Wood Smoker Modifications

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Jul 7, 2005
Midvale, UT
Folks, Here's your chance to post the modifications and (hopefully) pictures of what you did to your smoker to make it work better. This topic will remain as a sticky so all the new folks don't have to hunt to far to find it.
I converted my Walmart Brinkmann Vertical charcoal smoker over to LP. Yes propane. I found the conversion on this web site...I can not say enough about it. Very much easier to maintain the temperatures you want for smoking, etc. (You ought to see the Boston Butt I have on right now)....
Things are looking good and I am not having to baby sit the smoker like I used to...I took apart my old turkey fryer, that we never used anymore, and used the small propane burner out of it to put in my charcoal brinkmann. It is working like a champ. I only wish I had an extra grate. It has two, but sometimes a third one would be nice. Not sure why Brinkmann isn't offering this one in a gas version already...Ya still get that great smoked flavor with a lot less hassle...Just my $0.02 worth...

Okay Dutch, here goes.

I'm needing a little help. The "drawing" attached is a cross section of my smoker. I've only smoked with it twice, and my biggest prob, so far, has been keeping the temp up, though I think I've figured that part out.

Is the vent not in the wrong place? Shouldn't it be placed on the right. Since the smoke travels across the smoker, under the cooking surface that makes it a reverse flow smoker..... should i cut in a new vent!!????



Thanks for the quick answer. After much reading, it dawned on me that this setup CANNOT be right....though with mods, could make her a champ. You think I should cut and move the existing vent, or just keep the original closed and add another to the right? Would there be a reason for keeping the original one, would a double vent be good for anything other than an oddity?

Mike, this is just my .02 worth. I would put a hinged solid cap on the original stack to close it off.
Then I would put a second stack on the right end. This would give you a dump to get rid of excess heat if needed, other than opening the door. Also go to the Search area and type in Cyclops and take a look at the tuning plates on that smoker, think this would help your heat problem. Steve
There is a really good web site that has pictures of a homebuilt smoker with this system. I have not taken pictures of mine.
If they work the way they are supposed to, you should be able to regulate the heat better throughout the entire smoker. One thing I had a problem with is the top of the smoker was always so much hotter than the bottom. I think maybe I didn't get my firebox low enough, so the passage between the firebox and cook chamber is too high. Hopefully the reflector will cure this problem and not smother my fire.
I didn't have internet back when I started this project some 10 years ago. So the only reference I had was a Brinkman at the Wally World, and I only looked at it once. I have gotten a lot of great information from the web and here.
That website that shows the tuning plates is here: http://www.exit201.com/cyclops/cyclops.shtml

Mike here's the address. Steve
Thanks Shortone.

There's an existing cap in place. I neglected to show it to keep the drawing simple. I'll add another to the right.

In the future, If I were to leave the lid closed and open both vents wouldn't this increase airflow, thereby adding oxygen to the fire increasing the temp? I usually emergency tempdump with the lid....

Thanks for the Cyclops/tuning plates suggestion. I've read it and plan on adding plates in the near future.

Mike, dumping the heat by using the old stack was just a thought. If you close the air to the firebox it should let the heat out. Like I said just a thought, trial and error will tell I guess. Thought leaving it would be easier than trying to cut it out and patch the hole. Could put some angle iron between the stacks and put a name plate between the stacks. A thought. Steve

I agree, leaving it would probably simplify everything.

I see your point, closing the firebox before opening the vents would lower the temp. A nameplate'd be a good idea...just gotta smoke a few more times to see what kinda name evolves.

O-K I got one, I built a smoker...I even posted pics here once...but it didn't work right...the meat burned in the middle and the outside edges didn't cook right...so I put a piece of 1/4 inch stainless steel over where the pipes for the firebox came up and left a 2 inch gap at both ends so the smoke had to go over the meat to get to the improperly placed smoke stack...every thing works fine now...not only do I have no problem keeping the heat even but it's no problem keeping the heat up when I open it to check it out...buddy brown...new to this stuff...



After reading all the neat mods you CG owners have done, I decided to give it a go.

First, I flipped the pan upside down in the main chamber. Then I installed an extension on the smoke stack to extend down to the cooking grate. I am trying one of my own ideas, in an effort to help keep the heat and smoke in along the sides... I installed a piece of angle iron along each side of the barrel, just under and touching the lid edges (acts as a lip). I know it won't be air tight, but it has to be a helluva lot better than the original design. I am also plugging the extra holes with stainless nuts and bolts, and installing a thermometer at each end.

I'll fire it up this weekend to see how much improvement there is.

Sorry, I haven't got any mod porn yet, as my camera is defunked. I hope to remedy that soon...
here's a quick pic of a char-griller with a stack mod. It's just some 3 1/2" flexible dryer hose attached to the main stack with a clamp.

It's up and out of the way
That is exactly what I did to mine, except I used 3"... that's all Lowes had and it fits nice on the stack.

Did you fasten the loose end of the tubing to the lid?

Just because I'm me, I am thinking about using a CB radio microphone clip to secure the other end... it looks like it would work. Just mount it to the inside of the lid, down toward the grate and near the corner, then slip the edge of the tubing into it.
I found that the flex duct worked great as well. I turned the pan upside down and drilled holes in it to help disperse the heat and smoke more evenly. It has worked really well. Also, if you are looking to close up some of the leaks, see if your Lowes carries any furnace seal. It's a nylon rope looking thing that you can attach around the lip.

To see, look at my site here. http://ikinya.blogspot.com/2007/03/smoker-mods.html
I did some mods on a new bransfuls with side firebox pretty much the same smoker as the cc. I moved the stack to the end of the barrel and cut it in just under the grates. Also welded in a deflector plate then run a solid plate up in the barrel 12", did this 2 months ago. Wish I could tell you how good it works but it hasnt been fired up since the mods were made. Guess I'll have to go get it and fire it up myself to see. ( Lazy son-in-law ring a bell Lol )
hey, i'm new here and to smokin as well. there's no decent food here in Newhampshire especially BBQ. so i stumbled across the trashcan smoker idea and decided to make my own smoker then cook my own pig, i read everything i could find here and spent 2 weekends working on it. today i fired her up for the first time hoping that i could pull a good 230 or so using lump under 2 chip baskets under a small pot that i picked up from the still good shed at the dump. i lit the fire, dumped in the embers, assembled the unit, and waited. she got right up to and stayed at 300, too high but i was seasoning her. once i worked my vents she held at 220 for 2 hours, changing the coals once. i guess this might not exactly fit in with the modification topic but like i said, im new and a bit excited as well

Hey pad, welcome to the site. Before ya get yelled at, better jump down to the "roll call" forum and intro yourself, and let everyone know a bit about you, and what ya go for cookin/smokin!

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