I'm very glad I found this post, I have the same Brinkmann SnP that you're having issues with, and I'm experiencing the same issues with low temp.
Let me start by saying I've had a Brinkmann electric smoker for almost 10 years and was completely stuck on buying a Brinkmann unit when I went
hunting the local Criagslist ads for an offset smoker to play with. If fact, I used the electric one last weekend for chicken because it's too darn easy
to use and it's almost impossible to screw up chicken in it (unless you fall asleep cause you drank too much beer) LOL Anyway, it has only been
recently that I figured out how to get ribs to turn out the way I want them, and it was on a friend's charcoal smoker that I made the connection between
rubber ribs and awesome ribs. This is what led me to buy the SnP and I'll be darned if I'm going to give up the hunt to learn to make the best darn
ribs I've ever had.
Before I start rambling, I want to state that I'm not hijacking this post by any stretch. I'm simply letting you know what I have and where I'm at, so we can
relate and compare notes. I once got accused of being a hijack because I rambled a little bit, so I'm playing it cautious. (Haden, we're practically neighbors!
I live in Orlando)
Roy, here's what I've tried so far:
1) chimney extender - bought a thin piece of 4" x 24" aluminum (found in the dryer vent section) from Home Depot for $3 and extended the chimney down to the grate.
I rolled it to the same size as the chimney (typical corn or green bean can size), shoved it up inside the chimney and use a screw to hold it in place, then trimmed it.
2) steel plate across the firebox to main cooking area openinguntil some holes to allow some heatto pass through and the rest to deflect to the right side of the cooking chamber.
3) a charcoal basket, about 4 inches to 5 inches raised off the bottom of the fire box. I plan to replace this with a better designed one because the one I'm using was
a cheapo built by the previous smoker's owner and it looks seriously cheap.
One very important thing I found, is that after several hours of cooking, the charcoal ash builds up on the bottom and restricts airflow to the charcoal.
I was able to cook at approximately 250° for about five hours with two chimneys full of charcoal. I was using a handful of Kingsford briquettes on the bottom
of my chimney and the rest of the chimney was filled with "Cowboy Charcoal 8.8 lb. Lump Charcoal" from Home Depot. Once I reached five hours of cooking
time, for some reason my cooking temps crashed to the upper 170s and lower 180s, and no matter what I did I could never get it to come back up above 200.
I realized afterwards, but I never removed any of the ash from the burnt charcoal, next time I'll know to remove it. I even went as far as building a fan box to help
shove oxygen into the fire box, which proved to be a useless attempt to get oxygen to my charcoal, which was being choked out. I used a large metal coffee can
with a hole cut in it, and a typical PC CPU cooler fan, that I had plugged into 12 V battery that I obtained from work from an old UPS, in hopes that it would help with
my temperature problem. Because I was cooking this meat for a family function, I resorted to sticking the meat into the oven to make sure it was completed on time
for the family function. The ribs turned out awesome (3-2-1 method) and was the first thing to go, the pork butt was a bit of a disappointment, but I can't complain too much considering
that it was my first stab at pulled pork. I can post pics of my simple fan box if anyone would like to see it.
Another important thing I found is that Cowboy charcoal did not get as hot as the charcoal I used on my friends smoker. Believe it or not, I used Winn-Dixie lump charcoal
because it was on sale (2 for 1) which reduced my cost to smoke by almost $10. This brand seems to get hotter and stay hot for a lot longer time than the Cowboy stuff
sold at Home Depot. I have also heard the Royal Oak brand lump is much better than using briquettes, so that will be my next thing to try as well.
In all honesty, I've only done one burn solo with no meat just to see how well it holds temperature on a Thursday, then fired the unit up on Saturday and started cooking
for my family function and feel that I did reasonably well considering I've only cooked on an offset smoker with charcoal only once before buying this one. Let's begin
a great collaboration together and get these issues worked out. I've also been pretty fortunate because my smoker doesn't leak that much, unlike the complaints
but I have found from everyone else on the forums. I guess the previous owner treated quite a bit, even though there is no signs of oven seals or silicone anywhere.
I will try and post some videos and pictures this week, so that anyone wanting to see what I came up with can benefit from it.
Hoping this info sharing is a benefit to all of us......