Brinkman can't get temp up?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by rons, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    Hey folks, I posted on here before but I forgot my log in so re-registered. I had been doing my best with a gas BBQ, coffee cans and such, but finally got a little Brinkman smoker. Using it for the first time today and am really having trouble getting the temp up. I had it outside at first, in the cold wind, then brought it in the garage with the door cracked for ventilation (don't wanna die over a pork roast ;-) ), but I still can't get it up in the 'good range'. I keep adding briquettes, fanning it, etc. But the best I can get is the top of the 'warm' range. I can even hold my hand on the top of the smoker without getting burned. It just feels really warm. Any tricks to getting the temp up? About to go by a flame thrower and put it under there [​IMG]
     
  2. cajunsmoke13

    cajunsmoke13 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wish I could help you on that one Ron. Someone will be along to help soon. Flamethrower thing at the end was pretty funny Made me laugh pretty good.
     
  3. mikey

    mikey Smoking Fanatic

  4. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    LOL I was half serious on the flame thrower [​IMG]

    Ah ok, thanks for the link, I guess I should have started with a full lit pan of coal. I was worried it was gonna get too hot, yeah, that's not happen'en lol

    Mine has no vents, maybe I should make some for it....
     
  5. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Also, make sure you don't go by the thermometer that came with your smoker. They have been known to be useless about 99.9% of the time.
     
  6. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    oh man ok, that's what I've been using. Should I just buy a different one then? Any kind better? (cheapest = good for me lol)
     
  7. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  8. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    yes, same one!
    Egads, 375????

    OK that explains things. I started with a pork loin in the middle and salmon on top. The salmon is long done, pork still cooking. But all seems to be going ok. Mine is barely at the top of the 'warm' range like in that thread. I'm probably at 250 then! All the screwing around with the coals for nothing, I bet I was ok. But, I'm getting a good thermometer asap!

    Thanks a ton for all the help! [​IMG]
     
  9. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    ron - the ECB is capable of GREAT barbecue.

    i recommend some reading for you in order to get your full potential out of it and help you BIG TIME with temp control.

    first, read this on ECB modifications - do it now and then come back to this topic:

    http://www.randyq.addr.com/ecb/ecbmods.html

    second, this will take a little longer, but download this document called the BBQFAQ and read it during your spare time. you can of course skip over the information that has nothing to do with the ecb, but everything else there is more than worth the time and will teach you more about barbecue fundamentals (and using your ECB) than anything else i can think of. here is the web version:

    http://www.eaglequest.com/~bbq/faq2/

    you can download it as a TXT DOCUMENT here at the link below so that you can keep it on your computer and or print it out for reading while you're staying up late at night or "sittin'-n'thinkin':

    http://www.eaglequest.com/~bbq/faq2-w97.zip

    finally, i had my own epiphany regarding the ECB and temperature control last night, you can read about it here:

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/showthread.php?t=74616

    one more thing for a quick fix - get some aluminum flashing (i think 55 centimeters long will do) and rivet the ends together or use screws and nuts to fasten the ends together to make a low cylinder. use this as a wind shield and 89% of your problems will disappear


    [edit]whoops! i see now that mikey beat me to my own post regarding my experiences with this. thanks, mikey![/edit]
     
  10. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    PS - 240-250 is a perfect temperature for most pork, beef and chicken barbecuing. i can't speak for fish, but it is covered in the BBQFAQ that i referenced in the above post!
     
  11. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for the links, those mods look really cool! I was thinking about how to modifiy things yesterday as I suffered all day messing and messing with the fire trying to get it up to temp.
    (BTW, it must not have ever gotten warm enough, I finally pulled the pork roast off and finished it in the oven at 7:30pm. The roast was only at 130 after 7 hours of cooking ugh. The Salmon came out great though!)

    I was really thinking of doing the electric conversion last night, but maybe this would be better. My thoughts were, I could do use the electric deal and even add a few lumps of coal with the wood chunks to simulate the charcoal flavor but not have to use up 8 lbs of coal and spend all day playing with it. Anyone here use the electric setup?

    I'm going to really read that whole mod thing though, being able to 'get at' the charcoal pan would help a LOT and make things better.

    Once I got the smoker in the garage I didn't have any wind or super cold issues anymore but the dang thing still wouldn't get up to temp. I'm thinking it had to be air flow then.

    Thanks for all that! :)

    LOL what..... who? People read during that process? [​IMG]
     
  12. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    ron -

    it is ALL about airflow - you can convert to electric if you want, but i think something gets lost in the final product - the authentic, outdoors flavor and texture suffer, in my opinion.

    do the mods, they're very cheap and easy. read the stuff there and you will see that you've got yourself some prize-winning BBQ!
     
  13. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    Good advice, I read all those mods, they really seem logical. Do you think if a person used electric but still added some coal with the wood it still wouldn't taste the same then? (I've BBQ'ed forever but this smoking thing is new to me :) )

    One more question, with one of these properly set up, how much charcoal do you go through for a 5-6 hour smoke?
     
  14. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    Good advice, I read all those mods, they really seem logical. Do you think if a person used electric but still added some coal with the wood it still wouldn't taste the same then? (I've BBQ'ed forever but this smoking thing is new to me :) )

    One more question, with one of these properly set up, how much charcoal do you go through for a 5-6 hour smoke?
     
  15. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    first question - i'm not a hundred precent sure that adding come charcoal would do any good. it could be something to try, but my instinct tells me that simply adding charcoal to electric would not add the flavor. i think that benefits of burning a "natural" heat source (either from briquettes, lump or wood) are that you get that little bit of roasting/darkening/not-sure-what-to-call-it-but-it-is-great! flavor that only comes from burning something that was once growing in a forest somewhere. not enough to BURN any food, but the flavors do impart. a chemist could probably explain it. my understanding is that as far as added smoke flavor, charcoal briquettes add none, lump adds a little and burning wood down to coals will of course give the best. one of these times i am going to buy a couple of bags of actual hickry chunks or perhaps even logs (hard to get in montana) and try a wwod-only BBQ.

    as for your second question, i am still learning, but i am finding that for a 5-6 hour smoke you are going to for sure go through one chimney plus another like amount already in your pan using the minion mehtod (see pix on the site that has the mods - if you poke around he shows a very good setup). it is possible that about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through, you will add another half-or full chimney-full. as i said i am still elarning but those are my impressions - hopefully someone with a little more experience will add to this. of course, all things are related to temperature, airflow, how many times you peek etc.
     
  16. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    ah ok, that does make sense. When I was using my gas grill trying to smoke, I was putting a big coffee can on the one side with charcoal and wood to make the 'flavor' and supplementing with propane heat for control. I thought I was adding briquette flavor but maybe not then lol

    I hate to ask but how much is that then? :) How much is a chimney full? How much to you start with in the pan? I'm trying to figure, if I pay 8 bucks for a 20 lb bag of coal, how many roasts can I get out of that :)
     
  17. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    these BBQ briquette chimneys are the best thing to come along since - well, not sure, but they are great. you can get them anywhere, k-mart, wal-mart, whatever - i advise getting one. i should count how many briquettes one will hold, but i usually try to use lump charcoal anyway. they look to me to be about the same capacity as a standard coffee can, give or take a little.

    a smaller fire, if you can keep temps up, will always be better than a big fire. outside temperature plays some role in this, but airflow plays much more. if you can get lump in your area give it a try and i think you will be happy with results.

    the "details" are explained pretty well in the BBQFAQ. a lot of things i don't have the experience yet to put into words, but as you read it it makes sense and is certainly worth a try.
     
  18. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    OK cool thanks for all the time you spent answering my questions (thanks everyone) you guys are a very cool forum!

    I used an actual coffee can to get mine started. And tongs... and shakey hands fearing they'd slip and I'd spill em on me lol The worst part was putting them in the pan one at a time with the tongs, I did keep dropping them at that point... stomping burning things out that flew off,... hoping my wife wasn't watching "don't burn the house down!" lol

    I'll read that whole thing, really good info. you guys have. Thanks again!
     
  19. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    >>>I used an actual coffee can to get mine started. And tongs... and shakey hands fearing they'd slip and I'd spill em on me lol The worst part was putting them in the pan one at a time with the tongs, I did keep dropping them at that point... stomping burning things out that flew off,... hoping my wife wasn't watching "don't burn the house down!" lol<<<

    yep - this is exactly what i was doing at first, had a coffee can with a few holes punched in it. it worked but the tongs, the messing with it, the trying not to burn down the place was too much. at the end of summer, i saw a bunch of chimneys on clearance for 3.50$ and picked on up. glad that i did! well worth the price or even twice that.

    you'll find that folks here are always ready to offer a hand - usually if one doesn't have the answer, someone will come along! a great group and a good fraternity!
     
  20. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    3.50? Oh man I'm getting one right away then. Can't beat that price with a stick!

    yes, very cool forum, not used to forums where people actually help, kinda freaking me out lol
     

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