View Full Version : New Braunfels Bandera

07-05-2011, 01:55 PM
A few years ago someone bought me a New Braunfels Bandera smoker that I used a few times with limited success. Over a winter the cheap little fire box (charcoal holder) that came with it rusted away and I moth balled this smoker for about 3 years. Recently, I had a new firebox/charcoal holder made for it that would really hold up and hold some decent amounts of charcoal/wood and gave it a try this weekend with ribs.

Loaded to the gills with lit charcoal the highest I get was 235 degrees. I had a near miss by a thunderstorm and the resulting wind took the smoker down to 160 degrees and no matter what I did I couldn't get the temp to climb until the wind had died down. I finished the ribs in the oven.

Therefore, are there any other mods that anyone has done on this type of smoker to make it a better platform to use? Or, is it a lost cause and this platform is a failure and I should just move on? :confused:

Thanks in advance.


07-05-2011, 02:00 PM

Read "The inception of the Brethren" and you will see that we started as the Bandera Brethren. :-D

Read the Bandera 101 to get the answers to almost any question.


As to your low temps----poor airflow.

You need room under and around the fire on the intake side and no obstructions in the smoking chamber.

Great smoker!!!


07-05-2011, 02:00 PM
I can't help you with that - but you may not already know that this site was founded by Bandera owners who were apparently too fun for other Bandera owners on an old Yahoo group, so you'll most likely get some great info. A search for Bandera mods may turn up some good stuff as well.

07-05-2011, 04:53 PM
Aye - what the Kap'n said. Every word. :)

Big Jim BBQ
07-05-2011, 05:54 PM
Agreed .... read Bandera 101. I had the same problem with my first one. I had a new fire grate built that sat a few inches off the bottom of the fire box and put a piece of stainless steel in the firebox lid. Both mods are explained in the Bandera 101. I still burn a good bit of wood along with the charcoal to maintain temps. But it's a great smpker as far as I'm concerned. I'm on my 2nd one. Oh, I also use a charcoal basket.

Big Jim BBQ
07-05-2011, 05:59 PM
Here's a better pic. This is my 2nd one and it was still new but is now well used and love it.


07-05-2011, 07:48 PM
i cut a piece of expanded metal to use as a charcoal grate. I slide it and the grate that came with the smoker into a slot about 4 inches off the bottom of the firebox. Great airflow. I use a chimney of coals for a base and burn wood, adding another chimney of coals every 2-3 hours. I cooked chicken at 325 a few weeks ago. It is a great cooker and i get better results with it than any of my other ones.

07-05-2011, 09:16 PM
i almost bought one long ago at wal mart. i didn't and now i regret it. nothing like that around here.

07-05-2011, 10:46 PM
Yep read the Bandera 101 document. I love mine - picked it up for $60 from someone who just used it as a grill.

07-06-2011, 08:39 AM
Kapn & Big Jim,

My eternal gratitude for the info. I will put some money into it and make the mods. I look forward to many good smokes on it and will thank you both every time.

Hippy Hay
06-05-2019, 07:36 PM
Thank You for the Welcome and Certainly a Pleasure to be a part. I was Lucky enough to find a New Braunfels Bandera and for only $150 Canadian. It had a bit of surface rust but nothing major. I Absolutely Love it! I have never had a problem maintaining 250. On windy days I just place the Unit so as I get the kind air flow I'm looking for with no backdraft. Soon a Total Restoration will be in order to keep Her as She was when New.

06-05-2019, 10:59 PM
Try this mod:

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