Modify charcoal holder tray on Brinkman Upright Smoker

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by kenkathy, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. kenkathy

    kenkathy Newbie

    I am new to this and have an upright Brinkman charcoal smoker (with 2 doors and pullout trays for charcoal, water, and 2 food trays, and 2 upper vents and 2 lower vents).  I have trouble getting the temperature above 220 deg.  even with all vents open.  The way the charcoal tray is designed, it seems like there is limited air flow to the coals. The charcoal tray has about 3-4inch sides with a little grate on the bottom; the charcoal just fills the tray.   Has anyone cut holes in the side and even the bottom of the tray that holds the charcoal?  I don't want to redesign Brinkmanns unit, but it seems like the charcoal may need more air flow to burn faster and get hotter.  Thanks.
  2. you are completely correct in your assumption there is not enough airflow.  To fix this, some people have drilled lots and lots of holes in the pan.  Others, like myself, have gone to home depot, or Lowe's, and purchased the square grilling basket they sell.  It is the prefect size to fit on the railing of your smoker, and provides a good amount of airflow. 

    Hope this helps.

    I think this is the item, just to give you some reference.
  3. hairy-alaskan

    hairy-alaskan Newbie

    I have used a similar Wok Basket for 2 years now. Works great. I have a hard time keeping my Brinkman smoker under 300 degrees.

    You should consider adding a second thermometer as well since the stock Brinkman one is not very accurate.
  4. kenkathy

    kenkathy Newbie

    Thanks, I will look for the wire mesh basket and keep the existing one to possibly fit below it to catch the ashes (if it fits).
  5. hairy-alaskan

    hairy-alaskan Newbie

    Hers is a pic of what it looks like. I used small brackets also from Lowes to create feat to raise it up for airflow.

  6. smokeless

    smokeless Newbie

    Get rid of the fire bowl and use this instead. It fits perfectly in the bottom with the legs attached which second as handles to remove it or install it. It enables you to get the fire going outside of the smoker first, has a charcoal grate and two sets of vents that further regulate the temperature. Just leave the bottom catch cup off to expose the bottom vent holes.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2010
  7. I just bought a Brinkmann cabinet smoker...and I bought a grill wok from Lowes to make into a fire pan just like the fellow above has done.  But the tough job I see a head for me are making the two doors air tight.  It looks like I will have to remove the hinges to the doors and replace them with some kind of hardware hinges or small gate I can use a tape stove gasket to make the two doors air tight in some way.  But I think it is doable.  Before I bought this smoker I bought the Brinkmann or ECB vertical barrel smoker.  You can see one via this link.  Please copy this link and paste into the address bar of another browser page to see what this fellow did.  I followed most of his project, but I was not able to close off some air leaks around the lip of the base pan.  I had to use tape stove gasket to reduce or stop the air leak.  Here is the link:        Please scroll down to see a bunch of photos of his mods and then several smokes runs with various meats. 

    This link may not work from this page.  You can try to copy and paste it to another browser page.  I point to this page to show how the firebox was remade.  It definitely works very well.  But what I learned about that style of smoker is that to hold the smoker at a steady 225 degrees there could be no air leaks because it takes such a small amount of air to reach that temperature.  Better yet, his firebox mods allowed the smoker to run for many hours with no reload.  Once I had my vertical barrel smoker successfully modified it would hold a very steady temperature wherever you set it.  If it changed at all that would indicate it needed water or fuel.   Otherwise, the temperature never moved.  To me, a steady operating temperature over many hours means I had closed all the air leaks.  But before I was able to achieve a stable temperature I had all kinds of problems with the barrel smoker running hot.  The first fire ran over 450 degrees.  Chasing air leaks eventually got the temps down to around 300 degrees.  Finally, I turned off the lights one night and used a light bulb around the lip of the fire pan to find some air leaks I could not otherwise find.  Once I got them closed with stove gasket tape, the smoker behaved wonderfully.  And I was amazed that once 225 degrees was reached the air vent on the fire pan was almost closed.  Another words,  it takes so very little air to smoke at 225...and the smoker would run for many many hours at that temperature. 

    So,  I hope the mods I will attempt on this cabinet smoker will also lead to optimal temperature stability.  The two door cabinet smoker will be much easier to use than a barrel smoker as far as access to the meats and the water pan.  Wish me luck.  Those two doors have massive air leaks and will not be easy to seal.  But if I can get them sealed I should have a smoker that will run long enough to do big briskets and or whole turkeys.  My fingers are crossed

    Old Smoke Guy
  8. jeff 1

    jeff 1 Smoke Blower

    I drill large holes in mine.  I started with about 6 holes and then just kept adding them untill it seemed right.  I havent counted but I would say there are probably 18 holes give or take at about 3/8".  I put a small foil pan under it on the bottom of smoker to catch the ash that falls.  It works perfectly fine.  I have also covered the top vents with a large peices of ceramic tile and made a new 3" smoke stack on the top in the center toward the back and that has really allowed me to maintain the heat at the top of the smoker and even it all out really well. 
  9. I have the same unit, and when it was out in the open, I could just get it up to a little over 200 degrees. I have know built a smokehouse around the unit, and can control the temp and water much better. I also took the coal pan out and replaced it with a 14" car wheel. This gives me a much better heat, and get the water boiling. I have produced some of the best, Falling of the bone, ribs, brisket, pork butts, etc.....GOOD stuff!
  10. Lots of good answers and ideas.........[​IMG]
  11. Well, this thread was worth the price of admission alone.  ;) 

    My son bought me one of these vertical smokers last year and I tried everything to get it to work.  I never could get it above 200.  I haven't had the heart to throw it out....and now I'm glad I didn't.  I know what my projects going to be tomorrow.  Thanks guys for all the great ideas. 
  12. I drilled a 1" hole in the charcoal pan then rolled up alum.foil and placed 2 different rolls around pan and sides of smoker so, I could direct air through the bottom!
  13. To seal the doors on the smoker I used the felt from the big green egg. Just clean the contact surface well wipe with alcohol and the self adhesive felt sticks great and makes a very good seal.
  14. magslam

    magslam Smoke Blower

  15. You just now gave me a great idea! Thanks!

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