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SnP is all broken in

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I had it burning for a few hours today and the paint is peeling on the charcoal box. i dont see any peeling on the unit itself(food side), which hopefully is a good thing. I havent done any mods yet(that will probably be next week) but i have to do some ribs this weekend.

A few questions now.

1) Is there a specific charcoal amount i should keep in at all times?

2)is there a rule of thumb how much charcoal i will need for X amount of time(i know do judge by temp of meat, just getting guestimates, nothing more).

3)when do i add wood for smoke?

4) i know wood burns hotter than charcoal, so do i add more wood when the temps start to drop?

Maybe someone can give me a how to start off with charcoal walk through. Id like to better prepare myself for tomorrow, but i will be doing a beef rib run tomorrow for sure.

Thanks for all the help. I have the SnP incase anyone didnt catch it in the header.
post #2 of 23
i'll also be interested in the answers to these questions and i have a new, asembled and seasoned SnP that i ahven't used yet!

suprfast - regarding this:

>>>the paint is peeling on the charcoal box.<<<

i contacted brinkmann by email about this. they requested a scanned copy of the receipt and immediately put out a shipping order for a new one. i don't know if this will be useful becuase it sounds like it will peel the paint every time - however, i figure it will be good to ahve a spare firebox lid for the future - since it is covered by the warranty, you might consider a similar email to brinkmann.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Good thinking about contacting brinkman. I will be doing the same now. I also have the bottom half of the box(errr, cylinder) losing its paint. If i can get a new piece all together i will powder coat it on the outside.
post #4 of 23
Do the mods ASAP. It will make things a lot less frustrating. There are several threads here on horizontal smoker mods but here's the way I did mine. Not the only way but it works for me.


It's been awhile since I fired my SnP with charcoal (I converted it to gas and use the UDS for charcoal smokes) but since no one has responded yet, I'll try and help you out.

Since you have not done the mods yet, I assume you don't have a charcoal basket and are using the stock grate. That will make it a little more difficult. It also depends on what fuel you are using. Lump charcoal burns hotter than briquettes. You will want to keep a good layer of lit coals going. As the temp starts to drop and you need to open the damper say past 1/2 to 3/4 to keep the temp up, slide the remaining lit coals to the cook chamber side of the grate and add some unlit beside it to the damper side. The unlit should start to light and keep the temps in a good range. You may have to play with the damper to keep the temps in check until you get used to the smoker. Then you can slide then reload again as the cook progresses.

It depends on what fuel you are using. Different brands generate differing amounts of heat and lump burns hotter than charcoal. The thin walled horizontal side fire box smokers aren't very fuel efficient and without a charcoal basket, you will have to reload more often. I never really measured it but after a few smokes you will get a feel for it.

After you get the smoker warmed up, place a couple of wood chunks near, but not on, the hot coals. You want them to smoke -- not burn. If you are using chips, you can wrap them in tin foil, poke a few holes in the foil pouch and place them near the hot coals. You may have to adjust the position (closer to or farther away from) the lit coals to get them smoking but keep them from catching fire.

The SnP is not a stick burner. Despite what the manual says, you don't want to use wood for fuel. It can be done but until you get very, very good at fire management you are much better off to stick with a good lump charcoal or, if you have to, use briquettes. Use lump charcoal for heat and use wood for smoke flavor.

I got my SnP about one year ago and have had just slight problems with peeling paint on the firebox but never on the cook chamber. I repainted some small spots on the firebox lid with hi heat BBQ paint. A good portion of paint came off the bottom and I didn't feel like taking the firebox apart to paint it so I just wiped it down with Pam. You can also use Crisco. If you do this after each smoke, you won't have to worry about rust.

Hope this helps.

post #5 of 23
i don't presume to speak for suprfast, but i found that to be good, helpful information - thanks, dave!
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Speak for me as that was great info.

the part i will find most useful is the placement of wood in the smoker.

Dave, thank you very much.

Tasunka, good luck. Ill post more info so we can compare the new smokers
post #7 of 23
The instructions for the CGSP say specifically not to get things too hot too quickly. A very hot fire on the first burn WILL peel the paint. (Presumably the SnP instructions would be similar.)

I found that out: My first CGSP firebox had an ill-fitting door so I returned it. I had broken it in properly, and had no peeling. But I forgot that with the replacement firebox. Did a smoke using some sticks after only a short burn-in - lo and behold, the paint peeled that first time.

The solution of course is a $5 can of hi-temp spray paint. Spray it on while the firebox is cooling down but still warm, then put a couple more coats on over the next hour as it continues to cool. I did that, and haven't had any peeling whatsoever since.
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
I think the main issue is the company has planned to not use quality material to being with. Im going to try and powder coat my firebox if i can get another one
post #9 of 23
Glad you guys found the info helpful.

Coyote-1 has a good point though about the heat in the first run. Trouble is most people (including me) go by the stock thermo on the first run because they don't know the stock thermo is junk until they spend a little time on the forums. On mine, the middle of the IDEAL range is about 365°.


And superfast hit the nail on the head -- the inexpensive starter smokers are just that inexpensive. They are great starters though but need a little help to make them last and perform better.

post #10 of 23
Great info DDave. The first thing I would do and in fact when I got my SnP I did, is to buy some good thermos for the cooking chamber. Drill holes in the lid and mount them close to (just above) grate level. IMO this is the single most important mod you can do to properly use your smoker. You have to know the actual temperature you're cooking at. Once you do that the other mods are mainly for evening out temps (left to right), getting better efficiency out of your firebox (charcoal basket) and getting a steady flow of TBS.
You'll find that Lump charcoal will work best in your SnP but Brikets will do fine as well. The main drawback is brikets make a LOT of ash and you may have to clean it out during a smoke or it will choke out your fire. Especially with the stock firebox grate.
I do burn wood in my SNP but usually it is just in addition to the lump charcoal. I will split some oak, cherry, hickory, or whatever into approx. 1 in diameter pieces and lay 2 or 3 in on top of the lump. Get the dampers set and it will give me a good long burn with a steady flow of TBS.

Good luck and good smokes.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Okay so im currently in the process of my first smoke with beef ribs and its really aggravating how hard this charcoal business is vs my electric. Im just hoping this tastes like gold.

Temps are fluctuating all over(usually 20 degrees lower than what i want). I get a good 210 degrees plus/minus 10 degrees more on the minus 10-15 degree side though. Im having to add charcoal about every 30-45 minutes(which i read is normal). Maybe im not starting with enough charcoal, and maybe i should just be choking it up a little.

I guess trial and error.
post #12 of 23
kris -

charcoal smokers are definitely not "set it and forget it" smokers! ;) takes a little getting used to, but i think the results are worth it.

i've not cooked beef ribs before, but i think you might want to shoot for higher temperatures, no less than 225 and i think you'd be better off in the 240-250 range. if i am completely wrong, someone can correct me, but at 210 etc. i would think the risk would be drying them out rather than cooking them.

keep your air intake pretty far open (at least halfway and your exhaust wide open at all times. you may need to add a little more lit charcoal but keep in mind that one of the biggest mistakes with cooking fires is to build em up and choke em down - you will end up with bad temperatures, creosote and a general mess. make small adjustments and give them a little time so that you can monitor the results of those adjustments, otherwise, you end up overshooting the mark.

good luck! no matter what, it's likely that you won't absolutely ruin anything, although it might not be as good as you expect - it will be eventually! keep in mind that the first couple of smokes are going to have big learning curves!
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
I got them to about 140 degrees last night in about 4 hours which is slow. Normally i would be done with my electric. I took them off and put them on my propane grill for about 30 minutes, sauced then ate them. I was starving and could not wait any longer.

Im going to start the modding process before i do any more cooking. Im sure ddave and rivet are 1000% when they told us to do the mods first, but i need something more stable. Time to break out the welder.
post #14 of 23
[quote=suprfast;292792]. Im going to start the modding process before i do any more cooking. Im sure ddave and rivet are 1000% when they told us to do the mods first, but i need something more stable. Time to break out the welder./quote]

Yes, but we understand the "enthusiam" factor. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif When you have something new, you just want to get out there and use it.

Just from reading through your post, I'd say the mods you want to do first are the charcoal basket, baffle, and chimney extension. make sure you're measuring the smoker temp at the grate level with some digital thermometers.

I like to put the probes on either side of what I am cooking -- if there's room.

I use the temp closest to the firebox as feed back to control the heat. I use the temp at the opposite end to adjust the tuning plates as I am starting up, or to decide whether or not to rotate the meat during cooking.

Be aware that when you throw a fresh peice of cold meat on, the temp on the far end is likely to start reading lower than the temp at the firebox end. The temp gap will get closer as the meat gets warmer so don't get too wrapped up in the temp differential unless there is a drastic drop (like if the wind comes up or something).

Hope this helps.

post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Yes it does help. I was reading with the temp to the left of the meat(closer to the firebox).

When i make a basket out of the diamond grate should i make one big one, or two small sections to equal the size of one large basket?

post #16 of 23
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Exactly how big should the heat shield/deflector be? I found a piece of 1/8"(im guessing, i didnt actually measure it) steel at lowes. It measures 6" x 18". The width of the SnP is approx 17.5" at the longest points and has the radius/curve as it goes lower. If i angle the 6" in piece will this be long enough or should i opt for the 12" piece(that was available but i didnt buy).

Also, does anyone have an suggestions on the exhaust. I plan to seal the top of my smoker and add to the base a new exhaust, on the right hand side, 90° elbow with mandrel bent piping. Ill draw a picture if anyone thinks i suck at explaining stuff.

Main reason for not just adding length on the current setup is so i can keep the upper rack for larger parties. Plus i had a simple scientific notion about heat rising. If air takes the path of least resistance and heat rises, wouldnt the chimney on the top still promote for air/heat to escape faster? If i move it to almost the lowest point wouldnt the newest smoke being made push out the oldest smoke currently in the food side?
post #18 of 23
kris - regarding your exhaust at a lower level - i've read about it and it makes sense, but have no experience with it. i know it is mentioned quite a bit on the BBQFAQ, you might check that out. you can download a word document of the BBQFAQ here:


once you get past the first 10 or 15 pages, it's all good.

i'm thinking of the same thing but want to gather a little more testimony from folks who have done it both ways.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
I think im going to try it. I saw the horizon unit at bass pro yesterday and it had me thinking. Scientifically it makes more sense, but it doesnt mean much when it cant be applied to what you are truly doing.
Sorry to bring science up so much, im a math major working towards my masters, and i have to put my theory to test on paper before i actually do it.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have been thinking about what i did yesterday and opted to try the minion method. So far this has worked well. I have been able to get my temps to a reliable 220°. I also added boiling water to a pan all the way towards the left(closest to firebox). Temps have been pretty stable making me feel good about this smoker all over again. I will be doing the mods next week and still have to try this again. NEVER GIVE UP KRIS...

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