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jeepsteve92xj 11-09-2013 11:16 PM

Cheap charcoal Brinkmann vertical mods
I recently got a new Brinkmann vertical charcoal smoker - 68 bucks on Amazon.
I missed the bit about seasoning, but I started two Boston Butts that were only rubbed with a random mix of whatever we have in the cabinets.

I finished them wrapped in foil, on the grill.

The smoker did have the low temperature/no air to the charcoal pan issue. No idea how accurate the original thermometer might be. It only hit 225 maybe once fore a few minutes.

Today I started some mods. A Webber stainless steel grill wok (19 bucks) for the new charcoal pan, with 1/4-20 stainless screws for legs.

Felt weather stripping (17' @ 2.60) around three sides of the doors. I will do the fourth sides when/if I add external hinges.

Since winter is coming fast, I wanted to keep the heat more contained, rather than letting it be whipped away in the wind. I got a few sheets (3 @ 6.50 each) of aluminized corrugated cardboard. Made for insulating between joists where heat ducts may cause hot spots. Currently the cut pieces are held on with duct tape, covering the top and three sides. The doors will be done if the rest works. Since I shouldn't actually have a fire in the smoker, the cardboard shouldn't be a risk.

I'll add a couple pictures tomorrow.

If there is a problem, what would anybody recommend for a layer of fireproof insulation?


SmittyJonz 11-10-2013 12:18 AM

Guys have used Wool Blankets, Moving Blankets, Hot Water Heater Insulation to wrap smokers with.......some have built a Wood Box to go over/around smokers with a few inches of air gap between wood and smoker ........ you could add fire bricks to inside of smoker

qnbiker 11-10-2013 08:27 AM

Welcome to the forum, Steve. I had a smoker like yours and it's a great starter smoker. You can cook some pretty good Q on an ECB (El Cheapo Brinkmann). With less than $30 in materials, you can mod it to hold 225 for 10 hours with little attention. Google "ecb mods" or "brinkmann smoker mods".

A word of caution: if you're going to use a moving blanket for insulation, be careful not to let it contact the firebox part of your smoker - it will burn.

Enjoy it.

Big George's BBQ 11-10-2013 08:41 AM

Some people will use a welders blanket

jeepsteve92xj 11-10-2013 10:47 PM

I ran a load of hardwood charcoal today for the seasoning. A long probe thermometer stuck in the exhaust says it got up to 300. I tried closing the intakes to about 1/4 open as the temperature rose past 200, but it went to 300 and stayed, even fully closed. After 2 hours I opened up the intakes and let it go up to 350 for around an hour. We had some running to do, so I closed intake and exhaust 100% - except the small bit where the thermometer was stuck in. We got home about 5 hours later, temp was below 100, and there was nearly no charcoal left, just a few bits still glowing. Not a lot of ash in the Webber grill wok. I'll have a look to see if there is much under the wok.

The higher temp - 300 - the chimney load was the end of the bag with a lot of crumbs and smaller pieces. Plus the oily paper towels used to coat the inside with veg oil. I also didn't have the water pan in the smoker.

jeepsteve92xj 12-13-2013 01:03 PM

Alright. For turkey day, I got a Maverick dual probe thermometer, and a welding blanket, and some fire bricks (to make a labyrinth in the Weber wok), some cherry wood, standard Kingsford briquets and some hardwood lump charcoal.
Even with new batteries the Maverick lost communication several times.
I started with a non-cured picnic, rubbed with a variety of whatever I pulled out of the cabinet, took the skin off to rub beneath it but laid it back on in the smoker. Low 200's varying a bit trying to hold a little stable. I did get a pretty long burn with the labyrinth and spikes as each bit of wood lit.
The picnic was on from about 5pm Wednesday until 8am - I over slept and the Maverick had lost communication and did not give an alarm as the temperature fell. I moved the pork to the oven and built a new fire for the turkey.
Turkey was brined for 12 hours then let dry in the cold garage for about 20 hours. I had meant to let it warm a bit in the kitchen before putting it in the smoker, but I was late getting up.
I drilled a hole in the top of my smoker and added a SS eye bolt so I could hang the turkey vertical. a bit of SS wire and two skewers to be sure it was strong enough. From 9am until 4pm, stoking the fire to keep it in the upper 200's, I pulled it out when the temp was 175 or 180.
let it rest, then pulled out the picnic and hacked off hunks, then the turkey and ripped it apart.

Mom said she couldn't taste any smoke. Otherwise no complaints!

Bludawg 12-13-2013 01:13 PM

That is a right purty buzzard!

ITBFQ 12-13-2013 01:41 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Welcome to the forum! I have one of those smokers... it is the first one I bought - got it used on craigslist for $40. I have used it to make some pretty good q in my backyard. I made some of the mods to it that you have. I never run it with water in the pan, I just wrap the pan in foil and leave it in for a heat deflector. I've tried RO lump and KBB in it, and find that KBB works best.

The attached image is a charcoal basket that I made to use instead of that awful pan that comes with the smoker. I was really struggling with the smoker staying at temp until I made the basket. With it, it stays consistent (as consistent as it can be) and can go for a nice long burn. This summer, I took this smoker camping with us and was able to cook 6 racks of ribs and 2 yardbirds at the same time with no issues. I filled the basket with some KBB and a few pieces of apple and cherry, and it ran like a champ at 275. I did have to refill the basket about 3/4 of the way through with some more KBB, but at least the bottom door made it easy to get to.

By the way, that turkey of yours looks awesome! Great color!

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to tell you about the basket. I was about to toss the smoker to the scrap guys until I made the basket.

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