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Wood River BBQ Team

Air Tight Cook Chamber

One of the tricks that will make your Lang cooker more efficient is to make the cook chamber air tight. That's what makes the difference with high price cookers such as Stump's, Jambo, Green Egg, Myron Mixon and even your kitchen oven. Their tolerances are exact and very tight and they have an excellent lid locking system. Lang's tolerances are very good and almost exact but because Lang has an efficient draft system any small gaps, even as small as 2 -3 pieces of paper, will leak smoke/heat.

If this smoke/heat leakage with your Lang is not a problem to you don't read any further. The remainder of this post is not for you.

At first I thought it was the Lang latches -- actually, they just look nice but they don't hold the lid tight to the cook chamber. Before I went to the expensive of purchasing toggle latches, I tried to shim the latches but that didn't work because of the thickness of the steel on the lid. I thought about furnace webbing but the gap was too small.

The fix is very simple and takes less than 2 minutes to set up. I got the idea from the Pitmasters TV show. I doubled over heavy duty aluminum foil and stuck it around the edges of the lid opening. It didn't look very pretty but I was just trying to determine if it would work. I eliminated 95% of the smoke/heat loss -- I couldn't block off the hinge area. Now that I know it works I'll tidy it up for the next cook and instead will try placing the alum foil around the door lid itself.

I don't know if the set up had anything to do with the fact my temperature differential from the fire box was 300F to 275F at the other end and the 25F differential
held through the entire leg of lamb cook on Memorial Day. I suspect it did. Also, there was very little fluctuation with my cook temperature.
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dsarphie

The foil worked great.  Thank you for posting.  On my 48, the upper and lower decks would vary, if at all, by about 3 degrees.  The firebox side would run about 15 to 20 degrees hotter than the left, but sometimes I would get the difference down to even less.  This is a HUGE improvement.
KevinWI

Curious....first time I've seen this....why is there a gap in your top grate at the sides?
Wood River BBQ Team

KevinWI wrote:
Curious....first time I've seen this....why is there a gap in your top grate at the sides?


A friend of mine in So Ca moved from a Lang 36 to a Lang 48. He hadn't planned on selling it -- it just happened quickly. A neighbor wanted the 36 right away and was willing to pay top dollar. Meanwhile he had ordered the SS bottom grates and had received them. He decided to sell the Lang 36 with the original grates and gave me his "never used" SS bottom grates.

I already had SS bottom grates but the plan was going to be to have a welder cut and weld them to make a top grate but they looked so nice I didn't want to ruin them plus I'd have wasted 1/3 of them.  I bought some square tubing, which slips through the sides of the SS grate and it became my moveable top shelf.

Normally, I only cook for myself and my wife and a few couples but some times it comes in handy and I can slide it from side to side -- plus it looks nice and is a conversation piece.
shaun2que

With the money spent on these Lang's. I'm finding it disheartening you would need to wrap foil around the doors. Really questioning my purchase..
KevinWI

I got no leakage around my door...at all.....I posted a vid earlier. and a little leakage? big deal....learn your unit and you'll cook great Que

No buyers remorse on my part.
shaun2que

Kevin, I don't either. Only issue was leaking from firebox damper. Sealed it up and all good now. I've cooked atleast 8time on mine, learning something new every cook. My point is/was for the $$ you shouldn't need to wrap foil to achieve good seal.
Wood River BBQ Team

shaun2que wrote:
With the money spent on these Lang's. I'm finding it disheartening you would need to wrap foil around the doors. Really questioning my purchase..


Shaun2que: You're making a good purchase and the cooker will work great for you. The lid fit is almost perfect and I've cooked 8 months before I added thin stripping.

Here's the real big deal. I ought to post a picture of the gaps on all 4 sides of my fire box door -- you can see through them. Lang builds a good cooker, which also looks nice and all they had to do was add a bead all the way around the door. Instead they chince and tack welded and when they welded the 2 pieces it looks like  they didn't clamp the pieces and tack welding material got between the two pieces creating the gap, which I've filled with furnace cement.

Any moran can learn their unit and live with the deficiencies but I expected a little more for my money. For the money I spent I wasn't looking for perfection. If I was I'd have purchased a higher priced unit. A gap all the way around the door is equilivent to a good size hole -- I may as well cook with the door open. If I were Lang I wouldn't have let my unit out the door.

I'd buy another Lang but I'd be specific about what I wanted. They would probably tell me to screw off -- which I would.
deathaction

The foil worked great.  Thank you for posting.
Wood River BBQ Team

deathaction wrote:
The foil worked great.  Thank you for posting.


Thank you. I've moved past the alum foil, because I didn't like the looks of it. The gap was very small and when I was measuring for the metal I noticed that the metal tape measure might do the trick so I cut up an old one and stuck it on with RTV silicone and painted it black. You'd never know it was there and it made a perfect seal. This fix is not for everyone but it increased the efficiency of the unit probably by 25%.

The fire box door was another matter. I'll post pictures in a few days so folks can see what I had to contend with. I had to cut out the crappy tack welds and weld a bead around 3 sides.  

Because the unit is now almost air tight, maintaining an even temperature with less fuel is now so much easier, but again, if a mate is happy with his cooker the way it is more power to them.
dsarphie

Great idea!  I look forward to seeing those pics of the firebox.  Please post pics of the chamber door too.

Thank you.
jsk404

I haven't really used my Lang 36" enough to notice a problem with the smoker door but as for the fire box door I am having a problem.
After I pull the grate out and clean the ash from the box I replace the grate and can close the door very easy, however, after building a fire it seems the metal expands and I can't close the door. I can see the inside angle on the hinge side of the door is hitting the grate and I have to force the door in to latch and with the spring back, it leaves a gap between the door and fire box. I may just trim part of the angle that is hitting the grate but I was wondering if anyone else has or had the same problem.
Wood River BBQ Team

jsk404 wrote:
I haven't really used my Lang 36" enough to notice a problem with the smoker door but as for the fire box door I am having a problem.
After I pull the grate out and clean the ash from the box I replace the grate and can close the door very easy, however, after building a fire it seems the metal expands and I can't close the door. I can see the inside angle on the hinge side of the door is hitting the grate and I have to force the door in to latch and with the spring back, it leaves a gap between the door and fire box. I may just trim part of the angle that is hitting the grate but I was wondering if anyone else has or had the same problem.


Jsk404: I had a similiar problem. First of all I've tried every way possible to get the grate out of the fire box and I finally gave up. The fire box door fit is very close to the grate but it does close.

The door handle is my problem. The nut is welded on and when the fire box heats up I can barely latch/unlatch the door. I ground a little bit of material from the latch area and from the latch itself (the piece of metal that hooks behind the side of the fire box). If I could have backed off just a hair on the nut I'd have been OK. I just live with the fact and barely catch the latch and it makes a tight seal.

I think your fix is to trim the material, which is a shame for a customer to have to do with a $1500 unit.
Wood River BBQ Team

jsk404 wrote:
I haven't really used my Lang 36" enough to notice a problem with the smoker door but as for the fire box door I am having a problem.
After I pull the grate out and clean the ash from the box I replace the grate and can close the door very easy, however, after building a fire it seems the metal expands and I can't close the door. I can see the inside angle on the hinge side of the door is hitting the grate and I have to force the door in to latch and with the spring back, it leaves a gap between the door and fire box. I may just trim part of the angle that is hitting the grate but I was wondering if anyone else has or had the same problem.


Jsk404: I had a similiar problem. First of all I've tried every way possible to get the grate out of the fire box and I finally gave up. The fire box door fit is very close to the grate but it does close.

The door handle is my problem. The nut is welded on and when the fire box heats up I can barely latch/unlatch the door. I ground a little bit of material from the latch area and from the latch itself (the piece of metal that hooks behind the side of the fire box). If I could have backed off just a hair on the nut I'd have been OK. I just live with the fact and barely catch the latch and it makes a tight seal.

I think your fix is to trim the material, which is a shame for a customer to have to do with a $1500 unit.
jsk404

Quote:
Jsk404: I had a similiar problem. First of all I've tried every way possible to get the grate out of the fire box and I finally gave up. The fire box door fit is very close to the grate but it does close.

The door handle is my problem. The nut is welded on and when the fire box heats up I can barely latch/unlatch the door. I ground a little bit of material from the latch area and from the latch itself (the piece of metal that hooks behind the side of the fire box). If I could have backed off just a hair on the nut I'd have been OK. I just live with the fact and barely catch the latch and it makes a tight seal.

I think your fix is to trim the material, which is a shame for a customer to have to do with a $1500 unit.


Well if you want to give it one more shot I tilt the grate up at an angle with the right side of the grate towards the bottom hinge side of the door then have to slide the back side of the grate (end farthest from the door opening) to the left as to angle the front legs towards the opening and once you get the front legs out the back will follow and just reverse to get it back in and remember the narrow ends are to the back and opening side the long sides are to the left and right.

As far as the door closing I did a 9lb pork shoulder yesterday and before the cook the door closed with ease, as it heated up the door got harder and harder to close. The grate and door do expand on mine enough to cause it problems closing it and as it cools down I have no problem go figure on Langs tight tolerance LOL. I'll hit it with the grinder and it should be fine.

Good luck on getting your grate out Wood River BBq Team.
flybuy

fire box door.

I am having problems with my fire box door hitting hindge. Didn't have a problem until I made a charcoal basket to try for longer burn times. After using basket with half a load of charcoal door don't want to open all the way with out scraping hindge. I am a little hesitate to try basket again. Afraid I will warp my door.
Anyone one else using charcoal basket with success?
Wood River BBQ Team

Re: fire box door.

flybuy wrote:
I am having problems with my fire box door hitting hindge. Didn't have a problem until I made a charcoal basket to try for longer burn times. After using basket with half a load of charcoal door don't want to open all the way with out scraping hindge. I am a little hesitate to try basket again. Afraid I will warp my door.
Anyone one else using charcoal basket with success?


Flybuy: I'm not sure I understand your problem but I'm using a charcoal basket (homemade) and it's the only way to go -- in my opinion. Even though I "measured twice and cut once" I still had to fool with it to get it to fit right.

The temperatures in the fire box are obviously very high relative to the cook chamber whether you use a charcoal basket or not and these temperature will effect the fire box door. It should not warp if they welded it correctly.
flybuy

Wood River how big did you make your basket?I made mine 15x 12x 7 inches. I filled the basket about half full trying the minion method by lighting front left corner. By the time my smoker was up to temp the whole basket was burning. I closed damps and temp just kept rising.
Long story short minion method didn't work for me. It took about 50 minutes to get smoker up to temp with dampers open all the way.
My basket is only about an inch in front of door so my door got hotter than when I only use wood.
By getting so hot it made it very hard to open (burned paint)and door rubs hindge now so I am hesitate to try again.Any advise will be appreciated! !
Thanks
Wood River BBQ Team

flybuy wrote:
Wood River how big did you make your basket?I made mine 15x 12x 7 inches. I filled the basket about half full trying the minion method by lighting front left corner. By the time my smoker was up to temp the whole basket was burning. I closed damps and temp just kept rising.
Long story short minion method didn't work for me. It took about 50 minutes to get smoker up to temp with dampers open all the way.
My basket is only about an inch in front of door so my door got hotter than when I only use wood.
By getting so hot it made it very hard to open (burned paint)and door rubs hindge now so I am hesitate to try again.Any advise will be appreciated! !
Thanks



Flybuy: My charcoal basket is about the same size as your's -- approximately, 15.5" deep and 13" wide. I made it so it fits inside the fire box grate. Obviously, the door opening and hinges determine the width. It took a few times cutting to get it right.

I don't use the Minion Method. I start with the basket 1/2 -3/4 full of Royal Oak lump (due to the small size of the fire box itself that's not a lot of lump). I lay 2 or 3 pieces of coke can size camp fire wood, which burns hot and fast, on top of the pile and light it with a brush burner (Harbor Freight). Side vents and chimney (chimney is always open) are open as is the fire box door and the cook chamber lid. The unit itself is a bubble off to help with the draft. The draft starts quickly and I then close the lid and the fire box to the latch open position. In about 15 - 20 minutes the cook chamber temperature is about 275* to 295* and I'm ready to cook. I close the right side vent and adjust the left vent to 3/4 open and latch the fire box, which brings the temp to about 250* to 260*. When I open the lid to put the meat on the temp drops  but comes right back up and stabilizes.

I can't figure out why you're having a problem with your fire box door. My fire box has bricks on the bottom plus a sheet of alum foil over the bricks. No heat is lost through the bottom and after re-welding my door no smoke or heat escapes. In theory, my fire box should be much hotter than yours. Until I re-welded the door, is did warp but is OK now. Since my unit is virtually air tight, I don't lose any heat/smoke anywhere and it's easy for me to maintain a stable cook temperature plus my fuel goes a longer way than when I had leaks all over the place.

It should not take you 50 minutes to get up to cook temperature. Have you watched the fire starting video? It's the same method I pretty much described above.

Maybe I'm missing something that other lister's might pick up on to solve your two problems. Learning to control my unit didn't happen over night -- I had to fight with it to figure it out.
fender

Re: fire box door.

flybuy wrote:
I am having problems with my fire box door hitting hindge. Didn't have a problem until I made a charcoal basket to try for longer burn times. After using basket with half a load of charcoal door don't want to open all the way with out scraping hindge. I am a little hesitate to try basket again. Afraid I will warp my door.
Anyone one else using charcoal basket with success?


Flybuy, I also use a basket the same way Wood River described- ˝ full lump/ wood / weed burner and continue with wood after. I get the same results from start-up to cook time using this method and wouldn’t go back to the grate.   I don’t think you will have any issues with warping the door; I have cooked chicken thighs @ 375-400+ and my basket almost touches the door.  I basically use the basket/lump method to get the wood burning and the cooker up temp faster.  Heat the charcoal and wood evenly until it is burning and go from there as Wood said.
flybuy

Thanks for the info guys. Big help. How long do you go before having to add wood after u start with charcoal and get up to cooking temp.
My main reason for making charcoal basket was to try to get a longer burn time without having to add wood every 30 minutes.
I have discovered that there are a lot of leaks around cooker door. So I am loosing a lot of heat.
I am new to using a stick burner as u can tell I am sure. Been using a big green egg for several years and got use to very long burn times.
Going to try smoking chuck roast tomorrow and will give your method a try and see if it will work for me. I think I am going to have to get a tighter seal on my cooker door which will help get a longer burn time.
Wood River BBQ Team

flybuy wrote:
Thanks for the info guys. Big help. How long do you go before having to add wood after u start with charcoal and get up to cooking temp.
My main reason for making charcoal basket was to try to get a longer burn time without having to add wood every 30 minutes.
I have discovered that there are a lot of leaks around cooker door. So I am loosing a lot of heat.
I am new to using a stick burner as u can tell I am sure. Been using a big green egg for several years and got use to very long burn times.
Going to try smoking chuck roast tomorrow and will give your method a try and see if it will work for me. I think I am going to have to get a tighter seal on my cooker door which will help get a longer burn time.



Flybuy: I have to add a small amount of fuel (either wood or lump) every 35 or 40 minutes and it depends on the conditions (dry & hot or windy & cold). When I cook it's an event -- in other words, I give my total attention to the cook. Smoking is one of the reasons lounge chairs and beer were invented!! Adding fuel just goes with smoking. I monitor my temp and when I see it starting to drop I add fuel.

I might have a easy fix for you cook chamber leak. On my unit both latches don't connect with the "V" latch. They just flop into the "V". They don't do anything but look nice. For a quick fix, insert a thin washer or thin piece of metal in the "V" of both latches and then close the latches. You might have to fool around with different thickness of metal to get the right fit. What you're doing is "shimming" the latch -- even a thin piece of wood would work. The leak opening is very small so you only need a little pressure on the latch to close it up. Give it a try and see if it works.

Good luck with your roast cook today.
flybuy

Started with 3/4 basket royal oak lump this morning. It last about hour and a half before I had to add more. Is that about right? I had to slide basket out to add wood every time so I ended up just taking basket out. I think I need to modify my basket. It sets to close to top, there is not enough room to get wood in with basket all the way in.
The strips welded on my door do not fit flush with cooking chamber. Bottom strip is bowed out in center, and at edge where it is welded to vertical strip coming down ,it is about 3/16 to
1/8  down to far so it holds door out to far. Not an easy fix. Will have to cut it loose and reweld.Since I am a welder by trade it is doable.   Only draw back i can't see to weld very good anymore. Getting old. Lol. May give it a try one of these days though. Again thanks for your help!!
Wood River BBQ Team

flybuy wrote:
Started with 3/4 basket royal oak lump this morning. It last about hour and a half before I had to add more. Is that about right? I had to slide basket out to add wood every time so I ended up just taking basket out. I think I need to modify my basket. It sets to close to top, there is not enough room to get wood in with basket all the way in.
The strips welded on my door do not fit flush with cooking chamber. Bottom strip is bowed out in center, and at edge where it is welded to vertical strip coming down ,it is about 3/16 to
1/8  down to far so it holds door out to far. Not an easy fix. Will have to cut it loose and reweld.Since I am a welder by trade it is doable.   Only draw back i can't see to weld very good anymore. Getting old. Lol. May give it a try one of these days though. Again thanks for your help!!



Flybuy: You got good burn time with your load but removing the basket is a pain and you're losing heat. Go to "show us your pictures" and go down 15 topics to "charcoal basket for Lang 36" to see how the lowered front of my basket allows me to add fuel without removing the basket.

Since your lid will require re-welding, maybe you could try using the alum foil in the meantime. I really didn't want to dis-mantel my unit and re-weld so I filled the gap with a thin piece of metal.

As a welder, what's your professional opinion of the welding on your unit and how could the welding of your cook chamber be less than perfect? I mean what did the welder do wrong and what should he have done to avoid the problem?
flybuy

Wood River BBQ Team wrote:
flybuy wrote:
Started with 3/4 basket royal oak lump this morning. It last about hour and a half before I had to add more. Is that about right? I had to slide basket out to add wood every time so I ended up just taking basket out. I think I need to modify my basket. It sets to close to top, there is not enough room to get wood in with basket all the way in.
The strips welded on my door do not fit flush with cooking chamber. Bottom strip is bowed out in center, and at edge where it is welded to vertical strip coming down ,it is about 3/16 to
1/8  down to far so it holds door out to far. Not an easy fix. Will have to cut it loose and reweld.Since I am a welder by trade it is doable.   Only draw back i can't see to weld very good anymore. Getting old. Lol. May give it a try one of these days though. Again thanks for your help!!



Flybuy: You got good burn time with your load but removing the basket is a pain and you're losing heat. Go to "show us your pictures" and go down 15 topics to "charcoal basket for Lang 36" to see how the lowered front of my basket allows me to add fuel without removing the basket.

Since your lid will require re-welding, maybe you could try using the alum foil in the meantime. I really didn't want to dis-mantel my unit and re-weld so I filled the gap with a thin piece of metal.

As a welder, what's your professional opinion of the welding on your unit and how could the welding of your cook chamber be less than perfect? I mean what did the welder do wrong and what should he have done to avoid the problem?


Wood River I Took a look at your basket. Good idea of cutting front down to make room for wood. I guess I will modify mine next week.
As far as welds on my smoker they are pretty good. All welding done with mig welder. Problem with mine isn't the welds its how metal was fitted before welding.
With that being said after I got done with my cook this afternoon I took a closer look at what it will take to fix mine. Right side of bottom will have to be cut loose and straightened and rewelded. Left side just needs some grinding where weld was not ground smooth. All the way across the bottom edge will need a gasket to make a good seal. This will be the easiest fix. Gasket that is used on Egg cooker will work for that I think. I may us gasket material all the way around cooker door.
By the way chuck roast turned out great!! Used How TO BBQ Right recipe
vandy

I have an issue with leaks around my cooking chamber door also so I went to Lowes and got some silicone window weather-stripping that has a self adhesive on one side and cut and stuck it around the inside lip of the door and that took care of 90 percent of the leaks.  The only problem is that the lip on the top of the door is so narrow that there is not enough to put any of the weather-stripping  there so I still get a little smoke leaking from there.  I cooked with it one time so far since I did that and the stuff held up to that.  I will let you know how long it holds up so you will know if that is feasible or not for your setup.  I have read other posts on other forums of some people using Nomex on their doors which I will look into if this does not last very long.

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