Brinkman Vertical Split Door Mods (new member)

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by mcgregormx, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. Hey Everyone,

    It's my first post on here, so forgive any "repeats". I did a few searches for mods on Brinkman smokers and found a bunch of great advice! After all the searches I have completed the first set of mods to my Brinkman smoker. Here they are:

    1. Purchased a "grilling wok" from Amazon, it was ~$12 shipped. I use it as the charcoal pan.

    2. Bought some BGE felt tape from Amazon, it was ~$18 shipped. I used it to seal the firebox door and smoker door.

    Here are a few pictures of my smoker with the mods (I cured it before adding the felt seal):



    And before the Mods (curing process):



    I'm really excited to get into smoking and as of this posting have only done a set of whole chickens. I will be using this smoker for the first time over independence day (trying my hand at a long smoke doing some Boston Butts)! Since the pictures were taken I have purchased additional cement pavers to make sure I don't get any lit coal onto the wood deck, $5 per paver is much cheaper than building a new house, also you can note I soak the entire deck before starting, I may just be paranoid, but I'd rather like to avoid a fire, especially where I live, since the whole state appears to be burning.

    As a new member I am interested to know if anyone else has done additional mods to the Brinkman vertical smoker that I should be aware of and implement. Also, any suggestions and how-to's you want to include, feel free to do so! I'm looking forward to all the great advice and suggestions on the forums!
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  2. sscrib

    sscrib Fire Starter

    Great job. I don't have this smoker, but I have tried using a wok as a charcoal pan before and found that the holes don't allow ash to fall through or air to come in very well. I had to shake the wok constantly for ash to fall through. It was very frustrating. Hope your experience is better than mine.
  3. Since tonight (technically 2 AM on Independence day) will be my first real smoke with this smoker I don't have any long-term experience with the ash issues. I didn't have any while curing it, but that could also be attributed to the amount of coals I was using (30) at the time. The good news is that this smoker kept a constant temp of about 350 degrees with only 30 coals (for about an hour). I plan on only using 15 and a minion method burn for the actual cook. I bought the thermometer that has an alarm when the temps get below, or above, a certain range, so hopefully I'm not in for a long night!
  4. john doe iii

    john doe iii Newbie

    I have the same smoker... for the price, and after a few mods, I LOVE IT!

    I did the same thing you did except my grilling wok is the kind with square holes through out the wok... it does a better job with the ash falling through.

    The only other thing i did was bought a square piece of thin metal and removed the temp gauge that came with the smoker (the gauge is horrible and off a lot). I installed the piece inside the smoker and sealed it with high temp silicone... painted it black and drilled a hole in the middle to accomodate my new temp gauge [​IMG]

    This unit takes little charcoal to keep at 225... I start with about 1/3 of a chimney.
  5. I have the same fine. I like the "wok" I can see where that could be an improvement...good info

    smoke on!!
  6.     Well, I bought this smoker last week and had a maiden run with it yesterday doing some St. Louis style ribs. Before I started I modded the charcoal pan by drilling some holes in it. I don't think I drilled enough holes because I had a terrible time getting the temp to be consistent. It went anywhere from 220 down to 170's-180's. Needless to say I will be buying a grilling wok today. I too noticed that the stock temp gauge is off by about 30 degrees. I bought a digital temp gauge with a remote probe and it seemed to work pretty well in telling me that my temps were too low. Throughout the smoking process I noticed that as the water pan lost water, the temps went up which is pretty much a no brainer. What I had thought about after the fact was if sand was a better temp. regulator than water...does anyone have info as to how these two compare?

        I'm hoping that once I replace the charcoal basket with the grilling wok I will have better temp. results. Granted I am still learning, I was a bit disappointed with my 1st run. I also came to a conclusioin that as the charcoal and wood burned off, the center of the charcoal pan seemed to get clogged up and pretty dense with ash and wood. Once I stirred up the pan a bit, the temps went up, so hopefully again the grilling wok will help.

        I ran it with both bottom vents as well as the top right vent wide open. I'm not sure this was the best way to run it, but I was trying to get the temps up to 225, with zero success. Any ideas or suggestions on this area will be greatly appreciated. As for the ribs I had to finish them in the oven and they turned out ok, but they could have been better IMO. Oh, and I was using natural lump charcoal and the minion method for my fire. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  7. Well, the smoke went well! I smoked 2x 8 lb pork shoulders (boston butt) and 2 whole chickens, which were about 6 lbs each. Started at 2 AM and around 5 AM I was up adding more coal to the fire box. I believe the charcoal wasn't quite as good as some of the slower burning briquettes (I used Stubbs Charcoal, that I picked up from Lowes). I did the minion method and was surprised to see how well the Ash just fell through the wok holes. I did have to shake it every now and then, but that was when the coal was almost gone, and a re-fill was necessary anyway. Total cook took me about 16 hours, mostly due to everyone opening the top set of doors to see the pork shoulders and chicken. I also attribute extra time to it being my first smoke on this unit, and fiddling with temperatures took a few hours to get used to. Once I got it to a steady 230, it chugged right along! Not to say that I didn't have to continue monitoring the temps, but it held above 225 for at least 2.5 hours before needing any real attention. The felt mod I did started to fall off near the hinge locations of the doors, I currently just have them pulled off, and noticed I lost a bit of heat and smoke through it, but nothing that is that big of an issue. Maybe some day I will take the doors off and seal up that portion, then again...maybe not.

    Overall, I highly recommend this smoker for a first time bbq'er or even a veteran, this is a great little unit that won't set you back too much money, even with the mods!

    Here are a couple of Que View Pictures. The first image is before I put the chicken in. I am using a cheap foil pan for water (in this case apple juice) that I picked up at Sams Club (about $10 for 30 of them), made clean-up easy! I am also using a wireless dual zone thermometer by Maverick.



    I ended up rearranging everything after I realized the chickens were touching the door. This smoker could have easily held another chicken (in half), and possibly 2 more.

    Here is a list of items I bought along with the smoker that I felt would make the job easier.

    Here are the 2 mod items I have:
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  8. sscrib

    sscrib Fire Starter

    Looks good. Well done.
  9. Thanks! The wife liked it so much that we are going to do another chicken smoke at the end of this month (24th of July, it's a state holiday in UT). I should also mention that the chicken only took about 5 hours on this smoker at 230. The other smoker I have (ECB) took nearly 7 hours, due to the charcoal smothering itself. If I were to smoke the chicken at 290-300 (that temp is unfortunately easy to hit on this smoker), I could probably finish it in about 4 hours.
  10. Good looking butts...
  11. Thanks! That picture is at ~11 hours. Wish I had discovered the art of smoking meat a long time ago!
  12. Well, after three years of owning this smoker, I have decided to retire it. Oddly, I've been debating with myself on going to a bigger smoker, or any other smoker for that matter, because after about 50+ smokes on this thing, I know it really well. I even stuck to using Stubbs charcoal, and got it to hold temps at 225 for 4+ hours. The wife basically asked me if I wanted a new smoker for Christmas, and I reluctantly said yes. So the new smoker is the Smoke Hollow 44 from Sams Club, still a vertical smoker, but it's a little bit on the "cheating" side, since it's fueled by propane. As much as I think I'm going to miss the charcoal, I think the propane will make the overall process simpler, and with 2 little kids (19 months and 3 months) I need all the time I can get! I do see myself going back to charcoal in the long run, but that won't be until the kids are less chaotic (so, 25 years from now). Here is a shot of the newly put together smoker! Sorry if I'm offending the purists with my gas smoker :D.


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