Brinkmann Smoke N Pit low temps, too much charcoal

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

  1. smokeandsalt

    smokeandsalt Newbie

    I have had troubles like this before.  I have a vertical Brinkman smoker.  Cheap thing, but it works.  I found that when I need extra heat I go and grab my air mattress pump and force some good O2 into the embers.  THey will get nice and hot for ya.
  2. I feel your pain.  I had a New Braunfels stick burner and it went through lots of wood. That's why I went to a ceramic kamado. With 20 lbs. of lump charcoal I can do 5 or 6 low and slow cooks at a constant temp with no checking and no adding wood chips. They are IMHO the finest all round cookers available. Able to do low and slow or maintain 650 degrees for steaks or pizza and any temp in between.
  3. comosmoker

    comosmoker Smoke Blower

    Hi all!  Just read through this entire thread and it sounds very similar to the related threads for the Briinkman TMLE.  Just my 2 cents out there...I have the TMLE and absolutely love it!!  Made all the similar mods everyone here is taking about, except the blower.  I, too, was having trouble keeping temps up above 200*.  I converted to 90% stick burning and removed one of my tuning plates.  I also have lava rock covering the bottom of the chamber.  Now, I don't have much of a problem keeping temps where they should be.  I am still tinkering a bit and still learning a lot, but I wouldn't say to scrap all Brinkman smokers.  No, it's not a competition smoker....but, it is one I could afford and it feeds the family and neighbors well. Keep smoking everyone!!!  

  4. russg

    russg Fire Starter

    For curing it and reaching the 400 degrees you may have to also burn coals using the main chamber.n another note I think your tuning plates my be a little close together. Try separating them more.I had a brinkman smoke and pit professional and now have a Chargriller. I turn to my MES 40 for smoking.I don't have to luxury of hanging around the pit, but someday I hope to be able to relax and do just that!Hang in there, I know a lot of guys who smoke some fine food on those pits.TBS to youSailor george
  5. tandreen

    tandreen Newbie

    After reviewing all of the posts, my comments were duplicate.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  6. lazy nate

    lazy nate Newbie

    I am going to bump this, even though the OP gave up on it long ago. I just purchased this and will assemble tomorrow, and will report back with results. But several faults, a few pointed out, a few not when it comes to this set up and smoking in general. This is a "Texas Offset", which means unless you are "grilling" a few kabobs in the "smoke box" ... it's made for more wood or lump charcoal. 

    but ok, until I prove otherwise, here are a few things I see wrong with the OP and a few other people's posts on this:

    1. Mods right away. We all want to have our own "I did it my way" rig. But out of the box this particular model is flimsy, design is lost to give it more sq inches of grilling/smoking space. On top of that it is a flimsy metal design. For $120 more today I could have got the Trailmaster, which is a heavy duty design you want, but for that much more you lose 100 sq inches, plus the "above rack". Which to me, in a "hybrid" grill/smoker, is a necessity. So it IS a lower end model. Learn your rig, what it's faults and strengths are, then mod accordingly/ to your liking. 

    2. Smoking is an imperfect science, if you want a "Set it and forget it" rig, get a pellet smoker. Those are true Ronco style Set it and Forget it rigs. So why are you using 3 charcoal chimney's worth of fire? If you are using Charcoal only, briquettes, chimney should only be used on the initial starting of the fire, OR in unattended emergency situations to beef the fire back up. Otherwise you are LOSING not only the SMOKE you are wanting, but the burning time per briquette. After using the Brinkman Smoke'n'Grill for a year now, the R2D2 looking unit, my biggest problem with that is that the stock thermometer does not read exact temps and  overall it's too small, especially the door to keep putting in wood chips and charcoal, otherwise that little thing cooks up some good food. And if the OP is still paying attention, did you add any type of water box? The water absorbs the smoke flavor and heat to even the temp out through the smoker. 

    3. Patience is key in smoking and "mastering your rig" ... Yes before I bought this rig, I knew it's faults. Grill like top, offset smoke box, flimsier than I would like metal. Will I make mods? Maybe, but the point of this rig is to be a Grill And Smoker! The OP and another poster said they hit the dreaded 140 dg mark and stalled out, Did you all wrap your ribs or shoulders in aluminum foil?  The general consensus on how much smoke a meat can absorb is between 2 to 3 hrs worth, then it's keeping a steady temp to help break down the soft tissues. 140 is the point where you wrap it, ribs, butts, shoulders, etc. Chicken in my own account, and this is my Own account, does not do well with an R2D2 style smoker, for the simple fact it will "leather" versus crisp the skins.  But I might not have left it on long enough to crisp. Once again Patience.

    4. Other than shoulders, which sometimes can use this, you still have to put fire to your ribs, you have to, to set the sauce, to set the rub, or whatever. even if its just a minute or two. Offset smoking will not char your ribs alone. Smoke ring and tenderness, check, a little char and "cooked" look, set it to the flame for a few minutes, and bammo. 

    That's my 2 cents for now, will report back after I set it up and see how it goes.
  7. smoke hog

    smoke hog Newbie

    Get yourself a big welder blanket at a hardware store. I use one here in New York when temps are in teens and it really helps get the heat up and hold it there. I use spring clamps to connect the ends of the blanket around the smoker and firebox. I don't have your smoker but use it on my traeger and WSM. It saves fuel and gets temps quite a bit hotter. Good luck,
  8. bbq freak

    bbq freak Newbie

    i got a couple smokers that are similar and get awesome results with them but what i do is i start off with charcoal in my basket  and then switch over to only wood . then you can get you smoker as hot as you want by adding different size chunks of wood . i did a whole chicken last week and it held steady 325 degrees the whole cook but i also use a adjustable head fan sometimes to blow on the fire box when temps fall , it is kinda a redneck bbq guru . also you haft to move it back and forth to fine tune it because it spiked up to 450 degrees when i had it blowing to hard on it , lol .

    Last edited: May 22, 2014
  9. lazy nate

    lazy nate Newbie

    I'm new to this forum and actually stumbled upon it because I bought this particular Brinkmann Smoke'n'Pit. I actually bought it because for the price, it seems like the size rig I want/need right now, not too big, not too small. 

    I actually put it together tonight and will cure it tomorrow evening for this weekends cooking. I must say it's not as flimsy as I thought. Putting a little elbow grease in on some of it did the trick. Now, is the outside shelf of hard corp material? Naw. So set nothing over 15 lbs I would say, especially at a corner. 

    In my 2 years of paying attention to what I am doing and wanting to grill smoke even more than the normal person, I have learned a Lot, but I know I am still a "novice" .... 

    So all that said, I will look into the welders blanket. 

    I am looking into doing the same as far as starting off with charcoal, using it as my base fire, then throwing in wood, but I don't have a Lot of access to different chunks of wood without paying excess prices, so I am going mainly with lump charcoal for now though. A friend of mine is cutting down a hickory tree and he promised me a good amount of the wood. So we'll see then too.

    Now, as far as this model smoker, any tips on how to maybe seal the seam on the outside of the firebox to the actual pit? Like Brand Names/chemical names, epoxy or something like that? I figure JB weld wouldn't be food friendly [​IMG]  .... 

    Oh and as far as curing it, it says to use both the firebox And the pit. I don't agree with the lbs of charcoal in each place to achieve the desired 2 step temps, maybe to keep them over the 2 hrs and 1 hr, yes, otherwise it can possibly be a charcoal eating process, but it will be worth it when those shoulders come off Sunday! 

    I'll try and post tomorrow night about how it goes. Especially if I will even need the "sealant" other than a welders blanket for the cold months. 
    Last edited: May 22, 2014
  10. I've managed to get this to work well with only the stove rope modification on three sides. The trick has been simply to add a few chimney starter-lit coals to the cooking chamber grate, in addition to the full load in the fire box. As few as 10 to 15 coals spread along along the bottom with a normal load in the fire box allows me to maintain 225 to 245 for 7-8 hours, using about 8 lbs of Kingsford Original and 3 lbs of Hickory chunks. (in the winter in Chicago I've had to increase that by 50 percent and use 20 to 30 coals in the cooking chamber).

    Other posters have commented that there is no way to achieve the 400 degree cure temp... From the fire box that is certainly true. The directions say to use 4 lbs of briquettes in the fire box AND 8 lbs in the cooking chamber, adding wood if needed. With all vents open this is no problem so long as as all that fuel is in in the main chamber.
  11. schmitzmoke

    schmitzmoke Fire Starter

    I gave up on my Brinkman Off-Set,,,, it was a POS! YARD SALE fodder!

    All I did was tend to a fire that was hard to get up to temp and near impossible to keep steady. I bought a Masterbuilt 40" gasser. I light it, pre heat it on full blast, lower and set the temp to 225-230 F, toss in meat and wood chunks, walk away.

    I would much rather spend my time cooking up some kick a$$ sides to my perfectly smoked meat instead of tending a firebox that impossible to maintain heat in. or even kicking back and have a beer or two or three. That's what the weekends are for
  12. I cannot imagin using that much charcoal for that short of time,, It would seem that you are not getting the heat to flow into the smoke chamber,,, either the plates you have are restricting the glow or you are losing too much out the fire box or the smoke chamber,,, light it up throw some blocks of wood in it and if you can get us some pics of it smokin. Also where and how big is the intake vent on the fire box?
  13. mtnwalker

    mtnwalker Newbie

    Judging from the pictures....your problem is that baffle that is forcing the heat/smoke to go beneath the tuning plates in the grill/cooking chamber. That baffle is basically snuffing the fire just by forcing the heat/smoke....DOWN. I tried once to set a firebrick partly blocking the upper part of the smoke passage......not totally block at all.....and it even degraded performance....

    2nd thing....Your smoke-n-pit is newer than mine...mine is from mid-90s...the older ones were designed better and made from thicker steel than the newer ones...... make sure you don't have air leaks around the lid much as possible you want all air coming in the intake and going out the exhaust......(when I am using my remote probe meat thermometers the wire does make a smallgap where the wire comes out of the cooking chamber....but not enough to hurt things....

    I have no problem maintaining temps as desired in main suggestion to you is get rid of that baffle.........

    Good luck!
  14. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    You make good points, too bad the OP had such a thick skull because he could have made it work.

    Please put your results in a thread of its own, this one is a mess and deserves to die.
  15. Im in the midst of modding mine. I used high heat silicone and glued an oven seal around the lip. Im having a hard time with the baffle. I took the charcoal tray flipped it and place in ontop of two bricks. Works ok but just curious what others are made of. Ive seen tuning plates what are they made of? Also i have a weber grilling wok i use as a charcoal basket is this good. It has alotta holes all around but i dunno if they get clogged from ash and im constantly feeding every 20 min it seems with coal and wood i perfer wood but sometimes seems like i need to add coal bc the wood burns quick. Any input b appreciated
  16. stevenlee

    stevenlee Newbie

    FWIW I have a Brinkmann Trailmaster.  Same set-up, but firebox is on the right. I've made no mods to it.  I start with a chimney full of charcoal that I burn for about 15-20 before dumping in the firebox.  On top of the hot coals I add 2 or 3 pieces of split cherry or apple.   I leave the firebox open for another 10-15 minutes to get the wood going.  Once the wood is burning well I close the firebox, open the side damper and chimney damper fully, and I'll get the smoker up to ~400 or so.  I'll leave it at 400 for 15 mins to kill anything that might have been in the cooking area, then damp everything down and I can run @ 225-250.  It looks like maybe your deflector and baffles are transporting the heat right along the bottom of the smoke chamber and out the chimney.  Try reverting back to as close to factory as you can get and see where you get.  Good luck.
  17. I've been using my Brinkman SnP for several years and have no problems getting whatever temp I desire. It takes a lot of tending, but the results with brisket, butts, and ribs is A-OK.  I've got a deflector plate coming out of the firebox, a raised charcoal/wood grate in the firebox, and several cement bricks in the bottom of the cook chamber.   I use Kingsford, lump, and oak for fires. Not sure what all the fuss is about. As with any cooker, you need to get to know how it works and plan and cook accordingly.  That said, I do prefer my WSM over the SnP, as it allows me to focus on the cooking rather than the fire!
  18. What kind of material is a deflector plate/tuning plate made of or do can u just buy one
  19. jmb6420

    jmb6420 Newbie

    Just an idea, but with what you are spending on charcoal, you could pay for another smoker in a very short time if you plan on doing a lot of smoking.
  20. My very first Smoker purchase was a Brinkmann Smoke and PIt just like yours. I have had it for 5 years - replaced the fire box once since then. the only mod I have ever done was to make a wider charcoal grid to raise up the fire an inch or so. I use lump charcoal (Royal Oak brand from Walmart) and apple wood for smoke. I open up the vent fully open and leave the stack open all the way. I make and sell Baffles for offswet smokers and I added one to mine, it just helps to even the temps in the smoke chamber. I can get 350- 400 degrees easily and always have been able to. With my baffle, heat and smoke still get over the top to the cooking grid and thru the bottom. I can slide the grid with the baffle laying on it back and forth , side to side and regulate the temp in the chamber. With my baffle an inch away from the firebox opening, Mine will maintain right at 300 degrees for perfect ribs. I think you are using too many tuning plates and the heat is not being disipated into the cooking chamber. Using Lump charcoal I start off with  chinmney fully lit in the firebox, spread it out and add another chimney around the edges of that and a little apple wood on the side to smolder. I add  more charcoal about every 30-40 minutes using a little garden shovel I bought at lowes. drink a few beers and wait. Pic of Mister Baffler (U.S. Patent Pending). Mr. Baffler in  a CharBroiler  in action.


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