New and a little confused

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by iron, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. iron

    iron Fire Starter

    Hi Guys n gals,

    Been here now a couple weeks, i have a brinkman vertical dual door. I have replaced the fire bowl with a bowl that has holes all over, i replaced the is a link to the smoker.

    i am still having trouble keeping good heat 200 degrees is fairly constant but 250 seemed almost impossible, i use lump type charcoal and ive done the minion method as well as a conventional way.
    i tried baby back ribs yesterday they didnt turn out like i had hoped, they seemed a little tougher than i was expecting and they were real black...

    there is my question.. i used some hickory chunks mixed in i get a real rolling smoke coming out of every crack in this smoker. so , when smoking should i limit my smoke to and hour or two or do you guys let that smoke just roll out the whole time? im afraid my ribs were so black due to to much smoke and maybe creosote, im not sure how to tell if its creosote for sure or not. i cant find any real pictures as to what a smoker should really look like through out the process, ive seen a couple of the thin blue smoke.... is that all the smoke it takes?

    i will stop now and let you guys ponder this before i ask more .

    thanks, Jason
  2. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ya just wan't a thin blue smoke, she shouldn't be puffin like an ol steam engine.

    I don't have yer smoker so can't hep ya much with that, but yall should be able ta get 250° without to much trouble.

    Also, get ya a digi thermo fer yer grate temps cause dial type ones on the smokers can be wrong. That way ya know yer grate temps er accurate.
  3. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Guest

    You do not want rolling white smoke. What do you have your air vents set to? do you have the intake closed or fully open? What about the exhaust?
  4. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Too much smoke may extinguish your fire, thus cutting your heat. If you have a water bowl, I see alot of people fill it to the brim. Instead cut back to 3/4 full, you can always add some later. How much charcoal did you use?

    Good smoke on right, bad on left. Remember if you can smell wood burning, you're smoking.
  5. iron

    iron Fire Starter

    Thanks for the vents have been varied as i smoked, i played around with them.. clear this up for me please.... for more heat i want vents wide open correct? then slowly close them to retain heat when i get to my i close here?

    the picture of the different smokes really helps alot i needed that visual, mine looked like the left one yesterday.

    i have a bowl to put charcoal in so i cant hold tons of it but i tried to get as much as possible, my wife works at a plant that makes food grade stainless products, she is a tig welder there and is going to make me a fire basket out of expanded steel... i hope that works better and i'll be able to hold a little more charcoal....Dang brewers how can they blow a lead so quickly...( sorry im in front of the tv)

    anyway thanks i will get new fire box and try it...what if i were to cut in a stack instead of them vents i have, would that do anything?

  6. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    flash - that's a great visual aid for helping people understand the difference between good and bad smoking. points!

    iron - your questions have mostly been answered - i've got a brinkmann veryicle smoker but it is only one door - i had excellent results after i perfomred the mods here:

    your intake is somethng that you can play around with for efficiency, opening it up should increase airflow and hence heat, closing it should bring it down a bit of it gest too hot. under no circumstances should the exhaust be closed. that creates a lot of airflow difficulties and, worse, creosote, which can really ruin a good peice of emat. try leaving the exhaust wide open and making small adjustmetns with intake - give your smoker a little time to react to your adjustments or you will always be overshooting your mark.

    some really great information can be found here and also at the BBQFAQ, which is a word document that you can download onto your desktop and refer to any time. it is about 10 years old but the info there is as good today as it was then. here is a link to a SAFE zip download. if you prefer, i can also email it to you as it is on my desktop and i refer to it often:
  7. Keep the top vent all the way open at all times.

    Get the charcoal pan up off the floor of the smoker. Even a 1/4" will help.

    Don't put water in the pan. I don't smoke with water at all and have no problems.

    If temps start to drop, lightly shake the wok pan to reduce the ash build up. I run mine without adding any additional charcoal for at least 5-6 hours.

    I have the one door model. I can adjust the height of the water pan on mine. Raising the pan higher above the charcoal will increase the temps.

    I have a small cast iron pan that I lay directly on the hot charcoal. I put small chuncks of wood in the pan and let it smolder. It wii create all the smoke you need. You can also increase the temps by every once in a while put a chunk of wood right on the coals.

    I use a digital temp gauges. I put one thermocouple through a potato and place it near the exhaust vent on the top. Dont trust the gauge on the front. Mine was off 60 degrees.

    Keep the smoke blue.
  8. iron

    iron Fire Starter

    Thank you guys for the help...i made some changes in the way i did things. My lovely wife welded me up a new fire basket instead of the wok i was using, i was able to hold 275 without a bit of trouble, will be a problem if i need to go down though the intakes were completely closed and i added water to the bowl.i have a couple pictures here. one is a shot of the new fire box, and one of a much better smoke...close to the " thin blue smoke "i hear about. anyway i cant smoke this weekend due to my daughters basketball tourny but i got my sights on something bigger another try at ribs maybe...and yes my garage is still a mess from spring clean!
  9. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks like your in the right track! Nice TBS going there.
  10. speedway73

    speedway73 Fire Starter

    Looks good. I have the same smoker. I keep the intake vents half open and the exhaust fully open.

    I like the can hold more fuel than w/the I'm using.

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