New smoker questions

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texas man

Original poster
Sep 19, 2005
Well Im really glad that I found this web forum. Im sure that I can get some expert advice for the problems that im having. Bought a new Brinkmann smoke king. First time to use it so I was going to season it first. Got a good mound of coals going in the fire box. I was using hardwood charcole. Could not get the gauge in the cooking chamber to go past 160 deg. After using 10lbs of hardwood charcole, I gave up. Of course the fire box and the cooking chamber are connected by a large opening, but that didnt really seem to help. Should I have shoveled some of the coals into the bottom of the cooking chamber? The instructions didnt say anything about doing this. The bottom really doesnt look like it's made for that. But I could be wrong. I know, I sound like a world class moron. But Ive never owned a smoker like this before.

Thanks for any and all help.

Dan in Tex.
Howdy Dan.

There's a good chance that you need to elevate the charcoal off the bottom of the firebox and place it on a grate. This will allow for good air flow and keep the fire from smothering in ashes.

The other thing it could be is the top exhaust vent. Some folks new to smoking will think if they close the top vent they will "hold in more heat". Low temperatures are caused by too little fuel or too little oxygen in the firebox (mostly the latter). Since you had plenty of fuel, the low oxygen level was most likely the problem. Closing the top vent shuts off the air flow and chokes the fire. So be sure that the top vent is all the way open and control the fire with the firebox damper instead. Having the top vent open promotes good air flow which in-turn prevents stale smoke that can make your food bitter.

Hope this helps.
Hi Dan,
Several thoughts..... first, I assume that you are leaving the intake damper (in the fire box) at least partially open. I usually leave mine from about 1/4 to 1/2 open and then the chimney or exhaust damper fully open (prevents stale smoke). That, along with the fire being elevated onto a grid as mentioned above should fix any problem with heat. (Don't forget the modifications mentioned by Florida Jeff.) Also, don't forget to check the accuracy of your thermometer. A simple test of putting the probe into boiling water (212*) will give you a pretty good feel for the accruacy of your thermometer. Oh, and speaking of thermometers, somewhere down the road, you will probably want to consider a digital perhaps even remote type. Look at thermometers in this forum for some good tips.

Dan-Welcome to the forum! You will find a vast amount of Q knowledge here so ask away. Remember too, that the only dumb question is the one you don't ask. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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