Brinkmann Smoke N Pit low temps, too much charcoal

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by roypw, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. I bought some Royal Oak chunk charcoal. This does make a difference. Not only hotter but I only used 10 lbs of charcoal for a 6 to 7 hour smoke instead of the 20 plus pounds with brickets. However only once did I close the damper on the fire box, only part way and only for about 10 minutes. Otherwise both stack and air inlet full open and a lot of times I opened the firebox door to keep temps up.

    So to get this poorly designed piece of crap to work I have:

    Added deflector and baffels
    Built a charcoal box
    Raised the firebox above the air inlet door
    Extended the chimney to grate level
    Sealed back and both sides of the cooking chamber with stove rope
    Sealent around the fire box door
    Added fire bricks in the cooking chamber
    Burn chunk charcoal only, not brickets,

    Still the temps are marginal. I can hold 225 pretty well but to hold 250 takes work and anything over is not practical . (from what I have learned thus far I probably won't need over 250)

    I did salmon and 3-2-1 ribs Sunday, both were excellent!!!

    Some great stuff on this site for smoking a lot of good food! It's been a lot of work and extra money to get this BRINKMANN Smoke N Pit to work but the salmon and ribs kind of made me forget how frustrating it was.

    STILL NO ONE HAS SAID THEY GOT THIS MODEL TO WORK OUT OF THE BOX. i am really enjoying smoking but I would not recommend a Brinkmann for anyone looking for a smoker, at least not this model.

    Roy
     
  2. Interesting experience. I cant keep the temps down in my SnP w/ simple , cheap mods. Cookie sheet baffle and such. Good luck...
     
  3. I had the same exact model you have. burnt through tons of charcoal and ultimately gave up. Sold it for $50 and called it a loss.
     
  4. Haydenfox, having trouble understanding your post - you said you CAN'T keep your temps down? Or you can't keep them up. Please clarify and can you provide more details on mods and your experience
    .
    Roy​
     
  5. I struggle to keep the temps down in my SnP to the point I have posted here asking for advice on the problem. I have the issue with or without the mods I make. As far as the mods go, I use the poor/lazy man methods usually done with disposable aluminum cookis sheets and oven liners. I follow the SnP mod thread dave made. Its the first one to pop up if you search SnP mods using the search function. You've probably seen it. All my modifications are the same as his including measurements only I double or triple the afformentioned cheap, disposable devices. The only thing I dont have is a basket. Recently I started using 4 brick pavers, 2 on each side stacked flat with the charcoal grate sitting on that. It has helped keep the temps down significantly and I get about 3 hrs out of 10 lbs of charcoal using the minion method, and split oak. Thats 3 hrs before adding more unlit charcoal during long smokes.The air control on the fire box is open about 1/4 to 1/2 inch throughout cooking. Before raising the grate w/ bricks my smoker aught as well been an oven with temps well above 300 deg. BTW, I use 3 oven therms inside the smoke chamber, 2 on each side and one on the top rack in the middle. Highest temp. on the exhaust end has been about 340 and far beyond that by the fire box.
     
  6. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sounds like you need to close your intake vent ALL THE WAY and wait about 30 minutes and see what your temps are doing then.. if still high then you have air leaks... If it falls down to low then open intake just a little at a time (1/8", 1'4". 3/8") wait 2o minutes or so before making each adjustment...
     
  7. [RIGHTi dont mean to doubt what you say but this is impossible!! I have worked with this unit a lot for the past couple months and there is NO WAY TO GET TEMPS much over 300 even with both air vents wide open. Most of the time my fire box door, not the vent the, entire door, has to be wide open to even hold 225 with lump charcoal.

    You must be doing something different or there is something different in our units.

    You mention split oak, are you burning wood? If not what type charcoal are you using? I find lump gives me higher temps. In fact I can't get high enough temps to even cook anything with most briquette charcoal without a lot of constant work tending the fire

    Are you sure we have the exact same model? Did you see the pictures I posted of my mods? They don't give a real good view of the unit but I am sure you can tell if yousr is the same.

    You didn't mention a stoker so I assume you don't have one? I am going to look into one because even a little wind in the wrong direction makes it impossible to get temps high enough to cook anything. I had to use a fan set up on a chair blowing on high into the fire box door 2 weekends ago to cook my ribs.

    Man I am really struggling here to think what might cause this difference because I am dead serious there is no way my unit will do what yours does. Your experience with this unit is so drastically different from mine and others that have posted here that there is something different that i would really like to uncover.

    Can you post some pictures of your unit?

    Roy
    [/RIGHT]
     
  8. Haydenfox, one other thing I forgot to mention. You raised your fire grat and that lowered your temps? Raising the fire grate raises your temps since more air flows across the charcoal. I raised mine before I built the basket and it raised my temps significantly. My basket bottom now has to be raised almost to the top of the door opening to get high enough temps[. In your case you seem to have gotten the opposite effect? Possibly the pavers are blocking some of the air? If so why use them at all, raising the grate is a mod to increase temps.

    Sorry to keep going on with this but I would love to get my unit to work acceptably. Even with all the mods I have made its a struggle to get temps acceptable for cooking.

    Ro

    /RIGHT]​
     
  9. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Roy I have read through this and would like to make a few suggestions.

    Sorry If this has been tried already or posted already..

    can you lift the fire basket so its completely above the air inlet?

    Is the brick under the basket if so remove it, this may be hindering the airflow, you can use unglazed tile instead, this may help, you want at least 2" of air space underneath the basket

    other options,
    • place a fan or install a computer fan at the firebox air intake
    • Use Lump only
    • Use wood splits.
    • Convert to propane using a turkey fryer burner
     
  10. so far these guys are onto somthing. the one pic of your basket seems to sit to low. i raised mine with old ubolts from my old suspension now i have to get the baffles made cause it will burn anything with in 6 inches of the opening. measure the dist from the bottom of your basket and get it lifted.

    im curious as to why, since you have done all the mods are still having issues. we all do agree the SnP isnt the crowning champ in the world of smoking but we use what we have or can afford. soon when you figure it out we will be linking your solution to the next round of up coming smokers.
     
  11. Thanks for the suggestions. I am considering the computer fan it's called a stoker I think.

    I do burn lump and it helps a lot but haven't tried splits. My concern is they burn with flame I think and can burn the meat. Also the smoke of burning wood is stronger and doesn't it have harmful carcinogen ?

    No bricks in the fire chamber and the fire basket is basically above the door and well above the air inlet. More than 2 in under grate maybe 6 in Does help a lot.

    Boy I hate to go to propane. That is why I bought a smoker not a gas grill.

    Roy
     
  12. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    We need pics as soon as you can get them.

    Look at the photo on post #76

    I actually get less smoke flavor on my pit than when using my GOSM.

    Wood should be fine, just keep a small contained fire that you can feed often, you can alternate the wood with Lump.

    Propane does not = Gas Grill

    Many folks use Propane and Electric smokers.

    I use propane and love it, love my stickburner too, each has it's own job to do.

    I say add a propane burner as a last resort only!

    Stoker discussion for SNP

    OTHER LAST RESORT OPTIONS

    Use this option if you start banging your head against a wall

    Sell the SNP take the money YOU saved by not purchasing the stoker and invest in something for long term.

    If you are sold on using charcoal ask around, many folks love the webers, if you have extra money floating around look into a Big Green Egg or similar. The ceramic smokers will save you a ton of money in charcoal over time, however I have no experience with these smokers

    Hopefully we can help you out with this problem but I have no real world experience with this model smoker.

    If you like the idea of an offset, do as you are and mod it like crazy, DON'T BE AFRAID TO TRY WOOD.

    SNP MODS

    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  13. Its the same model as the one you have in your pic. As some of the other post have suggested to help increase your temps, I did the opposite to decrease mine. Example, my brick pavers sit in front of the intake, slowing down the air flow and preventing Haites in my fire box. The grate is also high enough that it acts like a convection.
     
  14. Haydenfox, do you burn wood if not what charcoal? I can find no other explanation as to why you get such higher temps than me and the others that have responded to my post.

    I mean unmoved this model just plain and simple will not cook meat(225f) with briquette charcoal and is marginal even with lump charcoal. I would really like to find out how you are doing it. With what you have told me thus far it's IMPOSSIBLE to get the temps you claim out of our units. Please help us understand what you are doing different​
     
  15. First, I am not doing anything intentionally. In fact, as far as Im concerned I just plain suck at the whole fire/temp deal. I would never get my smoker that hot intentionally. It just happens, I guess. I wish there was no way for the temps to go that high and stayed as low as you claim with your unit, especially if its not taking any effort. The fuel doesnt matter, but yes I cook with charcoal and wood at the same time. I normally use Kingsford but will and have used any brand. Always the same experience until recently. I got the smoker last year as an xmas gift and it has taken me to this point (almost 3 weeks ago) to figure out how to keep the temps down. I have been a foilin' fool during that time. It doesnt seem to be an uncommon experience and have read plenty of post where high temperatures have been a problem in this model.
     
  16. pcjack

    pcjack Smoke Blower

    I'm very glad I found this post, I have the same Brinkmann SnP that you're having issues with, and I'm experiencing the same issues with low temp.

    Let me start by saying I've had a Brinkmann electric smoker for almost 10 years and was completely stuck on buying a Brinkmann unit when I went

    hunting the local Criagslist ads for an offset smoker to play with.  If fact, I used the electric one last weekend for chicken because it's too darn easy

    to use and it's almost impossible to screw up chicken in it (unless you fall asleep cause you drank too much beer)  LOL  Anyway,  it has only been

    recently that I figured out how to get ribs to turn out the way I want them, and it was on a friend's charcoal smoker that I made the connection between

    rubber ribs and awesome ribs.  This is what led me to buy the SnP and I'll be darned if I'm going to give up the hunt to learn to make the best darn

    ribs I've ever had.

    Before I start rambling, I want to state that I'm not hijacking this post by any stretch.  I'm simply letting you know what I have and where I'm at, so we can

    relate and compare notes.  I once got accused of being a hijack because I rambled a little bit, so I'm playing it cautious.  (Haden, we're practically neighbors!

    I live in Orlando)

    Roy,  here's what I've tried so far:

    1) chimney extender - bought a thin piece of 4" x 24" aluminum (found in the dryer vent section) from Home Depot for $3 and extended the chimney down to the grate.

         I rolled it to the same size as the chimney (typical corn or green bean can size), shoved it up inside the chimney and use a screw to hold it in place, then trimmed it.

    2) steel plate across the firebox to main cooking area openinguntil some holes to allow some heatto pass through and the rest to deflect to the right side of the cooking chamber.

    3) a charcoal basket, about 4 inches to 5 inches raised off the bottom of the fire box.  I plan to replace this with a better designed one because the one I'm using was
         a cheapo built by the previous smoker's owner and it looks seriously cheap.

    One very important thing I found, is that after several hours of cooking, the charcoal ash builds up on the bottom and restricts airflow to the charcoal.

    I was able to cook at approximately 250° for about five hours with two chimneys full of charcoal.  I was using a handful of Kingsford briquettes on the bottom

    of my chimney and the rest of the chimney was filled with "Cowboy Charcoal 8.8 lb. Lump Charcoal" from Home Depot.  Once I reached five hours of cooking

    time, for some reason my cooking temps crashed to the upper 170s and lower 180s, and no matter what I did I could never get it to come back up above 200. 

    I realized afterwards, but I never removed any of the ash from the burnt charcoal, next time I'll know to remove it.  I even went as far as building a fan box to help

    shove oxygen into the fire box, which proved to be a useless attempt to get oxygen to my charcoal, which was being choked out.  I used a large metal coffee can

    with a hole cut in it, and a typical PC CPU cooler fan, that I had plugged into 12 V battery that I obtained from work from an old UPS, in hopes that it would help with

    my temperature problem.  Because I was cooking this meat for a family function, I resorted to sticking the meat into the oven to make sure it was completed on time

    for the family function.  The ribs turned out awesome (3-2-1 method) and was the first thing to go, the pork butt was a bit of a disappointment, but I can't complain too much considering

    that it was my first stab at pulled pork. I can post pics of my simple fan box if anyone would like to see it.

    Another important thing I found is that Cowboy charcoal did not get as hot as the charcoal I used on my friends smoker.  Believe it or not, I used Winn-Dixie lump charcoal

    because it was on sale (2 for 1) which reduced my cost to smoke by almost $10.  This brand seems to get hotter and stay hot for a lot longer time than the Cowboy stuff

    sold at Home Depot.  I have also heard the Royal Oak brand lump is much better than using briquettes, so that will be my next thing to try as well. 

    In all honesty, I've only done one burn solo with no meat just to see how well it holds temperature on a Thursday, then fired the unit up on Saturday and started cooking

    for my family function and feel that I did reasonably well considering I've only cooked on an offset smoker with charcoal only once before buying this one.  Let's begin

    a great collaboration together and get these issues worked out.  I've also been pretty fortunate because my smoker doesn't leak that much, unlike the complaints

    but I have found from everyone else on the forums.  I guess the previous owner treated quite a bit, even though there is no signs of oven seals or silicone anywhere.

    I will try and post some videos and pictures this week, so that anyone wanting to see what I came up with can benefit from it.

    Hoping this info sharing is a benefit to all of us......

    Happy smoking,

    James

    "PCJack"
     
  17. pcjack

    pcjack Smoke Blower

    One thing I forgot to mention is that I use wood in my fire box.  Some people use large chunks of dry wood, but to be honest I soak my water

    for at least an hour before putting it in my firebox.  I do not throw them directly on top of the coals, I put them around the outside of my basket

    so the water does not put out or degrade the heat from my coals. 

    :eek:)

    PCJack
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  18. firelock

    firelock Fire Starter

     
  19. firelock

    firelock Fire Starter

    Thanks PCJack, Would love to see some pic's. I got to get my SNP build so I can start experimenting. thanks for the wright up. O and Roy hang in there. you'll get it...
     
     
  20. pcjack

    pcjack Smoke Blower

    Sorry for the long delay, but here's a couple pics of my charcoal rig.  I put in a steel plate, hoping to force some of the heat to the opposite side.

    I didn't want to cover the whole thing with extra metal that I either didn't need or desire to clean every time I used it, so I only put in the shiny plate first.

    On my first run, I found that the shiny wasn't working like I wanted, so I used the existing aluminum pan they give you with the smoker if you wanted to

    load the bottom with charcoal and use it as a grill, so I cut it down a little, flipped it upside down and slid it under the first plate.  That helped a lot!

    The neat thing about this bottom pan was when I flipped it upside down, it lined up exactly at the center of the firebox opening, and I think this played

    a big part of the reason my heat was balanced.  Lots of people complain about 30, 40, sometimes 50 degrees difference between the firebox and the

    opposite side.  These two plates, combined with my tube extension, narrowed the temp delta to about 15 degrees difference.

    I'm also including a pic of my home made stoker.  It's not heat regulated, but it did the trick.  The fan is a basic PC case fan, screwed to a large green

    bean or baked bean can I cut down so it wasn't so darn big.  The frame I used was one of the handles from the charcoal pan used for the heat plate.

    My rig:


    After charcoal pan cut & flip:


    Tube extension:


    Home brew stoker for firebox:


    Two slabs of ribs and a pork butt, almost ready for the hungry guests:


    Keep cookin!

    PCJack
     

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