Brinkman Smoke-n-pit horizontal mods.

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by soarnut, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Allrighty then

      Used this thing for the first time yesterday with good success.  I did note, however, what I felt were necessary mods for it to work much better.  I'm sure this has been hashed and rehashed but I did a search and didn't really come up with it.

     First off, I think the fire grate needs raised to allow more room for ash before becoming full.

    Secondly, there is an awful hot spot in the cooking area at the opening between it and the fire box.  Maybe some sort of baffle??  These two are first on the list.

      Next, the seal on the cooking area lid is non existant.  Big gaps all the way around that leak heat, smoke and most any thing else in there:)  I'm assuming this should seal much better than this to hold heat, smoke.??

      Silly little stuff.  Better hinge and air regulator on fire box door?

      This is my first real smoker and despite the problems I still think it is a bargain for the bucks and can be made quite functional with a bit of work.  Used it for the first time yesterday with good success doing a London broil just to practice a bit at regulating heat, etc.  It came out excellent.  When it hit 140 deg it got immidiately wolfed down by some friends:)  HOWEVER, on the 4th it will be full of ribs and I'd rather have it working as well as it can.  Have only one good leg and can no longer out run 20 angry diners:)))

    Thanks for any advice and help

  2. Denny

    Sounds like you have a plan. Seal up all the air leaks you can find. Their have been many post on making it work better.

    Happy smoken.

  3. cpfitness

    cpfitness Fire Starter

    Do you ever plan to use the cooking area as a grill?  if not, take the charcoal grate out on that side and take the ash tray that is there and flip it upside down to use as a baffle.  some have even cut it shorter.  

    Another popular mod with this model is to extend the chimney down to grate level.  some have done it with muffler pipe, others with dryer vent pipe.  some kind of thin sheet metal that you can shape around should do the job.  Others have also reported using stove rope to try to seal but it seems that it's difficult to get it to stay in place.  other have also said it's messy but silicone hi temp caulk around that firebox ash door to help seal it better is a big help.  
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  4. David and CP

      Thanks for the replies.  So far I have raised the fire grate about an inch and a half and made a baffle for the heat opening out of some sheet metal.  I can see ways to seal the cooking chamber and fire box door but won't have time to get them done for the 4th.

      Being a fabricator at heart this thing likely won't remain basically stock for long:)  I was actually going to build my first one but stumbled across this thing before I acquired the stuff to do it.  Figured it would be a cheap way to figure out what I liked and didn't like.

      On the fire box door, the biggest problem is the flimsy hinge.  Easily fixed with a better one and then stove seal would work fine.  On the cooking chamber the biggest problem is the lid is bigger than the bottom and there is nothing for it to seal against.  An angle iron lip on the bottom and again stove seal will work I think.  Haven't got enough experience yet to determine what needs done to the chimney.

      Even with the problems, it didn't take the troops very long to devour the first hunk of meat that came out of it:)

  5. CP

      I kinda like the baffle from the ash tray idea.  I did put a baffle in there but though it is about as wide as the ash tray it is only 10" or so long.  Near full length would probably be better.  I suspect all I did was move the hot spot out about a foot:)

      Find out tomorrow when it is full of ribs

  6. cpfitness

    cpfitness Fire Starter

    that should still help.  a decent amount
  7. Thanks Guys

      Nice to have a forum with this much real help:)  Today is D-day and the smoker will be full of ribs by 11:00.  I'm now looking at this as an experiment for when I build a new one the way I want it.

    Will either be a hero or a O by this evening:)  Gonna go with 3-2-1 just to be a little safer!  Film at 11:00

    remmy700p likes this.
  8. Allrighty then

      The 4th was a good news/bad news, up and down day.  Had trouble getting things up to temp untill about 3 hours in I discovered that the thermometer in the Brinkman was just crap.  It's reading 190 and I'm firing the thing like it was a locomotive.  Finally snuck a probe into the heat chamber to find out that it went off the chart hot.  Still a big hot spot on the fire end.  Result was that the ribs got done way to quickly.  Just shortened the times on the rest of 3-2-1 significantly and they were very good and flavorfull but the bark was a bit harder than it should have been.  All in all everyone ate till they couldn't hold any more and no body complained.  Time for a better baffle and new thermometer, maybe one on both ends of the cooking chamber to get a real idea of whats happening.  Kind funny as everyone says cook till the meat pulls away from the bone.  When I was taking them off the cooker,  bones just started flying every where on their own:)  Guess it was pulling away:)  Some more mods and some more experience and I think all will be well.

    Thanks for your help

  9. CP

      Do you know what the purpose of extending the chimney down to grate level was?  Don't truely understand that one.  I don't think there was a problem with the level of smoke flavor if that was the reason.

     I will try the grates above the fire box for the fire grates.  They are heavier.  The originals, even though I raised them just got hot enough to sag down to the original level.
  10. I have the same smoker. I have the chimney extension, i used an adjustable dryer pipe from HD. I raised the fire grate with 2 pieces of rebar. Also I just added a ash pan so I can empty it on long cooks.
  11. cpfitness

    cpfitness Fire Starter

    sorry, somehow I'm just seeing this now but i guess there is plenty more summer left so I hope this helps.  My understanding is that since heat rises, if you don't extend the chimney down, the heat goes right up to that chimney and out, but if you lower it down it helps to actually keep heat contained.  Don't quote me 100% on that explanation though.  

    In my experience, I was told to light the coals using the Minion method which has worked really well for me.  I was also told to play around with the vent on the firebox as well as the one on the chimney and once I find a setting that seems to work well, start from that point the next time I use it.  Well what I have found is that I need to have that chimney vent 7/8 of the way closed.  My theory on this is that since the rest of the smoker is so damn leaky, you really don't need much of a chimney, just close it off and help keep the heat in on that side of the smoker
  12. Clamping down on the exhaust side of the flow will stifle your draft, and you'll have a tendency to "soak" the meat in too much combustion byproduct. The result is creosote buildup -- and bitter bark. Yuck. Keep the exhaust damper all the way open! You want the smoke to "kiss" the meat as it flies on by.

    You have to fix any extraneous air leakage that is influencing your temperature control efforts. If you can close your firebox intake vents all the way and your fire still burns on, then you're getting airflow in there you don't want. Find it and seal it off. You should be able to dial your heat production up and down with the intake vent alone.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2013
  13. cpfitness

    cpfitness Fire Starter

    I understand what your saying, not sure if I totally agree though.  when I see leakage, I'm seeing lots of smoke come out of the leaks, not just heat, so it reasons that if I sealed up all those leaks, heat stays in but so does smoke so then I need a wide open chimney to get the smoke out.  but when I have tons of leaks they are effectively doing the job of the chimney.  PS.  I did seal off my firebox with high temp silicone and it made a big difference,  I see no smoke coming out of the firebox door and using the damper on that door realy does make a difference in the heat production.  closing off the chimney makes a huge difference in my heat balance between both sides of the smoker.
  14. I get that you're trying to secure an even heat distribution, but you're going about it the wrong way. That can be effectively managed mechanically with a firebox intake damper, diffusers (aka "tuning plates"), etc.

    Leaks are not a substitute for what a proper exhaust chimney accomplishes, namely a steady, directed draft to move heat (and smoke) across your cooking chamber. The last thing you want is to have your proteins just sitting in static combustion byproducts.

    I'd go so far as to argue that you probably only see your leaks because you have your cooking chamber so shut up that it has nowhere else to go. Have you eaten anything that you smoked in the conditions you're describing?
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2013
  15. cpfitness

    cpfitness Fire Starter

    yes and it has tasted great!   

    Bear with me here.  I'm not saying your wrong, I'm simply offering my theory and hoping you can offer some more actual concrete scientific proof to your points.  I understand what your saying, I don't want my meat bathing in hydrocarbons but whether that stuff is passing by or just sitting there, there is still a steady amount of it inside the chamber so I fail to understand how that makes a difference.  

    IT does make sense to me as well that if everything is sealed perfectly, the air needs to go somewhere so if there are no leaks, it has to move across the chamber and head out the chimney thuse the hot air from close to the fire box will get pulled across and help balance out the heat.    at the end of the day, I'm sure my method isn't the best but for this particular smoker, it seems to work
  16. Hey Guys

      Haven't done any thing major since the 4th smoke.  Took a break for some eye surgery and such.  Good info in these posts from both of you helping me understand just how things are supposed to work.  As it turned out, the 4th smoke didn't give me much real info on how my mods did effect things.  I was having lots of trouble keeping things hot enough and in the end the thermometer in the cook chamber was no good and I was cooking way hotter than I thought.  Took a full hour off of 3-2-1 ribs:-(  Replacing it and will try again with better info.  I have some ideas on how to seal the cook chamber much better, just gotta get time to do it.
  17. That's just it... it isn't the same. Remember, flavor comes from the gas that cooks your food, not the smoke particles, and the composition of the gases depends on the amount of O2 present during combustion as well as combustion chamber temperatures. Also, it isn't as much the volume of combustion particles (visible as smoke) in there as it is the duration of time they spend on, across, and around your proteins. Too much and you'll start to build up creosote -- not only on your food, but on the inside of your cooking chamber as well. Not good.

    One way to test for creosote is to hold a glass of ice water in the stream of smoke coming out of your smoker. If you notice black specks on the glass after a minute or so then you don't have enough ventilation. Open the vents more to let more air travel through the smoker. Once you have noticed the creosote, it is time to stop adding any sort of wood fuel to the fire to reduce the smoke production, at least for a little while. At this point you might want to wrap the meat in foil and allow it to continue cooking without being exposed to more smoke.

    Check out this great article by Meathead that discusses wood, smoke, and combustion as it relates to BBQing/smoking meat:

    There are a lot of great books out there that discuss, in detail, the physics of smoking. I'd recommend:

    Backyard BBQ: The Art of Smokology

    Also, check out this page:

    Best of luck!
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013

Share This Page