New Braunfels Model 1400 Vertical Smoker – Not much Info

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by japacejr, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. I am fairly new to smoking and have my Step Dad’s old electric Brinkman Gourmet Smoker that is rusting out.  So I am in the market for a new smoker.  Leaning towards a WSM 22.5 but haven’t made up my mind yet.

    In the meantime, I posted to a neighborhood group looking for a used Weber Smokey Joe so I could build a Mini WSM (I already have the steamer pot).  As luck would have it one neighbor gave me a Smokey Joe Silver but another offered me this smoker which had been left by the previous owner of his house and had been sitting unused in his yard for at least 10 years.

    Best I can tell is it officially a New Braunfels 1400 Universal Water Smoker.  The metal is about 1/8” inch so I assume it is from the Char Broil days and not an original New Braunfels.

    I am searched the archives here at SMF as well as several other forums and there are not more than a handful of posts about it that I can find.  I assume that means it wasn’t real popular.  I haven’t found many threads with mod suggestions.

    But I thought I would post here and see if anyone was familiar with this smoker.

    The good: It is in really good shape with only light surface rust that I can see.  The two racks are ceramic and the charcoal bowl was covered in foil so it is real clean.  It has a thermometer; I will do the boil water test tonight. Can’t beat the price.

    The bad:  It is completely open at the bottom with no way to control air intake.

    I cleaned it up last night and plan to do a test burn in it tonight to see what kind of temperature it runs at as is.

    But I would love to hear from anyone who has experience with one of these.


  2. Well I gave it a test run with mixed results.  As expected, temperature control is a challenge.  Especially since I have never used any charcoal smoker before, much less this one.

    I started off by spraying peanut oil on the inside and adding a lit half chimney of lump to a half bowl of briquettes.   My intention was to season it and also kill anything that had grown or inhabited the smoker in the 10 years it sat even though I had hosed it out pretty good the night before.

    I let it run for about an hour while I prepped a Fatty and some Bacon Wrapped Corn (hat tip to SmokinVegasBaby and her featured post)

    It ran up to over 300 but settled back to 275 after an hour.  This was with the top vent wide open so I “assumed” I could lower the temp by partially closing the temp once I put the fatty & corn on.

    But after another 45 minutes the temp had dropped down to 200.  I “assumed” I had not used enough charcoal so I added additional lump (essentially the same amount as the lump/briquettes I had used before) and let it catch while I finished getting the fatty & corn ready.

    I added a foil wrapped terracotta saucer as a diffuser and put the fatty & corn on.  But when I checked about 45 minutes later the temp had spiked to over 450.  I closed the top vent and the temp slowly dropped to about 375.

    The fatty reached an internal temp of 130 in an hour and 160 after 90 minutes so I took it off.  The corn had gone on later so I left it on.  I also had opened the vent to remove the probe and had left it open. 

    When I came back the temp was 250 (I assume opening the door had caused the heat loss).  But I closed the vent to see if I could lower the temp to 225 and instead the heat started creeping up.  It climbed up to 340 in about 15 minutes so I opened the vent and the temp dropped to 275 after 15 minutes.

    I opened the door to remove the corn and it only recovered to 250.  So I closed the vent again to test the impact and again the temp rose to 325 after about 15 minutes.  Since I was done I left it alone and after another 15 minutes it was down to 275 and continued to drop for the remainder of the evening. 

    The fatty turned out pretty well (my first to cook or taste).  I think I will add more cheese to the center and use regular cut bacon.  I used thick cut and it did not get as crispy as I would have liked.  Not sure how much of that is the thick cut or the temp issues.

    The corn was good but I forgot the olive oil and will use more rub next time.

    My thoughts on the smoker:

    I need to do a fire only run without trying to cook anything so that I can keep the door closed and only adjust the vent.

    My first load was probably light and my second load was probably too much.  I will try again with about 1 ½ of my initial load.

    I need to let the initial fire get up to temp and settle before I try to control it.

    I need to start with the terracotta diffuser and not add it later.  I think I introduced to many variables and made it hard to determine what impact something had.  I also wonder if the diffuser pushing the heat to the outside caused the thermometer to read higher than the actual temp at the food.

    I am bewildered by the impact of the vent.  I would think closing it would lower the heat and opening it would raise it but it seemed to do the opposite.  I need to try partially open (1/4, ½, ¾) as well.  I only set it at closed or open last night.

    I forgot to test the thermometer, will do that tonight.

    What do you guys think?
  3. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great post Chip.  Those type smokers take time to develop a consistent smoke.  Once you get there you will be happy.  Keep working it. b
  4. Thanks Brian.

    I am gonna focus on building a mini wsm right now but I do plan to play with this one some more. It seems really well built.

  5. captkc

    captkc Newbie

    I've had this NB 1400 over 15 years.  I use it only a few times per years but it is my only smoker.  I did mod it by converting to gas by setting it on a turkey fryer base. I drilled three hole equidistance around the base and use 1/2 x 3 bolts pointing inward.  this fits right over the bayou fryer base.  Dual use for the base!  I place my smoking wood in the pan which has been replaced several times due to my laziness in proper cleaning it out.  Overall this works great for me as it's easy to maintain temp.  The only drawback is i't like one-two more circular grates.  I jave found nothing off the shelf that fits.  A good weld shop could make some racks
  6. jscaldwell07

    jscaldwell07 Newbie

    I can get one of these today for $50...haven't seen it yet but thinking if it's in decent shape that is too good to pass up?
  7. jscaldwell07

    jscaldwell07 Newbie

    P.S. I need to learn more about that bacon-wrapped corn too...please...
  8. cooksmoke

    cooksmoke Newbie

    I just bought a used NB smoker 1400. How do I seal the bottom to control temperature.
  9. bigz

    bigz Newbie

    I have the same smoker. I found it at a church flea market 2 years ago. Someone donated it. It was brand new never used (old new smoker) it sat in a garage for 15years. I had the same experience as you. So I sealed the bottom with a 6 inch ring and plate. Added a butterfly for air flow. I welded the top butterfly exhaust closed and added a 4x12x1/8 thick exhaust pipe. I put it dead center.
    Depending on the weather and breeze,I can hold 250 for about 45min to an hour. But she does go through a lot of wood. She can get away from you real easy. But I love it.
  10. yiannit93

    yiannit93 Newbie

    Any more pics of your modifications? Just got one for free today and was thinking to do something similar to what you described
  11. cooksmoke

    cooksmoke Newbie

    My first too cook was this weekend. I added wood almost every 1-2 hours for 250 down to 225 within a hour to hour n half. I noticed a lot of air coming out thein door and air vent at the top. I plan to use some atv seal. I would really like to find a way to seal the bottom. Could I get this done at a welding shop???
  12. bigz

    bigz Newbie

  13. bigz

    bigz Newbie

  14. bigz

    bigz Newbie

  15. bigz

    bigz Newbie

    Here you go. I'm sure you'll get it once you see the pics. I basically took measurements from the top butterfly and transferred it to the bottom. Make note, when I placed the plate on the bottom, I originally put the air intake right underneath the old butterfly exhaust. When I first cooked on it, I had to rotate meet because I found that the smoke and heat stayed to one side. That's why I moved both air intake and exhaust to the middle. Also The fire grate I'm using is from an 18 inch SMW. I also made a small fire basket for it. I don't have to use but a small chimney of lump and a couplechunks of wood because she will get hot quick. Prior to the basket are used one of two weber fire basket. Definitely use the water bowl it came with. Let me know if you have any other questions I'm glad to help out. Seems like you and I are the only ones with the smoker LOL
  16. bigz

    bigz Newbie

    I also added to quarter inch holes to the side for my probes, as well as lava lock gasket

  17. cooksmoke

    cooksmoke Newbie

    How did you seal the bottom? Weld shop
  18. bigz

    bigz Newbie

    No. My Dad with a small 100 amp welder at the house. He is/was (75 yrs old) a master welder with the state and Feds.
    But when I bought the metal I did ask them to cut and bend it in order to keep it as perfect as possible. If you look at the interior side wall. You'll see straps welded to it. The metal is thin. So he had to spot eel a lot in order to not warp the smoker to much.
  19. bigz

    bigz Newbie

    I just reread your question. Yes you can. I don't know what a shop would charge you but where I'm at, it's $40 am hr with a minimum of 1hr to start. In other words, if you have a 2 minute tack weld, it's $40. If you can get and prep all the material it will be cheaper in the long run

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