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Bronco Bling for Panhead John

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    Bronco Bling for Panhead John

    Now that Panhead John has joined our merry little band of enthusiastic Bronco users it's time to help him satiate his MCS (or is that MAS?). This ultra versatile little cooker can do a lot right out of the box, but as they say; "Wait...........there's more."

    John, I noticed in your research you've already seen my wheel mod so we'll go to the inside of the cooker for your entertainment. You also saw the Vortex usage so that's a start. There are plenty of 18ish inch cookers out there to capitalize on aftermarket support and I'll post up several items over the next couple days to keep you distracted.

    First additional offering is a griddle that works well when set up for grilling. It comes from Hunsaker, though there are other suppliers with similar offerings. This is sheet steel, but there are also cast iron units available. Enjoy...........

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    Last edited by Uncle Bob; April 5, 2021, 07:33 AM.

    Uncle Bob Your timing couldn’t be better! Yesterday I was grilling hamburgers and hot dogs for Easter. (Isn’t that everyone’s choice for an Easter meal?). The only grill toppers I had was a single Grill Grate...too big and awkward for the Bronco’s cooking grate.....and this grill topper shown in the picture. It worked, kinda, but was also too big for smoker and the lid wouldn’t shut all the way because the edges stuck out past the barrel. I prefer to do burgers and hot dogs, among other foods, on a grill topper with holes. It’s easier to flip than on a standard grate, and less chance of food falling thru. I was actually wondering what other accessories are made to fit the Bronco as I was doing this yesterday. Thanks for the tips!
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    • Troutman
      Troutman commented
      Editing a comment
      I like fat burgers (and big butts!!). None of those whimpy smash jobs here !!!

    • Uncle Bob
      Uncle Bob commented
      Editing a comment
      I'll have more for you to consider over the next day or so as I get time, and to not fill a single post with too many pics. As I've said before, I'm a gizmoholic and I like to tinker, so toys is our friend.

    • Dewesq55
      Dewesq55 commented
      Editing a comment
      Troutman - I, too, have always had a preference for a big fast pub/steakhouse style burger. But, I'm beginning to get win over to the smashburger idea. I still start out with a bigger (heavier) patty/puck, but smash it. It let's me get that good crust and still have it medium rare inside. Just saying.

    As a variation on a theme here's another option that combines a griddle and a grate. Probably a rip off of the Arteflame design, it's made of stainless steel so doesn't quite season up with the same appearance, but functions well. Again I've paired it up with a vortex to concentrate the hottest spot under the grate for searing, but with plenty of heat on the outer ring, in part because of the nice seal on the lid and the fine temp control from the two stacks.

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    Alright, so now instead of the cooking surface thing here are some other, "nice to do" ideas.

    One of the complaints about most barrel style cookers is the process that normally ensues if it is necessary to add more fuel during a long cook/smoke. The stock fuel bin on the OJB is good for roughly 10 hours of useful cooking temps. You can use some of the "tricks" that PBC folks like fzxdoc have developed and through arrangement of the briquets (if that's your fuel of choice) you can extend those times. The best I've seen is a fellow on YouTube who got around 15 hours out of the regular Bronco bin. I prefer lump and the structured alignment stacking doesn't work all that well. I've gone as long as 8 hours with just a little fuel left so a longer cook would need refueling or my accepting that all the smoke the protein is going to hold onto is done and finish in the oven inside. With the Covid thing we haven't been doing any entertaining so big pieces of meat haven't been part of the process in about a year, so haven't had need for changing the fuel handling. But earlier I fabbed an extension for the fuel bin from a piece of leftover expanded metal I had. I rolled it into a cylinder shape and trimmed it to fit the stock fuel bin. It ended up a bit more than doubling the amount of fuel I could load, so somewhere 17-20 hours would be achievable. But there is another solution. When Oklahoma Joe built the bigger brother of the Bronco, known as the Bronco Pro (roughly the same size as a UDS) they made the fuel bin twice as deep, but with the same diameter. Tada! A drop in, no mods needed, double size fuel bin that should produce 20 hours of burn with proper fuel loading.

    While the Bronco has a lot of features that are very useful and a bargain at it's price point, it lacks hooks to hang tools and such that many find useful. Being the gizmoholic I am I have a bin full of S shaped hooks in my shop. I took several of them and attached them to the stock expanded metal shelf which give me some handy hanging options for the deflector when not in use, or some cooking tools.

    The last item on this post is one I didn't think of, but did create the solution. One of the folks on the Bronco FB page was wondering how to make it easier to clean up grease and ash droppings that ended up on the bottom of the barrel. It's not really all that difficult to clean with the removable clean out cap they provide on the bottom of the air intake which is centered in the barrel, but a removable "tray" would make it easier to remove a catching device and wash it in a sink instead of washing out the whole barrel. As soon as I read his inquiry my brain flashed on a solution..............get a pizza pan that fit the diameter of the barrel nearly exactly that would catch a majority of the "stuff" that went all the way to the bottom. It would need a hole drilled in the center so that combustion air would still have a path to the fuel bin, but that was a few seconds work with a hole saw. A necessity? Absolutely not, just one of those "nice to haves" for those with that much OCD.

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    • Uncle Bob
      Uncle Bob commented
      Editing a comment
      The Pro bin will clear the deflector, so it will still do it's job, so yes the heat will be higher in the barrel early in the cook, but the deflector moderates that. However, it makes the hanging space shorter so it's more practical for grate cooks than hanging unless the protein is shorter. It becomes a balance of what's cooked vs. amount of fuel needed, coupled with needed space.

    • Panhead John
      Panhead John commented
      Editing a comment
      Also, good idea on those S hooks, need to do that to hang my diffuser pan. I also noticed your garage floor...looks kinda familiar. 😉
      Last edited by Panhead John; April 6, 2021, 07:33 PM.

    • Potkettleblack
      Potkettleblack commented
      Editing a comment
      The S hooks solves a problem... I like that. Better than the other idea I had, which was adding hooks to the end of my tools.

    More ways to make cooking more versatile. There are plenty of times when being able to do both indirect and direct over fire cooks is useful. When grilling I've shown the vortex in use which gives us indirect around the perimeter of the grate, and direct in the center area. But let's say the size or shape of your protein would be better served by a half and half arrangement. With the fuel bin elevated for grilling you could bank the coals to one side of the bin which works okay, but you usually end up with some slumping which moves some additional heat to the indirect side. Having some left over scraps of expanded metal, I cut one piece to size to evenly split the space in the bin, and with the openings in the metal "wall" there's plenty of air movement to feed the fuel. Easy, cheap, effective.

    Another alternative, if choosing to use the vortex for fuel containment it can be pushed over to the side. So, for instance, if you're doing a steak you can indirect cook/smoke it, then with a cast iron pan over the vortex you've got a searing station.

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