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A Jeep smoker - Lil Smokie

Posted in Features on August 21, 2014 Comment (0)
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Not all ideas are great ones. Heck, not all ideas are even good. Some ideas are definitely not advis- able. This one seemed good, then bad, then maybe good, then back to bad, and so forth. The end result is it worked -- kind of. The idea started with a phone call between Editor-In-Chief Trasborg and Staff Writer Simons. Pete: “So the September issue is going to be about camping and Jeeping. What about adding some recipes or talking about manifold burritos?” Verne: “Sounds good to me. Speaking of manifold burritos and cooking with Jeeps, I have an idea for a Jeep and possibly engine-mounted smoker.” Pete: “…All right…” Verne: “Come on Pete, what could possibly go wrong? Just imagine rolling into camp in a Jeep that smells like smoked meats. It would be awesome!”

Well, in the end, we came up with something that just might work, but more testing is definitely necessary as of writing this. As Staff Writer Simons sits and writes these very words, his stomach is digesting the fruits (or rather chicken) of his labors. The creation: A small smoker that (with time and more testing) may be Jeep-mounted and engine-heated. Even if it never works as a smoker, “Lil Smokie” will work as a great way to heat up a manifold burrito. Simons is still pretty sure that the idea is going pan out; that is, if on the off chance that smoking meats under the hood of a Jeep does not result in a huge vehicle fire and complete loss. Therefore, this idea, while some may argue is a good one, may not be at all advisable. As said, more testing is needed, but for now, check out what we built and how it worked.

We started by using our Swag Off Road sheet-metal brake to bend up some 26-gauge steel from the local hardware store. The idea was to make a tall manifold burrito box. We started by using our Swag Off Road sheet-metal brake to bend up some 26-gauge steel from the local hardware store. The idea was to make a tall manifold burrito box.
We used our MIG welder to add sides to the box, leaving small holes in one of the ends and a space for a lower door. The holes and door will allow air to move into and through the smoker/burrito box. We used our MIG welder to add sides to the box, leaving small holes in one of the ends and a space for a lower door. The holes and door will allow air to move into and through the smoker/burrito box.
We then added a lid with a hinge and some 3⁄16-inch steel rods one inch apart. This grate will hold the meats we will be smoking -- or the manifold burrito we are warming. We then added a lid with a hinge and some 3⁄16-inch steel rods one inch apart. This grate will hold the meats we will be smoking -- or the manifold burrito we are warming.
For beta testing, we decided to add some legs to Lil Smokie and a smoke stack made from a recovered and used Dana 30 crush sleeve from project Shrink Ray. We like repurposing junk. You can also see we drilled a 3⁄4 inch hole in the bottom of Lil’ Smokie. If it doesn’t burn hot enough, we can add more holes. For beta testing, we decided to add some legs to Lil Smokie and a smoke stack made from a recovered and used Dana 30 crush sleeve from project Shrink Ray. We like repurposing junk. You can also see we drilled a 3⁄4 inch hole in the bottom of Lil’ Smokie. If it doesn’t burn hot enough, we can add more holes.
Trying to test fit the box in our 1949 CJ-3A was an exercise in futility. Maybe once we have the process honed we can build a smaller box that will fit in the flattie, but this one ain’t going in the already-cramped engine compartment. Our Mk 1 smoker, or Lil’ Smokie as we now call it, will probably have to be tested in fullsize Jeep, but we first want to see if it will cook food. Trying to test fit the box in our 1949 CJ-3A was an exercise in futility. Maybe once we have the process honed we can build a smaller box that will fit in the flattie, but this one ain’t going in the already-cramped engine compartment. Our Mk 1 smoker, or Lil’ Smokie as we now call it, will probably have to be tested in fullsize Jeep, but we first want to see if it will cook food.
We added charcoal that was already burning thanks to our trusty charcoal starter chimney. We also added a few sticks of mesquite that had been soaking in water. The mesquite will add the smoke to our smoker. We then added two chicken breasts in some aluminum foil shaped kind of like a pan. The chicken had been marinating in one of our delicious concoctions, and we added some of the marinade to the pan-like aluminum foil to cook. We added charcoal that was already burning thanks to our trusty charcoal starter chimney. We also added a few sticks of mesquite that had been soaking in water. The mesquite will add the smoke to our smoker. We then added two chicken breasts in some aluminum foil shaped kind of like a pan. The chicken had been marinating in one of our delicious concoctions, and we added some of the marinade to the pan-like aluminum foil to cook.
We added charcoal that was already burning thanks to our trusty charcoal starter chimney. We also added a few sticks of mesquite that had been soaking in water. The mesquite will add the smoke to our smoker. We then added two chicken breasts in some aluminum foil shaped kind of like a pan. The chicken had been marinating in one of our delicious concoctions, and we added some of the marinade to the pan-like aluminum foil to cook. We added charcoal that was already burning thanks to our trusty charcoal starter chimney. We also added a few sticks of mesquite that had been soaking in water. The mesquite will add the smoke to our smoker. We then added two chicken breasts in some aluminum foil shaped kind of like a pan. The chicken had been marinating in one of our delicious concoctions, and we added some of the marinade to the pan-like aluminum foil to cook.
For beta testing, we decided to add some legs to Lil Smokie and a smoke stack made from a recovered and used Dana 30 crush sleeve from project Shrink Ray. We like repurposing junk. You can also see we drilled a 3⁄4 inch hole in the bottom of Lil’ Smokie. If it doesn’t burn hot enough, we can add more holes. For beta testing, we decided to add some legs to Lil Smokie and a smoke stack made from a recovered and used Dana 30 crush sleeve from project Shrink Ray. We like repurposing junk. You can also see we drilled a 3⁄4 inch hole in the bottom of Lil’ Smokie. If it doesn’t burn hot enough, we can add more holes.
Lil’ Smokie huffed and puffed for about an hour. We were not sure how long it would take to cook the chicken, so we waited, er, worked on our Wild Willys in the meantime. After an hour, we lifted the lid to find some well-done smoky chicken. The chicken was delicious and, if anything, overdone. We could probably have smoked the chicken for 45 minutes or maybe half an hour—live and learn. So it worked. The next step is to mount it in a Jeep and see if the exhaust manifold gets the smoker hot enough to smoke some wood chips. If not, we may add a few charcoal briquettes, but that seems like a very bad idea. Lil’ Smokie huffed and puffed for about an hour. We were not sure how long it would take to cook the chicken, so we waited, er, worked on our Wild Willys in the meantime. After an hour, we lifted the lid to find some well-done smoky chicken. The chicken was delicious and, if anything, overdone. We could probably have smoked the chicken for 45 minutes or maybe half an hour—live and learn. So it worked. The next step is to mount it in a Jeep and see if the exhaust manifold gets the smoker hot enough to smoke some wood chips. If not, we may add a few charcoal briquettes, but that seems like a very bad idea.

Sources

Swag Off Road
Oregon City, OR 97045
541-915-2775
www.swagoffroad.com

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