I'm pretty enthusiastic about smoking so I didn't hesitate to offer to help a friend who wanted to get some use out of their smoker. It turns out that they have what appears to be an older Brinkmann Sportsman Smoker that has a single grate, open bottom and no vents in the cover. The bottom section does not have a door either. It looks like air flow is controlled by the space between the charcoal bowl and the housing. (NB, I'm used to a WSM with top and bottom vents...)
I have two concerns: 1) measuring temp and 2) controlling temp. Ordinarily I use a Maverick remote reading thermometer to monitor smoker and meat temperature. The lid on this BSS looks pretty tight and I'm concerned about damaging the thermometer leads. Can I wrap them with foil to provide some protection? Can I use some extra foil to block the opening that will result from the probes?
Regarding temperature control, how do I do it? It seems like I have the choice of how much charcoal to start with and that's about it. Can I shove some foil into the annular gap between bowl and shell to reduce air flow (and that's assuming I need to reduce temperature.) The directions are quite clear about not needing to worry about overcooking food. Are my fears unwarranted? Charcoal sitting in a bowl and a non-vented lid hint that overtemp may not be a problem. I'm accustomed to closing up my WSM and making a few adjustments for a 6 or 8 hour smoke.
BTW, we're planning on smoking a 5 lb pork shoulder (for pulled pork) and a slab of baby back ribs. My expectation is that we'll at the least be opening the smoker to remove the ribs after several hours.
Tips and suggestions are most welcome!