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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 06-16-2014, 03:46 PM   #1
Chronos
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Default Taking off the training wheels - no more electric

I had been thinking of getting away from my Bradley electric smoker for a while, specially since it's starting to die after 10 years. So, I got a used Brinkman's vertical smoker for $20 on craigslist and am doing my first burn on it today to clean it out/re-season it.

I'm using the kingsford competition charcoal. Doing about 6lbs (did my first chimney starter - man that's easy) and got it up to about 370 at first before it settled down to about 340 with all the vents open. Now I'm playing with the vents to figure out how they change the temp.

I'm searching the forum and the web for info on best fuel to use and how to manage a charcoal smoker but was wondering if anyone could readily point me to any "gospels" or words of wisdom to help me out.

I'm looking forward to this. This is going to be fun!
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Unread 06-16-2014, 04:01 PM   #2
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Kingsford Comp is top-notch charcoal.

Temp control is easy

1. More air = more heat.
2. More fuel = more heat.
3. Closer distance = more heat.

Closing dampers chokes the fire, so it doesn't burn so hot. Downside is you can end up with "dirty" combustion which leads to creosote and bitter food, so don't choke it down too much. If you don't see smoke, you've got a clean burning fire.

Generally you want to get the right amount of fuel the right distance from what you're cooking, and leave the air vents wide open for grilling. Charcoal burns hottest shortly after you light it, then it cools down gradually.
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Unread 06-16-2014, 04:01 PM   #3
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Best of luck. We're here to help if you need anything. Lots of us have cooked plenty of grub on ECBs. No advice on the vertical except to let it live where it wants temp-wise assuming it gets to at least 250.
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Unread 06-16-2014, 05:18 PM   #4
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If it was like my old Brinkmann vertical you will need a small grate to put in the firebowl to keep the ash from smothering your fire or maybe drill holes. They are not perfect but they can be made to work very well. I cooked on my for about a year.
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Unread 06-16-2014, 07:09 PM   #5
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Yes. I believe this is the same. I've also been told to put fireproof rope/braid as a seal to help keep temp steady.


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Originally Posted by pjtexas1 View Post
If it was like my old Brinkmann vertical you will need a small grate to put in the firebowl to keep the ash from smothering your fire or maybe drill holes. They are not perfect but they can be made to work very well. I cooked on my for about a year.
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Unread 06-16-2014, 07:13 PM   #6
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Without opening the door, how do you tell when it's time to put in more fuel? Just when temp starts dropping? Do you swap out the charcoal with new coal from the chimney or put new coal on the embers?

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Originally Posted by DaveAlvarado View Post
Kingsford Comp is top-notch charcoal.

Temp control is easy

1. More air = more heat.
2. More fuel = more heat.
3. Closer distance = more heat.

Closing dampers chokes the fire, so it doesn't burn so hot. Downside is you can end up with "dirty" combustion which leads to creosote and bitter food, so don't choke it down too much. If you don't see smoke, you've got a clean burning fire.

Generally you want to get the right amount of fuel the right distance from what you're cooking, and leave the air vents wide open for grilling. Charcoal burns hottest shortly after you light it, then it cools down gradually.
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Unread 06-16-2014, 09:02 PM   #7
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I would fill the charcoal basket (or what ever you put charcoal in) and disperse your wood chunks under a layer or so, then take out about 12-15 briqs and light them, when they are lit put them back from where you took them (center works) leave the door open for a few minutes. Once you close the door watch your temps start to come up, once your temp gets close to your target start closeing your intakes a little at a time (don't try to choke it back down) leave your exhaust wide open and when it is where you want it (close is ok) and you get sweet blue smoke you are good to go!

As for how long only one way to find out is to do the above and time it, to see how long it will go at temp. Good luck!
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Unread 06-16-2014, 09:12 PM   #8
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You said you've been adjusting the vents. Where are they located on the smoker?
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Unread 06-16-2014, 09:34 PM   #9
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4 of them. Top & bottom on both right and left sides.

The smoker has 2 doors. Firebox on bottom and smoking chamber up top.


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You said you've been adjusting the vents. Where are they located on the smoker?
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