My Fornetto Basso 18" Smoker Mods

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necron 99
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My Fornetto Basso 18" Smoker Mods

Post by necron 99 »

I recently purchased a Fornetto Basso 18" smoker to replace my ageing (13vyears of service) similar 17" BBQ Pro Deluxe Dome Smoker I bought at Sears in 2008.

These are the mods I've made before firing up The Basso for initial burnout and seasoning.

The Fornetto factory thermometer has a 100°F - 1000°F temperature range, way too wide for my use and poor resolution in the hot smoking and smoke roasting range. Also, the bezel was designed to make it difficult to separate from the thermometer.

1. I purchased the "Large Print" version of a Tel-Tru BQ225 with 50°F - 500°F range, 2.5" stem, 2" diameter body through Amazon. The 0.25" diameter stem on the Tel-Tru BQ225 is lower diameter than the Fornetto factory thermometer stem so no drilling or cutting was required to accommodate the new thermometer.

https://www.amazon.com/Tel-Tru-BQ225-Ba ... 8022551037

2. I purchased a replacement thermometer bezel for a 22.5" WSM through Amazon, which is designed to house a 2-3/8" Weber thermometer.

https://www.amazon.com/Weber-Smokey-Mou ... 124&sr=8-2

3. I purchased a 12" X 12" sheet of silicone rubber through Amazon rated from -40°C to 260°C / -40°F to 500°F. My wife cut two gaskets for me: one to go between the thermometer bezel and the smoker top dome, and one to go between the Tel-Tru BQ225 and the bezel, taking up that extra 3/8" room in the bezel face. I don't expect any smoke leaking from this mod during initial burnout and seasoning, or any later time.

https://www.amazon.com/Resistant-Silico ... 624&sr=8-1

Here's some photos of the final results of my labors, with a lot of assistance from my wife (over 50% easily).

Top dome bimetal dial thermometer with bezel & gaskets.
20210711_113413_copy_800x600.jpg
I purchased an onlyfire 13" diameter SS grill grate through Amazon that I placed inside and oriented 90° to the slats at the bottom of the Fornetto factory charcoal basket.

https://www.amazon.com/Onlyfire-Stainle ... 588&sr=8-1

I purchased some 19 gauge SS wire to wire the two grates together, minimizing potential for rubbing between the two grates. The Fornetto factory charcoal basket is porcelainized enameled steel.

https://www.amazon.com/Hillman-Group-12 ... 229&sr=8-1

The two grates at 90° to each other at the bottom of the Fornetto factory charcoal basket.
20210710_210607_copy_600x800.jpg
I purchased a replacement 22.5" WSM Charcoal Chamber (Ring) that arrived slightly out of round, so instead of wiring it to the top of the Fornetto factory charcoal basket, I decided to just let it rest there by gravity.

https://www.grillparts.com/weber/weber- ... t_id=63007
20210710_210612_copy_600x800.jpg

Here's my wife helping measure & demonstrate the 1.25" clearance between the bottom of the Fornetto factory water bowl and the top of the WSM charcoal chamber (ring).
20210710_210912_copy_600x800.jpg

With the sloping sides of the Fornetto factory water bowl, y'all can see there's excellent clearance available for me to be able to add charcoal and smoke wood using the 20" aluminum fire tongs I've been using for all my smokers and grills for years.
20210710_211101_copy_600x800.jpg
Next step: initial burnout and seasoning! I have two Dr. appointments tomorrow but I think odds are low the 10 lbs max lifting and body bending position restrictions I've been under since May 4 will be lifted yet. So it might be a couple more weeks before I move forward with that. So, more to come . .
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Re: My Fornetto Basso 18" Smoker Mods

Post by SVonhof »

I had never heard of a Fornetto Basso smoker, but it looks a lot like the Weber Smokey Mountains. But I like how you can use it with the different levels so you can have a small grill, a short smoker or a tall smoker with 2 cook levels.

It looks like it is a little cheaper than the WSM of the same size.

Did you get it burned in last night?
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Re: My Fornetto Basso 18" Smoker Mods

Post by necron 99 »

Nope, we rebuilt my gas grill with all new innards yesterday evening. It's a Charbroil Masterflame 8000 my wife gave me at Christmas back in 1997.

Here's a link to Lowes on the Fornetto line of smokers. There's a Fornetto Smokers user group on Facebook this line has been discontinued by the manufacturer.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Fornetto-Basso ... 1000714230

I've been using a predecessor for the last 13 years, @k.a.m. built an extra deep charcoal basket for it back those many years ago. You can see the lineage and how it's showing 13 years of war and tear (but when I first bought it, many TSR detractors posted it wouldn't last a year). The factory dome thermometer on it has never given me any problems.

viewtopic.php?f=28&t=256

Original listing at Sears, the BBQ Pro brand was the Kmart & later also Sears house brand for grills & smokers & accessories. It's still the best $60 (in 2008) I ever spent on a smoker. You can see the actual smoker I've been using has flat feet instead of round and the lack of the reinforcing rib in the (1" larger diameter) Fornetto Basso smoker. There's also the Napoleon Apollo 200 & Apollo 300 smokers and ProQ smokers that share these general design features.

https://m.sears.com/product-details/p-0 ... 115883000P

I'll probably do initial burnout and seasoning of my Fornetto Basso 18" smoker in the next few weeks.

A few other reference links. There's also a 22" Fornetto Basso, and 18" & 22" Fornetto Razzo smokers but these weren't offered in the US.

https://fornetto.com/

These Matador brand smokers are what's been rolled out in the Australian market to occupy the niche the Fornetto smokers.

https://www.matadorbbqs.com.au/barbecue ... let-smoker
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Re: My Fornetto Basso 18" Smoker Mods

Post by necron 99 »

Here's an old TSR thread on my BBQ Pro Deluxe Dome Smoker from 2008. Photobucket instituted their ransom attack policy at some later point and I refuse to pay them anything so none of the photos I posted in that thread have worked for a long time now.

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewt ... 629#173334

Another TSR thread on the BBQ Pro Deluxe Dome Smoker

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20373

Owners of the similar ProQ Frontier cooker at that time had a model with only one air intake in the bottom bowl being problematic and others had posted problems with handles on the food chamber sections taking on a permanent inward bowing from lifting the sections with food and / or contents in the water bowl. Here's a TSR thread where member 'Burbs revamped his (much more costly) ProQ Frontier Mark 1 to have three air intakes in the bottom bowl a la the ProQ Frontier Mark 2.

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewt ... ght=deluxe

The handles on the food chamber sections of later models use the same design as my new Fornetto Basso smoker. I've never had any issues with the handles on my BBQ Pro Deluxe Dome Smoker. The handle design on my Fornetto Basso smoker reduce the overall footprint / clearance requirements when not in use but definitely aren't a "cool touch" design when in use.
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Re: My Fornetto Basso 18" Smoker Mods

Post by Smokin Mike »

Interesting! I've never heard of that type of smoker. Thanks for sharing. I'm definitely following this discussion.
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Re: My Fornetto Basso 18" Smoker Mods

Post by k.a.m. »

Nice Mods Robert. :D If you need anything shoot me a text or call me.
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Re: My Fornetto Basso 18" Smoker Mods

Post by necron 99 »

Thanks as always Kevin! I hope you & Debbie are enjoying your free time this summer!

For San Antonio and South Texas in general, this has been the coolest + wettest summer without a tropical storm system in my memory. We had 105°F - 107°F weather this time last year, it's 87°F - 93°F this yearand way humid for SA.

I'm debating whether I need to do a burnout on this smoker at all. I don't remember doing a burnout on my BBQ Pro Deluxe Dome Smoker, just washing the food grates in warm soapy water. I see Chris Allingham says doing this isn't necessary for WSM's so I'll just wash the Fornetto Basso food grates and do a cook session some time in the next few weeks.

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Re: My Fornetto Basso 18" Smoker Mods

Post by Suckaass »

Hey Robert, nice to see you here even though I don’t come around often enough…been a couple months… :roll:
Sorry to hear that you’ve been having some health issues, glad you’re still on the light side of the dirt.

Mods look good, BTW :)
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Re: My Fornetto Basso 18" Smoker Mods

Post by necron 99 »

Thanks! I plan to fire this smoker up for a maiden voyage cooking a Boston Butt pork roast tomorrow or Monday.
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