Smoker issues....

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by jjdebaets, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. jjdebaets

    jjdebaets Newbie

    I have a brinkmann offset 150$ smoker. I knew that it was not the most high end smoker but I am having some issues and thought you all could help me modify the smoker to work the best for me. I understand this has probably been gone over time and time again, so I appeciate your patience ahead of time.

    Ok coals are being smothered. The lip from the side door into the smoke box is the same height as the rack for the coals. I think this is what is smothering the coals along with there being only a half inch from rack to bottom of smoke box. Was thinking of buying a large rack to hold coals up further, gives more room for air flow and ash. Do you agree that this would help with smothering issue and better heat production?

    Second issue is my wood chips constantly catch fire. Now I was taught to put water soaked chips directly over hot burned down coals. IS this how I should be doing it. I am thinking, from what I have read, that I need to seperate the woodchips from the coals themselves. Maybe use a pan over the coals to allow for seperation, but wont that make it difficult to add more charcoal as it burns down. I do alot of jerky and go through at least a bag each time I smoke.

    High charcoal use. I think this is a combo of both the above. Because I need to get heat, due to only usually getting 185 degree. Wondering if this is due lack of air flow. Thus I have to really pile and burn through charcoal to maintain 185 degrees.

    Lastely, the smokes comes out of the smoke box and rolls to top of lid and out the opening or smoke stack. Was wondering if there was a way to flow the smoke further down the grill before going out. Any ideas? Thought of a muffler type device were vent goes from the opening of the smoke box, under the rack, to the stack with holes all along it. Do you think that would work or wouold that restrick air flow to much and heat would not get high enough.

    Oh yeah, one more question. Vent stack open or closed. Some say either way. Which do you think is better?
  2. Welcome to SMF. Someone will be along shortly to give you an official welcome and links to a whole host of useful information.

    Regarding your smoker issues, you are a candidate for a collection of modifications that people make to their inexpensive side firebox smokers that will help improve its performance. For the firebox coal and temperature issues, you will benefit from building a fuel basket that raises the height of your fuel, improves airflow to your fuel, and allows you to add more of it at a given time and control how it burns.

    To address how the smoke circulates through your smoker you can modify your exhaust stack so that it extends close to the grate level.

    If you search on "SFB modifications" both here and on the wider web you'll find details on how you can make both of these upgrades as well as others.

    As far as fuel use goes, side fireboxes do use a lot of it compared to other smokers. The basket will help your fuel to burn more efficiently and will give you a bit of a longer burn for a given amount of fuel. Also, check for leaks in your smoker where heat is escaping before exits the stack, such as at the seam between the firebox and the cooking chamber and around the doors. There are also modifications that you can make to plug these leaks using high-heat sealant and heat resistant gaskets.

    As far as wood for smoking goes, use larger chunks of wood rather than the chips. Chips are great for smaller smokers and for using in propane grills and modified kettle grills where getting them to burn at the proper rate when the grill is only at 225 degrees, but as you know they burn instantly in the firebox of a true smoker. Buy chunks and feed them as needed.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
  3. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    First off welcome to SMF!

    Your right these mods have been discussed many times. If you use the search bar up top youll find plenty of information. Now as to the firebox, Look up shcarcoal basket. That what is sounds like you need. I use Bolts to hold it up in my firebox for better air flow & more room for the ash to fall.  Second the chips. Try using chunks! you dont need to soak them & they last much longer. Just put them off to the side of the charcaol so they smolder & not catch fire.

    Good luck & don't give it up!
  4. doh. double post.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    [​IMG]    Glad to have you with us!
  6. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Welcome, you came to the right place
  7. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to the SMF. Glad to have you here. Lots of good folks, great recipes and knowledge. Looking forward to  your first qview. [​IMG]
  8. vegassmokeout

    vegassmokeout Meat Mopper

    So what I did here was use a 4" B-vent duct and trimed it until it would roll inside of the stack.  I use a band clamp to insure it doesnt come apart and on the top of the half of the stack, used a small set screw so it doesnt fall out.  I also sealed the holes in the lid.  I plan to order high temp rope gasket to seal all around the lid.   I also sealed the firebox holes/gaps so I can better control my temps.  Hope this helps. I plan on testing it this weekend with 5 BB's. 

  9. Forgot to add, keep your vent stack always open all the way. Control your heat and flow with the air intake vent on the firebox. Throttling the exhaust is just going to make your food taste like stale smoke or worse. If you're interested in doing this to keep more smoke in the chamber, explore lowering the intake mouth of the stack down to grate level.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011

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