Howdy from the Great Pacific Northwest!

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Original poster
Jun 18, 2007
Puget Sound Washington
Howdy, Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m Grant from Everett, WA. Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m glad I discovered this site. Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]ve been getting frustrated lately (with my smoker…) and itâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s nice to know there is a place to go to get questions answered.

I discovered smoking meats as a way of life after an almost religious experience having BBQ cooked by “Big Red†for my brotherâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s wedding rehearsal dinner down on St. George Island in Florida. That, coupled with him moving back to the home town after 7 years (my brother, not Big Red, though I would have been happy with either) and starting to serve it when we went over to his house converted my father and I, and we both promptly went out and got smokers like his (New Braunfels Black Diamond Smoker.) I BBQ and smoke 12 months of the year.

While my friends here in the Puget Sound area seem to think Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m a BBQ god, I really consider myself a relative beginner and really havenâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t stretched out that much. I have Brinkman Pitmaster Delux (6 years) and a Little Chief electric (around 16 years, mostly just for fish.) I mostly do the basics (Pork Shoulder Roasts – pulled pork, Beef Brisket, Whole Chickens and Chicken Thighs, Beef and Pork ribs (though I finish those on the grill) and some seafood. I have some cooking background having taken several classes over the last 25 years, but I pretty much just do what I consider fun (and want to eat!)

I tend to spend more time experimenting on things like rubs and sauces (and the stuff you eat when you run out of meat, like potato salad, cornbread and coleslaw) than the smoking aspect. Originally that was because my Pitmaster worked so well. Lately, itâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s because the Pitmaster has been frustrating me so much that itâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s the other stuff that makes it fun. I really love cooking for large groups and I find Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m most happy when Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m pulling 60 pounds of pork out of the smoker and stuffing more beer in the ice filled basin. I always seem to be able to set a place for one more person!

Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]ve been wanting to expand into doing things like turkey and lamb, but before I do that, I want to get schooled up on smoker management and figure out if I need to modify this smoker or replace it (which I hate to do.)

Well anyway thatâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s about it for me, but once I figure out where to post my issues with my pitmaster (plus photos) I guess youâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]ll get to hear that story….
welcome welcome welcome to smf my neighbor.....seriously neighbor..... I'm right here in everett....well, just on the "other side of the tressel" right by frontier village!!!!!!! glad to have a really close smoker here, we do have a couple other pacific northwest dudes on here as well....but you and I are really dang close to each other!!!!!!
as to your smoker, it's a pretty standard offset design type, so you might want to be more explicit on what the difficulties are right now......I'd suspect heat control myself, but then again.....I'm an electric type guy!!!!!! but I don't think that smoker you have has any tuning plates in it.......
Welcome ghopper to the SMF ... I'm sure someone will have some answers to your problems shortly.
Glad you joined us ... I think we have a great community of like minded souls here!
Welcome aboard ghopper! Looking forward to knowledge sharing with ya'!
Welcome to SMF. Lots of great people and food. You are going to like it here.
Sounds like you have a really great foundation in the smoked arts.

I'm a gasser, so I won't have to much to offer as far as your smoker is concerned. Seems like you just need to get your creative juices basted.

Anyone who says he always has enough for one more plate at the table is my kind of person...... welcome to SMF!!!
Hello and a hearty welcome ghopper! Here, you'll find pretty much all the info you need to make great tasting Q. Good luck on your future smokes, and again, WELCOME!
Thanks all for the warm (approx 210 degree) welcome! Makes me feel tender inside. Ok, enough of the puns.

I guess I need to know where the best place is to post on smoker difficulties. I'm guessing that the charcoal smoker forum might be best, but I'll give a quick rundown here.

The guess was sorta on the mark. Heat control as in keeping the darn thing lit and smoke flowing the right way. A while back I allowed the firebox to get too hot and the door (on top of the firebox) warped. It now has about a 3/8 inch gap around the bottom and the butterfly vent control will not stay in position. This seems to have led to a creasote buildup problem that was not present for the first 4-5 years of this smoker's life.

Another way it acts up is about 1/4 of the time the thing goes 'reverse' and the air drafts in from the door(s) and blows out the side vent even though the stack is wide open. I suspect that this issue relates to weather and wind direction at least partially, but id does do it in calm weather too.

The rest of the 'issues' just relate to modifications that I think need to be made, such as putting in a door on the side to feed the fire more easily and clean out ash. I did already get a couple of great ideas from reading the forums, including a better baffel design and so I'm hot to give those ideas a smoke test! (Ok, one more pun...)

It's nice to know that there are others close by. I felt like I was left out, not living in MO. Now when I think I have something great to share (or need tasters) I'm in good shape!
Welcome ghopper -

Master Coley has provided a great explanation with illustration on tuning plates. It in a post called "Building an Italian smoker" so somthing close to that.

Good luck!
Hi Grant! Welcome Aboard the SMF!...
Glad to have you in our Family!...

Let me see if I can help you a little bit.

The main reason you're getting too much heat, and in addition, having that 'reverse' problem, has nothing to do with the wind/weather conditions...but...has EVERYTHING to do with the warped door on the least if I'm understanding the problem you stated correctly.

What is happening is that the gap around the door is allowing combustion air to enter regardless of the air shutter on the firebox. In turn, the gap is also acting sort of like a chimney and allowing heat and smoke from the 'now TOO hot' fire to escape through the gap...thus creating the 'reverse' problem you spoke of.

The firebox MUST be sealed except for the air shutter for the smoker to be able to 'draw' properly. The heat will tend to follow the upward path of least resistance...and in this case, that path would be through the gap around the door.

This means either replacing the door...or...bending, hammering, or otherwise re-forming the door to fit the firebox as it once did.

This CAN be done. It'll take a little elbow grease though...

There's also a fireproof rope-like door seal available for use around the doors of wood heaters, such as the old 'Buck Stoves', although it may not fit this particular application.

All that said...check to be sure that the 'stack' is not obstructed with anything. That could also cause the problem.

In regards to the air shutter problem...and I'm assuming that it's one that rotates rather than slides...I'd suggest using a bolt through the center which is long enough to allow for the addition of 2 flat washers, a compression spring, and 2 nuts, one of which is used to jam the other in place.

Another alternative would be the use of a clevis pin of an appropriate size, along with 2 flat washers, the compression spring, and a cotter pin to hold it all together.

The bolt (or clevis pin) should be installed from inside the firebox so the shank will stick through to the outside. Then place the shutter, a flat washer, the spring, the other flat washer, then the two nuts (or cotter pin) on the bolt etc. in that order.

When done properly, the spring will be compressed and will in turn offer some resistance to the shutter being rotated thereby causing it to maintain your setting.

I believe this may help remedy the problems you spoke of.

The 'Tuning Plates' DeejayDebi mentioned are applicable to your smoker, and if you'd like to take a look at the post she mentioned above...Click Here to go to the thread it's in.

The post is a work in progress, and is not yet complete...I work on it as time permits, so bear that in mind.

I hope that these ideas will be of help to you in trying to resolve the troubles you're having with your Pitmaster.

If I can be of further assistance, please don't hesitate to call on me. Glad to be of help wherever I can.

Again Grant...Welcome Aboard the SMF!...Glad to have you with us!...

Until later...
Nicely done! That is a very good explanation of how to remedy his problems...
Coley and DeejayDebi (and everyone else),

Thanks for outlining things and supplying links. Some of the fixes were similar to what I was considering, (the firebox issue is obvious if you just watch the flow of the smoke- but still, I wasn't sure if I could fix it or just buy an new one.) sometimes it's nice to have a second opinion before you get the hammers and grinders or the checkbook out...

Other ideas were new and good ones and I figure I've got a bit of work ahead of me, and I gotta test each modification after its done!!! I guess I'll have to get Smoked to travel across the tressel to check out my handwork.

I took a couple of shots of some pulled pork I'm doing for a Saturday dinner for Amateur Radio Field Day (think 'picnic and camping for engineer type geeks.') I missed getting shots of the roasts coming out of the smoker, but I'm going to try a finishing sauce I saw elsewhere on the forums for half of the 35 pounds and see what a taste test reveals! I'll post results after the weekend perhaps.

Dang, I better stop. This is making me hungry.
Thanks for the flowers guys!! Just trying to help wherever I can...ya know?...

By the by...Hawg!...My apologies to you sir!......Seems I missed doing this a few weeks back...So-o-o-o...

Hi HawgHeaven!...Welcome to the SMF!...
It's a Great place to be!...etc., etc.!...You know the drill...

Sorry I missed ya!...I'm ashamed of myself......

Engineer type geeks?!?...Now WAIT a minute...I resemble that remark!...

Seriously...I'm one of those engineering type of geeks here...PLUS...I've been continuously licensed as as Amateur Radio Operator for the last 25 years...and I gotta tell ya...when you're there for field day you're gonna be around another Great bunch of folks...Almost as Great as the bunch around here!!!

Say......This could be the start of a new thread!!...Wonder how many Ham Smokers (as opposed to Smoked Hammers) are on the board here!...Interesting!.....Oh well...That's another story......

Anyway...Glad to be of service to you Grant!...I always like to help out wherever I can. Good luck with the repairs too!

Incidentally...If you're considering going with the Tuning Plates...I would suggest using steel plates.

For best performance they should be 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch thick. This may sound like overkill, but you won't regret it.

The thermal mass of plates this thick will help to even out the temperature fluctuations you may have encountered in the past.

Once those puppies get hot...they'll stay hot for a long time.

Helps to recover from those times when you have to open the smoker for a when spritzing or mopping, etc.

Helps on a cold day too!

If the need should's the link to Brinkmann, they have spare parts available.

I'm sure you'll be able to repair it without having to resorting to spares though. Just get out the BIGGER hammer!!

If you need further all means, don't hesitate...Just ask!...
I mean...Hey...That's what we're all about here at SMF!

Until later... is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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