Can't keep the heat..

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by master_dman, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. master_dman

    master_dman Meat Mopper

    My new Brinkman 40 smoke n pit was cured yesterday.. but I really struggeled keeping it hot enough. The directions for curing it said 8-10 lbs of charcoal should do the trick to keep it in "ideal" range for 2 hours, then "hot" for 1 hour.

    I used 10 lbs of charcoal.. and ended up throwing in about 5 pieces of dry apple wood in at various times. That just seems like an awful lot of fuel... or is that normal?

    How many lbs of charcoal does everybody go thru for a good 10 hr burn?
    At my rate.. I would need like 50 lbs of charcoal

    I"m guessing I need some mods to help keep the heat. What is the best and first one?
  2. crewdawg52

    crewdawg52 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I take a stab...not familiar with your smoker though.

    Simple things first....was your exhaust vent fully open? What about your air intakes? Open or closed? Should be open at first, then adjusted as needed to maintain the temp you are looking for.

    Do the doors fit snug, or is there a gap?

    Is the charcoal getting enough air or is it being smothered (no place for the ash to go so it piles up around the lit coals). If so, get a small cooking grate at Homey D's or someother place and use it to "lift" the lit coals off the bottom of your firebox.

    As for my usage, I get around 1 hr of burn for 1 -1.5 lbs of charcoal used (Rancher briquettes) in my BDS. With my Weber Kettle, 26-28 briquettes (13 each side) will get me 230*-250* for about 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hr before I have to restoke.

    Hope this helps somewhat.

  3. peculiarmike

    peculiarmike Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What the Dawg said!
    Make sure your exhaust is full open. Your intake air vents control your heat by controling how much fresh air enters your firebox. More oxygen = more heat, less = less. You have to play with it to find out what it likes.
    Some smokers are fuel hogs.
    Keep us up on how it does.
  4. master_dman

    master_dman Meat Mopper

    I was able to control the heat very well. I just had to use what seems to me.. a lot of fuel to keep it hot enough.

    Obviously the first thing I am going to do is get a different temp guage.. so I can tell the actual heat instead of the Mickey Mouse "warm" "ideal" and "hot" gauge that came stock.
  5. packplantpath

    packplantpath Smoking Fanatic

    Yea, kill that gauge. You may have been closer to 300 degrees when it said "ideal". Who the heck knows. This is essentially the newer model of the one I use all the time and I use about 1 bag of royal oak for about 12 hours. So that's what 10 lbs?

    The newer ones are thinner steel, so I suspect it will use more charcoal though. Also, they are not sealed well at all, so you may want to do that.
  6. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am pretty sure I have the exact same smoker as you. When I cured it, I used an 18 pound bag plus at least two thirds of an 8 pound bag of Kingsford.

    I think my problem was that I wasn't letting the charcoal go in the starter long enough before I dumped it in the firebox. After awhile, the unlit charcoal got going and I was finally able to get to the Ideal range and hold it. To go into the Hot range, I put a charcoal chimney full on the charcoal grate in the cooking chamber and let 'em go.

    You are correct, there are some recemmended mods. In summary they seem to be: baffle plate, smokestack extension, tuning plates, charcoal basket or raising the grate to keep the ashes from smothering the fire. The other thing is adding some real thermometers that read numbers so that you actually know what the temperature is. The beginning of the Charcoal Smokers forum has a couple of stickies that talk about mods and HawgHeaven made and excellent pdf file that details the mods that he made.

    I have made a couple of the mods so far and am working on the others. (Details and pictures to follow when they are complete.) For my first smoke, the only thing I did was place a large aluminum roasting pan full of water on the cook chamber charcoal grate against the firebox end. I also let the chimney starter go longer before adding the charcoal to the firebox. I seemed to be able to generate and hold temperature much easier that when I was curing it. After a few hours, I had to rake the ashes out to keep the fire going, but all in all it was a much better experience than the curing process was.

    Hope this helps.

  7. simondsjt

    simondsjt Fire Starter

    I have the same smoker and its not the most efficient smoker. You can get great results out of it though, you just have to babysit it.
  8. master_dman

    master_dman Meat Mopper

    Looks like the three quick and easy things I'll be doing is extending the smokestack.. a baffle plate of some kind.. and I'll stuff some foil in the cracks.. I have a few spots that are leaking.
  9. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hi-temp RTV will work too, and more permanent.
  10. low&slow

    low&slow Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Yep, what he said.
    Ill second that motion. However, I am down to checking on mine once every hour. When I first started smoking on it I had to babysit it constantly.
    Good idea except for the foil. Its a waste of good foil. It'll keep falling off everytime you open the lid. Raise your charcoal pan thats inside the smoke box all the way up on the left side, and all the way down on the right side. It works great as a baffle. Also lower the smokestack down to grate level. This will give you better draw and it wont leak as bad. It worked for me.
  11. master_dman

    master_dman Meat Mopper

    Well.. I had a few problems keeping it hot.. I had the coal plate upside down and up all the way on the left, down on the right as a baffle, and most of the leaks kinda sealed up. I had a nice fire going, but it never got really hot.

    It was really windy out.. I ended up turning the coal plate the right way and putting a bed of coals in the smoking chamber as a helper to the fire box.
  12. master_dman

    master_dman Meat Mopper

    After slapping a few mods on.. including a better temp gauge, I discovered that the only temp problem I was having was lack of a good temp gauge.

    Not having gale-force winds seemed to have helped quite a bit as well.
  13. master_dman

    master_dman Meat Mopper

    Just for giggles here is my "Mickey Mouse" thermometer (warm, ideal, hot)

    Alongside it's new and improved replacement that actually has numbers.

    I just thought it was funny that I have a "Char-Griller" therm in my new "Brinkmann"
  14. k5yac

    k5yac Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I burn 10# of Ozark Oak lump in approximately 9-10 hours. Could be more or less at times, but I think a pound an hour is a pretty fair estimate in my SNP. I also burn a few sticks of wood in the process, of course.
  15. master_dman

    master_dman Meat Mopper

    K5yac.. I noticed yours looks to be a little bit of a thicker gauge than mine. And yours also has a stopper for the lid.. which is why I put my little hinge mod on mine.

    I like yours better. I'm jealous.

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