AmazingRibs.com is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

Parts To Repair, Modify, And Upgrade Your Grill Or Smoker

Sometimes you just need to haul the old clunker into the alley and get a new one. Then again, sometimes it can be a lot cheaper to modify, patch up, or upgrade your current grill or smoker than to replace it. Here are some tools to help you

The first place to start is with your manual. Get the part number and then look on the manufacturer’s website. If you can’t find the manual, it may be available in downloadable from manufacturer’s the website. If the producer doesn’t have the parts you need, there are companies that supply replacement parts, even for older cookers. Sometimes they sell authentic original manufacturer’s parts. Sometimes they are replacement parts by another manufacturer. Ask.

Convert a drum to a smoker/grill

BigPoppaSmokers.com sells a kit that you can use to convert a drum into one heckuva nice smoker for under $200, and assembly is easy. You can even say “I built it myself.

Convert to gas

Grill-Pros sells parts that you can use to convert a charcoal cooker to gas, or install a gas igniter for charcoal.

Get a thermostat

Our thermometer database has multiple thermostat controllers for charcoal and log burners.

Seal doors, fix leaks

If you have a cheap offset smoker (COS), or a gas smoker, chances are they leak badly around the doors. You might be able to mitigate the problem by making a gasket. One option, suggested by reader Davidhag1 is to buy a replacement gasket designed for a Big Green Egg. It is a feltlike material and has an adhesive on the back. You can get it from one of their dealers, or from the website.

Rutland Gasket Kits and Gore-Tex Gasket Tape are good for making gaskets for doors and lids. Pay attention to thickness and max temp.

A better latch like these from BBQ Smoker Mods might help. Flip the handle and it presses the door tight against the gasket or body of the cooker.

Another option is Rutland High Temp Silicone Sealant or use a high temp auto silicone that is rated for 500°F or more. You can make a really thin bead around the door rim or the smoker body where the door contacts it. Lay a thin strip of kitchen wax paper or kitchen parchment paper (which is actually silicone impregnated) on top of the bead. Gently close the doors until the goo spreads out and the paper makes contact with the opposite surface all around. Lift the door and let it set. Peel off the paper. The sealant can be trimmed with a knife. Rutland Products are in hardware stores, furnace and wood stove stores, and online.

Another good source is BBQgaskets.com. They carry a wide range of gaskets and sealants. Also consider these products from BBQ Smoker Supply.

J-B WELD, readily available at hardware stores, is pretty good at filling gaps and leaks, but it is not rated as food safe, so keep it away from cooking surfaces. A new product, Master Bond EP21NDFG is FDA approved and looks like a good choice. Other products that might work, but I haven’t used, are Victor Exhaust System Sealer, or other muffler cements, or high temperature silicone sealants. Just steer away from anything that might melt and drip on the food.

Cheapo smokers are made of thin metal. That means the heat escapes quickly. If you put bricks in the bottom and cover them with foil, the cooking chamber will take more time to heat up, but it will hold heat longer and distribute it more evenly. This will also help dampen temperature spikes. You can also cut down on the heat loss by draping the cooking chamber (not the firebox) with a welding blanket or a foil insulation blanketbarbecue.

You can put bricks inside a cheap offset smoker to hold heat and even temp spikes. You’ll need fire bricks for things like pizza ovens. H.C. Muddox sells special high temp fire bricks and tubes.

Extension Cords For Pellet Smokers, Electric Smokers, And Electric Grills

The built-in cords on outdoor cooking devices are often not long enough, and although regular household extension cords will work for rotisserie kits, they will not carry enough juice to keep you pellet smoker or electric smoker going. They could become a fire hazard as they heat up trying to deliver power to the unit. To extend the cord you need a large capacity cable as measured in amps. Here’s how to figure out what you need:

Watts ÷ Voltage = Amps

If your smoker needs 500 watts, and typical household voltage is 110 to 120 volts, then you need a cable that has a capacity of 4.17 amps.

A rule of thumb: For home models, get at least a 10 amp 12 gauge three prong cord (oddly, 12 gauge is higher capacity than 14 gauge). That’s more than you need, but better safe than sorry. Commercial models may have different requirements.

The best solution: Have an electrician custom make a cord the proper length for you. Don’t buy a cable much longer than you need it because the longer the cable the higher the resistance and the power diminishes. You don’t want to see the equations for that.

Related articles

Published On: 1/13/2012 Last Modified: 2/9/2022

  • Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

 

High quality websites are expensive to run. If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and a lot of freebies!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for high quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 2,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club. But please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get MANY great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

Moderators

  Max

Click for comments...

Spotlight

These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs


The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy


The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them


Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker


Green Mountain’s portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it’s also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order


Compact Powerful Sear Machine For Your Next Tailgater


Char-Broil’s Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you’re off to the party! Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order



Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.

Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts


Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners

3 burner gas grill

The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review


The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted


Napoleon’s 22″ Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the 22″ Pro Cart a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special

 

Comprehensive Temperature Magnet With 80+ Important Temps

Amazingribs.com temperature magnet
Winner of the National BBQ Association’s product of the year award. This 8.5″ x 11″ magnet contains more that 80 benchmark temperatures for meats (both USDA recommended temps as well as the temps chefs recommend), fats and oils, sugars, sous vide, eggs, collagens, wood combustion, breads, and more. Although it is not certified as all-weather, we have tested it outdoors in Chicago weather and it has not delaminated in three years, but there is minor fading.

Click here to order.