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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 06-01-2011, 12:55 PM   #1
Jamie
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Default Brinkman Smoker

Hi everybody,

My girlfriend bought me a smoker for Christmas. I've used it many times, but I feel like I'm still having the ongoing problem with keeping temperature and wood chunk usage. I have the vertical two door Brinkman with the waterpan on the bottom and the wood/charcoal tray below. I use hardwood chunks that they sell at home depot, until I go online and find cheaper chunks. None the less, I read where people are using only a few chunks. I'm going through a lot more then just a few and I have the hardest time keeping the fire going. I do adjust the vents, but I still seem to get a spike in temp, then it drops. Anybody have any experience with these smokers?

Thanks,
Jamie
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Unread 06-01-2011, 01:03 PM   #2
augie
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Welcome Jamie!

That was the first smoker I owned and it drove me crazy trying to get consistent results, and I didn't even realize why at the time. At least you know that getting stable temps/fire is your biggest issue (and the fuel/wood hogging is certainly related to that).

I believe that there are some folks on this site that have made some modifications to this type of smoker and were able to greatly improve its performance, but (and you may not want to hear this), bottom line is that if you're really interested in turning out some great Q, then you may want to start thinking about investing in a better pit.

At least you've come to a place where there are a lot of experienced folks willing to help. That will be key to helping you decide what type of rig is right for you. In the mean time, perhaps the mods to your ECB (El Cheapo Brinkmann) will enable you to start mastering some of the skills that will stay with you as you "move on up".

Good luck!
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Unread 06-01-2011, 01:09 PM   #3
BIGBrandon2785
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I have a brand new Brinkmann and its garbage,I used it maybe 4 times and decided to fix my 5 year old pit that the bottom fell through on.
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Unread 06-01-2011, 01:19 PM   #4
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Talking

Hi Jamie and welcome! I have the 2-door Brinkman Vertical and after making the following changes, she cooks like a champ!

1) The most important ~ go to HD or Lowes and get a square grilling wok (around $10) to use as your charcoal/wood basket. It fits perfectly on the rails below the water bowl. Use a mix of charcoal and wood. Using the minion method, I can maintain 225 for 2-3 hours.

2) Using a foil pan, cut out 2 circles a bit larger than the vents. Cover 1 top vent and the adjacent bottom vent. This will pull air in one side and exhaust air out the other.

3) Leave the uncovered top vent wide open and control your fire with the uncovered bottom vent. If the fire is burning too hot, use less fuel.

4) Replace the thermometer. The one mine came with was off by 50 degrees!

With these few, simple changes my vertical hums along turning out some decent q. Let me know if pictures would help and I'll figure out how to upload. Oh, don't bother trying to seal the door with fiber rope gasket, it's too thick. If the leaking bothers you, use high temp silicone to create a gasket. I like the smoke and it smells good!

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Unread 06-01-2011, 01:38 PM   #5
jestridge
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they work good on a hot summer day. But wind will kill it,
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Unread 06-01-2011, 02:01 PM   #6
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I ended up buying a smokey joe and use that as my coal basket and can also use it to sear some steaks when I need a real hot fire. You need to raise the smokey joe about 3 inches to get it at the same level, i use a red brick on each leg.

If you can't go that route or the above mentioned wok route (i wish i had heard of this), you can at leat drill a bunch of holes in the pan to get more air to the fire and use lump hardwood. Lump makes less ash. We started using kingsford briq, but they would suffocate themselves in ash in a few hours.

These links help too.

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...-and-questions

http://www.randyq.addr.com/ecb/ecbmods.html

I started with a gas grill, and then got the Brinkman. Then ended up getting another to support my bbq habbits, and now I've ditched them for a UDS. The el cheapo brinkmans (ECB) are kind of a pain, but you get some great bbq off them for only like $30. Good luck.
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Unread 06-01-2011, 02:21 PM   #7
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Default Too Thin

The problem with the ECB's, as well as most entry level smokers, is that the metal used for the body of the firebox/barrel is WAY too thin to hold heat. I was going through 40#s of coal for a 4 hour cook and it drove me nuts. Rather, it drove me to buy three 22" WSMs. Now I can keep my temps where I want them without going through a ton of fuel. The WSM is also the most efficient smoker on the market (or one of the most efficient) - and for only $400? Can't beat it IMO. Upgrade, you won't be disappointed.
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Unread 06-01-2011, 02:32 PM   #8
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Sounds like he has not been using charcoal along with the wood chunks?
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Unread 06-01-2011, 02:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny_Crunch View Post
Sounds like he has not been using charcoal along with the wood chunks?
Good catch, Johnny!

That would definitely make a tough situation even tougher!
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Unread 06-01-2011, 09:11 PM   #10
Jamie
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Thanks for the responses. I use a mix of hardwood lump charcoal as well as wood chunks. I find the charcoal works best for getting the wood to burn.

I def am going to get a new thermometer. I think that is a great first start as well!

Thanks for the input!
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Unread 06-01-2011, 09:47 PM   #11
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Wow, all day and nobody has said UDS yet? Well, UDS!

Kidding aside, you are in a good place and as you have seen, plenty of people have found creative ways to make "cheap" smokers work. Once you get that one running good and become bored, come back and build a UDS
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Unread 06-01-2011, 09:54 PM   #12
NorthwestBBQ
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You cannot use wood as the heat source in an ECB.
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Unread 06-01-2011, 10:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthwestBBQ View Post
You cannot use wood as the heat source in an ECB.


Really??? I use to do it all the time. Must have been in that parallel universe or some thing? Granted, they were very small pieces in size, but I used oak and apple splinters to do pork butts when I had the time to dedicate to doing it true Carolina style!
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Unread 06-02-2011, 12:29 AM   #14
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I had one, used duct tape to try to keep it sealed, got frustrated with the piece of cr*p and threw it out. Made a UDS and have been very happy. Of course, I do have a BGE to compare everything to.
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Unread 06-02-2011, 12:54 AM   #15
Timmy
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Yep, I had one of these. Used it several times over several years. I got so mad at it .... I gave it to my brother-in-law! I bought a wsm and never looked back.
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