Brinkman split door questions - need some help

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by mapleleafsmoker, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. Put it together this weekend and cured it. Construction is pretty flimsy. Anyway I have some observations and questions:

    During thew cure, I used about 5-6 pounds of charcoal in a chimney starter. No water bowl. Dumped them in the smoker and temp immediately soared to about 325 (according to the temp gauge that came with the smoker). I had planned to calibrate against a digital thermometer I had (but it didnt go above 199).

    The temp started on a pretty steady decline about 20-30 minutes in and within 2 hours was down to around 215. After another hour it was around 180. I played with top and bottom vents along the way and they seemed to have almost no impact on temp.

    Questions then:

    1. How much charcoal and water should I use to get to 225? And how long can I expect to maintain that temp before needing to add more fuel. It is pretty clear to me that adding fuel from a chimney will be painful if you are actually smoking meat (i.e. you would have to take the grills out) - so I assume you need to use tongs and add briquettes individually?

    2. How are you supposed to use the vents (2 below the fuel pan, and 2 at the top of the smoker) to control temp?

    Thanks in advance for any help. I am hoping to do a beef tenderloin and some ribs this weekend.

  2. bullfrog1108

    bullfrog1108 Newbie

    From what I can gather you have the split door rectangle Brinkmann? If so, that is what I have been using for the past year. The first suggestion I would give you it to get a grilling wok/basket. This will greatly allow oxygen to the coals and allow them to burn more efficiently. I use the old charcoal pan to collect ashes under the grilling wok. Next get a good thermometer off line or from a big box store, the stock unit is more than likely off, mine was 50 degrees off. As far as the water pan goes, some people will tell you to put playground sand in it to act as a heat sink, I use warm water to avoid temp spikes and have had good success with that. Concerning your vents, leave the top two open always these are your exhausts, the bottom two should be adjusted to control your temperature. After a few uses you will get the hang of regulating temp with the bottom vents. When lighting mine I use the Minon method which more on this can be found in a sticky on this forum. Basically, build your charcoal around the grilling wok leaving space in the middle. Drop about ten white hot coals in the center of the wok and let it go. You can just add charcoal to the wok from there as needed. I'm sure there is something I have left out, if so I'm more than certain some one else with chime in. Other than that enjoy learning your new smoker!
  3. Thanks Bullfrog! I had already gotten the wok based on what I learned on here and used that when I cured the smoker. Will use water for my first smoke this weekend and the minion method. One question I have is - if I need to add charcoal during the smoke - do I add it lit or unlit - I have seen it recommended both ways on here.

    Thanks - Brian
  4. bullfrog1108

    bullfrog1108 Newbie

    Usually unless the temp has dropped really low I just add unlit coals. So far I haven't noticed any unfavorable side effects with chicken, boston butts, sausages, pork chops, or ribs.

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