Step-by-Step Guide: Minor Modifications to the Oklahoma Joe’s Tahoma 900 Smoker

Step-by-Step Guide: Minor Modifications to the Oklahoma Joe's Tahoma 900 Smoker

In this guide, we explore minor modifications to the Oklahoma Joe’s Tahoma 900 smoker. You know when you have a smoker that makes great BBQ but needs a few little touches to make it perfect? These additional touches can take it from a great smoker to customized excellence.

These enhancements are designed to optimize your smoking experience by improving functionality and usability without overhauling the original design. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a novice smoker, these minor additions will help you get the most out of your Tahoma 900.

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Relocate Handles on the Oklahoma Joe's Tahoma 900 for Better Shelf Clearance

Modification 1: Relocate Handles on the Oklahoma Joe’s Tahoma 900 for Better Shelf Clearance


Enhance access to the front shelf by moving the handle to a more convenient position.

Supplies Needed:

Handle and screws.

How to Implement:

  1. Remove the Handle: Begin by loosening all four screws to remove the handle from its current position.
  2. Temporary Placement: Use two of the original screws to secure the handle temporarily in a new, higher position. Insert the remaining two screw in the two bottom holes of the lid to plug them and for safe keeping. These steps allow for testing the handle’s effectiveness before making permanent modifications. Always be careful to tighten the screws firmly but not overtighten to avoid damage.
  3. Permanent Installation (Optional): If satisfied with the new position, drill new holes in the smoker lid that line up with the top handle holes. Blots, nuts, and lock washers would be best for this application, but only tighten them enough to get the lock wash to go flat. This ensures the handle is securely attached for optimal use.


This modification enhances accessibility to the front shelf, making it easier to place food on the shelf and use the handle as normal.

Tip: Place the first screw in one of the lower holes, screw in halfway, secure the second lower screw, then complete tightening of the first screw.

Add a Smoke Stack to Improve Airflow in the Oklahoma Joe's Tahoma 900

Modification 2: Add a Smoke Stack to Improve Airflow in the Oklahoma Joe’s Tahoma 900


Improve smoke flow by adding a smoke stack.

Supplies Needed:

4 inch smoke stack, duct collar, and (optional) Small self-tapping screws.

How to Implement:

  1. Assemble the Smoke Stack: If assembly is required, assemble the smoke stack according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Connect the smoke stack and the duct collar.
  2. Attach to Chimney: Remove the factory chimney cover. Place the chimney assembly over the factory chimney with the collar side flush with the smoker’s body.  
  3. Secure (Optional): You may choose to secure the smoke stack with #8 ½” self-tapping screws.  The duct collar has 3 screw holes, of which 2 can be used without bending the flange. Always predrill holes in the smoker’s body because the metal is heavy-duty. Secure the screws snugly to hold the smoke stack in place. Remember to tighten carefully to avoid stripping the metal or damaging the screws.


This modification not only improves the smoke flow, which helps in directing smoke away from the cooking area, but it also enhances the flavor of the food due to better smoke distribution.

Tip: Use a duct section at least 12 inches long to enhance smoke flow and consider adding a 90-degree elbow or chimney topper to prevent water intrusion.

Install High-Range Thermometers in Your Oklahoma Joe's Tahoma 900 for Enhanced Precision

Modification 3: Install High-Range Thermometers in Your Oklahoma Joe’s Tahoma 900 for Enhanced Precision


Verify optimal cooking temperatures in the primary cooking locations.

Supplies Needed:

High-range thermometers (capable of measuring up to 700°F).

How to Implement:

  1. Positioning: Begin by placing the thermometers near the cooking grate to visualize their final position, ensuring they do not make contact with any surfaces.
  2. Drilling Holes: After determining the ideal placement, the best measurements were found to be 5 inches above the shelf level and 6 inches from each corner. These distances ensure the thermometers are optimally positioned to capture consistent and accurate readings across the cooking area.
  3. Securing Thermometers: Attach each thermometer in its designated position by tightening the nut by hand and then using a wrench for the final adjustment. Be careful to tighten just enough to secure the thermometer without over-tightening, as this could strip the threads.


This modification allows for precise monitoring of the internal temperature, crucial for maintaining the perfect cooking environment. Accurate temperature readings lead to consistently well-cooked meals, enhancing your overall smoking results.

Tip: Install thermometers at the back of the smoker to avoid temperature fluctuations caused by frequent door opening, ensuring more stable and accurate readings.

Adding Solid Steel Handles for Easier Movement of your Tahoma 900

Modification 4: Adding Solid Steel Handles for Easier Movement of your Tahoma 900


Facilitate easier movement of the smoker.

Warning: Be cautious, as the handles will get hot during use. Consider using oven mitts or installing heat-resistant BBQ smoker handles for safer handling.

Supplies Needed:

Solid steel barn door handles and self-cutting machine screws.

How to Implement:

  1. Handle Alignment: Begin by aligning the handle on the backside of the smoker, ensuring it is positioned to avoid any vents that might interfere with functionality or safety.
  2. Handle Attachment: Use self-cutting screws to attach the handle easily. These screws are designed to cut into the metal, securing the handle without the need for pre-drilled holes. While attaching the handles, tighten the screws firmly enough to ensure stability yet cautiously to prevent over-tightening that could strip the metal or snap the screws.
  3. Balancing the Handles: Ensure the front side handle is aligned with the back side handle to maintain balance and aesthetics of the smoker.


Adding solid steel handles improves the maneuverability of the smoker, making it easier to move around. This is particularly beneficial when the smoker is hot, as the robust handles allow for safer adjustments and repositioning. Do not lift the smoker using these handles as it can put excessive pressure on the joint between the charcoal bin and the fire box.

Tip: Pre-drill the holes for mounting the handle with a drill bit slightly smaller than the screw’s cutting tip. This helps prevent the screws from walking, or shifting, when you start to drive them in.

Planned Enhancements: Future Modifications

As I continue to refine and enhance the Oklahoma Joe Tahoma 900, there are several exciting upgrades in planning designed to improve your smoking experience even further:

  • Charcoal Chute Improvements: I am planning to modify the charcoal chute to prevent charcoal from sticking. This change aims to improve the flow of the briquettes, preventing drops in temperature from the fire going out or large amounts of charcoal dropping into the burning chamber all at once. It may also make it possible to feed the charcoal in more evenly to slow down consumption.
  • Air Intake Control: I am working on developing a method to effectively stop air intake, which will allow for quicker extinguishing of the charcoal. This feature will be particularly useful for conserving charcoal and safely shutting down the smoker after use. I am excited to share this with you once it’s ready.
  • Upper Shelf Enlargement: Recognizing the need for more space to accommodate larger cuts of meat or multiple items simultaneously, I am considering enlarging the upper shelf. This modification will allow you to maximize the cooking area, making it perfect for large gatherings or when cooking varied menu items in one go. I recently viewed a relevant video on YouTube by another content provider, which you can check out below.

These enhancements are driven by my commitment to providing you with the best possible information for your barbecuing and smoking endeavors. Keep an eye on my website and YouTube channel as I roll out these features, which are designed to make your smoking process as smooth and efficient as possible.


This guide has outlined the minor modifications to the Oklahoma Joe’s Tahoma 900, aimed at improving your smoking experience. From relocating the handle for better access, to installing high-range thermometers for precise temperature control, a smoke stack for clean smoke flow, and adding sturdy handles for easier maneuverability, each modification enhances your smoker’s functionality and usability. For further insights and a detailed review of the Oklahoma Joe’s Tahoma 900, visit my website.

Summary of Modifications

  • Handle Relocation: Enhances access to the front shelf by moving the handle to a more convenient position.
  • Smoke Stack Addition: Improves smoke flow and enhances food flavor by adding a smoke stack to the standard chimney.
  • Adding Thermometers: Allows for precise monitoring of cooking temperatures with high-range thermometers installed in optimal locations.
  • Adding Moving Handles: Facilitates easier movement of the smoker with sturdy, solid steel handles installed for better maneuverability.
  • Future Modifications: Plans include improving the charcoal chute, developing a method to control air intake for quicker charcoal extinguishing, and enlarging the upper shelf to accommodate larger cuts of meat.

These modifications aim to improve the functionality, safety, and convenience of the Oklahoma Joe’s Tahoma 900, enhancing your smoking experience.

Thank you for joining me in refining your smoker. Happy smoking!