Temp a bit better not good enough...

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by rons, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    Got to try'er out today. I'm going to try drilling more holes and getting a bit more airflow, if that doesn't do it, it's onto electric I go....

    I could only maintain about 190, had 220 for 15 minutes once, and one time I got po-ed and added two handfulls of dry wood chips, then it hit 300 oops. But only lasted 5 minutes, then back to 190. So frustrating, 10 lbs of charcoal and 5 hours for some boneless skinless chicken breasts! I was doing better using my gas grill 'as a smoker'. [​IMG]
  2. m1tanker78

    m1tanker78 Meat Mopper

    What kind of smoker are you running Ron? Also, did you burn briquettes or lump? I'm just trying to envision 10 lbs of charcoal for chicken breasts; hard to picture.

    If it's a homemade smoker, don't give up on it just yet,

  3. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    It's a little Brinkman. I used briquettes. I read though that briquettes burn faster and hotter, so I guess lump would have been even lower temps?


    I know, very annoying. Before I was probably (judging by the new gague compared to one that came with it) getting about 150-160 F, now 190.
  4. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Lump burns hotter then briquetts.Are you starting briquetts in charcoal chimney-if you are you should fill chimney and dump coals into smoker when they are grey.If you are putting half lit or black briquetts in smoker then you are doing a minnion method which is for low and slow.Two full chimneys of briquetts is 10-12 pounds- as i have weighed before and this will cook a brisket for 10 hours-with vents 1/4 open- at 225 in my WSM.
  5. m1tanker78

    m1tanker78 Meat Mopper

    Actually, lump tends to burn a little hotter, a little longer, and produces much less ash than briquettes. The problem is that lump charcoal likes to be lit when it goes into the smoker (with a chimney or otherwise). Briquettes can be thrown on the coal heap and will get going.

    I personally don't have any experience with that Brinky but one of my friends has cooked on his a few times and has had no problems. Could it be that you're not burning enough charcoal? Is the outdoor temp cold and/or windy? If you're using the Minion Method then you may not be adding enough hot coals to the coal bed.
  6. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    Lump is hotter, darn ok. I got that wrong. I'll get some when I can find it for sure then.

    I do use a homemade chimney, got the coals grey, maybe I didn't use enough though, so you fit 5 lbs per chimney, wow. My coffee can doesn't hold that much, maybe that's another problem.

    The expense worries me though now, 5 bucks of coal + 3-4 of wood just to smoke 3 bucks of chicken yikes!
  7. alx

    alx Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Average weber charcoal chimney will hold 5-6 pounds of briquetts which is more then enough to cook a dozen thighs.A coffee can would only cook a few hot dogs.A bag of 22 pound kingsford blue briq would hold 4-5 chimneys-so 2 bucks or less for 4-5 smokes- cheaper if you buy twinpacks on sale for 12-14 bucks.I only use lump or briquetts with no fillers-no blue bag for me- because judges can taste the artificial binders and so can i.You can always cut back heat- it can be hard to regain it.Smoke on.I grill smoke chicken on my weber kettle.
  8. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Ron! I have the same rig. Use lump only in that thing! Wind and cold also kill your temps. The open bottom design on those things stinks. I have had to fashion wind barriers in the past. I have even seen posts on taking sheet metal and bolting it into a circle that the smoker can sit in.

    Also check out the post on ECB mods on this forum. http://www.randyq.addr.com/ecb/ecbmods.html The fire pan definitely needs holes in it for air flow. I am always having to fiddle with mine. I did buy an electric kit for it but ran into the same problems trying to maintain temp so may as well use charcoal and get the nice taste.

    I am actually gonna build me one of thode UDS units to try and eleviate the extreme temp fluxuatoins I get.

    Hope this helps & good luck!
  9. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You'll love a uds, mine is sitting here ranging from 237 to 241. Once ya get it dialed in you're good for hours. Plus the cold and wind doesn't seem to affect it much.
  10. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I dream of this day Rick!
  11. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Hey Ron,
    What, if any mods have you done to your ECB? The most important ones are holes in the bottom of your charcoal pan, if there aren't any, and elevating the coals off the floor of the coal pan so the ash doesn't smother the hot coals. My model Brinkman is only slightly different than yours. I have done the mods, and my complaint is holding the tempurature DOWN.

    I'm a newbi, but have gotten it dialed in. If you haven't done the mods, they're cheap, easy, and not time consuming to do. Some one gave you a link to the mods above.

    Good luck...........
  12. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    So one chimney full will cook a dozen thighs from start to finish?

    Hey, thanks for the data. I did those mods (got a thread on it in here), I think I do need more holes in the bottom though. Dang so the electric wouldn't maintain either then? rats!

    UDS? What's that?

    Here is a link to my mod thread, see any things I did wrong? I did it a bit different just so I could 'catch the hot falling sparks' and have stronger legs, but otherwise it's just like the thread. But I might need more holes in the bottom.

  13. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    I'm not expert. Your mods look good, but one thing jumps out at me. Brinkman designed the dome to fit loose, that's why the dome has no vent. Webers have a tight fitting dome, which is why they have a vent in them.

    My only guess at this point is that if you are running it with your dome vent open, that you're losing too much heat. You can run it with your dome vent closed, and not worry about cold smoke or creosote.

    If you've been running it with the vent closed, then I'm stumpped........
  14. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    Yes, I ran it with the top vent closed, I tried opening it twice and the temps dropped right before my eyes like the speedometer in your car when you take your foot off the gas
  15. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Hmmm.... I looked at your pics again. I see you have a charcoal pan set up to breath really nice. You set it into an outer pan. Did you cut any holes in the bottom of your outter pan? That set up is pretty much the way my Brinkman came, and it has one hole about 1 1/2 inch diameter smack dab center in the bottom of the outter pan. I think with no hole(s) in your outter pan, the coal won't get enough oxygen.

    By the way.... "UDS" means ugly drum smoker. A verticle smoker made from a 55 gal drum.......
  16. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    Ah, that makes sense. I'll put some holes in the outer pan. I'm going to put them up higher so 'hot things' can't fall on my deck, but it should pull air through just fine if I'm thinking of this right.

    So your came the way mine is setup? Wonder why there are different versions?

    oh ok lol, [​IMG] thanks!
  17. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    I would start with 1 hole centered about 1 1/2-2 inches diameter. I have not yet had a hot cinder fall through, but it could happen. I got a round thingy to set my cooker on from Brinkman. I think it's just a pizza pan. But it gives me peace of mind.

    My model is the "gourmet" I paid about 65 bucks for it at Lowes. I think they charge a little more because some of the mods were done at the factory. My coal pan came filled with slots for air to get in. The coal pan and cylinder were already seperate, so I didn't have to put any legs on the outside. Matter of fact, the legs are welded to the bottom of the outter pan. And the outter pan came with the hole. I did have to install a grate myself to keep the coals off the floor of the coal pan.
  18. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    That sounds cool. I was worried a hot thing would fall out, land on the bricks I have it on, then blow off onto the deck when I wasn't watching. I'm a chicken lol

    I almost bought that one, thought they were the same, dern it!
  19. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    I'm doing a Chuckie right now. I started with 30 lit coals. I arranged unlit coals so that they would continue to fire up as other ones burned down. That method is called "minion" do an advanced search here if you don't know what that is......

    Anyway, the smoker stayed between 210-235 for almost 2 hours. I just checked it, and the temp had shot up to 300, because some unlit coals took off. In that case, opening the front door brings the temp back down. In a little while, I expect it to settle back in around 250*

    After you cut that breather hole, you may want to light off 30 coals, and stack them in the pan so that they are at least double layered. Just watch and see what it does for awhile.
  20. rons

    rons Smoking Fanatic

    I did some reading this morning, I saw the minion method, I actually knew what you were talking about lol, I'm learn'in!

    Cool, wow shot UP? Might shoots down lol I think it wants to be cold a smoker, maybe my Brinkman needs a psychologist lol

    OK next weekend I'm all over these new ideas, thanks everyone! [​IMG]

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