Brinkmanship horizontal smoker- first smoke issues

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by udel2002, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. I tried my new brinkmann out a week or so ago with a decent Boston butt. The results were less than desirable. I had it in there for about 11 hours and could never get the temp above 200. I was using lump charcoal for fuel. I'm thinking I wasn't putting enough in there but I went through 2.5 bags of the stuff. I was using Cowboy brand lump charcoal. I know it's not the best but all I could find in my area.

    I've been reading up and it seems like I need to make some mods like adding some stove rope to seal in the heat better, but I still have a concern about the fuel.

    It left the meat super smokey. Like licking an ashtray smoky. Would I be better off using charcoal briquettes for the the majority of the time to maintain a more steady temp then add hickory chips for the last few hours to give it a bit of a smokey flavor?

    Any recommendations would be helpful.
  2. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Low temps and too smoky food, sounds like an airflow issue getting to the fire or a closed off stack on your exhaust side.  On smaller horizontals, you should probably run with your exhaust stack fully open and then use your air intakes on the firebox to adjust the temps.  More air for hotter temps, less air for lower temps.  With the over smoked meat, I would guess that you were getting a white smoke, which means poor combustion, due to lack of air (O2) getting to the fire.  You really are looking for a thin, blue smoke.  So thin that you feel you might not be smoking the meat at all, but you will be.  Smoke at the start of the cook, once the meat reaches a certain IT, it will not absorb any more smoke.  Lump is fine, I am not familiar with the brand you were using, but work on the airflow and you should be ok.  Might even make a test run with no meat and 1 bag of your lump, exhaust open and intakes wide open and see what temps you can get with that set up.  Once you learn your smoker, you'll be smoking up some goodies in no time.
  3. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    On long smokes lump charcoal is better . Not much ash build up.
    Did you have light blue smoke or thick white smoke coming out?
    ( you want blue smoke, white smoke will taste bad on the meat)
    As far as temp not going over 200 , will need more info.
    Do you have side fire box ? Sound like not enough air flow under the charcoal.
    As for the butt. How big was it ? What temp was the butt when you took it off?
    Take it to 200+ and it will pull easy. I will add smoke until the IT reaches 165+
    hope this helps
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2012
  4. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    How did you check the temp of the smoker?
    The stock temp gauge will be off by 50+ degrees or more
  5. Definitely a lot of white smoke. Good to know on the blue smoke.

    I also need to check to make sure I'm getting the airflow underneath. The ash got pretty built up which old have been part of the issues.

    For the internal temp I had an oven temp gauge in the smoker and it never went above 200. I also had a tray of water that never boiled so I know if never got above 212.

    As for the meats internal temp it never exceeded 140 degrees. I ended up pulling it off and sticking in a crock pot to finish off. Pulled like a charm but the flavor has too much smoke in it, which was probably due to the excess white smoke.

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