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Brinkmann Vertical temperature

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm new to smoking and just finished my first smoked chicken. It turned out great but it took 5 hours and the Brinkmann temperature never got over 170. I had to finish it in the oven.

I used wood charcoal and oak chunks so there was plenty of smoke. I had water in the pan and refilled it several times throughout the cook. It was 40 outside. Just to make sure, I pulled out the door thermometer, put it in the oven at 250, and it read 250 so it appears to be working. I tried running with the vents wide open and it didn't help.

I read on these forums to refill the water pan with warm water so I'll try that next time.

Any other ideas?
post #2 of 10
Do you think you could stop into Roll call for us please. Now for your smoker did you replace the thermometer or just use a probe style and put it inside the smoker. Do you have thermo meter type thingy?? You need aleast two of them too.
post #3 of 10
Your smoker got over 170, especially if you had to fill the water bowl two times. water doesn't boil until it hits 212. Chances are the thermometer that came with the smoker is not accurate. Do you have the cheap water smoker or the square one with 4 legs?
post #4 of 10
For one, I agree with the water assessment by Racey. You should not have to refill that quickly. On top of that I would suggest not even using water. To achieve higher and more consistent temps in your smoker, use Playbox sand. You can get it at Wal-mart, Home Depot or Lowes. Cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil to catch the drips. I use sand all the time, more so when the temps start to drop. You can use it several times also. Once it dries out, add a little water to it to make it moist again. The water pan is not there for moisture, although it does supply some. It is there for a heat sink.
Now the other possible problem. You stated you had ALOT of smoke. This you do not want.

Good smoke on the right, bad smoke on the left. Too much smoke can choke off your fire and it will not burn well.
post #5 of 10
I like that picture of the two smokers side by side. that's a perfect example of bad smoke and good smoke in one pic.
post #6 of 10
Neat picture, Flash. Good example of what to do and what not to do regards smoke.

I have used my offset vertical Brinkman for 4-5 years now. Made the same mistake you did - looked at the thermometer in the door.

My advice, forget that it is there. As Raceb said, it got hot if you had to fill up the bowl.

After I learned that they door thermometer was useless, I started using standard meat insertion thermometers in whatever I was cooking. Told me the temperature of the meat, but not the temperature ofthe smoker.

Next found a thermometer that sat on the great. Now I have a handle on the smoker temps.

Problem is that with either of these, you have to open the door to see what the temps are. You loose heat and smoke. Not a good thing.

I have graduated to using digital thermometers with a probe. More accurate and they sit outside the smoker so you can tell what's going on without opening the door. I use them in the meat and another on the grate. The only thing you need to do make sure the probe is not touching the grate. I use a piece of aluminum foil for this, otheres use a block of wood, a potatoe, an onion, etc.

See picture below.

Good luck. This place is a great source of knowledge. Enjoy.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone that responded. Turns out that the built-in thermometer in the door was not reading the true temp inside. I have the square Brinkmann vertical smoker. I went out and bought a Taylor remote thermometer and held it through the upper vents. It showed 238 so I'm relieved. I smoked a duck today and will do a couple butts for this weekend.

Thanks again.
post #8 of 10
You can go to Lowes and usually find a replacement style temp gauge. You will have to drill a 1/4 inch hole or so, but they work well and are more accurate than the one in the unit. My old Brinkman R2D2 unit gauge was off by 65ยบ. PDT_Armataz_01_05.gif
post #9 of 10
I have this same smoker. I drilled holes in the coal pan and bought a small grate to raise the coals off the bottom which helps the fire burn hotter and not choke out.

I also don't use water in the pan, but just cover that pan with foil to help it serve as a heat sink. It works nicely and allows me to get higher temperatures. Before these changes, I wasn't able to get hot enough.
post #10 of 10
I just bought the same smoker today and while curing the temp gauge read 220, but now that i am trying to smoke it wont go over 100, just put another thermometer in and it is reading 160, wish i would have done that before i let all the heat out messin with the fire.
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