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Trouble with my New Brinkman Smok'n Pit

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
So I have been smoking with a Brinkman electric for a few months and it has been a blast but I feel it was time to get me a charcoal smoker to get the real feeling of smoking. So my wife surprised me with a new Brinkman smok'n pit and I was stoked! I have recently found out that I have no real idea on how to run one I did some turkey after I cured it and I am having a hard time keeping temps up I am blowing through copious amounts of charcoal and my temps are inconsistant at best. I have a weber chimney starter which has been nice but I need some serioius help I have looked online an there is not much advise. So I am begging for some information on how to maintain heat and how much charcoal on average should a six hour smoke take? Any information is appreciated thanks.
post #2 of 13
This mod I did (follow the link) made a completly different smoker out of mine! Hope this helps, post your results qview style if possible :)

post #3 of 13
Hey Mc check this link out too.
ECB Mods
post #4 of 13
i've got some "right out of the box" advicefor the SnP, which will dramatically improve performance while you learn to use your pit and study up for the "permanent" mods.

if you have one of these units, first thing is by now, you've probably found that the axle/wheel system on the SnP is not so hot. just run down and buy some large washers and 2 large bolts that will fit through the "axle holes" and two fitting lock nuts. i don't know what the "right name is, but the bolts i got were the ones that had threading only on the end portion, leaving a portion with no threading so that the wheels could turn freely. you can also, if you choose, purchase some heavier-duty lawnmower or similar wheels.

next quick fix - this is easy! get some hi-heat tape for dryer vent or wood-burning stove work; it is usually silverish in color. use this tape to block the two big holes at either end of the smoking chamber. this helps a lot with airflow and temperature retention.

next - rather than following the instructions and building your fire on the bottom grate of the fire box, move all grates up to the "top" level so that it makes a crosshatch and build your fire here. there is much, much more air below your fire to keep it from choking out now. note that this is a "quick and dirty" mod that can later be replaced by a better mod, which is a well-designed charcoal basket.

next, take your "drip tray" and set it so that it is all the way up at the "west" end closest to the fire box, and down as far as it will go at the opposite end. the reason for this is to block flames and deflect the harshest heat from your firebox into your smoking chamber. it is a 'quick and dirty" substitute for a proper manifold/tuning plate, but works very well until you get or fabricate one.

to extend this idea a little and make it even more effective, set a small bread loaf pan (the disposible heavy-foil type) right up to and almost against the hole from the firebox on the drip tray, leaving just a small area for smoke and heat to pass through. you might have to lower the drip tray a level to do this, but it will be fine as long as the tray is still at a downward angle. this helps control the hot spots even more and does add a small amount of moisture to the cooking process, similar to the water pan on an ECB. finally, it helps regulate the temperature coming into the smoking chamber so that it can even out across the chamber.

next, get at least four regular masonry bricks or six 2x2x8 bricks (or a similar square-inchage of fire bricks, if you can find them at a local spa/stove store). place these 2x2 (3x3 if using the 2x2x8 bricks) starting at the "east" end of the smoking chamber (farthest away from the firebox, under the chimney end). this is a good start, but you can of course put as many bricks as you want and even go all the way across the smoking chamber if you want. this will go very far to retain heat and prevent temperature drops. it will make it so that your unit takes longer to come up to temperature, but once it does, you are in great shape.

the last of the "quick and dirty" mods" is also so easy that it is silly: get two or three HEAVY old blankets and fold them so that they sit on top of the smoking chamber only, extending to the chimney and "folding" around it. it is OK if there is some draping down over the "east" end and the front and back of the unit, but make sure nothing is hanging down at the west or firebox end. these layers of insulation help more than you can imagine no matter what climate you live in and will drastically cut down on your charcoal or wood consumption - moreover, temps should even out very closely across the chamber. it looks as redneck as it sounds, but it WORKS, and that's what matters. before long, you will get pretty good at folding the blankets so that they fit just right and will aslo be able to lift them off and put them back on easily as you add, remove or check the meat, spritz or mop etc.

the above mods work, and work well, and hardly cost anything at all. having said that, they can be improved upon with some investment in materials and welding. i consider most of the Quick & Dirty mods to be good "poor man's substitutes" for what ultimately needs to be done.

for your first "real" and "permanent" mod, i suggest going to your local muffler shop and buying a length of new 2.5-inch exhaust pipe. the length should be 9.5 inches, with a 45-degree angle cut at one end. after having him expand two inches of the end of the pipe to fit the base of your chimney (which is somewhere between 2.5 and three inches), it will sit very snugly in the base and extend the chimney 7.5 inches down into your smoking chamber, ending just above the grate (you will need to remove your warming rack or do some cutting on it to accomodate the "swing" of the extension). this forces the air, heat and smoke to draw across the bottom of the smoke chamber, rather than skirt straight up diagnally from the firebox to the chimney at the far end. cost me four bucks.
post #5 of 13
I think those two are the most important bits of advice that will make a huge difference.

Also check the spacing on the door to your firebox.
After using mine only a few times the door no longer closed flush and had a gap at the bottom letting in a lot of air, I actually use my electric Brinkmann body to but up against the corner of the door to keep it pushed closed.
post #6 of 13
Here's another mod thread for ya. biggrin.gif


I haven't used my SnP with charcoal for awhile. I converted it to propane. But they do burn a fair amount of charcoal in a 6 hour smoke. What worked for me was to put a chimney (or two if necessary) of lit to get it warmed up. As the temp starts to drop, use a tool of some sort to push all the lit coals to the cook chamber side of the firebox and pour another chimney of unlit on the vent side of the firebox. The lit will ignite the unlit and you can repeat this process throughout the smoke. You'll also want a tool of some sort that will let you rake out the ash periodically depending on what kind of fuel you are using.

It takes a bit of practice and I did several dry runs with no food on just to get the hang of fire management.

Good luck.

post #7 of 13
What an interesting idea, did you happen to do a thread on that? Not that I would convert mine, I love the charcoal and just finished building/modding an electric brinkmann gourmet for propane but I would love to check out the build.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info!

Thank you thank you thank you!I appreciate the help. This will take some stress off this is the best forum on the net for the fact that if you have questions someone has answers thanks.
post #9 of 13
Someone always has an answer. That's the great thing about SMF. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

post #10 of 13
Something I did not see mentioned which I would suggest is to move away from using all charcoal as your primary/only heat source. I start about 3/4 of a chimneys worth of Kingsford briquettes. Once these are going strong I dump them into my charcoal basket. Then I will lay 3 or 4 good sized sticks of red oak on top of the briquettes. They are about 14" to 16" in length and 2 to 3 inches in diameter split from larger logs. Let these burn with the firebox door open. At this point you are not smoking anything there is no food in the smoking chamber you are simply building a good coal base.

Once these have burned enough so that you can break them into smaller wood chunks by poking them with fire poker I add another 2 red oak sticks let them catch fire and then close the firebox door.
Now it's time to let things settle. Once your temp levels out to what you want it's time to add your food.
Red Oak is a great heat source and is very mild in terms of smoke flavor being added to your food. It burns very hot and very long which makes it a perfect choice to use as a heat source.
As I need to add a little more heat as I go along I will add in a handfull of Royal Oak Lump or you could use regular briquettes.
If I'm battling cold outdoor temps another stick of oak will be used.
You will get the hang of whats needed and when after a few smoke runs.

Don't forget to add your smoking flavor wood when needed. Cherry, apple maple whatever your wood of choice is.
If you can't find red oak in your area there should be other types available for you to use.
Also I strongly recommend you buy the heat shields available from Brinkmann for the bottom of your firebox. These will prevent premature burn through of your firebox. Especially important when burning wood.
You should have gotten a catalog from Brinkmann with your smoker that would have these in.
Besides all the other mods mentioned here I have started lining the bottom of my smoking chamber with aluminum foil. This accomplishes two things. Heat retention in the smoking chamber and easy clean up later.
The foil will last for quite awhile in the smoking chamber without being replaced.
However I use my smoking chamber to grill in quite often. So the foil makes it a real easy to clean up the ash after grilling.
Good luck and don't get frustrated you will find what works for you.
post #11 of 13
You've got a great smoker there, and have gotten a bunch of GREAT advice.

Here's another link to my mods that will give you some options and ideas.

post #12 of 13
Sorry I missed this. I didn't really do a thread on it. I just bought an Afterburner H from www.gassmoker.com and dropped it in the firebox. Hooked it up to a propane tank and off I went. biggrin.gif I did end up having a new door made for the firebox though as the original "daisy wheel" damper kind of got in the way of the burner assembly.

post #13 of 13
Heat shields? Mine didn't come with a catalog and I can't seem to find the heat shields on the Brinkman site.
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