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hey I'm new, I have some questions about the Brinkmann Split door smoker

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm completely new to smoking, and I have been searching around the internet to learn more about it!

Since I do not have alot of money to spare, I was thinking of buying the Brinkmann vertical split-door charcoal smoker. It's about $70.

Is it a decent smoker to start out with, or should I look for something else?

Also, what mods does it need? For the cylindrical one, there are some articles I found to mod it to make it better, but I don't know about the split-door.

Also, should I get a firebox for it? I haven't looked into fireboxes much, but from what I have read, it helps regulate temperature.

And should I buy a charcoal chimney, and what is the best economical thermometer to use? I have read repeatedly how the built in thermometers are way off.

Thanks for all your help! I hope to be able to make the purchase and begin smoking meats very soon!


Also, I would be smoking my meats on a wooden deck. There's really no place else I can put it. That's fine, right? Should I get something to put on the deck to put the smoker on top of?

post #2 of 6


This site has tons of info.

I would suggest you spend some time reading all the different forums and the WIKIs.

Then use the handy dandy search tool for specific interests!!

The free E-Course is great!!

Have a great day!!!





post #3 of 6

Welcome to the SMF! 


I would go with the split door so you can service the fuel while minimizing heat loss. 

Don't know about the firebox.

I always use a chimney to start my coals.

Always test your thermos -- some work fine & others of the same model are off calibration.  If they are accurate, use them; if not, replace them.

I would definitely protect that deck with something fireproof.


Have fun & be safe!  usa.gif

post #4 of 6

I have one of these, the only mods i have done to it are..buying a ' Wok' type fire bowl, I believe Weber makes them...I do not place this on the bottom of the smoker, i place it on an old cake pan This makes ash clean up a lot easier and elevates the fire a tad bit helping air flow. Above that in the next set of brackets I slid in a piece of expanded metal and thats where i put my wood chunks...i Use the water bowl right above that.. This leaves 2 racks for food.  I went and bought a temp probe that i drilled a 3/4" hole in the side and screwed it tight.


if I used this more I would seal the doors better,but i rarely use it anymore. i find sometimes both exhaust vents need to be open and one intake completely closed, and i just use one intake to regulate the heat.. sometimes i alternate which vents are open..one top and one bottom on opposite sides...it does not take much to eat this up...the temp gauge in the door is junk. i put mine on the side near the top rack..if i used it more i would put a second down lower, but really it is such a small box 2 might not be needed.



Hope this helped a little, getting a fire bowl with holes is almost mandatory....





post #5 of 6

Think you may be looking at the same one I have http://www.amazon.com/BRINKMANN-810-5502-W-SQUARE-VERTICAL-CHARCOAL/dp/B004WC3540/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1306716051&sr=8-11 ??


If so it's a pretty good smoker so far. First thing I would do if you don't buy the basket is take a 1/2in drill bit and drill about 2 dozen holes in the charcoal pan to let air in. Otherwise you'll be spending all day tending to the fire. Wish I had done that the first time.


The temp gauge appears to be off as much as 40 degree's. Another thing is if you don't use a separate bin to start the charcoal then remove the water pan till the coals cool down, otherwise you'll just burn the paint off of the bottom.

post #6 of 6

I just bought a Brinkmann vertical cabinet two door smoker from Wally World.  This is my second smoker that I will have to modify to work well for long slow smokes.  I just bought a square bbq wok made by Master Forge #0025375 at Lowes for about $10 that nearly fits in the side rails of the smoker.  It has a great pattern of holes sufficient to be a good fire pan.  Here is a link to a fellow who modified a Brinkmann vertical watersmoker and you will learn a lot from this one web page.  Here it is: http://home.comcast.net/~day_trippr/smoker_mods.htm   Let me know if this link does not work.  When I say 'nearly' I mean this wok can fall out of the side rails if not modified.  So, I intend to place a large cake pan on the bottom of the smoker to catch the ashes.  In addition I will have to find a way to elevate the wok pan up from the cake pan so it will get air.  I will most likely modify the rails to tighten the fit.  I found the doors of this cabinet smoker to have way too much air leak.  So, I will remove the stock door hinges, add a tape stove door gasket around the door frames for an air tight fit and install new gate hinges so the doors can close with equal clearance on all sides.  I am sure this will be a frustrating job.  This is how I see the mods necessary to make the two door  cabinet smoke work properly.  I only wish I had seen the smoker from Lowes before I bought this cabinet smoker.  Too late now.  Also, I might mention that I saw this two door smoker at Wally World a few days ago with a new squarish fire pan with a little grate...still not a good fire pan without adding a bunch of holes to get air, but a small improvement over the round pan that came with my smoker.




You could go to Lowes and buy the Master Forge bullet smoker for $57 dollars.  Go to Lowes web site and read the reviews on this smoker.  You will rarely see such glowing reviews on a smoker this cheap.  Plus, this smoker has three clasps to hold the barrel to the firebox so you can move the whole smoker at one time instead of in sections.  Much safer.  The one mod recommended by a customer who seems to know smokers was making a vent door valve or damper control for the firebox to regulate temperature or air flow.  That should be easy.  To increase the safety of operating a smoker on a wood deck buy a fire mat at Lowes made for that purpose.  I found them located nearby the smokers at the store I visited.  About $20 if I remember right.  Yes, you will need a charcoal starter  chimney to build a charcoal fire.  I highly recommend a book, Low & Slow, Master The Art of BBQ in 5 Easy Lessons   by Gary Wiviott.  His book is aimed at the beginner.  He claims that smoke/cooking at 250 degrees is just fine.  For myself, I like the idea of having a smoker that will run at 225 degrees because it will run longer at that temp without reloading.  But no matter, this is a great book for learning the ropes with slow/smoke cooking.  The only advantage the two door cabinet smoker has over this smoker is the easier access to the inside of the smoker.


I have found that getting a smoker to run at 225 degrees really means sealing off any and all air leaks.  Much easier said than done.  I am sure you will find that out eventually.  Getting the firebox set up right also adds to the capability of the smoker.  See that above link about firebox mods.  I did the same smoker he did and I had a devil of a time getting the air leaks stopped.  From the reviews of the little barrel smoker at Lowes, you should escape most of the headaches in moding a smoker that I had to do.


Good luck.

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