial and error to see how plugging holes will impact it.



Thanks so much for the help. Since converting to propane, I've smoked beef ribs with mesquite and country ribs with hickory. Both were great.

I'm gearing up for a packer and post oak, sliced brisket and burnt ends.. I'll post a thread for it.

Cheers :beer:



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