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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 03-21-2005, 01:45 PM   #1
sirthames
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Default NOT ENOUGH HEAT - HEEELLLLLPPP!

Brothers, long time no see. I have been unemployed for the past three months but I know God will provide. Matter of fact my old job just called me back for an interview----and I did not even apply to them. So keep me in your prayers.

Here is my problem. I bought one of those Brinkman offset cookers from Wally World recently. I seasoned it and the whole nine. The problem I have is that the thing just will not get hot enough. I built a fire in the fire box and all, but the meat in the main cooking chamber did not do too well. The only pieces (had a brisket and some chicken breasts) that got done were the pieces that were next to the hole that connect the firebox with the cooking chamber. I am using Kingsford coals doing the "Minion" method. Should I use more wood instead (I have a HUGE pile of oak in the back yard). Or more coal? I would appreciate any assistance you can give me. I am in Fayetteville NC if anyone is close by. Thanks.
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Unread 03-21-2005, 01:49 PM   #2
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First off, glad to hear you may get a job again. No fun being out of work.

Now to the smoker problem. What model did you get? If it's a Smoke King Deluxe (mirror image of Bandera) did you do the firegrate & baffle mods? Airflow and smoke flow control your chamber temps. Make sure you've got plenty of airflow (and ash room) underneath the firegrate. 2-3 inches makes a big difference.

I'll wait to see your answer before going on...
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Unread 03-21-2005, 01:58 PM   #3
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No I have one of the Brinkman Smoke'N Pit cookers. It has the offset firebox to the left. I do tend to put sand in the bottom of the box to keep it from rusting out. But there is plenty of airflow. The main cooking chamber gets warm and fills up with smoke and all but I just cannot get the whole are to heat up. Of course it gets warm to the touch (with my hand) but not warm enough to cook.
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Unread 03-21-2005, 02:05 PM   #4
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Ok, I'm not familiar with this model but I'm thinking it's a horizontal? Since the meat at the firebox/smoke chamber hole got done I'm thinking you may need a baffle or some sort of tuning plate to more evenly disperse the heat throughout the chamber. In our files section there's a folder named Mods. Check there about horizontals. I know some need to have the chimney lowered more into the chamber which will help keep smoke in and not just exit straight out. Tuning plates, etc are all covered there. I'm sure someone with a horizontal will chime in soon, if they haven't already by the time I submit this.

Sorry I couldn't help more.
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Unread 03-21-2005, 02:08 PM   #5
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Your chimney should be wide open.

Take the sand out from under the firegrate or raise the grate up with something - rock, 1/2 bricks, etc. Open your vents - full open to start and then down to 1/2 or smaller as the chamber comes up to temp. Don't close the chimney damper except as a last resort to snuff a fire down.

" Edited since I seem to be the only person that has zero success with the Minion method in a sheet metal horizontal." Do it their way and then make a simple bakset and see if my way just might work. :D

Extend the chimney down to the cooking grate with a split juice can or a piece of aluminum flashing formed into a roll.

If your wood is nice and dry you can use it to supplement the charcoal or burn all wood - however, an all wood brn takes a lot of attention.

Basically it sound like you're not getting air flow and may just have too small of a fire.[/b]
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Unread 03-21-2005, 02:18 PM   #6
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Thanks a lot "jt" I got a reply from DFLittle and he gave me the information I needed. You were a big help also. So now I know that I need a baffle (duh), extend the chimney, raise the firegrate, and stop using the minion method without a fire box. Dang maybe I need to go back to the gas grill (laughing). You guys have a blessed day, and I hope to talk with you again.
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Unread 03-21-2005, 02:25 PM   #7
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Take a look at our Files section, Mods, Horizontal Smoker Mods, etc. etc.

Lots of good info that came from some other sources - lots of us have or have had horizontal (New Braunfels, OK Joes, etc.) cookers and so we have these pages -- lots of help and hints on baffles, etc. :D

I've got a NB horizontal in my menagerie and it cooks fine - I've just gotten to where I use my WSM a lot more. I made a simple expanded steel charcoal basket (quick and dirty with no welds or wire - just cut and bend) and a 20-something gauge baffle that sticks about 10" into the horizontal chamber.

Good luck - with this and the job!
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Unread 03-21-2005, 02:50 PM   #8
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In addition to the aformentioned suggestions, much heat is lost through the top of the firebox. There's an easy fix that will also extend the life of the unit greatly. Get a piece of (preferrably stainless and definately not aluminum or galvanized) steel sheet that measures the same as the footprint of the firebox but a few inches wider. Bend this piece into an arc and insert it inside the firebox lid. Thats it!
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Unread 03-21-2005, 03:54 PM   #9
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The smoken pit is a silver smoker in disguise. Extend the chimney down to grate level with a soup can. Cut ends out and cut lengthwise insert into the chimeny and let it spring open.. bringh it down to the grate. If you want to go further, you can cut a hole out in the grate that will allow the extension slighlty beyond that.

There are pictures of my baffle in the gallery and aslo in the mods section. The baffle also is extended into a tuning plate(sort of). Airflow in the firebox on that model is ample if u have the grates turned in the right direction, but they fit both ways, so make sure your at the higher setting.

Also, some models have the chimney coming out of the endcap, not the top of the cooking chamber. The soupcan wont work on those, ya may have to improvise.
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Unread 03-21-2005, 04:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Unless you're using some kind of charcoal basket the Minion method won't do you any good -
I beg to differ.
http://www.yellowjacketsystems.com/que/minion/

I use "the method" in my cimarron all the time and have never had a basket. I usually get 3 or so hours per fuel load. Now that I've sealed up the FB door I can load up and get 6-8 but it requires closer monitoring than with smaller loads.
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Unread 03-21-2005, 04:48 PM   #11
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i've seen the minion method work in just about anything with and without baskets. The pics showed above didnt need a basket cause the whole firebox was full wall to wall acting as its own basket. However!, take head, that technique most likly worked just fine becaseu he used lump charcoal. If it was briquettes or kingsford, i thing the dogs would have had the meal due to the bitter taste. So lets get into a technical discussion of the minion method.

IMHO.....

The addition of unlit coals ontop of a lit fire is bad, the coals light slowly and yuks up your food. Right?? right.

In the minion method, ya dump lit coals on TOP of unlit coals. This causes a vertical/downward burn. As the lower coals light, the fumes burn up thru the lit coals and any unbunt stuff in the fumes has a second chance to burn away. Kind of like the catalytic converter in your car oxidizing and burning the unburned emmissions before going out the exhaust. This is how we get away with breaking the rule of not adding unlit charcoal briquettes to a lit fire. Of course, lump is the exception.

These pics KC posted from Jim Ball are using lump charcoal, which is ok to put on top of a fire because all the impurities are already burned out of them. The technique Jim Ball used was to light a can in the center of the lump and have it burn outward... a horizontal Minion method, instead of vertical. OK here, because its lump. But if this was kingsford or other briquettes, I think the lighting of the coals horizontally would cause the impurities to impart a nasty taste on the food. They would rise directly out of the pile, without that second chance of burning off their impurities.

Now.. a caveat. The "S" burn in the Klose firebasket. Horizontal burn - Any takers.??
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Unread 03-21-2005, 05:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
i've seen the minion method work in just about anything with and without baskets. The pics showed above didnt need a basket cause the whole firebox was full wall to wall acting as its own basket. However!, take head, that technique most likly worked just fine becaseu he used lump charcoal. If it was briquettes or kingsford, i thing the dogs would have had the meal due to the bitter taste. So lets get into a technical discussion of the minion method.

IMHO.....

The addition of unlit coals ontop of a lit fire is bad, the coals light slowly and yuks up your food. Right?? right.

In the minion method, ya dump lit coals on TOP of unlit coals. This causes a vertical/downward burn. As the lower coals light, the fumes burn up thru the lit coals and any unbunt stuff in the fumes has a second chance to burn away. Kind of like the catalytic converter in your car oxidizing and burning the unburned emmissions before going out the exhaust. This is how we get away breaking the rule of not adding unlit charcoal briquettes to a lit fire. Of course, lump is the exception.

These pics KC posted from Jim Ball are using lump charcoal, which is ok to put on top of a fire because all the impurities are already burned out of them. The technique Jim Ball used was to light a can in the center of the lump and have it burn outward... a horizontal Minion method, instead of vertical. OK here, because its lump. But if this was kingsford or other briquettes, I think the lighting of the coals horizontally would cause the impurities to impart a nasty taste on the food. They would rise directly out of the pile, without that second chance and burning off their impurities
Phil, your theory is dead on. In practice I get the same "catalytic converter" effect burning horizontally by starting the fire at the smokebox end of my firebox and having the fumes pass thru the hottest part of the fire before entering the smokebox.
I always use kingsford and chunked up splits and never have had a bad smoke problem in the Cimarron. Following my system, Cue'lio gets similar results. 3 hrs unattended with a chimney of unlit with some chunks ignited by a half chimney or so at the smokebox end, at the end of 3 hrs I push the remaining coal back to the smokebox end, add another load of fresh fuel and start the process again.
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Unread 03-21-2005, 06:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcquer
Quote:
Unless you're using some kind of charcoal basket the Minion method won't do you any good -
I beg to differ.
http://www.yellowjacketsystems.com/que/minion/

I use "the method" in my cimarron all the time and have never had a basket. I usually get 3 or so hours per fuel load. Now that I've sealed up the FB door I can load up and get 6-8 but it requires closer monitoring than with smaller loads.
No need to "beg to differ with me" I know what works on my cooker - I can't speak about yours since 1. it's built heavier, 2. you've modified the door which improves the fire control, 3. you've got a much bigger firebox than what I use.

So, whatever pops your cork. I was just letting the bro know what works in a CHEAP sheet metal cooker. :D

Your mileage will vary!
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Unread 03-21-2005, 08:21 PM   #14
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Um..... first question that comes to mind..... what are you using to tell the temp of the smoke chamber? If it is the door mount that comes with the unit, then that may be the problem and you may not have a temp problem. Get a few cheap standup oven therms., and place them inside, and fire the beast up. you may be up to temp.
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Unread 08-08-2008, 12:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jt View Post
In our files section there's a folder named Mods. Check there about horizontals. I know some need to have the chimney lowered more into the chamber which will help keep smoke in and not just exit straight out. Tuning plates, etc are all covered there. I'm sure someone with a horizontal will chime in soon, if they haven't already by the time I submit this.
Is this still around, I can't find it. I have the same problem too low heat.
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