Early Brinkmann Pitmaster Deluxe restoration and modifications

Discussion in 'Side Fire Box' started by pyrex, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. pyrex

    pyrex Newbie

    Hello Everyone!  I picked up what I believe was an early Brinkmann Pitmaster Deluxe.  I spotted it in a yard on the way to my mother in law's house.  I ended up getting it for $40.  I've done most of my smoking on a bullet style brinkmann which I modified over the years.  I had been waiting for a proper offset smoker to start on for years.  I've had gigantic smokers in the past, but I've since sold them.  What I'm looking for now is a smoker that's big enough to do a few large briskets at a time, but isn't a gigantic bohemith that eats wood like a bonfire.  So, begin project.

    Here is how I found it.

    After I got it in my shop, I looked it over and it was good enough to use it as a foundation.

    Hit it with wire wheel and it doesn't look too bad.  I measured around the circumference and got a solid 10 gauge reading all around.

    Initially, I was interested with the firebox side door, but it became clear that the door gaps were a little ridiculous.  I could have welded a flange around the door, but I opted to weld it up quick and dirty and move on,  I'll cut the hinges off and finish the job tomorrow, more than likely.

    I also cleaned up the vent and lowered the gap by flattening out the firebox (it was warped).  Now it's nice and tight.

    Okay, so where am I going with this thing?  I spent my Sunday with my caliper and mic gauges and input the smoker dimensions into my CAM program so I can plan out what I'm going to do.  Here's what I have so far:

    [if !supportLists]· Baffle and tuning plate rail + plates to control the temperature differential

    [if !supportLists]· Typical dual gauges

    [if !supportLists]· Slide-out cooking surface

    [if !supportLists]· Drop smoke stack to cooking surface

    [if !supportLists]· Wrap-around table bib

    [if !supportLists]· Pneumatic tires

    [if !supportLists]·  Longer legs

    [if !supportLists]·  [endif]Bottom Shelf

    [if !supportLists]·  Charcoal Box

    Here are my first drafts on what I was considering:

    And with the grate removed, the tuning plate design:

    I do intend to raise the smoker up about a foot from the factory height.  I'm tall and I really hate bending down peeking into a smoker.  I'm sure I'm not the first one to hate that.  I still have a lot more to do, but I'd love any input on what I could do further to improve the smoker. 
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  2. socalcooker

    socalcooker Meat Mopper

    Just a personal preference, but I'd ditch the factory exhaust all together and build a plenum with a larger pipe on it. Have you considered reverse flow? I've only cooked on a reverse flow so I guess I'm partial to them.

  3. pyrex

    pyrex Newbie

    I was under the impression RF wasn't very effective in small smokers such as these? I would be concerned I wouldn't get even heat across the chamber. I'm certainly open to it, as it would be pretty easy to do
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  4. kam59

    kam59 Smoking Fanatic

    If the cooking chamber door seals well there is no need in bringing the exhaust into the cooking chamber. I would go with tuning plates.
  5. socalcooker

    socalcooker Meat Mopper

    RF will work but it's basically your personal preference. It's a lot of extra welding. I have yet to try tuning plates, maybe on my next build. Kam is right about the exhaust if the door seals well there's no reason to stick the exhaust into the chamber. I would build a plenum and place on the end of the chamber close to the top. Put your dimensions into the calculator for exhaust height.

  6. pyrex

    pyrex Newbie

    I need to do some plenum research, that's a new one to me. So there's some sort of volume calculator for the smoke stack?
  7. kam59

    kam59 Smoking Fanatic

    If the exhaust is inline with the calculator and you do not want to add one just keep what you have.


    It is pretty much plug and play. If you need help just ask away. :)
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  8. pyrex

    pyrex Newbie

    I will be asking about the plenum.

    I didn't have much time today, but cleaned up some sloppy metal brake work and welded up more holes.

    Tomorrow I will be unbolting the firebox, cleaning up the mating surfaces, unwarping the metal, and welding the seams to eliminate any leaks. After that I'll degrease the cooking chamber to prep it for welding.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should pursue while I'm here? Anything you wished you had done?
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  9. kam59

    kam59 Smoking Fanatic

    If it does not have at least  a 1.5" drain I would weld in a nipple. I also would put digital probe ports on each end.
  10. socalcooker

    socalcooker Meat Mopper

    The plenum is the tapered box on the end of the CC where the exhaust is. This is my current build.


  11. pyrex

    pyrex Newbie

    I see. I'm tempted to ask why? Is there a particular reason to create a separate box off the main cooking chamber?
  12. socalcooker

    socalcooker Meat Mopper

    It helps reduce friction when smoke exits the cook chamber. But a pipe exiting straight from the top of the cook chamber is just as effective. It's personal preference, I prefer the plenum.

  13. pyrex

    pyrex Newbie

    Well I'm not opposed to making one, just curious if it has a discernable affect on the performance. I dig your smoker, especially the gauge shrouds. That's a nice touch.
  14. socalcooker

    socalcooker Meat Mopper

    Thanks. Funny I don't like the gauge covers at all, the guy I'm building it for wanted them. If it were for me I'd go without the dial gauges. I prefer the digital probes. I like using the plenum, but I've never used or built a smoker without a plenum. So I can't say for sure whether it makes a ton of difference or not. I mostly like the way they look. I believe the real difference they make is using them rather than a pipe elbow which causes more friction.

    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  15. pyrex

    pyrex Newbie

    I made some more progress today.

    I made a charcoal box for the hot end.

    Finished sealing the leaky door on the hot end, removed all hardware/hinges.

    Fitment between the two boxes is garbage. I removed the hot end to flatten out the warping so I can weld them together.

    More misc. hole plugging (there are holes all over this thing).

    Fabbed some mounts for pneumatic tires:

    Spent a lot of the day adjusting hinges and panel fitment.  This is before.

    And this is after relieving the tension in the hinge, dropped right in place.

    Later this week I intend to weld in the cooking rack and slides, weld the hot end back on, finish the charcoal box, fab a custom handle, fab tuning plates/mounts.  If I have time finish the table and then paint it.

    Also, depending on how heavy my handle ends up being, I might add a counterweight to the door.

    I do have a question:  Is there some science behind counterweights?  As in angles, weight. length, etc.?
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  16. socalcooker

    socalcooker Meat Mopper

    Looking good.
  17. uncle eddie

    uncle eddie Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I am not sure you will need a counterweight.  I have an ancient Brinkman grill/smoker (not offset) that I still use for high heat smokes.  It is made with heavy gauge steel as well.

    There is a nice sized stainless steel spring of some sort on the handle that always stays cool to the touch (see pic below).  My lid maybe weighs 12-15 pounds and I have never had any issues with opening/closing it.

    I am enjoying your posts and watching you bring your Brinkman back to life.  
    pyrex likes this.
  18. pyrex

    pyrex Newbie

    That's awesome! Lol @ "for outdoor use only." I'm hoping this smoker will be more trustworthy for longer smokes than my cheap bullet smoker. I figure if I do everything within my power to insure it's sealed I'll have a better shot.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  19. pyrex

    pyrex Newbie

    Finally got the hot end bolt back up. I straighted both mating surfaces up and tacked it in place, then welded a bead all the way around. I also pulled the bolts out and welded that up as well. That should take care of the leaks of that end.

    It's been super humid and wet here in DFW, and I noticed the exterior was flashing with rust. I took it outside, wire wheeled the entire thing again, degreased and painted it, just to avoid rust while I'm still building it.

    I finished the charcoal box and checked fitment.

    This is as good as I could get the panel fitment. I will be using seals, so hopefully I didn't get things too tight. I do not want to use some sort of latch or hold down.

    I also cut some oak for my custom handle. I I have something special planned. Thats all I had in me today. Tomorrow my son will be born, so I expect I'll be busy.
    uncle eddie likes this.
  20. uncle eddie

    uncle eddie Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Points for the interesting post!  

    My old Brinkman will hold anywhere up to 350F for about 2 - 3 hours before I have to dink with the fire...thats why I use it for high heat/short smokes (wings, pork steaks, rib eye, etc.)  I am curious to see how yours does with the offset fire-box.  I really like my old Brinkman and would buy it again if it was available.



Share This Page