2nd brisket smoke

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
Nov 21, 2006
Waco, TX
i smoked a brisket last night, my second one. i used my homemade rig for the first time.
the ABT's and Fatties turned out well. i used 1lb of jalapenos, stuffed with cheddar, and wrapped in bacon. i make mine by making "boats" out of the jalapenos. too much trouble to try and leave them whole. i used a JD "sage" and a JD "hot" for my Fatties. they were fantastic. i kinda like the hot better, but the sage is good too.
the brisket was 8.31lbs, a packer cut. i sprinkled cayenne pepper, chili powder, black pepper, dried chopped onions, onion powder, and garlic powder on it. i smoked it at 225°, with pecan and oak wood, using royal oak lump for my charcoal.
i put the brisket in the smokeer at 2015; it hit 140° at 2247. i then pulled it out of the smoker, put in an aluminum roasting pan, and poured my mop on it. covered it in foil and put in the preheated oven at 225°, at 2300 (see below for the reason it went in the oven). it pulled it out of the oven this morning at 0915, internal temp of 185°. i left it on the stove for about an hour, then sliced it up.
i made my mop by taking a 6oz can of apple juice and pouring it in a bowl. i added chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and brown sugar.
the brisket was tender with a nice flavor, with a nice smoke ring.

now a few questions. i had hell getting my smoking chamber to hit 225°. i put some of the charcoal in the firebox, put a little lighter fluid on it (let it sit a minute), and fired it up. i had alot of wood ready by the smoker to go in. it took a while to hit 225°. once it hit 225°, it styed there pretty good. i ended up using the whole 10lb bag of charcoal, and alot of wood.
maybe i am just used to a smaller smoker, but i got worried i was going to run out of heat. the last hour, before it hit 140° internal, it got down to 200° in there. i had the intake wide open on the firebox. there is nothing to close the exhaust stack, which runs from the food rack through the top, and about 12" above the top, with a rain shanty on top. the smoke stack is overall 24" long x 4" diameter. should i use strictly wood? i can get all the oak and mesquite i want, free. i have alot of pecan here at the house.
i don't mind tending the fire, that's alot of the fun of it. the firebox will hold 16" long logs. or should i get 10lbs of charcoal burned into coals and put 1 or 2 logs of wood on it?
i saw alot of the thin blue smoke, and a little of that nasty thick white smoke. i closed the firebox intake and opened the main door when the white smoke started up. that was when i had the ABT's and Fatties in there. after i took them out, i put in the brisket, and never had the white smoke again. it all turned out good, so it was a success.

i am going to make a deflector plate before i smoke anything else in it. i am also going to get another thermometer for the other side of the smoking chamber.
here is some pics. we most of the ABT's before i took the pics.
Chris congrats on getting the smoker done. Looks Good! Definitely get the deflector plate in. I've not had a lot of time with the stick burning models.. that's the other part of the family. I was always the charcoal griller and gasser guy... kids.

These guys will surely direct you to a quick solution, but it doesn't sound too out of line on the charcoal usage. You had the TBS and were in the frame of mind to kill the thick white smoke.. you're well on your way!

Keep Smokin

Hi chris. just asking but how far down inside your barrel does the smoke stack go down. and on the fire box end how is the hole cut in to let the smoke and heat in. Im just being curious Ive helped build a lot of smokers and we had tried several diffrent ways and methods. the way mine is set up on both smokers really work very well. Im not trying to be a now it all hoping maybe i can be helpful . When i smoke all i use is wood. Never tried using charcoal in my smoker but theres allways a first time.
the smokestack goes down 13 3/4". on the fire box end, there are 2x 3"diameter x 4" long pipes connecting the firebox to the cooking chamber. i am moving the smokestack to where it comes out of the side, and putting a 90° elbow there so it goes up. i will cover the hole on top with a sheet metal plate i already made. i also made "gaskets" out of the sheet metal for the sides of the main door.
after i make a deflector plate i am going to make a dry run (no food" and see how my heat evens out. there was about a 25° difference from end to end.
chris moving the smoke stack to the end will work . Cut it in below the grate. Put the diverter plate in and you should see a big difference. If would like I would be willing to pull my smoker down and we could do some cooking togather. Im not far from Waco and you can see how mine is set up.
that would be cool. i work all weekend (getting off sunday morning at 11 am. you can e-mail me if you want, and we can discuss the particulars there.

I really like what you have done with your homeade smoker. Can you tell me where you got the firebox? I am looking to buy one but can not find any around where I live.


lovetosmoke, i think i saw some side fireboxes at academy sports also. that is where i got my thermometer. i am getting another thermometer tomorrow, to put on the other side of the handle.

marvin, i am off all week. i work sat and sun only. i don't have a welder or anything at home to do mods with. just a 19.2v craftsman drill, hand tools, and hammers.
Let's see, where do I begin?

If an almost 9 lb. Brisket hit 140* in 2.5 hrs. something is wrong. Are you watching the chamber temp.? On average, that size cut should take between 12 and 14 hrs. to complete. Do not foil until it reaches at least an internal of 160*. Continue until it reaches 190 - 200* foiled, then dry cooler it for a minimum of 2 hours.

If I unserstand correctly, the heat/smoke is intering the chamber via 2 pipes? Re-fabricate so that it is one large rectangular (and baffled) opening. The chute should only extend into the chamber 3 - 4 inches. Is there a heat baffle on the Firebox?

The Rig looks nice, I commend you on your skills - make a few Mods and I think you'll have much more success.

i can't change the way the way the heat enters the chamber. the pipes do not enter the chamber. they are flush with the end wall. it took 13 hours to complete, started at 8:15pm and finished at 9:15am.
i am making a deflector plate. i sat there in front of the smoker (on my front porch, sitting on our bench) and watched the temp. i will take some pics of the pipes, where they enter the chamber, and on the firebox side, after it warms up some (it is 24° right now, with the wind chill, it feels 17°).
here is the pics showing the firebox connecting the food chamber. i still have to make the deflector plate. i will make it this weekend at work. i will take a piece of angle iron and drill holes in it, weld the plate to it, and bring it home. sunday it will get mounted, along with the smoke stack. i am also going to make a tray to bolt to the front.
I don't believe I've ever seen a frabrication such as that before. Was there a particular reason you wanted to use pipes and have the chamber so far from the firebox? They are normally conjoined.

IMHO, it seems the airflow from the firebox would be somewhat restricted. But if it works, that's all that counts! Keep us informed!

i used what i had available. i didn't have the time, or materials, to make a rectangle "connector". at work, i can do stuff, on break and such, for myself; but to just ignore my lines and work on my own project, lol, i wish. it would have been alot nicer. i just bought another thermometer to put on the other side of the handle. now i will have one on each side, so i can monitor both ends of the pit. i have been trying to figure out a way to make a better opening for the firebox to cooking chamber. i might take it back to work saturday night and see what i can do.
quick question- it took 2 hours to hit 140° internal, then another 11 hours to complete. how long should it have taken to hit 140° internal? i thought that was ok, considering it took another 11 hours to finish.
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