The BBQ Pit Owners Guide > Pit Tuning and Tuning Plates

Heat Baffle Angle to use with tuning plates


Hankerin Bar-B-Q:
Hi Ritch,
How's your backyard gator pond?  :lol:

So I'm making some upgrades to a homemade mobile pit. I don't know the guy who made it, and the pit just kinda wandered my way through some friends. Anyways, I'm installing some tuning plates (1/4" thick, 6" wide). My concern is the heat baffle. I have to install it at about a 45 deg angle, starting from the top of the firebox opening, down to reach just below the first cooking grate. The heat baffle plate is 3/8" thick and 8" wide. The bottom of the 45 deg plate rests on the same rail as where the tuning plates rest. I guess what I want to know is will this work, before it gets welded in? Should I not worry about the 45 deg angle, and just keep going? I'm trying to direct the heat and smoke down and underneath the first cooking grate.
Originally, there was a flip up damper between the firebox and cooking chamber, but I already cut that out to make room for the new baffle. That bottom rack was so low, that I couldn't cook anything on it. It just wasn't hot enough. I raised that bottom rack by 1.5" and made a bigger rack for that bottom spot. I also added a third rack above the main rack.
One of my goals is to increase the cooking capacity of the pit by a little over 2.5 times. It's a good chunk of metal....but the design wasn't well thought out. So I'm trying to do what I can.
So the dimensions of the pit are:

cooking chamber
30"dia x 36" long x 1/2" thick

24"dia x 24" long x 1/2" thick

Thanks for any help,

Gator Ritch:
You should be fine with that.

Hankerin Bar-B-Q:
Thanks Ritch!!  :D  Got'er done....
I was able to git'er all cleaned up and oiled down and put a fire in her, yesterday. It worked fantastic...I couldn't believe the dramatic change there was in the temps after it all came up to cruising temp. I ended up with 200 +/- 2 deg from forward to aft, and to bottom. Before the tuning plates, I could only cook 3 briskets on the forward half of the main rack. Now, I figure I can cook 9 - 12 briskets depending on their size. WOW!!
I learned a lot from your pits and customers/forum members.

Thanks a bunch,

Sounds like you've got a cooking machine, Hankerin Bar-B-Q. Even though Ritch is in the pit building business, he's always been very helpful to me when I had a question when building my own. I've seen the pits he builds and recommend them to anyone who doesn't have the tools to do it themselves.

Hankerin Bar-B-Q:
Thanks rstcso, I plan on running this machine for the 4th of July. I agree that Ritch is easy going about technical advice, and my custom pit of choice will be a Gator pit when the time comes. Meanwhile, what I've got will have to sustain me until then.



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