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Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by realtorterry, Mar 6, 2011.
Thanks Remmy I will give that a try.
Ok thanks Remmy I will give that a shot.
So I went out and bought a 90 degree elbow, galvanized steel for a smoke stack extension. Then I was reading where galvanized steel shouldn't be used around food. So back to the drawing board on that, unless anyone else used something different. I also bought some Rutand clear RTV silicone sealant (500 degree). And this actually meets federal specification for Federal Meat and Poultry Inspection program, bought at the Home Depot. Now I can seal up some areas of the cooking chamber and maybe around the lid. Still working on a much needed charcoal box.
The galvanized coating will eventually burn off if gotten to the right temperature. I found an aluminum dryer vent elbow to extend the exhaust to the grate level.
Ahh, yes I did see that on someone else's mod. I will try that instead. Better to be safe than sorry, thanks for the input.
I just moved to Loveland, Colorado and I'm also having trouble holding temps. I use the minion method, but it's still tough. The turkey on my WSM was ok, but the skin was like leather and I never could get the temp above 300. I tried ribs on my Chargriller and they were the worst I'd ever done. Finally just grilled stakes were bad.
Nothing's changed but our location. Still use lump charcoal and still use hardwood logs. I'll just keep trying, but will likely move from the Chargriller to something a bit more substantial.
I like the ideas for the large charcoal baskets.
Given the grill hasn't changed the only two factors you can change is how much air the fire gets (burns hotter) or how much fuel you have burning. My grill is very sensitive to the amount of fuel more so than the air flow. Try putting in more actively burning fuel.
I've been experimenting with closing off the top vent to keep the hot air in longer. It doesn't help much. I've found that I can get a temperature increase by moving the chimney intake to grill grate height. I tested this with a clothes-dryer duct. My ultimate modification is to move the chimney intake to just below the grill grate.
No, it doesn't. And, it will be detrimental to the flavor profile of your meat.
Proper smoking requires that the heat (and the small combustion particles) move off the coal bed, across the cooking chamber so it "flows" over the food, and out the stack. If you close off the exhaust stack, you are bottling up the draft it needs, stifling the coal bed, and encouraging the development of larger soot particles and creosote, which is guaranteed to give you that bitter, tingly "I think that's what cancer tastes like" experience.
Proper cooking heat control is entirely a function of the type and volume of fuel, and intake (combustion) air flow. Leave that stack wide open and focus on fuel load and intake changes.
That's what I've read about closing the top vent. I was trying to mimic how different sized chimneys would affect the intake giving a bigger draft. If I had a 2" diameter chimney would I benefit by installing a 4" chimney.
Another way of asking this is can the draft be too effective, the hot air and smoke going out and not spending enough time caressing the meat?
I was doing this as a prelude to moving the chimney intake to grill grate height. The temperature at grill grate height goes up 50F.
Not really. Well, one could argue that opening the cooking chamber door is another avenue of "draft", but since the firebox is sized the way it is, then that defeats the purpose of engaging in the smoking process to begin with. It's like cooking a turkey in your kitchen oven with the door open. In that case, sure... the "draft" is too effective!!
It's a function of the energy being generated by the fuel source (or, looking at it another way, combustion efficiency), which we would experience by higher temps. Since we target specific, narrow temperature ranges, and the firebox is sufficiently sized for the cooking chamber volume, we can generate a lot more of the beneficial gases than necessary for any conceivable smoking scenario given the fuel sources available, i.e. charcoal and/or hardwood.
Looking at the inverse, the TMLE is ill-suited for cold-smoking because its design (firebox is too close to the food), comparative firebox/cook chamber volumes, etc isn't optimized to generate smoke particles and a consistent low-temp dry heat for extended periods of time.
Have you read this article: http://www.amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/zen_of_wood.html
Hey everyone, I sealed up the smoke stack and handle underneath. I sealed it up with some Rutland clear (pic above). I also swapped out the cheap bolts and replaced with stainless steel bolts, lock washer and nut. I will eventually change all the bolts and nuts sometime later. Plus it gives it a little character lol. I also noticed a gap about 1/8" or so in the firebox just above the damper that will be the next modification with heat resistant gasket. Next on the list is to throw a good bead of RTV around the cooking chamber door and definitely a charcoal box. I still haven't decided if I'm going to cover the charcoal ash tray or not. More to come hopefully
Here's what I did. I ran a bead of high-temp silicone caulk around the lid and covered it with wax paper and closed the door. I thought about not closing the door but the bead of caulk was not very even. Still the door is not absolutely tight. In normal operation no smoke comes out. If I close the chimney I can force some smoke out the seal. I've been thinking about adding latches to mash the door down but I think this is really good enough. If I close the chimney, the door and the intake vent - the fire goes out.
I used the High Temp felt (similar to whats used on a BGE) and added latches.
I made a removable cover over the ash pan. See my pics in this thread
This thread has died off a bit over the last couple of months but hopefully some of you earlier posters see this and can chime in since surely you all now have lots of experience with this bad boy!
Just got a new one. I have some limited experience with the el cheapo brinkmann smoke n pit. Here are my main questions for you guys
1. Sealing it up. I didn't use anything on the bolts on the legs or where the firebox meets the cooking chamber. While seasoning it last night, the only place I saw visible smoke leakage was from the cooking door which I know is an easy fix. Do I really need to worry about sealing up those bolt holes on the legs??? seems to me that with them being on the bottom they should be an issue. REally don't want to take this whole thing apart again. I did notice the 1/4" gap where the 2 halves of the firebox come together. I realize that I won't notice smoke coming from there but rather that is going to give the fire too much oxygen so I went ahead and sealed those up.
2. The only mod I did thus far was installed 2 brinkmann thermos on each side of the door. While seasoning last night I had the same experience that others reported, the Stock thermostat would read as high as 350 while the ones at the grate were only getting to 200-225. I didn't use a whole lot of charcoal so I'm not too worried about getting temps hot enough to cook with but I just want to be sure that I ran it hot enough for the curing process to do it's thing. I followed the instructions in the manual and went by what the stock thermos said regarding temperature. I ran it for 2 hours in the middle range of the BBQ zone and then an additional hour up between 350-400. Then let it cool. Am I good to start cooking? if not no big deal, I can do another seasoning run after doing a couple of other mods and get a feel for it. Incidentally, in stock configuration, I was not getting a huge differnece side to side, only about 30 degrees. That isn't bad to me, I can just do chicken on the firebox side and my other goods on the middle and left sides.
I'm looking forward to this smoker, I was getting some good results on the old smoke n pit after some practice so I think I'll be money on this. I'll be making my charcoal basket today and the caulk is drying on the doors as I type this (incidentally, I bought the Fire stop stuff as well since home depot didn't ahve the rtv stuff and I was impatient. I'm going to give it a go. I read one person who said that he thinks it dries hard and is no good while someone else who actually used it says it dries tacky. To me having it be a bit tacky seems like a good thing to help keep the door closed and sealed. Worst case scenario I will scrape it off and put the other stuff on. This stuff has a nice grey color that blends into the smoker nicely.
Congrats on your new toy. I'm sure you will love it once you get it dialed in.
1) I sealed every hole and bolt. i can't imagine it being too big of a problem though.
2) Yea I'm sure you can start cooking on it, it will season more and more with every cook.
3) I used the fireplace, stove felt around my lid and bought some compression clamps to help hold the lid shut.
Post some pics of your cook when you do it.
Thanks for the quick reply! I was concerned about the seasoning because the insides are still fairly oily feeling so i thought perhaps I didn't have enough heat going through it.
I did some more research on the 3m Fire Block sealant. I'm starting to think that this stuff might be the BEST for sealing up the gaps in the firebox areas. I've linked the data sheet on the product below and they specifically state this product is good for repairing wood burning stoves. Supposedly it is good up to 750 degrees CELSIUS. So I feel good about my choice ofusing it where I did. I guess I will see how it works on the doors I know many were reporting the silicone not being durable enough for the firebox doors. They also say when using it on a wood stove to burn a small fire to speed up the curing process so I'm going to go ahead and light up some more coals right now and see how it goes.
I got a gift certificate for xmas to harbor freight so I was thinking of going there to get the wheels and the compression clamps but I don't really love the look of the clamps so I'll probably go without them for now. consensus seems to be baffle and no convection plate so I'll try that out, it will certainly save me a few bucks.
http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediaw...S_4327-6.pdf&fn=FB 136 Product Data Sheet.pdf
jury is still out on the 3m fire block. it cures to a hard cement like quality. but I think it's going to do a perfectly good job of handling the massive gaps where the 2 firebox halves go together. What I ended up doing was hitting the fireblock on the inside seams and then using the red permatex rtv on the outside seams so hopefully the 3m really handles the super high heat and whatever minimal space it may not have filled up will get taken care of by the permatex. I also did a 2nd small burn to cure that up and didn't really bring the temps up high enough to notice any distinct changes. it got up to about 225-250 on the stock thermo which left my grate thermos reading around 140.
Just got back from home depot and installed the chimney mod that everyone has done and also scored some expanded metal for the basket as well as 6" x18" 18 gauge sheet metal to make a baflle and tuning plates (not sure I'm gonna bother with the tuning plates based on what others have reported here.
Since this thread is a bit old I figure I'll give some cost updates on the parts I bought for anyone considering this smoker and doing these mods.
First and foremost, the Permatex Hi Temp silicone was not available at either home depot or lowes. not surprising since it's more of an automotive product. I got it at Auto Zone (full tube for a caulking gun which I recommend as opposed to the little 3 oz tube. $11.49
Lowes only stocked 12'x24 expanded metal which on the plus side has smaller holes that i like in case I get crappy lump charcoal but I decided to go to Home depot and get the 24" x 24" sheet with the larger holes. I simply measured and cut every 6 inches and bent it into a basket it that is 12 x 12 by 6" high. I bent it by hand so it looks like crap but I will neaten it up and make it nice tomorrow $19.99
90 4" ALUMINUM elbow Make sure you get the aluminum one, it's easy to tell the difference, the aluminum one is much brighter and shinier and feels flimsy compared to the galvanized. I was able to use a pair of scissors to cut the little flaps in one end then fed it through the hole and bent the flaps and mounted up the chimney. I threw some permatex in there before torquing down all the screws. $4.25
Last thing was the 16 gauge sheet metal. I was a little disappointed, I saw the width listed as 18 " and I was thinking that was going to be perfect width to just drop them in but no such luck. No big deal, I will just measure them out and cut them down to size. Each piece of sheet metal was 6" x18" $6.97 per piece
Brinkman Grill thermometers. I drilled out holes and put these on each side and they were only $8.99 each.
I was very happy that with the exception of the permatex silicone home depot had all these little mods I needed. I'm sure some wall street guy has done the math for brinkman and figured out why they shouldn't include half of these items but who knows. They should at least package them all together and offer them as an upgrade kit of some sort. heck, IF I could buy all these parts in bulk at a discount, I could sell these for $100 shipped and make a profit and save people aggravation of finding all these little parts.
Looking forward to cooking on this bad boy this weekend and watching football!
installed all the mods and fired up a few coals again. I'm actually concerned that the baffle is blocking too much heat but I'm going to chalk it up to simply not lighting up enough coals. The temperature on the stock thermo was having a hard time getting up to 250-275. I put the firebox damper fully open and then threw some wood chips and fresh briquettes onto the existing coals just to try to spike my temps up a bit more and I got the stock thermo to arounc 275 which put the right side grate thermo at 240 and the left side grate around 210. I have mild concerns that this thing is going to eat up fuel, but I guess the only way to find out is to really put it into use. I'm planning to do a pork shoulder tomorrow. Plan is to go minion method with kingsford and use some fruit wood chips in foil for the smoke. I also picked up some firewood so may go to that later in the day if I run out of kingsford. Looking forward to it!!!