Brinkmann Basic Char Smoker/Grill Mods

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Original poster
Nov 1, 2013
My mother in law bought me a basic Brinkmann Barrell Grill/Smoker for a housewarming gift (pic below).  Of course, this comes on the heels of me purchasing a REAL smoker and caught me a bit off guard.  First, it's really just a grill.  Second, the fact that my MIL gave it to me, I'm going to do my best to see what kind of mods I can do with it to get max mileage out of it (that effort would probably help get brownie points from the wife).

I tried smoking spare ribs and baby back ribs on it yesterday.  Believe it or not, despite the obvious flaws, the ribs turned out great (thanks to all wonderful advice on this forum).  I believe with a few mods, this may be able to be salvaged.  As far as I can see there 3 major problems:

1)  The top barrel doesn't lock flush with the bottom barrel creating a sizeable gap all the way around the body.  Hence this is a gap where a lot of smoke and heat escapes from.

2)  The drip pan is part of the bottom chamber that has a rectangular 6'' by 18'' opening at the bottom.  The drip pan slides in and out but also fails to seal the bottom barrell.

3)  The chimney needs to be longer

Can anyone help me with where to start with these mods?  I know there were some threads with the larger Brinkmann models suggesting rope gaskets to seal the heat between the top and bottom barrel, but what about the gaping hole at the bottom?

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