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Charcoal Smoker Modifications - Page 4

post #61 of 94

Grilling Bowl charcoal basket

Hubby was in MN for a couple of days and came across a Charmglow SS Grilling Bowl that he thought would make a good charcoal basket for my Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal smoker. He picked two of them up for me. biggrin.gif They measure 11" wide at the top of the bowl without the handles, 13 1/2" with the handles, about 3" deep and about 8 1/2" across the bottom.

After talking with Mikey about it, he suggested putting legs on it. The trial run determined that there wasn't enough airflow on the sides for the charoal to remain lit. With more guidance from Mikey, I had hubby drill holes in the side of the bowl 1" apart in alternating rows.

That did the trick. biggrin.gif The basket now works great, fits nicely in the smoker and is very easy to use.

post #62 of 94
That's what I'm talkin' about! Xlnt post on the mods to that grilling bowl. Nice pics of how it's done!! The next step will be to control the air flow into the Brinkmann. You'll have a mini drum before ya know it.
post #63 of 94
Thanks to you! biggrin.gif
post #64 of 94

Damn that airflow!

I recently purchased a Brinkman Smoke N Grill (is this the new Smokin' Pit? looks identical) and I fired it up last night for a trial run (still working on the QView). I havent extended the exhaust pipe to grate level, but I did buy a similar rounded pan. I was having trouble keeping the temp up and I knew there had to be a simple fix. I'm definitely going to drill the holes in the sides of the pan tonight and fire her up again this weekend. I also got to get me some lump, but its hard to find in my area. The only thing I've seen in Cowboy at Home Depot, but I've read less than stellar reviews. If anyone knows where I can get some good lump in the NYC/ Central-Western NJ area let me know!

Thanks to all for the great pieces of advice!
post #65 of 94
Just a friendly reminder in regards to your "pan", don't forget the legs, as keeping the pan elevated will allow the ash to fall thru.
post #66 of 94
"I havent extended the exhaust pipe to grate level". I've noticed this being in several picures, why is this perferred?
post #67 of 94

Need advice for controlling temp on ECB

I don't know why I have read so many other people saying that they have a problem keeping the temperature up on a ECB I have the Gourmet model. I have great difficulty keeping it below 320-340! The only mode so far is to put a charcoal grate about 1" from the bottom so ash has a place to go. Do I need to do another mod to control the airflow from the bottom of the charcoal pan? it already has factory vent holes.

I have to open the door and keep taking off the lid to keep the temperature down. Things cook faster than they should. Maybe one chimney full of briquettes is too much? That is all that I have been using now, and it is always too hot. I used lump charcoal the first time and I could have smelted ore it got so hot. What are people doing that leaves them with too low a temperature? I need to go in that direction!
post #68 of 94
Hey Joe,
I had the same problem as you.
1 chimney is indeed too much IMO.
I successfully smoked a chicken the other day and kept my ECB temp at 250 for 3 hours.
I started with 1/2 chimney of lit and placed them on one side, then I placed my smoker box in the middle and put an equal number of unlit on the other side. I pushed the smoker box till the end touched the side of the coal pan.
That left a space at the top of the smoker box between the lit and unlit.
I then bridged the gap mixing the two to make sure the unlit would eventually catch.
Sure enough it did and the coal burned in a nice "U" pattern around the smoker box.
I have a vent flap on my bottom vent and I was able to make the temp go up or down by tweaking.
Hope that helps!
post #69 of 94
Chimneys vary greatly in size, so 1/2 chimney for you could be a whole chimney for Joe. I have a gourmet, and did the coal pan mod. Before the intense Florida heat hit, I used to light 32 coals, and set them off to one side. Then I put about 75 unlits in the pan next to the lits, and overlapped them by about two coals across the line of lits. That used to get me 4 hours at 240* on my dome thermo. But now that the awful heat is here, I have a hard time keeping the temps down even with less coal. I sealed off the bottom damper, and drilled holes in one side of the outer pan. I fashioned a damper to go over the holes. That brought the temps down, and I can vary it with the damper. It worked a little too good. I wasn't really getting quite enough air intake at that point. I intend to install another damper 180* away from where I put the first one. That should do the trick.. Why did I close the bottom and move the damper to the side? I couldn't think of any way to mount linkage to control the damper that wouldn't interfer with the unit if I want to use it as a waist high grill. If you're not concerned about grilling, then I would just damper the existing intake.
post #70 of 94
Before you do any more mods..... Take a good look at how your cylinder sits on the coal pan. There is a lip on the coal pan, and the cylinder has to be inside that lip the whole way around. It's very easy to set it down wrong, and not even notice. If that happens, the unit leaks air terribly, and your coals burn very hot. Using the lid and door to lose heat is a merry go round. If you open either of them, you lose heat quickly, but you also give the coals unlimited oxygen. Close the door, and the temp soars again because you just got the coals all excited.
post #71 of 94

Ready for my next smoke

Thanks everyone for the great information and advice. I've just finished installing a damper over the bottom air intake as I have another grill for plain grillin'. I'd post a picture, but as a newbie haven't figured that out yet.

I'll certainly dial back on the number of briquettes that I use. The U-shaped burn and the one side to the other burn both seem like excellent techniques and I am definitely going to try them both. The reminder about ensuring that the unit is seated properly makes me think I may not have been doing that. Thanks.

I think my mistake was following the directions that came with the ECB - start with 10-15 pounds of charcoal and light them all off to start. Why doesn't Brinkman read all the comments about their products and see how people have to modify them to make them work? They should incorporate the mods in theri design so that their smokers work great right out of the box. Don't they even try following their own instructions?

Much better instructions, advice and experience are found here!
post #72 of 94
Just a note the link in the first post is no longer valid

And thanks to all for the helpfull posts...
post #73 of 94
Here's the mods I've made to my SnP since I've had it. The first time I used it was with no mods. I have a water pan in over the fire, right up to the opening between the fire box and smoke box. There was a 50* difference between each end. I added a new mod before each smoke to see what difference each one made. The first deflector I came up with only yielded about a 10* (40* difference in ends) change in end temps. After re=-engineering the deflector and adding tuning plates, I was about 20-25*.
After I added the chimney extension, and another re-engineering of the baffle, and an additional baffle between the boxes, when I made my fatty's, there was only a 5-10* difference. Granted, this is all done with a single, free-standing oven thermometer, but I think my numbers are fairly accurate. I'll know more when I get some through the door thermometers. Oh well, enough gabbing, here's some pics of the mods on my SnP.

View of the deflector. The stainless steel screening holds my drip trays off of the tuning plates. I think it's tough enough to hold coals if the need ever arises.

Basic chimney extension. I used some 4" roll your own dryer vent. Rolled it tight, stuffed it up the hole and let it expand.

Here a hot side view of my deflector set up. I had the grate out when I was cooking my fatty's...got rained on...

Top view. The piece of rectangle steel is my box divider for a modified minion method. I haven't used it yet. I had some thinner steel in separating my coals before, and it seemed to work, but would eventually get hot enough to ignite the coals next too it. I hope this one works a little better.

post #74 of 94

ceramic tuning plates

was wondering it ceramic floor tile would be a good or bad idea for tuning plates? any input would be appreciated.
post #75 of 94
I wouldn't see why not, and they should help hold the temp stable...
post #76 of 94
I'd imagine it could work. But you never know what chems are in the glaze... try to find unglazed tiles if you can.

I have four bricks holding up my waterpan/baffle, and they help retain the heat.
post #77 of 94
So - I like to smoke using sticks, but as you know, it tends to get the smoker too hot and you have to deal with huge heat spikes. So, one new mod I thought of besides the aforementioned baffles is spacing the firebox so that there is less direct heat conduction between the firebox and the chamber.

My thinking is as follows: There are three types of heat transfer - radiation, convection, and conduction. The firebox baffles take care of a lot of the radiant heat issues by blocking heat radiation directly from the firebox to the meat. However, I still have an issue with conductive heat since my firebox heats up so much and tends to make my smoker run too hot when I use wood. So, if I add a spacer between the firebox and the cooking chamber, it will reduce conductive heat exchange from the firebox to the smoker (more heat will have to radiate out to the outside when the firebox gets hot rather than transfer to the chamber). That way, more of the heat exchange will occur via convection from the smoke, and hopefully the temps will be more stable.

So again, my hope is that the temperature gradient from the firebox side to stack side goes down and burning wood in my cheap charcoal UDS is a little less volatile from a temperature perspective. My next steps will probably be to improve my baffle to something like "theStealth" has implemented and add a larger diameter exhaust tube. My dream is that my UDS behave like a more expensive and thicker gauge smoker with the proper mods. We will see.

I wanted to take some "control group" measurements to make this super-scientific, but I didn't get enough time (and I was excited about doing the mod), so I will have to just post my (biased) results on how it works today with my ribs.

I have some good photos of the spacer mod that I will post in a bit. We will see how this works.
post #78 of 94
So, here is my UDS pre-spacer:

Removed the Firebox and added the spacers:

I just found some random plumbing things from Home Depot that I thought would work:
post #79 of 94
So I just used a cheap foil pan from Wally's world to form the smoke tunnel between the firebox and the cooking chamber.
post #80 of 94
Okay - so I smoked some great spareribs today, and I apologize for the lack of qview, but we had a bunch of people over, and I didn't snap any photos. But anyway, most relevant to this thread is the results, which I was extremely pleased with.

Like I mentioned earlier, I didn't have a chance to do a baseline test, so I don't have any actual numbers to back it up, but I do think the mod was very successful in both lowering and smoothing out the temp of my crappy UDS while using wood only. I used small to mid-sized pecan and apple wood chunks, and the temp stayed a very steady 225-250 degrees throughout. It did spike to 275-300ish once or twice, but that was because of loading up with wood all at once. Normally, if I use all-wood in this smoker, it frequently is up above 300-325, and I am constantly having to adjust the baffle, slow things down, open the lids, etc.

So, given the almost negligible amount of cost and the significant impact, I do think this is a mod worth doing. Convective heat should be what cooks the meat, so there is no reason to have conduction between the super-hot firebox and the cooking chamber.

Next time I will post QView.
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