Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal Smoker Mods

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by bluto, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. Well, I can't seem to keep my AMNPS lit in my propane smoker, I think there's not enough air intake in the unit due to my altitude (almost 7k ft).  So off to modify my old Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal Smoker to see if I can make it work.

    It may just become a dedicated cold smoker, if my wife doesn't make me get rid of it, after all, it was free, so what the hell.

    Taking my queues from the infamous FrankenBrinkmann, I started with making an exhaust damper for the lid:


    Followed by making 3 intake dampers for the bottom:


    Marked and drilled the bottom:


    Then cut out the dampers, and mounted using double nutted screws:


    I sealed the center hole, I just didn't take a picture of it.

    Next, I wanted to get my AMNPS up off the floor of the charcoal pan, so I mounted 4 stainless steel bolts, then bent some steel rails I had laying around the garage to make the "platform" for the AMNPS:


    This puts the AMNPS about 2 inches above the floor of the pan, hopefully with all the new air intakes the AMNPS will stay lit.


    Just got the AMNPS going and set inside for a test run, we'll see how it goes.


    Updates to follow..
  2. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great workmanship!  Looking forward to your test, and interested to see what effect the increased draft has on your temps if you decide to hot smoke with it also, or add some heat to your cold smoking!
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  3. Thanks Pops!

    Well, using my pellet mix of 1/2 Apple, 1/4 Maple & 1/4 Pecan for cheese, the AMNPS did not stay lit, even with the barrel off.  It seems my altitude (over 6700ft) is definitely hurting the AMNPS, just not enough O2.

    I've contacted Todd, he is sending me some dust to try, he stated that others at altitude have had better luck with dust over pellets, which will be fine for cold smoking, but I'm afraid that will eliminate any hot smoking with the AMNPS.

    He also suggested straight pecan, which I tried that too, and it stayed lit for about an hour, which is longer than any other burn I've had to date.

    Back to the drawing board...
  4. Okay, so Todd came through as suspected, fantastic customer service!  He sent some Apple and Cherry dust to try, so far the apple has been producing TBS for about 3 hours now without a hitch. I suspect the cherry will do the same.

    I am now looking for a 14" diameter grate to bring the charcoal off the floor so I can see what this thing will do with hot smoking.  I may just drop by a metal shop and see if they'll cut me one out of expanded steel.

    Updates to follow.
  5. The dust was the key.  Cold smoking, none of the pellets would stay lit beyond 45-50 minutes, however Todd's apple and cherry dust stayed lit right as rain.  Did a great cheese smoke for 4 hours without a hitch.
  6. Now, on to trying me new mods with hot smoking.

    My charcoal pan is just over 14" accross and Weber makes a 13.5" diameter charcoal grate for their little 18" grills.  After finding them online but yet to order, I happend upon one at a local True-Value store, wanting two, I asked a fella working there if he had any more anywhere, he went in the back and came out with one that is exactly 14" in diamer, this way I can keep a good grate of coals without a bunch falling through to the pan.

    So, the first thing I did was mount four double nutted stainless steel bolts for the grates to sit on, roughly an inch above the floor of the pan.


    Then sat the smaller Weber grate in, then the 14" grate.  This should allow me to keep a decent coal bed without the smaller ones falling through and clogging the intake vents.


    I lit a full chimney of Kingsford brand charcoal for the test run because that's what I had on hand, then dumped them in.


    I had the intake vents 1/2 open and exhaust vent full open to start.  After 40 minutes it was steady at 320F.  I closed the intake vents down to 1/4 open and exhaust down to 1/2 open.

    After 30 minutes its at 268F and slowly dropping, so we'll see how it goes...
  7. At that point, I was able to maintain a consistent 230F without touching it for almost 3 hours until what little charcoal I used burned out.  So all in all, as much of a pita as this smoker was before the modifications, I would say they mods are a great success and well worth it if you have one of these.

    Next test will be with a full load of lump RO which I picked up the other day.  I'm going for a steady temp without touching for 6-8 hours, we'll see.
  8. scuffer

    scuffer Newbie

    New to this whole thing trying to use my Gourmet(?) Brinkmann. Made some mod's, but apparently not enough. Thanks for the pic's! Gonna get started to try some of yours. Updates to follow as well.

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