First build questions...

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Original poster
Dec 21, 2013
Hey all,

Just finished my first build and had a few questions the search engine couldn't answer....

The design was for a gas/propane burner but I have an electric Brinkman vertical I don't like much.  I took the base & element from the brinkman and have it in the bottom of this build.  

1.  Doesn't seem to heat up very much (100 deg.), but i've doubled the smoke area so... anyway, how hot does it need to be to smoke salmon? or turkey, etc?

2.  should i season this with any particular wood?  I have some pine/fir firewood laying around so i was thinking that would work.

3.  Since i'm using an electric element, should the vents be mostly closed?

4.  Since i'm using the bottom of my brinkman as a smoke source, do i need to use hardibacker/cement board around the bottom?

That's it for now.  Any help or info is much appreciated.  
WHOOOOAAAAAAAAAAA... STOP.... back away from the pine/fir very slowly.... you don't wanna use any sap wood... just hard wood or fruit wood.... as for electric.... you'll be hard pressed to get high enough temps for turkey.... you'll probably wanna go with propane for that....
I did a test run with just smoke, and another with some fish and answered some of my questions.

#1:  Fish turned out nice, so 100 degrees will work.

#2:  No saps/soft woods, thanks JD!

#3:  Vents closed works fine.

#4:  Smoker didn't char or burn so no cement board required.

I built cleats throughout so I can raise the smoking unit higher and therefore reduce the smoke area.  Tried this, but it didn't help with the heat at all, still holding around 100 degrees.  I may have to try it out with a propane burner.

either way... Smoke On!
What are the dimensions of the interior smoking chamber? Also what is the size of the heating element? I am planning to do an electric build this spring and am curious if I.will come across some of the same issues...I already bought the 1500w brinkmann element and hoping that will be enough to reach 225-250
Box is approx. 60" high, 26.5" wide, 19"deep.
I've got the same Brinkman element, obviously had the same idea
I put cleats so I could raise the smoke element and therefore make the smoke box area smaller, but that didn't greatly change the temp much.
Like I said, it holds around 100.

Hope this helps.
Is yours insulated at all? I was planning to do a double wall with some 1" foam board between to try to hold some hear in, would that make a difference?
From experience I can tell you the 1500 watt Brinkman is not big enough (I went through the same thing)... I am now in the process of switching to a bigger element (3,000 watt, 220V)... not even sure this will be big enough... but the elements (broiler and backing) were free out of an old oven.... So when I get time I will experiment with both elements.... thinking maybe I might have to go to a 5,000 watt... my smokehouse is 3' x 3' x 6'.... I'm using propane for now until I get it figured out....
No insulation on mine. Just used 3\4 plywood. I figured that would be enough up here in the Pacific northwest we don't get too much extreme weather. Is a solid build soi really don't think its a heat loss issue. Consider that Brinkman intended the 1500w element for a direct heat in a small sized barrel so maybe its expecting to much from that particular heat element to heat anything larger. I'd be interested to see if anyone has got this same combination up to 200. I don't know if the foamed dbl wall will help but it certainly couldn't hurt.

The nice thing is I can still use this design for propane or even charcoal if needed so its all good. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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