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Brinkmann upright smoker not hot enough!

I have an upright brinkmann smoker, not the bullet style, but the square one with two doors that i can't get above 200 degrees. My guess is that the fire pot is too far above the vents and not burning properly. I can move the fire pot down (below the vents) but then it is father from the water pan. I think it is a design flaw. Any help would be geatly appreciated.

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  • Anonymous Aug 02, 2008

    same problem

  • Anonymous Aug 17, 2008

    same here...

  • Cathedral Sep 11, 2008

    I do have the same issue and will try drilling the holes. My other question, how often do you ahve to add or replace the coals? I fell i am always trying to keep it going. If the coals are burning so dang fast then where is all my heat?

  • Anonymous Sep 28, 2008

    Same thing. Not hihger than 150 degrees. Have to add some dry wood and keep lower door slightly open.

  • martinchadwi Nov 03, 2008

    I driled a bunch of .5" hole in the charcoal pan & got the temp up to 250. I had an old frying pan, took the handle off, & used it to collect the the ash.

    I get approx' 1.5hrs from one pan of coals.

  • Anonymous Nov 09, 2008

    i tried to put some bricks at the bottom to retain heat but it made no difference. Will try the hole drilling idea...

  • Anonymous Dec 29, 2008

    same here

  • cantcookchit Apr 12, 2009

    I have the same problem, cant get past 150 deg. And I've already started cooking too. This really sucks!

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I have a very similar smoker to this and this is what I have to solve the problem.

First drill some holes in the fire pan. This gives more air to the charcoal to get a hotter burn. I went with about 6 or so holes around the sides of the pan with a 1/2" bit. You could also get a grill basket from Home Depot. It is a square pan with holes throughout and made out of stainless steel. I bought one, but switched back because you can't hold as much charcoal/wood.

Second, get some play sand and fill the water pan with it. You will need to cover it with some heavy duty foil to keep drippings off it. Also, add some water to it once in a while to keep it moist. This should not only help in raising the temps, but give you a more consistent temperature as well.

Third, invest in a good grill/smoker thermometer to make sure the one on the front isn't wrong. My smoker is the hottest in the back (not sure why) and the thermometers on these brinkman's probably aren't the most accurate.

Posted on Feb 12, 2009

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I am having the same problem. can get it above 200 degrees. i have read that you can drill holes in the charcoal bowl to increase the airflow to the charcoal. should have done that myself before i started smoking these ribs..

Posted on Aug 02, 2008

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Go to Home Depot and buy an 18.5 inch Weber replacement charcoal grate. This will fit almost exact inside the 14 inch Brinkman charcoal pan. Make some legs for it out of nuts, bolts, and washers so the grate will sit a couple of inches or so above the bottom of the charcoal pan. Add vent holes to the bottom of smoker and also to the bottom of the pan to help the whole unit breathe better. I also added three small holes to the lid to approximate what you see on a Weber unit. I recently tried the new Kingsford Competition charcoal briquettes using the Minion Method. Definitely seem to burn hotter and more reliably than lump charcoal. With these mods I got a good 12 hour sustained burn on a Boston **** the other day. Also don't fill the water pan to full. Keeps the temp down. Good Luck!

Posted on Aug 14, 2009

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It must be a epidemic, with this two door Brinkman!!! I love the little smoker but just like everyone else. I guess I am going to "Drill Baby Drill." I have a beautiful brisket I am preparing. Also rib and sausage. I hate you can get the heat right ! I love the design. fasttony 46

Posted on Sep 03, 2010

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  • hunsaker13 Sep 12, 2010

    I had the same problem and bought a "Mr. Bar-B-Q Platinum Prestige Stainless-Steel 12-Inch Wok Topper" from Amazon.com for $12.99 and now I'm having to shut all the vents to keep the temperature down to 250 degrees. This grated wok is a PERFECT fit to the smoker, the 'handles' slide into the original charcoal pan guides! ENJOY!

  • hunsaker13 Sep 12, 2010

    I had the same problem and bought a "Mr. Bar-B-Q Platinum Prestige Stainless-Steel 12-Inch Wok Topper" from Amazon.com for $12.99 and now I'm having to shut all the vents to keep the temperature down to 250 degrees. This grated wok is a PERFECT fit to the smoker, the 'handles' slide into the original charcoal pan guides! ENJOY!

  • hunsaker13 Sep 12, 2010

    I had the same problem and bought a "Mr. Bar-B-Q Platinum Prestige Stainless-Steel 12-Inch Wok Topper" from Amazon.com for $12.99 and now I'm having to shut all the vents to keep the temperature down to 250 degrees. This grated wok is a PERFECT fit to the smoker, the 'handles' slide into the original charcoal pan guides! ENJOY!

  • hunsaker13 Sep 12, 2010

    Sorry for the repeated posts..it kept giving me an error.

  • Tony Frederick Feb 20, 2011

    I just drilled a bunch of holes in my charcoal pan as well, It brought my temperature up to 250 to 275 range. I think more holes, or at least bigger holes. Not enough air flow !

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I just conditioned my smoker today and noticed i could barely reach 200 degrees on the front thermometer. I let it burn while I was reading every ones posts. I went back out and the temp gauge on the door read about 175. I put my digital thermometer in the upper side and it read 215 degrees. When it cools down I will drill some holes in the coal pan and it should cook perfect. I will though get a remote thermometer for it.

Posted on Mar 15, 2010

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I have the same problem, and am glad it isn't just me. i was wondering if the hole drilling worked for people. Also, I am a novice at this, do all fill the entire coal pan with coals, then try and place some wood on it. There doesn't seem to be a lot of room for that.

Posted on Nov 09, 2008

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We were having the same problem with our upright Brinkmann smoker, so we were trying different things and this is what worked...if you can fit your meat on the very top shelf then you can move your water up closer to the meat, I think the issue is the water bowl smothers out the fire with out enough oxygen to keep it hot! We are going to put holes in our fire bowl next time because it fills up with ashes quickly, that is a great tip! Good luck!

Posted on Aug 30, 2009

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