Regulating a propane smoker.

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by markmaciejewski, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. Good morning all.  This is my first post so hopefully it's a good one. I recently bought the Brinkmann 2 door smoker.  I heard good things about it, which is why I obviously bought it. 1 teeny tiny problem. How the hell do i regulate the heat down to 120 degrees?  I've done it with the bottom door partially open, but I lose a lot of smoke that way. Can i manufacture a cone to put on top of the burner to divert the heat, more displace the heat?  Any suggestions would be helpful.  Thanks.

  2. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    why do you want the heat so low is my first thought???
  3. Well, the recipe's that i got for smoking sausage were actually to smoke at 130. I probably should have mentioned that.  so i take it, it's too low?
  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What is the minimum you can get?

    If it's 140˚ or 150˚, it shouldn't be a big deal.

    That recipe is probably going to have you finish it with a higher smoker temp later anyway.

    Some more info about what that recipe is telling you to do (temp wise) would help.

  5. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Good luck getting temps that low. I have a few  propane rings and if you install a ball valve and possibly a low pressure regulater you might be  able to run those low of temps. Kind of depends on the size of the smoker as well. My small  propane smoker runs  hot.  I am running it as low as it goes right now and I am sitting around 195 degrees. I don't have any mods on that rig though. On my propane shack I can run temps around 120 but the thing is almost 9 ft tall so there is a lot of space so its much easier to run lower temps. 
  6. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Hey Mark, welcome to SMF!

    Like Bear said, what is the lowest temp you can maintain with the smoker closed and airtight?

    Some of us install a "needle valve" in the line after the regulator to have the low temps for sausage smoking, there are lots of pics with info here on installing one if you do a search for "needle valve".  Another solution is to braze up some of the holes in the burner, one member even filled some of the holes with muffler repair glue.

    What color is the smoke you see coming out of the door, it should be a thin blue to invisible smoke, white smoke creates creosote and that makes your food bitter, also what are you using for gauging the temp, the original thermometer?  They are usually not too accurate, we like to install an after market BBQ thermometer to insure our temp readings are accurate.

    One last thing, your first post is a good one, but could you head over to roll call and introduce yourself, that way we can learn a little about you and welcome you properly.

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011
  7. I did post in "roll call"  under "shocking: newbie" i appologize for not following protocol.
  8. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would assume you have a water pan in this smoker? Are you using it?
  9. Ido. I am.  however, i'm not really sure what it's for. 
  10. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My propane smoker I installed a thermostat, 12 volt electronic pilot igniter and a transformer for the igniter to work with AC power; works well for me. It will go as low as 100º and the temp fluctuates 2 to 4 degrees. Here is a link to the thread where I got the idea's and tips -
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't know about others, but I keep my water pan empty most of the time (covered with foil), because most of the time I don't want too much moisture in there.

    I sometimes put water in it, when I'm making something that I'm worried might dry out too much. I put some water in after the first hour when smoking Spare Ribs, instead of opening the door to spritz them.

    If you have trouble holding heat, with a lot of cold meat in there, you can boil a quart of water or so, and pour that into your water pan. This will fight the coldness of the meat.

  12. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hi Mark,

    There are a few things you should know about the use of water pans:

    1) the more water in the pan the more it will reduce smoke chamber temps and help to stabilize temps;

    2) the less water in the pan, the higher the chamber temp (without increasing the flame);

    3) smoke chamber humidity will increase as water levels decrease due to higher water temp and more rapid steaming;

    4) the water pans position in relation to the heat source will effect the boil-off rate and humidty: closer = faster boil-off/higher humidity;

    5) depending on the recipe for a poarticlar sausage, if it calls for a low temp/cold smoke, this typically is a drying stage, so low humidity would be desired (empty water pan);

    6) a water pan filled with washed sand (play sand), then covered with foil to catch drippings can be used for more stabilized smoke chamber temps while not adding humidity;

    7) the water pan should always be installed during use of the smoker to baffle and redirect the heat for true indirect cooking....this is a must for vertical smokers. Without the pan, drippings could catch fire on the gas burner;

    As Bearcarver mentioned, depending on what you are smoking, you may opt for a wet or dry pan. This may also be a decision based on your current relative humidity. Example: if I'm smoking pork ribs, and I would normally use a medium/high humidity during the first 3-4 hours, but it's stormy weather with high humidity, I may not add water until after the first 2 hours, but only add what will evaporate in a shorter period of time. Then, during the final stage of cooking the ribs, if I want to form a slight bark on the surface of the ribs, I want a dry water pan for reduced humidy to set the the bark. Same goes for chicken: if I'm looking for a crispy skin, I want a low humidity smoke chamber.

    Hope this helps...good luck with the sausage smoke!

  13. I do appologize.  I didn't take any pictures of the maiden voyage.  I did modify one of the racks by cutting every other bar to accommodate the thickness of the sausage, so they could be hung.  It worked out very well.  Awesome flavor, the right moisture, etc, etc. No water pan.  since there is so much moisture in the links already, wouldn't defeat the purpose?  the next batch I did, is now in the dog treat dish in the fridge.  the temperature got away from me.  my bad.  I basically got it figured out.  the last and final problem i have is to make it air tight.  Is there such a thing as a high temp weather strip?  it can't be too thick, a magnet is what closes the door.  Thanks guys.  I really appreciate it.


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