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Original poster
Feb 5, 2006
Hi everyone! I recently received a Brinkman vertical smoker from a friend. I want to try smoking jerky and maybe a turkey but dont have a clue where to begin. How often do you need to add charcoal and wood chips to the smoker, and approximately what temperature do you try to maintain? I want to start with the jerky till I get comfortable with maintaining temperatures.
Any help anyone can give will be greatly appreciated!
Steve Pettyjohn
Howdy Steve,

It's great to have you on board here! I can't speak from experience on the jerky, but on turkey about 225 I think would be alright. As far as how often on the charcoal abd wood, just whatever it takes to maintain the temp. There are probably many here who use that type of cooker that can give you some more specific info.

Anyway welcome and I think you will find these guys are very knowledgable and helpful. Check out the smoking meat website also
Steve, I'm new here as well, but Welcome! A little more information on your smoker would be helpful in offering advice. Brinkmann sells 4 types of vertical smokers and which particular one you have will have a lot of bearing on how best to handle fire management.

Have a look at the Brinkmann site, and see if your smoker is listed, let us know what model you have and I'm sure you'll get plenty of help.
Well Skip, first of all, let me welcome you to our little slice of Heaven!

Let's start by making some modifications to that bullet smoker of yours. Remove the charcoal pan and drill about 3 to 5, 7/8" holes in the bottom of it (space them out) and 4 or so in the sides with a Unibit or Hole Saw. Next find or fabricate a grid/rack that will elevate the charcoal a few inches off the bottom. Your type of smoker is referred to as an ECB, and they inherently (by poor design) will snuff themselves out by lack of oxygen to the heat source.

Next, DO NOT go by what that thermo in the lid says! Go to Home Depot and get a 3" Dial Thermometer. Simply drill out another 7/8" hole in the lid and mount it (real simple!). They're not the absolute best, but for $20, they're worth it.

When you are cooking, keep your temperature between 210* and 250*, I usually smoke at 220 - 225*. What you cook will determine your internal meat temps. With ECB's try not to open the lid very often, that can add up to 30 minutes to your cook time!

You add your charcoal when you see the cooker temp start to fall. How much and how often is more or less a learning curve you will have to fiigure out as you get to know your Smoker. Use wood "Chunks", not "Chips" to your unit, as chips will burn up too fast. Remember, all you want coming out of your smoker is Thin Blue Smoke. If the smoke is bellowing out, you're using too much wood!!! This is by far the #1 mistake made by Newbies to the Art of Smoking!

Personally, I would hold off on doing jerky until you're comfortable with your success at smoking and knowledge of your unit. Try doing a Boston Butt (Pork Blade Roast) in the 6 to 10 Lb. range. They are very forgiving to Newbies as they are marbled with fat (so they don't turn into shoe leather) and don't absorb smoke the way beef or poultry does.

If you require any more help, just go to a Topic and post a question. Hopefully, this will get you started!

[align=center]Thanks for your advice everyone! I looked up my smoker on the Brinkman website. It is the black Brinkman Smoke and Grill.
I will make the mods to it you have suggested and give something a try this week.
I'll let you all know how it turns out.
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