Can't get Brinkman Smoke'N Pit hot enough to smoke

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by psycho-smoker, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. psycho-smoker

    psycho-smoker Newbie

    NC
    Hi everyone, new forum member and new smoker owner as well.

    I cured my new Brinkman following the instructions in the manual:
    • vegetable oil on inside pieces of both FireBox (FB) and Grilling section
    • 3.5 lb of coal added to FB and 8 lbs to grilling section
    • started fire, all coals lit up and red hot
    • closed lid with recommended FB and Smoke Stack (SS) vent openings
    After 42 minutes, the temp reached the recommended 250 degrees. Kept it there for 2 hours, then tried to get it up to 400 degrees by adding more coals in both FB and Grilling sections. Could NEVER get it hotter than 325. After a couple more hours, shut vents and put fire out. I figured from a curing perspective, this probably was pretty close to getting the job done.

    Today, I tried just putting coal in the FB only to see if I could get the temp up to 225 considering it took me 42 minutes to reach that temp with coals in FB and Grill section yesterday. I want to try and smoke a chicken as my first test.

    I could never get the temp higher than 175 degrees after 2 hours. At that point it started going down in temperature.

    For these tests I was using Kingsford coal although after reading the forums, it's not what I would cook with. I simply wanted to do this testing with a cheaper coal considering I wasn't cooking anything.

    I played with opening up the vents on both the FB and SS, which helped to increase the temp if I opened them up all the way, but never raised it close to the temp I needed.

    I don't have any modifications to this grill (just put it together on Saturday). I don't see any obvious gaps in the smoker.

    Would appreciate any help. I'm on vacation the next two weeks and I had visions of smoking chickens, ribs, pork shoulder, you name it. If I can't get this figured out, it will be nothing more than a grill.

    Many thanks.
     
  2. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Fl
    Welcome..

    This site has tons of info.

    I suggest you spend some time reading all the different forums and the WIKIs.

    Ask questions and use the handy dandy search tool for specific interests!!

    Take the awesome free E-Course!!!

    Have a great day!!!

    Craig

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/wiki/about-jeffs-5-day-ecourse
     
          Make bacon the easy way!!

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/forum/thread/109368/more-easy-made-bacon-with-q-view#post_666451

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/forum/thread/82034/how-to-post-qview-to-smf
     
  3. tom c

    tom c Smoking Fanatic

    The charcoal grate is to low in the fire box, causing the fire to choke out after only a couple hours. Raising it up will increase air flow and give more room for ash..

     
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  4. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    First off.. welcome to SMF.. you came to the right place for your new addiction (smoking)... lol... My first question is.. are you just relying on the original Temp gauge that's built into the smoker ? If so.. do yourself a favor and order a good probe thermometer, preferably a dual probe (one of the probes for meat the other probe for smoke chamber at grate level... I agree with Tom C about the grate level to low in the FB... find something fireproof (steel, bricks broken into smaller pieces, etc ) to raise the grate a couple of inches (or 3).. then try again

    but I suspect the original therm is suspect...
     
  5. tom c

    tom c Smoking Fanatic

    You can find some great mods on you tube 
     
  6. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    First off [​IMG]  to SMF There is tons of info here on just about any subject you could want. you might do a search using the search bar at the top of the page for mods to your smoker, I'm sure there are some here. I also suggest you check out the 5 day e-course on smoking. It's loaded with good info, even if you are not new to smoking it's a good read. Smoking Basics 5-Day eCourse. I do not have this type of smoker I have LPG smokers and a WSM, so I cant help you out much, on your problem
     
    [​IMG]  I agree if you haven't checked stock thermometer that is most likely your problem. The stock thermometer on my MF 2 door was off by over 50 degrees, and very erratic. I use a digital probe stuck threw a potato on the grate to monitor my temps, don't even look at the stock thermometer. 
     
  7. psycho-smoker

    psycho-smoker Newbie

    NC
    To everyone, many THANKS for all your input. I will indeed work my way through the forum and gain as much insight from folks as I can. I will immediately raise the FB grill to help get the coals out above the ashes more. And I will also purchase a new digitial thermometer to compare the one that came with the unit. If anyone has a suggestion of a particular model I would certainly appreciate it. I'm not sure I completely understand the type that is dual probe - one that gets inserted into the meat (which I understand) and the other to measure the grill temp. Does that second probe just set on the one of the cooking grills? Or would the second one get inserted all the way through a potato so that the probe is actually not inserted into anything so is reading the air temperature?

    I will definitely take the 5 day e-course as I really do want to understand the basics.

    Thanks everyone.
     
  8. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes, one probe goes in the meat and the other can be put threw a small potato and set on the grate that your meat will be on to measure air temp... here's a picture of one

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/items/maver...keyword=maverick+et+732&adgroup_id=2421580372
     
  9. psycho-smoker

    psycho-smoker Newbie

    NC
    Now I understand how that works. I'm going to go to Williams & Sonoma tomorrow and see if they have one in stock. If not, I can order one online. I'm just anxious to try this again.

    Thanks for the link to the probes. Very much appreciated.
     
  10. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    you might check with Todd here on the forums... I believe he sells them as well.. his link is on the right side of the page (a-maz-n smoker)
     
  11. Welcome to the site. If you get the Maverick ET-732, it comes with a clip that clips onto one of your cooking grates to hold the temp probe.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yep...Todd has the Maverick at the same price as Ebay and he has an Awesome Reputation for Outstanding Customer Service...And we all love to support our own...JJ
     
  13. psycho-smoker

    psycho-smoker Newbie

    NC
    Hi guys, after Jck-Dnls gave me the link to the Maverick, I thought about going to W&S to see if they had one in stock but then I ended up just ordering it online with overnight shipping to get it quickly before seeing the other suggestion about getting it from Todd. Apologies to Todd as I definitely would have gone that route if I had seen it before ordering it online via Ebay.

    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I have spent some time searching on the site and getting more educated on the subject. Hopefully future posts will be a bit more intelligent.
     
  14. johnnie walker

    johnnie walker Smoking Fanatic


    Shoot man we all started at the same place. There's no dumb questions, just ask away. We're all here to learn and have fun.
     
  15. psycho-smoker

    psycho-smoker Newbie

    NC
    Thanks Jonnie Walker. Appreciate that. I've now seen posts from Jck-Daniels and now Jonnie Walker. And here I am sitting here drinking a glass of Wild Turkey Kentuky Spirit (which is being discontinued and I have no idea why as it's a terrific burbon - but I digress).

    I really am learning a lot from reading through posts as well as getting direct feedback from questions. I'm hoping I can make a decent first attempt on my smoker once it stops raining here.
     
  16. johnnie walker

    johnnie walker Smoking Fanatic

    Where are you located at PS? It sounds to me like you must be in Ohio, all it's did this year is rain. Last I heard we were headed for the 50" mark for the year, which I'm sure we pasted a long time ago. We average around 36" a year I beleive.
     
  17. Hey Psycho-Smoker!  I've had a SnP for a long time and have done quite a few mods to mine.  Some I've kept and some I've scraped.  Here's my humble $0.02 as to mods that can make a big difference in that smoker.  I'm sure others have more mods and more knowledge of the SnP.

    First regarding the firebox.  I bought a piece of expanded metal - 24"x24" - at Home Depot and made a charcoal basket out of it by folding up each of the 4 sides. The base of the basket is 12" x 14" and the sides are the remainder of the 24"  If you know a little about metal work, you can make only 4 cuts in the piece of expanded metal, make the breaks and then use the  remaining 'flap' to wrap the basket.  I then took 2 pieces of 3/4" angle iron and cut them to fit into the fire box (from front to back) to hold the expanded metal basket about 6 inches from the floor of the firebox.  This greatly improves air flow around the fuel and allows ash to fall freely.  The angle iron just sits in the firebox.  I didn't want to permanently attach the angle iron so cleaning out ash and clinkers would be easier. I can pull the charcoal basket and angle iron out with no problem.  The basket holds enough charcoal to do a very decent sized minion burn.  If you're not familiar with that technique, do a search here or google it.  Here's a picture of my setup.

    [​IMG]

    I also put six 6"x6" unglazed terra cotta tiles in the firebox on the very bottom of the box.  Again, these are just laid in the box.  They reflect a bit more heat upwards from the charcoal/embers. You can see these in the picture up above too.

    Two other mods I highly recommend are making a metal diffuser/baffle (again, you can see this in the photo above) that sits in the hole between the firebox and the cooking chamber.  This forces the heat down and into the cooking chamber vs. up high and out the smoke stack (right over the meat being smoked!)  I used heavy duty flashing to make my baffle.  Just don't used galvanized metal for this!  It can kill ya!

    The other must have mod is extending the smoke stack downward to the cooking grate.  The vid listed above in one of the other posts show this.  I used heavy duty flashing material as well for my extension.  Just cut to length (cut on an angle if you're a perfectionist) roll it up and insert it in the bottom opening of the smoke stack.  You can always use a piece of paper or thin cardboard to make a pattern of the extension before you cut the flashing if you're not comfortable with cutting the metal first.  No need to fasten it since the force of the flashing wanting to unroll holds it in place.  This also allows you to adjust the length of the extension if you move your cooking grates up or down.  I've also seen guys use metal dryer duct material for the extension.  I may try that next.

    As for what other said about ditching the thermo that comes with the unit and replacing it with a decent one, I agree 1000%.  I also recommend a few digitals to monitor the inside cooking temp as well as meat/product temps being smoked.

    Hope some of this helps.  Feel free to let me know if I can explain anything a bit more or can help with anything else.  Happy Smoking!  The SnP isn't a bad unit at all once you do a few mods and spend some time with it.

    -Salt
     
  18. psycho-smoker

    psycho-smoker Newbie

    NC
    Hey JW, not Ohio, I live in North Carolina. We're getting just the rain from a pretty bad storm that's to the west of us going from south to north that has potential for tornadoes. But while it's completely overcast today, I think there's going to be a good enough break in the rain that I can try a few things today.

    Salt, thanks a million for all your suggestions. A couple of questions - on the baffle (flashing) that you put in the opening between the FB and the main grilling section, I can't tell from the picture but did you drill holes and secure it with screws?

    Also, as far as extending the smoke stack lower to grill level, not sure if the one I have is different but the only way I could do that is if I completely remove the warming grill that sits above the main grill. That would come in handy when I do some grilling but is that what you had to do?

    All the mods you suggested make complete sense and now that I've been purusing the site I've seen those suggestions on other threads. I really appreciate the help.

    Many thanks.
     
  19. Psycho-Smoker, you're more than welcome.  I'm in NC too but that bad weather hasn't gotten here yet.  Hope you make out OK with that storm!

    As for the smoke stack extension, my SnP is pretty old and didn't come with a warming rack so I'm not real sure what you might be able to do there unless you can live without it.  Any chance of taking a cutoff wheel and taking out just enough of the warming rack to get the extension down to the cooking grate level?  If you want, post a picture of how that warming rack is rigged and maybe we can come up with a mod to get the smoke stack extension done.

    As for the baffle between the FB and cooking chamber.  I just punched holes in the flashing the same size as the bolts that hold the FB onto the main tank.  I then removed one bolt/nut at a time, slipped the hole in the baffle over the extended bolt then put the nut back on finger tight - then I did the same on the other side.  Once I got both holes in the baffle over the bolts I tightened everything back down.  No need to drill more holes.

    Good luck with that next smoke!

    -Salt
     
  20. Hey Psycho-Smoker, just wanted to check in and see how that smoke went?

    By the way, I'm a bourbon lover too but I'm partial to Evan Williams Single Barrel or Small Batch....You might want to give it a try if you can't find Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit any longer.

    Merry Christmas y'all and Happy Holidays!

    -Salt
     

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