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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 07-14-2011, 08:02 AM   #1
ccoco54
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Default Brinkmann Offset Smoker - Temp Problems

Hey everyone. New to the site and this is my first post so be gentle.

I just got a Brinkmann Offset smoker as a gift. I've looked up all the mods on the internet and I understand they can be temperamental. So far I've only made a shield to prevent high temp by the firebox made out of sheet metal, I also made a "cube" for my charcoal out of expanded metal grade about 10"x10"x8" high and I added seals to the lid since it seemed to be a little bigger than the bottom barrel.

With all this effort, I cannot get the smoker up to temperature. I went through 30lbs of lump charcoal over 5 hours the other weekend on a 80 degree day and couldn't get my temp up above 210. I started with the basket about three quarters full, then put a few chimney's full of charcoal on top.

Anyone have any ideas what I'm doing wrong?
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Unread 07-14-2011, 08:18 AM   #2
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Welcome, I'm fairly new as well. I also started with an offset and did all the mods to control temps. They really helped a lot. When I start mine, my basket is almost full of unlit charcoal with some wood chunks mixed in. I light 12 coals to start and dump them on top of the unlit coals on the side away from the intake vent. I leave the intake and chimney open all the way until I get to temp, then close the intake almost all the way. What kind of thermometer do you have and where is it located? These guys will help you out a lot, it's a great site for learning all this stuff.
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Unread 07-14-2011, 08:26 AM   #3
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A lit full chimney of charcoal should have no problem bringing anything above 210 much less a few lit chimneys. Did you get a temp reading at the cooking grate or on the door?
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Unread 07-14-2011, 08:29 AM   #4
ccoco54
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I bought a digital thermometer, Oregon Scientific AW131. I leave it right in the middle of the grilling surface.

What size basket do you use? If you were to guess, how many pounds of charcoal is in it when you start?
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Unread 07-14-2011, 08:32 AM   #5
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Damp charcoal? Or perhaps a bad thermometer ?
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Unread 07-14-2011, 08:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccoco54 View Post
I bought a digital thermometer, Oregon Scientific AW131. I leave it right in the middle of the grilling surface.

What size basket do you use? If you were to guess, how many pounds of charcoal is in it when you start?
My basket is 12" X 12" and 6" deep. I use 3 full chimneys of unlit charcoal with 4-6 chucks of wood mixed in. I also put a grate in the fire box to keep the basket about 3 inches off the bottom so air can get under it.
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Unread 07-14-2011, 08:40 AM   #7
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I have a Brinkman Smoke n Pit as well and have the same issues with temp. One thing I have changed is the fuel I am using. I was only using Kingsford and my temp would not go above 210 even if I was dumping coal in the cooking chamber.

I am now using Stubbs briquettes from Lowe's and the temp is at 225 to 240 with little effort, I have not made any of the mods yet.

I am going to drop the chimney today and baffle the firebox outlet and see what that does but man the chicken is beautiful coming out of the pit at the moment.

I have a 9# butt I am smoking on Sunday and I am so excited.

So first head out to Lowe's and get some of the Stubb's or another high quality charcoal. I have only used lump to supplement the Stubb's at the end of the smoke. I was losing temp and needed a quick burst of temp for the finish.
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Unread 07-14-2011, 08:57 AM   #8
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Yeah I think on saturday I'm going to play around with it and see what I can do with different fuels. I will definitely stop by Lowes in Connecticut and see if they carry the Stubbs.

I've also thought about lowing my chimney as well. I was thinking about rolling up some light gauge sheet metal and letting it unravel in the chimney to get my diameter right. Do you keep the chimney open or closed during smoking?
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Unread 07-14-2011, 09:10 AM   #9
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As a general rule, keep the chimney wide open. It will help with the air flow amongst other things.

Definitely keep it open if you are having low temp problems.
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Unread 07-14-2011, 09:33 AM   #10
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i don't use a basket and really only have the baffle in between the firebox and cooking chamber. using kingsford and minion with 10 lit charcoals i can get the box up to 250-350 however i see fit real easily.

to get to 250 i only have about 1/4" of the dampener open. 350 usually requires almost an inch open.

are you getting choke smoke (billowy grey) or a nice blue smoke?
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Unread 07-14-2011, 09:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccoco54 View Post
Yeah I think on saturday I'm going to play around with it and see what I can do with different fuels. I will definitely stop by Lowes in Connecticut and see if they carry the Stubbs.

I've also thought about lowing my chimney as well. I was thinking about rolling up some light gauge sheet metal and letting it unravel in the chimney to get my diameter right. Do you keep the chimney open or closed during smoking?
always all the way open. never adjust using it. i learned it the hardway when my food would taste like a hickory tree.
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Unread 07-14-2011, 09:57 AM   #12
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One a side note, I forgot to mention on my first smoke with the pit I used 2 full 16lb bags of kingsford for a 4 hour smoke with chicken 1/4's. My wife about freaked out because we got the smoker given to us but the cost of the fuel is crazy without any mod and when using the lower quality fuel.

Using Stubbs, still with no mods I used right at 2/3 of a 15lb bag 4 chunks of hickory for the first hour of cooking and a handful (6 large pieces) of cowboy lump charcoal. Far less than the kingsford and the heat was 100x's more stable!!
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Unread 07-14-2011, 10:40 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone. This site is quite the resource. It sounds like it's not my equipment, but more the user haha. I will need to play around with it some more and see what I can do. I think I'm going to try some good charcoal and see how I do this weekend.
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Unread 07-14-2011, 10:40 AM   #14
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Not sure if this will help, but with my brinkmann sometimes I found moving the charcoal basket closer to the smoker box helped. The first few times it was closer to the butterfly vent.

Also if you've only done the baffle mod definitely look into the others such as lowering the chimney closer to grate level and also sealing the gaps between the lid and the base. The first time I ran the Brinkmann with no mods the temps were all over the place and after it was pretty consistent. It still burned through charcoal, way more than my WSM. I would say I could get close to 12hrs out of a 16-20lb bag depending on the outside temp.
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Unread 07-14-2011, 11:00 AM   #15
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^^^ keep the vent(s) clear of debris (like charcoal) and wide open. Same for the chimney. Air flow is key. If you're having trouble with temps like you say, then one way or another it has to do with air flow; you're not getting enough. You technically could be restricting the flow by how the meat is placed. Make certain there's room for the air to flow freely around it (the meat) and up to/through the chimney.
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