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My Brinkmann Gourmet Smoker Modifications
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day_trippr
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Joined: 08 May 2009
Posts: 3206
Location: Stow, MA

PostPosted: Mon May 14 12 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ol' orbit swung me back by to catch up on the 'Ring...

Rinngrizz, hopefully you found what you needed months ago, but fwiw, I'm pretty sure I got my aluminum sheet from the local HD.

Greetings, Mochaboy, and welcome to the Smoke Ring! Thanks for the kind words, they're appreciated! Hope your inaugural cook went well! Post pics when you get a round tuit!

fwiw, my Brinkmann is still hanging in there after three years of frequent use. Somewhat amazing considering how thin the metal bits are. I'm pretty sure the bottom body pan is the most likely to fail first, and as Brinkmann won't sell that part separately afaict, it's worth keeping an eye on its condition. I keep the bottom body pan clean of ash so it doesn't accumulate/hold moisture, and sand off any surface rust and repainting when needed (I've done it yearly)...

Cheers!
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hybridtrendz



Joined: 16 May 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed May 16 12 10:05 am    Post subject: brinkmann mods Reply with quote

I just recently bought my electric brinkmann. I wanted to do some of these mods to it. My first smoker, so I went the easy route, may work into charcoal, who knows. Anyway, I'm having trouble finding a thermometer that'll work for the smoker, everything I found doesnt have enough markings in the 150-300 range, even the candy ones. I looked at wal-mart and lowes. The lowes one is for a grill and ranges 100-700, the 250 mark is too small to get an actual reading it looks like to me. Anyone have anywhere else, I've browsed online but everything seems to be going to digital.
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rygleason
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Joined: 02 Dec 2011
Posts: 107
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26 12 3:09 am    Post subject: Re: brinkmann mods Reply with quote

hybridtrendz wrote:
I just recently bought my electric brinkmann. I wanted to do some of these mods to it. My first smoker, so I went the easy route, may work into charcoal, who knows. Anyway, I'm having trouble finding a thermometer that'll work for the smoker, everything I found doesnt have enough markings in the 150-300 range, even the candy ones. I looked at wal-mart and lowes. The lowes one is for a grill and ranges 100-700, the 250 mark is too small to get an actual reading it looks like to me. Anyone have anywhere else, I've browsed online but everything seems to be going to digital.


I bought a replacement weber smokey mountain temp gauge off of ebay. i am really liking it after cooking with it for 6 months. i figured if it is good enough for the WSM it is good enough for my ECB Very Happy
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-Modified Brinkmann Gourmet charcoal smoker
-22.5" Blue Weber OTG kettle
-'69 18.5" Weber redhead daisy wheel kettle restored
-mini WSM
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rygleason
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Joined: 02 Dec 2011
Posts: 107
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Sat Jun 30 12 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UPDATE: LEGS ADDED! Very Happy
dont think i have posted my build in this thread so, here it goes!

so I am a slacker and I am finally making a thread on my ECB mods I did back in Jan this year. I have done 4-5 cooks on it since and I am very impressed with it so far. I started with the out of the box Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal Smoker. I got all of these ideas from Day_tripprs build(Thanks so much sir!) I still need to extend the legs on it, for know i have just been setting it up on pave stones.

here is the finished product:


started by plugging the hold at the base with electrical box knock out plugs:


Next were the handles for the charcoal base:


Now to drill holes for the dampers on the base:


Now to add the dampers and bolts with nuts for levers:


All 3 dampers and levers installed:


bolts marked to raise charcoal grate:


bolts installed to raise charcoal grate:


grate raised:


screws installed to mark settings on bottom dampers---1/4 open, 1/2 open, 3/4 open, fully open:


view of finished base with extra charocal grate at 90 degrees to alleviate lump coal fall through:


WSM replacement temp gauge installed:


lid damper installed:


fire rope installed:


all done:


in action:


products of the modifed ECB:








Thanks for any input and your time everyone! Very Happy

LEGS ADDED!










_________________
-Modified Brinkmann Gourmet charcoal smoker
-22.5" Blue Weber OTG kettle
-'69 18.5" Weber redhead daisy wheel kettle restored
-mini WSM
-Smokey Joe silver
-Coleman Road Trip Grill
-Charbroil Performer 3 burner gasser with side burner
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Shdwdrgn



Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22 12 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just had to join the forum so I could say "me too"! Thanks so much, day_trippr, for the incredible web page and information on this mod. I have the same brinkmann, and just today completed the raised charcoal rack, the 'real' thermometer addition, a top vent, and two bottom vents (3/4" holes), and I am currently doing a test burn with a very light load of charcoal. I will probably have to spend more time finding and sealing my leaks - an hour into the burn and I'm sitting at 230 degrees with a single vent 1/8 open, but so far everything looks good. I only put a single light layer of charcoal in the bottom, so I'm curious how long it will burn for. Before the mods (and the reason I went searching online for a better way) was because I did a 6-hour rib smoke last Friday, and used up around 4 pounds of charcoal, while fighting to keep the temperature up... so I'm very curious to see how the smoker works now.
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RD81



Joined: 31 Aug 2012
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31 12 5:01 am    Post subject: very nice builds in here! Question in regards to dampers Reply with quote

I've read about all I can and have decided to take on the fun challenge in modifying the Lowe's Green Master Forge Vertical charcoal water smoker ($59.99) I received as a recent wedding gift. I've already got her seasoned, and a 14 inch charcoal grate mounted 1 inch off the charcoal pan using 1x6 SS screws (may have to secure these with a SS nut later for supporting another grate + fuel). After seasoning I cooked on her just one time knew I didn't want to mess with my fire every 1/2 hour so here I am.
A quick clarification on dampers to rygleason or anyone that knows to help me on my way:

Did you use the Weber Smoker 22 1/2" Smokey Mountain & Kettle 3 Pack Damper Kit seen here?:
http://www.amazon.com/Weber-Smoker-Smokey-Mountain-Kettle/dp/B0088EVQGM/ref=sr_1_2?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1346358471&sr=1-2&keywords=damper+kit

Seems to be conflicting info in regards to which weber dampers will actually work for the convexed surface (top) and which actual size to get, etc. The bottom of the pan where I would like to most likely just put 2 dampers symetrically is obviously flat, while the top is convexed. I'm asumming you had to shapen/bend a damper for the top or flatten the ones for bottom for a snug fit? PS I still have no idea how Day_Trppr(you're awesome) was able to cut those perfect circles out of aluminum stock using tin snips and without starting on the edge of the aluminum... very impressive. I must be missing something there....
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Mochaboy



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

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05 12 3:33 am    Post subject: Cook #5 Reply with quote

Just updating with my progress on my Lowe's MF...

We're all accustomed to "Honey-Do's" but, there's something special with the "Honey Do's" that involve toys you've made.

So this Labor Day weekend, my wife said those magical words - "We (translation YOU) need to smoke up some pulled pork."

Off to BJs for a Boston butt - smallest size they had was 8 lbs, but after the fat trimming and bone are gone - it's more like 5.

Anyway skipping to the chase:
* Completely filled the charcoal grate with Kingsford
* I lit 2/3'ds of a chimney and piled that on top after 15 minutes
* Put on the top - installed the water pan - filled it to maybe a half an inch from the top and closed her up.
* bottom damper at half, top damper at half
* Started at 8pm, finished at 8am
* Ambient temps were around 65-70 degrees and during a foggy night
* I packed up 2 foil purses with apple chips and added them in about 2 hours apart

For temps...
- within 20 minutes of starting she was at 210
- 2 hours she was at 220
- 4 hours later she was at 220
- 6 hours later she started to drop to 190, so I kicked the smoker and 15 minutes later she was back up to 210.
- 8 hours later - she started to drop but I opened the dampers to about 2/3rds and gave it another kick and temps shot back to 210
- After 10 hours - meat rang in about 190 - I decided rather than burn up more charcoal - I'd finish her off in the oven at 200. About an hour or so later she hit 195 and I pulled her off and let her rest for a couple of hours...wrapped towel/cooler and all that.

Moral of the story - easier to sneak up on the temps and the key was - less lit charcoal, and fine tuning dampers using *both the bottom and top dampers.

This was in stark contrast to the first burn, when the top damper stayed full open, and I only adjusted the bottom damper. Plus I lit a full chimney instead of 2/3rds...I had a bear of a time keeping the temperatures down, and because it burned so hot, it burned down too fast necessitating a charcoal swap out 6 hours in.

I'm thrilled with this mod...the only thing I was missing was a remote thermometer so I stuck a wireless IP camera in front of the smoker and checked in from my iPad every so often. I was beyond shocked to see the temperatures hold so steady for so long with little to no intervention.

Pulled pork was beyond gorgeous coming out of the smoker...first time it came out decent but the outer edges were a little overcooked...this time - it was tender from tip to tip.

I'm eating some now while I try to figure out what the hell to do with the 3lbs of left overs.

Cheers

Mocha
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rygleason
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Joined: 02 Dec 2011
Posts: 107
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13 12 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

no pics Mocha? Laughing

glad to hear your long cook was successful. one thing i might recommend is to try using royal oak lump charcoal to keep down on the amount of ash build up that KB produces.......
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-Modified Brinkmann Gourmet charcoal smoker
-22.5" Blue Weber OTG kettle
-'69 18.5" Weber redhead daisy wheel kettle restored
-mini WSM
-Smokey Joe silver
-Coleman Road Trip Grill
-Charbroil Performer 3 burner gasser with side burner
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Woodrow50



Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26 13 9:37 pm    Post subject: Charcoal basket Reply with quote

Now that I'm running out of mods for my converted electric Brinkmann Gourmet, thanks to Day_trippr's great work, I figured I'd share my progress and my latest upgrade.

I followed day_tripprs guide to a T. The only thing I still need to do is add the wood to my bottom handles and the middle grate racks. I do have a top damper, can't see it in this picture, but the lid has become quite discolored on that side so I figured I'd show off the prettier side.



I went with only 2 dampers on the under side and have never had an issue needing more airflow, even in sub 30 weather.



I did have to do some extra mods to get it to burn charcoal. I sealed up the element holes with left over sheet metal from the dampers and some RTV. Also had to cut in vents into the charcoal pan and vent holes around its perimeter.



I used the perpendicular charcoal grates for minimal lump loss, but I did experience some sagging of the two causing a gap between them and charcoal loss. I have since bolted them together with some stainless hardware. I also added two 8" stainless eye bolts, which help keep the grates together and also act as handles to remove the grate and shake off the ash. I bent a quick handle out of metal rod to more easily pick up the grates and eventual basket.



I then fabricated a 6" tall basket ring for the charcoal out of expanded metal and stainless hardware. I simply cut a 12"x24" sheet in half, formed it round, and bolted it together.



The basket fits like a glove and will hold quite a bit more coals for longer burns. Also, I don't lose any unburnt coals over the sides when cleaning up after a cook.



Next up wil be the middle cooking grate brackets, and a new thermometer as I don't like how my candy thermometer fits so loosely and rotates on me. I have a more permanent solution in transit from amazon, one with a 2.5 inch probe. Hopefully that will still give me a fairly accurate reading.

All this work and many successful cooks convinced my neighbor to get a smoker. Although he went with the WSM, I'd put this steady gem up against his any day of the week!


Last edited by Woodrow50 on Sun Jan 27 13 3:46 am; edited 2 times in total
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Jarhead
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Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 7355
Location: Marionville, Home of the White Squirrels, Missouri

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26 13 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome aboard Woodrow50.
1st thing you need to do is resize your pics to 640x480, before Mr. Bear sees them and turns them into links.
Here's a How-To
Great job on the mods, BTW.
Now let's see some groceries coming off of it. Wink
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Woodrow50



Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27 13 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jarhead wrote:
Welcome aboard Woodrow50.
1st thing you need to do is resize your pics to 640x480, before Mr. Bear sees them and turns them into links.
Here's a How-To
Great job on the mods, BTW.
Now let's see some groceries coming off of it. Wink


Whoops! My bad, think I got it fixed. And thanks!
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Jarhead
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Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 7355
Location: Marionville, Home of the White Squirrels, Missouri

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27 13 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are most welcome. Wink
Looks great. Now where are the groceries? Very Happy
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MacEggs
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Joined: 20 Dec 2010
Posts: 1740
Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28 13 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the Ring, Woodrow50!
Your mods look excellent! Smile

I added the middle grate position, and have used it more often than not.
I find that the bottom grate position essentially sits on the water pan,
so, therefore it does not take on as much smoke.
The middle one is good for smoke, and I like it for doing turkeys - just that extra bit of room. Very Happy
It is also a good position for beer can chicken. Very Happy
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Woodrow50



Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29 13 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MacEggs wrote:
Welcome to the Ring, Woodrow50!
Your mods look excellent! Smile

I added the middle grate position, and have used it more often than not.
I find that the bottom grate position essentially sits on the water pan,
so, therefore it does not take on as much smoke.
The middle one is good for smoke, and I like it for doing turkeys - just that extra bit of room. Very Happy
It is also a good position for beer can chicken. Very Happy


Thanks Mac! I fabricated the second level brackets Saturday and put them and the charcoal basket to use on some mustard glazed chicken thighs. The higher level second grate was perfect for keeping the thighs all cooking at the same pace.



After further review, I'm not sure if I have more charcoal volume than before with the basket, as I am losing some charcoal space in the gap between the basket and the original charcoal basin. Although, now I don't worry about coals sleuthing through the side holes or minion coals falling off the top of the heap. The cleanup is much easier, just a grab of the handle and a few shakes of the basket and you are left with ready to coals for next time. The other benefit may be for longer burns because the coals are sacked higher, and minion coals should slowly burn their way down. But that's just a guess.

I think I've run out of modifications. Anybody got any ideas for further tinkering?
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day_trippr
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Joined: 08 May 2009
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Location: Stow, MA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10 13 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi folks!

I see there have been a few new modded cookers added to the thread. Great stuff! Thanks for the pics!

I just received a PM to the effect that Comcast has finally shut down my old user space after I fled to FiOS three months ago. I was occupying nearly a half terabyte on their servers with my highly random stuff, and between life and work haven't been able to find an inexpensive hosting service that allows hot-linking (<= if anyone has any good ideas, feel free to PM me!)

In the mean time, I created a pdf of my original Word file linked a few places in this thread, and have put it up in my Google Drive here.

If anyone has problems getting to this file, please let me know. I tested it with Chrome and Firefox successfully (IE users are on their own). It is a converted Word document so it isn't perfect, but it's not too bad, either.

Cheers!
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Austin Blues



Joined: 01 Jul 2013
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Jul 08 13 10:18 am    Post subject: Very grateful for mods Reply with quote

Day-Tripper, I ran across your modifications on the interwebs and decided to try my best to replicate. I will say from the onset, I do not own 90% of the tools and or a workshop. But, I went for it. I was able to do most of this with a 3/4 inch drill and various items picked up from lowes. I didn't have the ability to get the fiberglass rope, ended up with fiberglass ribbon instead. A couple of thoughts, it was extremely hard to keep a constant temperature, it may be due to some leaks from the door and around the top which I couldn't quite plug up completely, perhaps that is why. The grill warped in the fire pan! I was able to somewhat keep the temperature at 230 ish. Although I installed a new thermometer, it was about 30 degrees off from the Maverick dual thermo I had bought. So, not sure if that was worth the effort or not to install. I'm going to get the rope ordered, re-seal the lid and work on the door and another leak I found along the seam of the smoker. I guess I am not going to worry about the little smoke coming out of the hole I made to handle the cables for the Maverick. Do you all think that is why I had trouble keeping a constant temperature during my cook? Thanks again Day-Tripper for all your information on how to do this.
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day_trippr
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02 14 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Howdy folks! This orbit was a real loooong one, sorry to leave anyone hanging!

If Austin Blues is still around, the answer to temperature control issues on these little cookers are almost always found in two places: air control (or lack thereof) and/or starting too big a fire.

Air leaks are anathematic to control, which is pretty much the entire reason I unleashed my shop on the li'l Brinkmann. And it's a common mistake to put too much charcoal in the starter. Experience will prove it's a lot easier to sneak a cooker up to temperature than to fight a conflagration down to something in the neighborhood of cooking temperature.

The fiberglass rope is a key component of the mods; I don't think there is a good substitute that will take the heat, seal the gap, and not require fiddling every time the lid is removed. It is readily available at Ace and Aubuchon hardware stores - mail order if that's the only way you can hook up - and I've seen the same kits occasionally in the bigger box stores as well.

Also, I recommend the high temp RTV treatment vs using stove gasket cement. I had to redo the latter yearly, but since I used the RTV (3 years ago) it's showing no signs of deterioration (yes, the li'l cooker still lives! Very Happy )

Cheers! And Happy New Year!
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zipr



Joined: 27 Apr 2014
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27 14 3:37 am    Post subject: Questions about the fiberglass rope... Reply with quote

Hello all -
I've got an old Brinkmann that I've done all of the popular mods for except the fiberglass rope. I've got the rope now, and am set to do the mod but have a few questions:
-Does the lid actually rest on the rope, or did you put the rope just above where the lid normally sits?
-The cement that comes with the rope has a recommendation for keeping the heat at 500 degrees for one hour to set it. Did you do this? I was thinking of popping the lid in the oven for an hour.
-Does the rope stay on, or does it require a lot of maintenance?

Thanks, all. Looking forward to having a easier to control smoker!
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MacEggs
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Joined: 20 Dec 2010
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Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Fri May 02 14 11:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Questions about the fiberglass rope... Reply with quote

Welcome to the Ring, zipr!

zipr wrote:
-Does the lid actually rest on the rope, or did you put the rope just above where the lid normally sits?


Yes, the lid does essentially rest on the rope.


zipr wrote:
-The cement that comes with the rope has a recommendation for keeping the heat at 500 degrees for one hour to set it. Did you do this? I was thinking of popping the lid in the oven for an hour.


The cement that came with the rope set I bought is only good for arts and crafts.
I then used high-temp stove cement. It was good, but eventually lost its adhesiveness.
Use the RTV silicone cement. It is the best, and resists moisture.
I have not had any issues since using it.


zipr wrote:
-Does the rope stay on, or does it require a lot of maintenance?


If you use the RTV silicone, and follow day_trippr's method for applying the rope to the lid,
very little, or no maintenance is needed.

Initially, you may see some smoke escape from this area,
but, after a few cooks, that area will get some "gunk" build-up, and that will create a better seal.

All the best on the mod. Smile Smile


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Pickled Eggs

The cookers (so far).
Some Weber kettles of various age, color and size
UDS & Mini UDS
Abby Normal ECB
Napoleon Propane Grill
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zipr



Joined: 27 Apr 2014
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat May 03 14 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, MacEggs!

I'll pick up that better adhesive. I'm wondering if the rope would work as well if it was on top of the lip rather than inside, so the lid wouldn't actually be resting on it.

Like this?



It looks like rygleason set it up that way.


Last edited by zipr on Sat May 03 14 2:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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