Hi All. I had the "Epic Fail" first smoke, and I *think* I know why. Here's the story:
Brand new Brinkmann Split-Door Vertical Smoker, my first, an, er ... entry-level (read: cheap) smoker. I seasoned it according to instructions a couple of weeks ago, and added an oven thermometer. Yesterday I fired it up for a brisket. Royal Oak lump charcoal, Kingsford briquettes, and apple wood chunks. Bottom vents anywhere from completely open to ½ closed, top vents completely open. Sadly I could never get it up to temperature. It never got past 170* on either the door thermometer or the oven thermometer. I saw that when the wood started smoking, smoke was coming out of every side of the top door, as well as the vent.
So I'm guessing the doors are so loose all the heat is just pouring out faster than it can cook. Does that sound like an accurate analysis?
If so, I went to the Search function and found out about "stove rope" and "high temp red RTV gasket maker." My plan is to try to seal all the way around the top and bottom doors & test for temperature. Is that the pretty obvious fix for the problem? Any other/preferred fixes I should try along with, or instead of the door seals?
Ribs are on the menu for tonight's Mothers Day dinner, but they'll be oven-cooked, then moved to the gas grill. Not taking any chances with momma's meal :-0
Thanks for all suggestions