Brinkmann Smoke N Pit low temps, too much charcoal

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

  1. goinforbroke

    goinforbroke Smoke Blower

    I have a SnP, and while it's not a Mercedes when it comes to cruising down BBQ lane... here's a few tips that I've found to help cook my food.

    a)  burn actual wood.. ya know, like, make a fire.

    b) throw a couple of old bath towels that the old lady won't miss..  over the top of it.  

    c) adjust the vents accordingly. half way on the box.. wide open to 3/4 on the chamber.


    full camper.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  2. firelock

    firelock Fire Starter

    Hi all, Did 2 smokes with the SNP. and am able to get 250 degrees on the firebox side and 225 on the right side. Did all the Mods; exhaust
    extension., Charcoal basket, Baffle and tuning plates. firebox vent open all the way, and Stack open all the way. Did ribs and Pork shoulder. Both came good but went in to the oven. Still have a lot of learning to do with this unit. I like it though...
  3. I just found this thread and thought I would chime in here. I received this same Brinkman as a gift almost a year ago to replace my Chargriller that was involved in a horrible accident. Now I haven't allowed so much as a briquett of charoal within 40 feet of it, strictly a stick burner, so my results will be different than yours. The only "mod" I have done is flip the charcoal pan for the cook chamber upside down and butt it as close to the fire box side as I can as a sort of tuning plate. The second I got the last bolt in putting it together I shook my head in disappointment. The fire box door sagged and left a gap, not to mention all the gaps around the cook chamber lid. I have done several cook on it this year with fantastic results. Out of the box it was hard to control temp, either too hot or too cold, lots of baby sitting. I burn nothing but orange wood, and have been using small "logs" about a foot long and about the size of a coke can. After much trial and error I learned when to add wood, when to adjust the box vent to keep everything happy, but still monitored every 10 minutes.

    Recently I borrowed a small electric log splitter and made a bunch of splits still a foot long, but about the size of a quarter to 50 cent piece. I have been able to keep a temp of 210 or 400 or anything in between with the small splits. Still got to check on it, but only every 1/2 hour or so. Mid month I did a rack of ribs, small pork shoulder and some chicken quarters, took about 1 and 1/2 wheelbarrow loads of wood for a 7 hour smoke using the bigger stuff. Christmas I did my first Turkey and used less than 1/2 wheelbarrow of the small splits maintaining 260 for 5 hours. Bottom line, I have learned it is a combonation of how much how much wood (with the turkey after building the original coal bed with several sticks I usually only had 1 or 2 sticks going to maintain temp) and knowing when to put it on. One other trick I have always used, both with the Brinkman and my old Chargriller: If I need a little more heat I use a set of tongs to prop the firebox lid open. Gives about a 16th, maybe a 1/4 inch gap at the most, but that little extra airflow helps a lot, especially right after throwing on a new stick that needs to catch flame. Don't wait untill it is on the cool side to add fuel, and don't wait until it is too hot to shut the fire box air vent. Learn to anticipate what it is going to do, and react before it does it.

    Out of the box, acceptable results though a little disappointed. After nearly a year of trial and error, great results and happy with it. Until I hit the lottery and can buy a Jambo, or custom build my own.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  4. firelock

    firelock Fire Starter

    Hey thanks
    • themidniteryder; Great info there. The last smoke i did with charcoal I was able to keep 200-250 degrees for about 8 hours, and that was with almost 2 bags of charcoal and some lump. I'm going to have to try some wood down the road a bit, but I have to find a good source of Oak or some fruit wood.
  5. Roy --- did you have any luck getting your smoker dialed in?

    Full disclosure:  I have never owned a smoker until now...just grills.  However, I just picked up a used (very well used) Brinkman Smoke N Pit.  All I've done so far is clean it up and repaint the outside and re-did the deck.  Tested it out last night and it does leak from all around the cooking chamber lid, so I know I need to address this.  The smoke stack is a mess (big hole near the bottom where it attaches to the lid).  Previous owner added a 4-5' extension on the chimney, which I guess will keep the smoke away from me, but I'm not sure if it's more of a hindrance or not.  I don't have access to any metal working tools, so the deflector / tuning plates are going to be an issue if it really needs them. 

    Anyway, I'd be interested to learn more about your experience with yours.

  6. no I never got it to work. As far as I am concerned this is a POS. I had a few people tell me they had trouble keeping the temps DOWN but I just plain don't believe them. I put almost $200 in mods to this unit and it still didn't work. I did just about every mod I could find on the web except a stoker and I still couldn't get decent temps and I burned 20 to 30 pounds of charcoal to do the 3-2-1 ribs (6 hrs). We got to the point that we put my household fan on a stand in front of the FULLY OPEN fire box door on high speed to get over 200 degrees.

    I got sick and tired of fighting that thing and reading on the web and trying the next mod and bought a Weber (I thinK it's called Smoky Mountain, it's the one that looks like R2d2, a vertical barrel with dome top and bottom). WOW what a great unit. Start a chimney full of charcoal on the fire grate with some charcoal around it, dump it when its burning,put the barrel on the bottom unit,fill the water pan put put in your meat and you are smoking. Three bottom vents that I tweek a little and I am good for about 5 hours with steady temps between 200 and 270 depending on where I set the vents. About half a 20 pound bag of charcoal for 6 hours. Smoking has gone from a dam nightmare with that Brinkmann piece of junk to a real pleasure with the Weber. I even can leave the house for up to 2 hours and don't worry about the temps.

    I did keep the Brinkmann to use as a charcoal grill, it is good for that. I haven't done it yet but I am going to remove the fire box, I already removed all my mods, what a waste. I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER BRINKMANN PRODUCT AGAIN. THEY SUCKED ME IN ONCE, not again even if they do make some good stuff.

    I would keep the chimney extension. It helps draw the heat out of the fire box up across the smoking area. I only added a foot or so and it seemed to help.

    I didn't read all the back posts but I think the mods I did were covered. Most mods helped a little but THIS BRINKMANN IS NOT A SMOKER

    Just noticed the Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker like I have and love is advertised at the bottom of these posts.

    Good luck

  7. cpfitness

    cpfitness Fire Starter

    As far as i'm concerned you are a buffoon.  I acquired mine used at my new apt and have it working just fine.  Yes, it takes a lot of attention.  but it's a conversation piece.  The boys come over and hang out and drink beers and we smoke.  no big deal being a bit attentive.  Does it take more fuel than other smokers?  yes, but home depot sells 2-20lb bags of kingsford for $12  Yes I will use one full 20lb bag but that will get me my temps all day long 12-15 hours.  I check on it every 30-60 mins and either add new unlit briquettes or a partial chimney of lit briquettes. As for mods, I read very little on this smoker beforore trying it out.  I had a hard time keeping temps DOWN.  I created a baffle by bending the charcoal holder in the cooking area, I didn't think to simply flip it upside down.  Since mine was used and the previous owners looked like they used it more as a gril than a smoker, that holder was a bit beat up and it bent up easily.  it definately seemed to help even out my temps from side to side.

    There is one last major thing I noticed.  Outside weather conditions.  First few times I used it were hot summer days in july and august of last year.  The smoker sits in full on sunlight and it's black, it's probably well over 100 degrees inside the cooking chamber to begin with.  Those were the times I was having trouble keeping temps down.  Then come october/november and I was using it when temps were in 40s and 50s and it was overcast I was having a tougher time getting temps up.   

    Bottom line, within home depot alone there are smokers ranging in price from $179 -$600  a little common sense should tell you that you bought the lowest end model and you shouldn't expect to be a pitmaster overnight with it.  

    The one pic you show of the amount of fuel you have in it doesn't appear to be very much.  I was advised to try the Minion Method since I'm considering doing an overnight smoke with this and want to try to "set it and forget it" instead of tending coals every hour.  you should probably try the same method of lighting your coals.
  8. you think I am a buffoon!!! Thanks but how about you! You went on to verify what I said about how bad this thing is. All that charcoal and you have to baby sit it. I agree smoking is a lot about the experience, having a beer and hanging out but when it's cool out you can't even get the food cooked? You are right about the unit working better in direct sun on 90 plus days but even then I didn't have trouble with high temps. And you forgot to mention the wind, if its in the wrong direction or changing direction you can't hold temps.. If this was a car there would be a recall, probably a government mandated recall.

    I made a mistake and didn't do my research before I bought. After the fact I found that most posts were the same problem I was experiencing. Why do you think there are so many mods out there. The ones that claim high or even acceptable temps I don't believe and think they are posted by Brinkmann employees. I was hoping to find someone in my area that claimed decent temps so I could see them do it. It's just not possible unless there are ideal conditions like sun and outside temp, burning a lot of charcoal or doing things like burning charcoal in the smoking chamber etc.

  9. cpfitness

    cpfitness Fire Starter

    You keep insisting that it doesn't work at all which is false. When faced with having uncooked/contaminated food and using more fuel most would simply add fuel
  10. Easy fellas... it's just BBQ.

    Roy, I can understand your frustration, but it doesn't help to let it get the better of you, throw up your hands and broadly excoriate the manufacturer for a single product. The SnP was cheap. You HAD to know that you weren't investing in a competition class smoker. (Yugos sold like hotcakes, but I can guarantee that there weren't any return buyers.)

    Like you, I'm dealing with temp issues, but, for me, that's part of the fun. I want to master this thing... not have it master me. Just like hitting the bar scene, they used to say "It isn't any fun if they just fall over with their legs in the air."

    I say keep at it. It's just a hunk of bent metal. With two opposable thumbs, you've got a distinct advantage.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
    robert wolf likes this.
  11. cpfitness

    cpfitness Fire Starter

    Okay, so yesterday I added silicone around the firebox door and crafted a very cheapo charcoal basket.  I attempted to put silicone around the cooking chamber and discovered it works great on the front lip but I put it in the wrong location for the sides.  I ran out before I could do the rear but I definately see the location to put it and will do that in the future.  I flipped my ashpan upside to use as a baffle and made a very cheapo chimney extension out of a cut up 24oz bud can.  This chimney extension is probably doing nothing because it's not fitting up in there very snug but I'll build a proper one in there in advance of my next smoke.  I loaded up the firebox as seen in the pic below.  The charcoal is up to about the height of the pass thru to the cooking chamber and that is approximately the size of a coffee can in the middle.  I lit 1/4 chimney of charcoal and dropped it in at 6:15 this morning.  I spend an hour and a half just tinkering around checking temps and checking on my silicone mods to see how they were doing, etc.  I also played with the vents and settled on closing the firebox vent all the way and closing the chimney vent halfway.  @745 I put my pork shoulder on with a left side temp reading of 262 and a right side temp of 201.   Obviously that is still a pretty big dispersion of temps but for a cheapo smoker with minimal mods it is useable.  What I'm most happy about is the minion method seems to have the briquettes burning nicely.  I'm paying close to zero attention to this thing and the temps are staying consistent.  I'm sort of banking on that giving me a temp of 230 in the middle position.  In a couple of hours I have 2 small briskets that will be going on.  My plan is to put them on the right side closer to 200* or maybe try to bump my overall temps up a bit.  In my opinon the pork shoulder with the fat side down should be okay if it getsup a smidgen on the hot side.

  12. Remmy you must not have seen my earlier post but I gave up and bought the Weber Smokey Mountain and it has turned smoking into a real pleasure instead of the nightmare with that BRINKMANN. I hear what you and others are saying but why put up with a piece of junk like the BRINKMANN when you can have a much more enjoyable experience and its not that much more money. SEE THE ADVERT AT THE END OF THESE POSTS.

    By the way CP I was in Lowes last night and those 2ea 20lbs bags are 19.95. Home Depot is always the same price here since they are just a couple miles apart. I don't know how much you smoke but for 9 to 10 months I am smoking at least once a week or about 5 to 6 times a month. I get 2 smokes out of 20lbs. Like I did with the BRINKMANN you use almost both bags in one smoke. So 50 smokes a year you are spending like $800!!!! Wow did I do my math right??? I am spending about one fourth that so get the Weber or another good smoker for a little more money and if you use it 2to3 times a month it pays for itself in the first year. I guess if you only smoke 5 or 10 times a year, or if you burn your own wood, it doesn't matter.

    Also the only way I could get close to acceptable temps was to burn lump charcoal and that is even more expensive. Briquettes just wouldn't cut it. There were several posts about this that I found.

    Bottom line I am lovin smoking now with the Weber, did stuffed salmon last Saturday, 3-2-1 ribs last Sunday, going out shortly to put on the pork shoulder and have some chicken I will probably add. I have done briskets, Cornish game hens stuffed, different kinds of sausage, beer can chicken and more. Man is meatloaf great in the smoker. Don't fight it with that marginal BRINKMANN guys. Too hot on the left too cold on the right a little wind a little rain low outside temp and you got a battle. Hey and try Jeff's rub, it's great I use it on almost everything and his recipes are usually great that he puts in his news letter. I don't have any association with him except that I took his course and I don't have any association with Webber either, they are just one company that makes a smoker that works like a smoker should.
  13. CP I just read your post you did this morning (#51) and boy does it bring back memories. I must admit I had a lot of fun doing mods and trying to get the Brinkmann to work. I am retired but have a technical/engineering background so this was my summer project last year. However in the long run I concluded that unless I add a stoker that it can't be made into an acceptable smoker for me and even if I added the stoker the large amounts of charcoal that you have to use makes it less expensive to get a unit like the Weber. I just took all my mods out and am using the Brinkmann as a charcoal grill. I don't know if you live close but I have a great steel deflector and 6 baffles that you can have along with some fire bricks and a charcoal basket. My chimney extensions were cheap aluminum flashing so they are gone. The left over stove rope and silicon sealant I want to keep.

    Good luck but be sure to use a digital thermometer with a probe in the meat and be sure it gets to the right temp to be safe to eat. That was one of my worries that with the different temps left to right and unstable temps with the Brinkmann that we were going to get food poison.

    Its getting late so i Better get my pork shoulder coated with Jeff's rub and start up the Webber with about 8 lbs of charcoal for a 6 or so hour smoke. I think I will use mesquite wood for smoke today.
  14. I'm smoking right now, with Kingsford Blue and Ozark Oak in the minion basket as a base heat sink and citrus chunks laid in the side as the heat adjuster. It's a balancing act, but it's working great! I can keep temps where I want them just by adjustments to the intake grate. Here are some pics:

    Those are bakes beans in the aluminum tub:

  15. Wait a minute that is not the unit I ave? My fire pit is on the left and what is that silver or luminous round thing on the end of the fire box? My smoke stack is only 8 to 10 inches not a several feet like yours. What you have is not what Home Depot still sells as the smoke n pit? No wonder yours works enter. Is it a Brinkmann.

    My shoulder is about done and the chicken breasts are a little behind but getting close also.
  16. Oh I just recalled you said the previous owner extended the smoke stack
  17. No... you're right. My offset is the TMLE. I was just noting what I was doing with the fuel setup in the firebox. The princiaples are the same.
  18. I havea snp . I have the fire grate raised with some rebar. I also took an adjustabile elbow and extended my chimney. I have a cheap 20g baffle at the smoke chamber opening.
    My temps work out very nicely. I range 200-325 depending on my adjustments.
    I was using a large amout of Kingsford blue, but now I use oak splits and persimmon chunks. I was able to smoke all winter. Here in Maryland I would start my smokes at 4:00am at about 24-29 degrees, temps were tough but the meat was tender.
  19. lexscsmoker

    lexscsmoker Fire Starter

    I too should have done my homework before purchasing my Brinkmann smoke n pit.  I've been using a GOSM for @ 3yrs and love it except that i have to keep adding wood to keep the smoke flavor.  I wanted something somewhat affordable that uses charcoal and wood throughout the cooking process.  After a lame attempt at curing, I tried smoking CSRs.  The ones closest to the firebox charred and the ones furthest away didn't get done.  Had to throw them in the oven to finish.  Roypw mentioned "stove rope".  What's that and is that what is needed to seal the cooking chamber?  also if I wanted to get some stove rope where would I go?   I couldn't get my temps above 200.  I did plan on making a reverse flow mod.  I will need to seal the chamber, raise the firebox grate and add a better temp gauge first.  A friend has a chargrill horizontal offset and he has more of a problem keeping the temps down than getting them to go up.  He says to use Cowboy charcoal if you want higher temps.  I reckon I'll try that too.
  20. I suggest you avoid Cowboy Lump. Sucks.

    I highly recommend Ozark Oak. Great stuff. Clean burning, steady temps, a very light smoke flavor, and low ash. I got four 10lb bags from BBQGUYS.COM for $46.72 shipped to Southern California. That's $9.95/bag and $6.92 to ship all four.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013

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