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Brinkmann Smoke 'n Grill Questions

wbfdlt

Newbie
27
10
Joined Dec 19, 2011
Hi all,

My name is John and I am from North Port, FL.  I am brand new to smoking.  I bought my first smoker this afternoon.  I bought the Brinkmann Smoke 'n Grill mostly for the cost.  I have read the modifications on this website and have a few questions about them.  I installed the legs on the outside and also drilled the holes in the charcoal pan.  I went out and bought a few concrete pavers to place the charcoal pan on.  Question is, how high should I be placing the pan?  I put on the lid and see that it is not even close to being tight, I can see all around the top between the lid and the smoker.  Is this normal??  It is not a huge space but it is noticeable.  Lastly, the wanna be temp gauge that comes with it falls out all the time.  I just have to move the top and it comes out. I know I need to get a better one but how can I secure this one so it wont fall out all time?

I appreciate any feedback y'all can give me.  Thanks!!!
 

forluvofsmoke

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
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407
Joined Aug 27, 2008
Hi all,

My name is John and I am from North Port, FL.  I am brand new to smoking.  I bought my first smoker this afternoon.  I bought the Brinkmann Smoke 'n Grill mostly for the cost.  I have read the modifications on this website and have a few questions about them.  I installed the legs on the outside and also drilled the holes in the charcoal pan.

I went out and bought a few concrete pavers to place the charcoal pan on.  Question is, how high should I be placing the pan?  An inch or so above the lower lip of the barrel should suffice.

I put on the lid and see that it is not even close to being tight, I can see all around the top between the lid and the smoker.  Is this normal??  It is not a huge space but it is noticeable. The gap between the barrel and lid is how it vents.

Lastly, the wanna be temp gauge that comes with it falls out all the time.  I just have to move the top and it comes out. I know I need to get a better one but how can I secure this one so it wont fall out all time? Did you twist it a quarter turn clockwise to engage the knobs on the side of the gauge so they're past the slots on the hole in the lid?

I appreciate any feedback y'all can give me.  Thanks!!!

Eric
 

wbfdlt

Newbie
Thread starter
27
10
Joined Dec 19, 2011
Eric,

Thank you!  Yes I did twist it 1/4 turn to engage it.  Thanks for the reply.
 

wbfdlt

Newbie
Thread starter
27
10
Joined Dec 19, 2011
Well I just seasoned the smoker.  Used easy light charcoal in the chimney and then read you should use charcoal that has no lighter fluid in it.  Ooopppsss first mistake.  Got the temp gauge to just over ideal and held it there for maybe 45 minutes before it started to cool off.  I guess I either had too few coals in there, not enough holes in the charcoal pan or I need to do the mod to raise the charcoal off the pan a little.  I have no holes in the bottom of the pan, just the sides.  Am I on the right track???
 

alelover

Master of the Pit
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Joined Jul 9, 2010
I would invest in a thermometer that reads degrees. The stock ones are usually way off too.
 

wbfdlt

Newbie
Thread starter
27
10
Joined Dec 19, 2011
Thank you.  I did out out this AM to Home Depot and bought an $8 temp gauge for it.  I needed to drill a 3/8" hole to put the gauge in but I realized I didn't have a 3/8" drill bit
.  Next time out I will have to buy one.
 

mdboatbum

Master of the Pit
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Joined Apr 22, 2011
Hi, and welcome to the forum. The little Brinkmann will give you some good BBQ, but as you've read it needs a couple tweaks. As for the charcoal pan, I'd put it at the level that it was with the legs on the inside to start, IE the same level it was designed with. That will give you a benchmark, you can then move it up or down to suit your needs. The thermo in the lid isn't gonna be much help, so just follow Eric's advice to get it to stay in the hole and get yourself a good probe thermo. The Maverick ET-732 is popular here, and I can add it's a very good unit.

As Eric said, the gaps in the lid are designed to be there. They allow the smoke to vent, so it doesn't just stay there and get stale. Your smoker was actually designed pretty well to do what it does, IE to smoke food at between 220˚ and 250˚. The charcoal pan design is the one glaring flaw, which is easily worked around by adding a grate that will sit above the bottom of the pan. the holes you drilled may or may not be a good thing. they'll add more fuel to the fire in the form of added oxygen, but since there is no way to dampen it your temps may be higher than you want. I added a $7 grate from the hardware store that I sat on an aluminum foil donut to keep it above the bottom of the pan. This allowed the ashes to fall away so they didn't smother the coals, but didn't cause temp spikes. Let us know how things turn out!!
 

forluvofsmoke

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
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Joined Aug 27, 2008
Thank you.  I did out out this AM to Home Depot and bought an $8 temp gauge for it.  I needed to drill a 3/8" hole to put the gauge in but I realized I didn't have a 3/8" drill bit
.  Next time out I will have to buy one.

It's weird that the stock therm won't stay in place...I have 3 brinkmann smokers and they all have the same gauge as the smoke n grill, which I also have.

Anyway, when you get your thermometer out of the package, hole drilled and ready to install, last step is to calibrate it...they will be off, usually a lot, being an analog gauge. Put a small sauce pan on the stove top with a couple inches of water. Bring it to a rapid boil with the tip of the therm submerged in water, but don't get the gauge dial wet. You may need oven mitts or tongs to hold onto it due to the steam. Changing the readings to what they should actually be(calibrating) can be done by turning the hex nut on the thermo stem...do this while doing the water boil check, as it's more important to be reading accurately at cooking temps than when cold. You can remove it from the water to adjust, then return to verify again.

Here's some good info on how to calibrate thermometers and a chart that lists water boiling temps based on elevation/altitude:

http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Calib-boil.html

A recheck of the thermometer should be done periodically, and anytime the thermo may have been subjected to a shock...dropped lid, smoker accidentally tipped over from wind, etc.

One note on the smoke n grill and other bullet-type vertical smokers: the lowest grate next to the water pan will get more steam than smoke, and also will run at lower grate temps than the one above it, so keep that in mind if you plan on using both grates for meats. These smokers are best suited for just one level of meat, unless you make additional modifications to raise the lower grate above the water pan.

Oh, and for better burn of the charcoal, yes, elevating the charcoal with a grate will make for a more complete burn...ash accumulation is the worst enemy to charcoal, IMO, and will snuff out a fire given enough time. That said, you may want to opt for shorter smokes like chicken pieces, quarters, steaks, chops, etc, until you decide you want to mod it further. Then, you may be able to go after a whole chicken and heavier pieces with a better chance of keeping the fire hot for long enough periods to get the meat to finished temps.

I don't use my smoke n grill as a solo smoker, but added it to my gourmet charcoal rig for a double barrel/stacked rig with 3 - 4 cooking grates. Anyway, haven't done the actual mods to the charcoal pan of the smoke n grill, but had to pull a lot of tricks with my gourmet for longer burn times and better temp control.

Let us know if something else sneaks up on you...glad to help you out.

Eric

EDIT: this is a minimal issue, but weather can change the boiling point of water as well, as barometric pressure changes with altitude, it also changes with weather conditions (ie: low pressure gradients, high pressure warm air masses, etc).
 
Last edited:

wbfdlt

Newbie
Thread starter
27
10
Joined Dec 19, 2011
Thank you so much for all the advice!!  It is really appreciated.  The only thing I am struggling with is the grate modification.  I went to a few hardware stores and couldn't find anything that would work.  Any advice on what to use?  I am not the greatest at building things so keep it simple for me!  Thanks
 

forluvofsmoke

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,170
407
Joined Aug 27, 2008
If you can find a store that sells replacement grates for weber charcoal kettle grills, a smokey joe (14" table-top model) charcoal grate is about the right size to fit the charcoal pan, if I recall correctly.

Eric
 

monoxide

Smoke Blower
105
10
Joined Jan 29, 2012
Hey John I know you got this a while ago. Have you got it working fully yet? I am looking at this exact smoker. I saw it at Venice Walmart and it caught my eye because of the price.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

cementhead

Newbie
3
10
Joined Sep 3, 2012
If you can find a store that sells replacement grates for weber charcoal kettle grills, a smokey joe (14" table-top model) charcoal grate is about the right size to fit the charcoal pan, if I recall correctly.

Eric
Yes, that's the one - just bought one yesterday
 

cementhead

Newbie
3
10
Joined Sep 3, 2012
It's weird that the stock therm won't stay in place...I have 3 brinkmann smokers and they all have the same gauge as the smoke n grill, which I also have.

Anyway, when you get your thermometer out of the package, hole drilled and ready to install, last step is to calibrate it...they will be off, usually a lot, being an analog gauge. Put a small sauce pan on the stove top with a couple inches of water. Bring it to a rapid boil with the tip of the therm submerged in water, but don't get the gauge dial wet. You may need oven mitts or tongs to hold onto it due to the steam. Changing the readings to what they should actually be(calibrating) can be done by turning the hex nut on the thermo stem...do this while doing the water boil check, as it's more important to be reading accurately at cooking temps than when cold. You can remove it from the water to adjust, then return to verify again.

Here's some good info on how to calibrate thermometers and a chart that lists water boiling temps based on elevation/altitude:

http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Calib-boil.html

A recheck of the thermometer should be done periodically, and anytime the thermo may have been subjected to a shock...dropped lid, smoker accidentally tipped over from wind, etc.

One note on the smoke n grill and other bullet-type vertical smokers: the lowest grate next to the water pan will get more steam than smoke, and also will run at lower grate temps than the one above it, so keep that in mind if you plan on using both grates for meats. These smokers are best suited for just one level of meat, unless you make additional modifications to raise the lower grate above the water pan.

Oh, and for better burn of the charcoal, yes, elevating the charcoal with a grate will make for a more complete burn...ash accumulation is the worst enemy to charcoal, IMO, and will snuff out a fire given enough time. That said, you may want to opt for shorter smokes like chicken pieces, quarters, steaks, chops, etc, until you decide you want to mod it further. Then, you may be able to go after a whole chicken and heavier pieces with a better chance of keeping the fire hot for long enough periods to get the meat to finished temps.

I don't use my smoke n grill as a solo smoker, but added it to my gourmet charcoal rig for a double barrel/stacked rig with 3 - 4 cooking grates. Anyway, haven't done the actual mods to the charcoal pan of the smoke n grill, but had to pull a lot of tricks with my gourmet for longer burn times and better temp control.

Let us know if something else sneaks up on you...glad to help you out.

Eric

EDIT: this is a minimal issue, but weather can change the boiling point of water as well, as barometric pressure changes with altitude, it also changes with weather conditions (ie: low pressure gradients, high pressure warm air masses, etc).
Is there a replacement thermometer that will fill directly into the 2 inch hole of the stock Brinmkmann Smoke'n'grill?  Or do I have to drill a hole?

Thanks,

CH
 

forluvofsmoke

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,170
407
Joined Aug 27, 2008
Originally Posted by cementhead  

Is there a replacement thermometer that will fill directly into the 2 inch hole of the stock Brinmkmann Smoke'n'grill?  Or do I have to drill a hole?

Thanks,

CH
I have not yet seen one that is the same size and configuration for mounting/installation. One thing that I have done is made a few small marks with a fine-point black permanent marker on the gauge dial (after verifying with a digital probe) which coincide with my normal smoking temps (from 200-275*), in approx 25* graduations. This gives me a ball-park chamber temp without the need for continuous probe monitoring, unless I want to monitor for temp spikes with an alarm on my probe.

The relative accuracy of the stock gauge isn't that bad, it just doesn't have a graduated scale reading, so, you can make your own scaled readings while you're smoking some meat.

Eric
 

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