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My Brinkmann Gourmet Smoker Modifications
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dob49737



Joined: 13 Sep 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Brentwood, California

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14 11 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fxpose, thanks for the response, im alittle confused, if you could have gone with the 1.5 in hole on the bottom why did you put more holes in it (the drilled holes) and then increased the size of it?.....

also, would you recommend putting a alum damper stick on the middle intake hole to control the temp?...

I am new at this and am getting hooked. I want to make sure that I can get my smoker working at its best.....

I have a buddy who wants to give me an Electric smoker, thinking of taking it, gutting it and turning it into charcoal, any suggestions....it's older so I have to do some cosmetics on it on top of taking out the electric element (is that hard to do?)
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dob49737



Joined: 13 Sep 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Brentwood, California

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14 11 8:40 am    Post subject: modication webpage pic Reply with quote

Day_tripper...

Just started this last night (reading topics), if you have another webpage with those pics I would love to see them, other than that maybe I should have stopped sipping the sauce last night, because i can't find them (pics that is)...

any visual aid would help....my family is from Salem/Bev MA. hows the weather there right now, alittle humid?

what's up with our SOX...and the PATS last night Spanked those FISH!...

Again, any help would be "GRATE"fully appreciated
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day_trippr
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Joined: 08 May 2009
Posts: 3206
Location: Stow, MA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14 11 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah - ok, it seems you haven't actually seen my epic tome Very Happy

Check it out: http://home.comcast.net/~day_trippr/smoker_mods.htm

It'll take at least a couple of beers to get through the whole thing Wink If it doesn't answer all your questions, come on back here and fire away!

Cheers!
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fxpose
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Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 76
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14 11 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dob49737 wrote:
fxpose, thanks for the response, im alittle confused, if you could have gone with the 1.5 in hole on the bottom why did you put more holes in it (the drilled holes) and then increased the size of it?.....

I was pretty much experimenting with this and that at the time. I should have never drilled those holes in the first place. I thought bigger was better...Smile)
But the aluminum damper at the bottom of the pan works very well and precise. I use my foot so I don't have to bend down.
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dob49737



Joined: 13 Sep 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Brentwood, California

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14 11 10:29 am    Post subject: Charcoal conversion Reply with quote

fxpose wrote:
dob49737 wrote:
fxpose, thanks for the response, im alittle confused, if you could have gone with the 1.5 in hole on the bottom why did you put more holes in it (the drilled holes) and then increased the size of it?.....

I was pretty much experimenting with this and that at the time. I should have never drilled those holes in the first place. I thought bigger was better...Smile)
But the aluminum damper at the bottom of the pan works very well and precise. I use my foot so I don't have to bend down.



Gottcha, will give it a try....on the bottom...how did you configure your conversion to charcoal, what equipment did you use?????
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fxpose
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Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 76
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17 11 4:29 am    Post subject: Re: Charcoal conversion Reply with quote

dob49737 wrote:

Gottcha, will give it a try....on the bottom...how did you configure your conversion to charcoal, what equipment did you use?????


Sorry, I don't understand the question. As far as tools used or materials used?
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dob49737



Joined: 13 Sep 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Brentwood, California

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20 11 9:52 pm    Post subject: modifications foxpose Reply with quote

Sorry, don't worry about the last post, i got it figured out...BUT looking at your pics with the webber kettle...my buddy gave me one so i am going to do the same thing,

I was also thinking of doing the UDS intake valves at the bottom, I already have a ball valve at the bottom where the hole was for the heating element entrance, (1/2 inch) works fine...so I am going to cover up the bottom hole, put in two 1 inch nipples on the sides and use magnets to cover the holes up...........

did you get your temp issued resolved with the kettle grill did the temps work out (remember you saying temps were hotter at grill level than on top)....what size stove rope did you use between the kettle grill and the base mount????

also how big is the hole that you cut out of the webber grill.....at the bottom?.....
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listo



Joined: 03 Jan 2011
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22 11 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just did another smoke on the Gourmet.

I picked a similar cut as last time. Bottom Round to 155. I made the rest of my mods to compare both smokes. I did the 3 intakes on the bottom like many members here have done and 1 exhaust. I used Weber kettle vents for all. I covered the stock hole with some metal and red rtv. I used foil as before to seal the lid as with the first cook.

Okay- now to the smoke. I found it very hard to control the temps with 3 vents. Very hard time getting it to stay below 265-275. I was getting very good smoke but with the vents all closed it still was tough to control. I had some major temp climbs to 320ish a few times. Leaks could be present. The food still came out great as before. I do have a the charcoal grate done and the basket was filled and I used the minion method with about 15 lit coals.

I do think 3 vents were overkill and possible just making a proper vent for the stock hole would work perfect and obviously make adjustments much easier. I may order the Brinkman portable so I can get another bottom that comes with handles and then just make a vent for the intake hole.

Overall the family did enjoy dinner very much. Need to practice more Smile
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day_trippr
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Joined: 08 May 2009
Posts: 3206
Location: Stow, MA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25 11 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The number of intakes really isn't that far out of line when you consider the WSM uses the same three and it's only a couple of inches larger in diameter. I did write that the size of the intake holes and dampers I created was bigger than required, due to using the hole cutter I had on hand, and I advised using a smaller hole cutter. But in use this has never made much of an impact as I've never had an issue keeping the li'l bullet purring nicely.

More importantly than the number of intakes, on a bullet smoker as small as the Gourmet, it is crucial to have all the fittings as air-tight as possible, because it doesn't take much of a leak to make handling difficult. Fitting all of the intake dampers - and the door - tightly and keeping them so goes a long way to providing a pretty easy cooker to control.

Also - and applicable to pretty much any cooker - the start-up is very important. If you fire up too much charcoal at the beginning you'll be fighting it through the whole cook. I light up only a third of a Weber chimney with lump and always try to "sneak up" to cooking temperature. Makes a huge difference in how the day goes.

Today I'm smoking up a full rack of spares - should be glazing it in the next 30 minutes - and the cooker was as well behaved as always, holding between 220 and 240°F for the whole six hours it's been running, while I spent most of that time doing a second and final harvest of my hops. I kept my Maverick remote in my shirt pocket set to beep if the cooker ran above 240°F. It never went off.

Right now, as I sit in my office, with the Maverick probes both checking the cooker temp at grate level (cooker probe clipped in the middle of the underside of the top grate, food probe slid into the ferrule I installed an inch under the same grate) the remote has the food and cooker probes reading 229 and 230, respectively...

Cheers!
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rygleason
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Joined: 02 Dec 2011
Posts: 107
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02 11 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wife gave me an early Christmas present in buying me the Gourmet Brinkmann. I am going to do the mods that Daytrippr kindly wrote up. I have already completed the raised charcoal grate and installing a dependable temp gauge. I have also tinkered with the access door (slightly bent it where needed with needlenose pliers) to get it to seal as good as possible. I am installing the dampers, hi-temp rope, bottom body handles, and raising the leg height this Friday.

I did do a premature cook this past weekend with just the raised charcoal grate and dependable temp gauge. I chose to do a smoked beercan chicken. It came out fantastic, but i did have a challenge in regulating the temp. During my test run, I got it to hover around 250 (highest i could get it). The beercan chicken recipe called for 275. I figured 250 would be good enough. Once i put the chicken in, highest i could get it was about 230. No complaints by me, just meant longer cooking time. Towards the end of the cook it was about 205-210. i just figure that this was an issue because the fire was not getting enough air. installing the dampers should help fix this. i cant wait to do another cook this weekend after all of the mods are completed.
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jjjonz
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Joined: 16 Dec 2009
Posts: 43
Location: Dothan Al.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 03 12 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to get a higher temp don't use water.I haven't used water in over a year.Just foil the waterpan,for easy clean up.If you ever try it you may never use water again either.ome people the water keeps it moist,but Mmy cooks are moist as ever.
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Brian



Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27 12 6:14 am    Post subject: Master Forge Reply with quote

Hi everyone!

First I want to thank day_trippr for the excellent DIY mod write up. Thank you for sharing it with us!

I'm new here and as I type I'm seasoning/test firing my modded Master Forge smoker. I followed day_trippr's article as best I could. (How you made those leg bends so well, I do not know. Haha)

It's going fine but I have a question. Why would the lid temp read 250 and the body (above the door) read about 170?


Here's what I did.

I filled a weber chimney starter about 1/3 full of Kingsford charcoal to start, with about the same amount of unlit coals around the edge of the pan. The water dish is 2/3 full.

I have one set of inlet holes (as opposed to the three sets in the article) and one set of outlet holes in the lid both running wide open. (7/8 dia holes)

The body gauge is one I bought from Lowes and has a 2.5? inch stem.

it's been steady running at 250/170 for about 2 hours. I just don't know if the lid is correct or the body is. Maybe both are right and the stem is too short on the body and is picking up air leak from the door?

BTW it's in the mid 30's here



Thanks in advance!
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DanB
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Joined: 17 Feb 2012
Posts: 101
Location: North New Jersey

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16 12 4:07 am    Post subject: Temp gauge install?? Reply with quote

"The body gauge is one I bought from Lowes and has a 2.5? inch stem."

How did you guys attach the temp gauge?
I would like to install a Candy temp.Some other gauges have a wing nut, but the candy temps just have the stem.

Thanks DanB
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SoEzzy
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Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 13184
Location: SLC, UT

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16 12 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a NPFT or whatever they call them with a hole the correct size, slide the thermometer through the hole.
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day_trippr
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Joined: 08 May 2009
Posts: 3206
Location: Stow, MA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20 12 12:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Master Forge Reply with quote

Brian wrote:
[...]It's going fine but I have a question. Why would the lid temp read 250 and the body (above the door) read about 170?[...]


The stock lid thermometer on the Gourmet doesn't actually read in degrees, so it's a bit difficult to provide absolute correlation.

That said, when I stick a wired thermometer probe down through the added top vent, it always reads higher than the candy thermometer I installed through the main body cylinder just below the top grate level. Typically the difference is around 20°F, sometimes a bit higher. And if I switch the positions of the wired probe and the candy thermometer, that same difference exists - so it's not either thermometer, it's their relative positions.

I've always attributed this to multiple factors: the candy thermometer I added through the upper body is long enough to read nearly the center of the cooker, and with the water pan in place, the heat from the fire is deflected outwards, so I expect the center is at least somewhat cooler. Further, that same heat flow will converge at the lid. Finally, and elementally, heat rises Wink so as long as the water pan is in place, I would expect the lid area to be the hottest.

Thanks for the kind words wrt my humble write-up. I had a lot of fun with that project, and Frankenbrinkmann is still smokin'!

Cheers!
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FrankennBrinkmann ECB
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day_trippr
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Joined: 08 May 2009
Posts: 3206
Location: Stow, MA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20 12 12:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Temp gauge install?? Reply with quote

DanB wrote:
"The body gauge is one I bought from Lowes and has a 2.5? inch stem."

How did you guys attach the temp gauge?
I would like to install a Candy temp.Some other gauges have a wing nut, but the candy temps just have the stem.

Thanks DanB


I picked up a brass threaded 1/4" ID ferrule that included a pair of brass nuts. These are typically used to hold the shade on a table or floor lamp.

http://home.comcast.net/~day_trippr/junkdrawer/smoker/smoker_31.jpg

[Ignore the RTV - I tried to seal up the slight gap between the thermometer stem and the inside of of the ferrule but every time I pulled the thermometer out to remove the water pan the thin sleeve of RTV came out with the probe. Finally realized the gap is so slight it wasn't worth bothering to seal it up]

I drilled a hole an inch below the level of the top grate and installed the ferrule.

http://home.comcast.net/~day_trippr/junkdrawer/smoker/smoker_30.jpg

With the ferrule in place I just stick the thermometer probe through.

http://home.comcast.net/~day_trippr/junkdrawer/smoker/smoker_29.jpg

Cheers!
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Rinngrizz
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Joined: 13 Mar 2012
Posts: 525
Location: Sioux Falls, SD

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24 12 11:20 pm    Post subject: Ecb mod Reply with quote

Decided to pick up a cheap gourmet I found on Craig's list. Only $30 so not a huge investment. I have also been considering a UDS as a summer project. On a UDS, they recommend the use of a ball valve to help control air intake, my questions are

1) do you think it's a good idea to use one on an ecb?

2) will one ball valve be enough intake to get it hot enough at the end to finish/glaze ribs?

3) anyone got some tasty que for me because all this thinking/talkin/reading about the craft is making me HUNGRY!!
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day_trippr
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Joined: 08 May 2009
Posts: 3206
Location: Stow, MA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31 12 9:25 am    Post subject: Re: Ecb mod Reply with quote

Rinngrizz wrote:
[...]
1) do you think it's a good idea to use one on an ecb?


Unless it's a huge valve, I don't think one would be enough. Most UDS builders actually have three or four inlets, with one or two of them having valves.

Quote:
2) will one ball valve be enough intake to get it hot enough at the end to finish/glaze ribs?


If you get the Gourmet sealed up nice and tight, I'd say "definitely not enough". When I crank up the heat to glazing temp I have all three of my dampers wide open, and that's like 7 square inches of inlet working for me.

Quote:
3) anyone got some tasty que for me because all this thinking/talkin/reading about the craft is making me HUNGRY!!


Umm.....no? Sorry...

Cheers Wink
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Rinngrizz
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Joined: 13 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31 12 12:53 pm    Post subject: Valve Reply with quote

Thanks trippr. I decided to go with your sheeting but 3/4" holes instead of 1in. Having an issue finding 20ga sheeting though. None of my local big box stores seem to have it.
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Mochaboy



Joined: 06 May 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Sudbury, MA

PostPosted: Fri May 11 12 10:34 pm    Post subject: THANK YOU!!! Reply with quote

So this is how it starts huh? This low and slow road to barbecue mastery?

Day Tripper - thank you thank you thank you! I came across your post after shopping around for a smoker. Like many of you before me, it was a choice between a $300 WSM and a $50 bullet with some extra cash for mods.

I'm the type of guy who buys something, rips it open, tosses out the instructions FIRST, study the parts, figure out how to make it better, THEN put it all together. Sure I could spend the cash and forego the trouble, but as many cooks would attest to, technique > equipment (though I admit equipment is important too) - not to mention it's more rewarding :)

Anyway, I ended up with the Master Forge Smoker from Lowes. I was able to buy all the aluminum sheets there as well along with the stainless steel hardware.

Shopping List
* Permatex RTV Copper (couldn't stand the look of blue or red against that green) $6
* Aluminum sheet for top damper $6
* 5 Stainless Steel nuts and 10 bolts and washers $10
* Aluminum bar for the bottom damper $7
* Weber 7431 Grill for the Charcoal grate $11
* Brinkmann Thermometer (all they had) $12

Tools I didn't have
* 1" dewalt metal hole saw $13
* Wire brush wheel $8
* Metal snips $15

Amazon
* 1/2" Rutland Fiberglass rope, 84" worth - $8

Few build details:
* I have two grates offset in the charcoal pan creating a cross hatch
* I used the Permatex to fix a gasket to the door, but then I had to seal up the hinges as well, so far so good, leaks are minimal
* Thanks for the paperclip tip for rolling the cord down onto the RTV strip for the top lid
* I added a few permatex layers to where each of the smoker components connects to further seal it
* Stock thermometer is reading 350 (new thermometer 230)

Did the mods Wednesday, seasoned yesterday, woke up at 5am this morning to start smoking 6lbs of boston butt I picked up from BJ's yesterday :D I hooked up a webcam to the smoker to monitor the temps from my office and it's been holding steady at 230 since 8am this morning. Bottom vent is open 3/4, exhaust is open all the way, Kingsford Blue bag charcoal stacked using the Minion method. 1 full chimney of unlit briquets, and 1 full chimney of fully lit briquets on top of that. I tried 1/3 fully lit but had trouble hitting smoking temps. Went with a full stack and all is well now. Applewood chips are in a foil purse with holes on top of the coals. I used the Memphis rub recipe from amazingribs.com. My wife's already asking me what BBQ sauce are we going to put on it and I had to resist the urge to blurt out "WTFBBQSAUCE????"

Off to find a cole slaw recipe now.

Will post photos as soon as they're uploaded...just wanted to let you know that I came across your post, and registered for an account here just to say thank you for putting together that awesome walkthrough.

I'm not as patient as you were and mistakes were made, but on balance, the modifications are working exactly the way you said they would :)

Stay tuned for some porknography.

Cheers

Mocha
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