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Project Brinkman SnP Update w/phase 2 mods
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Alien BBQ
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Joined: 12 Jul 2005
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Location: Roswell, New Mexico

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16 05 9:31 am    Post subject: Project Brinkman SnP Update w/phase 2 mods Reply with quote

Project Brinkman

I have owned a Brinkman Smoke In Pit (SnP) professional for about 10 years now. I have cooked many good meals and a few burnt and or undercooked ones as well. In my opinion, the SnP series is a very good entry level smoker that is large enough to cook for a small family reunion and small enough to fit in your back yard. The quality of the SnP does not rival the professionally built pits, but for the money, is a little bit better than its competitors in its class. An average person can buy a SnP, set it up, season it, and enjoy BBQ within the first day of opening the box. This is the charm of the SnP and is why it is one of the leading smokers sold in the marketplace today. If you were to ask many of the professional BBQ chefs competing today, quite a few would have a SnP in their cooking past. While the SnP is a great entry level cooker (smoker, grill, BBQ) it does have some flaws that need to be overcome to help it produce quality BBQ.
This project will attempt to correct many of the SnP flaws. It is not my intention to suggest that after completing the modifications you will have a pit equivalent to the professionally built ones, but rather you will have a cooker that will perform well in many if not most of the conditions that the backyard barbecue chef will encounter. The cooker will be easier to maintain, will last longer and will be more predictable when things go wrong.
I purchased two SnP deluxe offset BBQ cookers for this project with the intention of making a modification kit available to SnP owners sometime next year. I researched all of the mods suggested for this model and came up with a few suggestions myself.



The model was the Brinkman Smoke N Pit Deluxe. Apparently there are different versions of this model on the market depending on where you bought your cooker. These units came from Wal-Mart and have a “W” suffix on their model number. After opening the box and inventorying the contents, the cooker went together in a quick and easy fashion.


The SnP Deluxe is an offset smoker in which the fire for cooking is contained in the smaller section of the cooker and its heat is allowed to pass through the cooking chamber as it exits the cookers through a smokestack at the opposite end of the cooker.



The SnP comes with four grates (two for cooking and two for coal)


One of the smaller coal grates will fit in the bottom of the fire box for smoking or both can be placed in the cooking section for grilling. If you need a smaller grill, one of the cooking grates will also fit in the fire box to allow direct grilling in this area.

*** Problem #1 when placing the coal grate in the bottom of the fire box, sufficient enough air space underneath the coals dose not exist for efficient burns.



According to the box the cooking area of the SnP is 750 sq. inches. This is a bit misleading because the normal set up for smoking only allows for 465 sq. inches of cooking grate.


I am sure that there is a configuration that can reach the 750 sq. inch mark, but I tried many different configurations; and the best I could obtain is 579 sq. inches in the configuration where food is placed on the bottom and one rack is removed to allow access to the food. (see below)



*** Goal #1 for the Super Deluxe SnP is to increase the usable cooking area (in the main chamber) to 811 sq. inches without having to remove racks to get to food underneath.

*** Problem #2 on the SnP deluxe, there is no ash clean-out door. From comparing this model to my SnP Professional, this was the only difference. The SnP Pro has a hinged access door at the end of the fire box, the deluxe does not. This in itself may be a blessing in disguise. One of the complaints coming from SnP Professional owners is that the ash access door does not seal very well and makes controlling the air flow difficult.



*** Problem # 3, all SnP models have a tendency to rot through the bottom of the firebox over time. The problem is two fold in the design of the single layered firebox and the fact that most owners allow acidic ashes to sit in the bottom of their fireboxes between uses. Years could be added to the life of a SnP if the fire box was double-walled and or the ashes were removed between uses.



*** Goal #2 for the Super Deluxe is to develop a removable fire box liner that doubles as a protective insert.

*** Problem # 4, SnP models have a hard time holding heat in their chambers due to its exhaust dampers not extending to the cooking grate. The heat enters the chamber and quickly moves along the top of the cooker until it reaches the exhaust outlet.

*** Problem #5, SnP models (and other same style smokers) has an open air inlet from the firebox to the cooking chamber. This causes higher temperatures near the firebox where burning can occur.

*** Goal # 3, Create air flow within the cooking chamber that controls the heat in the chamber more effectively.

Well there you have it; Project Brinkman will take a good smoker with a few problems and try to turn it into a smoker that can produce great BBQ consistently. Over the next few weeks I will be working in my machine shop making the necessary items to:
1. Increase the usable cooking area.
2. Extend the life of the smoker.
3. Allow for a more precise control of the temperature within the cooking section of the smoker.

I figure that once you fix the equipment, all you have to work on is the cook!

*** Disclaimer: make sure you double check all measurements before you modify your smoker using these instructions. These instructions were developed for the smoker listed above only. You may need to make some adjustments in the measurements in order to get it to work on your particular model.

First we are going to adjust the grates. I am using the original charcoal grates supplied with the smoker to keep cost down. By properly positioning these grates, you can effectively increase the grate area of the smoker while allowing access to both the upper and lower grate areas. I will be setting the grate at the 5 ¼ inch mark (measured from the top of the smoker.) I will mark this point on the outside of the smoker and use a level to draw a line from one side to the other from an axis. *** Make sure you are on level ground when you do this. Also mark both sides before you drill any holes in your smoker. I will be drilling (2) ¼ inch holes on both ends of the smoker and installing 2-36 inch lengths of ¼ inch steel screw stock through the smoker from one end to the other. These two rods will be the supports for the new grates to sit on. Once cut to length, place an acorn nut on both ends to finish them off. To get the proper placement for the holes to be drilled, you must first find the center of the smoker. Measure across the widest point of the smoker on two axis.

Here is how to find center and mark two axis points:
1. Take a level or carpenter square and use the original bolts on the back of the smoker as a reference. Mark a line (this will be center reference.)


2. Take the level and draw a horizontal reference line across the cooker end of the smoker.


3. My smoker measured 16 ½ inches across the middle, so I placed a second mark midway at 8 ¼ inches. Using the level again, draw a vertical line down the center of the smoker end. (You now have your reference points.)


4. Measuring from the top of the smoker, draw another horizontal line 5 ¼ from the top and all the way across the smoker end. (This line should be approximately 15 ½ inches long if you are in the right spot.)
5. From the back end of the smoker on this line, mark two vertical hash marks for the drill points. They should be set at 2 inches from the end of the line and 10 inches from the same end of the line.


6. Draw the same reference lines, vertical center and horizontal hash marks on the other end of the smoker by the fire box.


7. Drill 4, ¼ inch holes (1 at each hash mark) for the screw rod to pass through.

You now have the holes drilled for the grate support bars. The next step is installing the bars.
1. Starting at the fire box end, slide the ¼ inch screw rod through the smoking chamber until it comes out the other end.
2. Place the acorn nut on the fire box end and tighten it down.
3. Trim the screw stock if needed.
Your bottom charcoal grates will now sit on these two support rods and increase your cooking area by 336 square inches. Take the original cooking grates and place them in the lower position in the smoker. You now have two separate cooking levels which are both accessible.




My attention now turns to the firebox temperature issue and goal #3.

By fabricating a drop-in baffle and adjustable tuning plates, the air flow from the firebox can be diverted. This diversion will allow for a more even heat distribution within the cooking chamber. The tuning plates allow for an adjustment of heat and lessen the chance of one end of the smoker being hotter than the other. The baffle at the fire box end will prevent radiant heating from direct line of sight with the fire. *** You will always have a warmer end and a cooler end. This mod evens out the temperature swing between the two.



The basic design has hot air leaving the firebox, being diverted by the baffle to a channel at the bottom of the cooking section and moving along the bottom of the smoker until it reaches a gap in the metal and is allowed to reenter the chamber and exit through the exhaust.



The end of the baffle is actually two pieces (to help disperse the heat) that fit one over the other. The photo shows the pieces dropped-in (not drilled) in order to facilitate cleaning.



When in place, the baffle effectively redirects 90% of the heat coming from the firebox, down the center channel and across the openings in the tuning plates.



A small gap on the ends of the plate allows some of the heat to escape at the firebox end of the baffle. When in place, the cooking grates fit in the original positions as well in the modified position.





With the baffle installed, goal #3 is met.

Here is a photo with both grates in place.



Now let’s take a look at the exhaust extension.
By adding to the length of the smoke stack, the heat (and smoke) from the firebox does not run along the top of the cooker and out the exhaust.
The new exhaust stack extension is made out of flexible aluminum and has a pressed fold in for rigidity and to allow for another extension to be added (if needed.)



Starting with a flat piece of metal, use your hand to bend the metal around the outside of your exhaust pipe. This will give you an initial bend and make rolling the metal tighter, easier.




When you re-roll the metal to fit the inside of the exhaust pipe, don’t over bend it. The spring tension of the metal expanding is what keeps the extension in place.



Once it is installed, position the bottom to come within ½ inch of your grate.



Instead of installing the new temp guage in the regular spot, we opted for a better posistion at mid level by the handle.



This is the beginning of the removable heat shield.



With the plates in place, the fire is started. Notice how the smoke(and heat) comes up in different areas all the way down the pit.



Here is a photo of project brinkman fully loaded with brisket. I estimate that we were pushing 60+ pounds. Considering it dropped to 10 degrees that night, I believe we did okay.





Project Brinkman Phase 2

Here are the phase 2 mods for Project Brinkman. I removed the older tunable baffle that had squared angles and replaced it with a newer version that allows smoother air flow and more air flow (the plates have been raised). .
.


As you can see this is a multi-piece design. I have made this one out of 400 grade stainless steel.



The first piece is angled to allow a flush fitting against the fire box. The top bolt from the fire box should be removed and a hole drilled in the plate to secure the plate against the fire box. The same bolt can be removed, but in most cases it should be replaced with a longer one.



The second part of the baffle is optional and actually acts as a heat sink. As the hot air comes in from the fire box, it hits the angled plate and can create a hot spot. This 90 degree plate reduces the hot spot and actually creates a small shelf to sit things like a loaf pan with water (once it is installed. Both the first plate and the second take some finagling to get into place because of the close tolerances and the original bolts that are not removed for installation. To give a complete seal, I use a little bit of aluminum foil wedged between the edge of the plate and the cooking chamber walls to completely seal the plates.

With all the baffles in place, you can now install the cooking grates either in the low position, or in the regular position. When in the low position, there is about 1-2 inches of clearance between the plates and the bottom of the grates. This allows of even dispersal of the smoke under the grates and a radiant heat source coming from the plates.



The grates fit snugly in between the end plate and the end of the cooking chamber. The rack keeps the heat sink in the upright position and allows for its easy removal if needed.




This mod allows for fairly even heating across the entire cooker. I do not plan on selling these mods due to Brinkman dropping the old design in favor for their newer design (of which I believe someone should be fired.) I list this here for you guys to see and try and duplicate. You don’t have to make yours out of Stainless (because it is expensive… this one weighs 11 pounds) but some good steel should be used.
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Last edited by Alien BBQ on Mon Nov 05 07 2:12 am; edited 17 times in total
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wcq52



Joined: 22 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23 05 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have one idea about your problem one. Is it possible to raise the lower cooking grates ? For surficient air, maybe you need to open a air ventilation window somewhere in the fire box.
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23 05 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On this model you do have to raise the grate because the ash blocks off the air flow quickly.
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wcq52



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24 05 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Alien, I would like to discuss your problems and your goals with our engineers if you can help send all them to my email. Please send to wangquandong@gmail.com.
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jminion
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Joined: 06 Dec 2005
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Location: Federal Way, WA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 24 05 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get rid of the round firebox make it square. Ash pan in the bottom for easy removal of ash and doubling the thickness of the bottom of the firebox will increase firbox life. Charcoal basket would be helpful for increased burn times.
Install baffel and supply a waterpan that can be placed in horizonal at the firebox end increasing grate area and fire control.

Jim
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25 05 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The whole idea is to make a mod kit that is affordable for the regular Joe, and does not require a mechanical engineer to install. I like your ideas, so keep them comming. I will be working on both project smokers next week.
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jminion
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27 05 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alien
A lot of these cookers are sold because of site like this one and a few others. If someone was to come up with mods as a package that they could sold informing buyers not buy manufacture's firebox.

Supply a square or rectanglar firebox, door on the end, with a ash pan and charcoal basket.

Also supply a baffle that would bolt in along with firebox. A water pan that would butt up to baffle and 2 or 3 plates to act as tunning plates. You wouldn't have to do anything with exhaust I'm willing to bet.

Make a setup for each of these cookers, basic desing would work for all.

I'm willing to bet that the word would spread and all those folks that are not Mechanical engineers could simply bolt on your product.
Jim
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roxy
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28 05 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alien:

It seems, my friend, that the problems you discribe are common with most if not all economy smokers. My chargriller has them all and with use I have managed to overcome most. what I did for the ash problem is turn the firebox grate side ways and add the second grate so it covers the wideth of the firebox. I am using a tin pie plate as a baffle to lessen the hot spot but on my next smoker I will have a piece of sheet metal bent to speck. That unit does not look all that bad, what was the price..??
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Reflect
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29 05 1:02 am    Post subject: Smoke stack Reply with quote

Hi Alien,

You stated:

" Problem # 4, SnP models have a hard time holding heat in their chambers due to its exhaust dampers not extending to the cooking grate. The heat enters the chamber and quickly moves along the top of the cooker until it reaches the exhaust outlet."

I was talking with my auto mechanic/buddy. She said he could mod that for me using exhaust pipes (new). How close should I have her get to the upper grate?

Thank you,

Brian
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30 05 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

roxy wrote:
Alien:

It seems, my friend, that the problems you discribe are common with most if not all economy smokers. My chargriller has them all and with use I have managed to overcome most. what I did for the ash problem is turn the firebox grate side ways and add the second grate so it covers the wideth of the firebox. I am using a tin pie plate as a baffle to lessen the hot spot but on my next smoker I will have a piece of sheet metal bent to speck. That unit does not look all that bad, what was the price..??


$125 American.
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30 05 11:42 am    Post subject: Re: Smoke stack Reply with quote

Reflect wrote:
Hi Alien,

You stated:

" Problem # 4, SnP models have a hard time holding heat in their chambers due to its exhaust dampers not extending to the cooking grate. The heat enters the chamber and quickly moves along the top of the cooker until it reaches the exhaust outlet."

I was talking with my auto mechanic/buddy. She said he could mod that for me using exhaust pipes (new). How close should I have her get to the upper grate?

Thank you,

All the way to the grate. By the way your basket was sent out yesterday.

Brian

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roxy
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30 05 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alien BBQ wrote:


$125 American.


Get the Flip outa here... Did you get some kind of deal on that or is that standard..?
I wonder if good our wally world up here would order me one of them beauties. Its a damn sight better than my charbroiler.
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30 05 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Normally $149, I got them on clearence.
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Reflect
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31 05 12:35 am    Post subject: Thank you Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice on the mod. Can't wait to get the basket. It looks really cool.

Take care,

Brian
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Wink's Smokehouse
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31 05 3:27 am    Post subject: Great run down on the Brinkman Reply with quote

Alien, super comments and review. I've own a Brinkman for a number of years. When I purchased mine, I went online and also purchased from Brinkman inserts for the firebox and for the cooking chamber. They were molded steel the same thickness of the outer shell and so far have worked very well to extend the life of the unit. Also purchased additional grids so I didn't have to move them from one side to the other depending on grilling or smoking. The hinges on mine are now starting to decay and even with painting it will maybe last another year. I'll go back to brinkman and see if they still offer the items for sale.
KY Smoker

Looks like the heat shields are still available. Go to:
http://www.brinkmann.net/Shop/Series.aspx?category=Outdoor+Cooking&subcategory=Outdoor+Cooking+Replacement+Parts&series=REP-1000-B&seriesname=Heat%20Shield&id=0
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05 06 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first addition to the post is up. Look at the original post for added info.
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SmokininLA



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05 06 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a great idea! Why didn't I think of that? Now I can double my rib output! But now what do I do with my exhaust extension? I don't mean to rush ya but I get really excited with all this modification. Faster,Faster,Faster Very Happy
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05 06 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On my SnP Pro, it can be pushed up inside. On this one I plan on the same thing. Today, I am working on designing a baffel/tuning plate combo to be dropped in below the bottom grate. This should bring the heat into the middle of the cooking chamber and make it adjustable.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06 06 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You got mu interest on that one Alien as my tin pie plate is almost worn out.
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06 06 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The second group of mods have been uploaded to the original post.
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