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I really need some direction!!!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hey Smokers,

 I've been a member here for a while and now I need some direction from some experts or anyone that just has a great idea.  I have a vertical charcoal smoker.  My main problem is that I can't get it up to temperature no matter the outside temperature is.  I have made some mods on it like putting gasket material around the doors, drilling holes in the charcoal pan to increase airflow, the dampers are still pretty sorry but, I am now of the mind that I just need a new smoker.  I would really like to go electric but, I'm not against staying with charcoal if I can get one that will get to temp and stay there.  I hope I can get some good direction here because I'm getting tired of starting a smoke in my smoker and then having to transfer everything to my charcoal grill to complete it!!!!

Help!!!! Jay :beercheer:

post #2 of 18

What is the smoker made of? If its really thick it could just take forever to preheat the steel.  Pics might help too.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

It's a Brinkman 810-5502-W, made of thin sheet metal.  Don't have any pictures right now and too dark to get a good one now.  The metal itself feels hot but my meat thermometer tell a different story.  It will get to about 250 before putting meat in but, once meat is in it will not get back up above about 180.  The only other thing I can think of is to add insulation to outside walls but, it may be just as economical to buy a new smoker. As I said before I think I would like to go electric but I do love working with charcoal!!


post #4 of 18
I love my MES 30. Very easy as I don't have the time to keep up with the charcoal. I absolutely recommend an MES if you want to go electric. Check out the MES 40, but try to make sure you go Gen 1 if you make the jump.
post #5 of 18
Is the charcoal burning thoroughly?
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

The charcoal seems to be burning fine.  I can't remember the name of the starting process but, I stacked my hardwood charcoal around an empty coffee can and started charcoal briquets in my charcoal chimney and then add them to the smoker when they are burning good.  If there is any way I can make them burn more efficiently I would love to know the tricks.

Jay :beercheer:

post #7 of 18

Take out the water pan if you are using one.....  check the calibration of your therm in boiling water...    Let us know what happens....   Dave

post #8 of 18
I was thinking that the burned out coals were sniffing out the good coals.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 


You said take out the water pan, do you advocate for dry smoking?  I always heard it added moisture to the meat but, never saw any real evidence to prove it.  I could place more coal in there if the pan wasn't above it. bkemp, is there some way to prevent this from happening? I have noticed there is a lot of ash sitting in the coal pan.

Jay :beercheer: 

post #10 of 18
I cut out the bottom and added a grate from weber.
post #11 of 18

JA, evening..... water sucks the BTU's from your heat....  All the heat goes to trying to boil the water into steam.... using up all the coals and causing you to use more coals for a reduced temp....   when you don't use water, your temps will go WAY UP...  be prepared...     You can use a small amount of water for the first hour or two...  I often times use a 1/4 cup then no water for the last several hours...     Without water for the last part of the smoke, bark will form sealing in the juices of the meat...    Works for me...   Forluvofsmoke, Eric, has developed a method for doing just that...  I tried his method and like it...   Dave

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys!!! I will try both ideas very soon. At least the family agreed that the local BBQ place had nothing to out do mine.  The problem now is what to smoke next?????

Jay  :beercheer:

post #13 of 18

I would suggest some type of beef ;-p

post #14 of 18
DaveO gave you some great advise-didtch the water pan. I used to run a Brinkmann Gourmet Deluxe and that thing would never get hot. I quit filling the water pan and my temps went up. If you want to build you a smoker, you can't go wrong building an Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS) or a Mini WSM.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks Guy's!!!! Hey Dutch do you have the plans to build those smokers? I kind of like doing things myself, I'm a big time DIY'er.

post #16 of 18
Check the Build Forums. Both are explained in great detail. Or use the SMF Search feature, I'd post up some links to the builds but I'm on my smartphone.
post #17 of 18
Here is a mini wsm build that is very well explained. Put together by our own dirtsailor2003:

You'll have to read through the thread to see what all he did. Case opted to drill holes in the bottom of his pot; I opted to cut out the bottom. The only difference being that I can see is that I'll able to load up more charcoal as I'm not restricted by the bottom of the pot.
post #18 of 18
My updated pot,I have two,I cut the bottom out. The old pot I am going to cut the bottom out of too. I have another thread that I'll dig up that has more info too. Mini-WSM's rock!
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