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View Full Version : New Braunfels smoker that is new to me



ajthepoolman
08-15-2008, 11:19 PM
Many of you know that I have smoked with an electric Brinkmann Gourmet for many years. It has served me very well, and continues to do so. But 2 weeks ago my neighbor told me that her brother was selling his offset smoker and only wanted $100 for it.

So I went and looked at it, expecting a cheap Wal-Mart brand. Instead, he and his nephew were hulking this smoker from the backyard to the front. I immediately recognized the smoker as a New Braunfels.

I looked it over and other than a few paint chips, it is in excellent condition.

So I bought it on the spot and had it at the house the next day. But, we were leaving for south Texas for vacation so I had to sadly roll it into the garage and let it sit for 2 weeks.

But now I am back and have my first offset pulled pork candidate lathered up with horseradish and rub. She went in at 7pm.

I quickly learned that two heaping chimney's of coals was WAAAYY too much heat. I had to let the thing burn wide open for 30 minutes just to get the temp under 300!

So, I am re-learning to smoke meats! I thought I would start with a very forgiving cut which is why I went with pulled pork.

I think I am getting the hang of it. But my temps are fluctuating wildly. This isn't as easy as my Brinkmann! I have gone from 160 to 270! Right now I have the stack open all the way. The damper on the firebox is about half open.

JamesB
08-15-2008, 11:24 PM
Yeppers, those pork butts are mighty forgiving!

Congrats on the new toy! Got any pics of her?

SmokyOkie
08-16-2008, 06:09 PM
AJ, you'll want to always keep the stack all the way open. If you want the heat to drop, just shut down the firebox damper. It may take a few minutes, but when you choke off the oxygen supply, the fire will begin to smother and in a bit, you'll have the control you want. On the other hand, if you leave the oven door open, you'll increase the draft and the fire will burn hotter. If you have meat on and it gets too hot (300°for a few minutes won't hurt anything), close the firebox damper and just crack the oven door a little, but be sure you close off the damper first.

Let's see some pix of your new score! If we know what you're cooking on, we can be of more help.

ajthepoolman
08-17-2008, 09:05 PM
Thanks for the advice.

That night of smoking kicked my butt. I was up all night except between 4 and 6 am. My body couldn't stay awake any more! I was putting coals on every hour. The smoker would go from 270 to 160 within 2 hours if I didn't add more.

Here is where I am assuming I went wrong.

I used a bag of Royal Oak lump charcoal to get started. I put two chimney's worth on and was concerned because the smoker spiked over 300 degrees. It came back down of course. Every hour I put another chimney's worth on. I had used the entire bag by 2 am. Each time I put on a new set of coals I would throw 6 chunks of hickory on.

I am wondering if I did this wrong. Is the proper technique to have a bed of coals and throw STICKS of hickory on? Should I get away from chunks of wood with the offset? The chunks burned up a hell of a lot faster than they do on my electric Brinkmann. That makes sense though since they are sitting on top of coals.

My thought was to have a bed of coals with a grate up above the coals with sticks or chunks on it. That way the wood never actually makes contact with the coals until it gets burned down to the point that it falls down.

I sure need advice though. About 3 am I looked at my Brinkmann and damn near plugged it in and moved the butt over! I was beat.

SmokyOkie
08-17-2008, 09:24 PM
Hang in there AJ. You'll get the hang of it. It will always be more work than an electric, but the rewards are worth it.

First off, show us what you have. If you can;t post a pic, do a google search for it and post the link.

When we know what you have, we can tell you what to do to run it the best.

Depending on the size, you may want to run c'coal and wood, or just wood.

If you use good charcoal, you don't light the added coals, you just throw them on the fire. i wouldn;t do that with
Royal Oak, cuz they put coal in their product and it won't impart good flavor to your food. put the wood directly on the fire and let it burn. That's what a stick burner is made to do. It will use more wood than the electric, but the resulting flavor is worth it.

Show us what you got and we'll get it in order for you. You will, most likely want to plan on staying up for the entire cok with your offset.

ajthepoolman
08-18-2008, 09:29 PM
Here she is. Little rusty, but much larger than anything else I have ever used.

Bbq Bubba
08-18-2008, 09:50 PM
IMO, build a charcoal basket, burn lump or coal, and learn how to manage a fire before you try goin all wood.
A basket using the Minion method will get you 4 hrs plus on 1 load of charcoal! :msn-wink:

ajthepoolman
08-20-2008, 12:09 AM
The minion method is adding fresh unburned coals to the other half of the basket and letting them burn over right?

I also spoke with a metal working friend and he is going to get with me in September and convert it to a reverse flow. I am really looking forward to having a reverse flow smoker. Until then I will keep practicing.

SmokyOkie
08-20-2008, 04:57 PM
How big is this smoker AJ? You might want to try burning it a gew times as a reverse flow before you start welding. There's a lot more to it than putting the stack on the other end and welding floor plates in.

The Minion method is actually designed for the WSM, or other bullet smokers. It is a matter of loading the charcoal pan with wood and c'coal, then lighting a few briquettes and placing them on top and in the middle of the unlit coal. This makes it have to burn down as well as out.

ajthepoolman
08-23-2008, 04:14 PM
I can't get the welding done until late September at best, so I will have some time to continue practicing.

SmokyOkie
08-23-2008, 07:24 PM
Pix AJ, we need PIX! PIX PIX PIX PIX!

crewdawg52
09-03-2008, 08:36 AM
Yawn, Yawn , Yawn...... Just a bunch of words. nopics?

SmokyOkie
09-03-2008, 09:52 AM
Good to see ya Geoff! Speaking of pix, we haven't seen many from you lately and I just have a feeling you've been cooking now and then.

ajthepoolman
09-03-2008, 11:28 AM
Yeah yeah! I will upload them tonight when I get home.

SmokyOkie
09-03-2008, 12:29 PM
:tap::tap::tap:

ds7662
09-03-2008, 09:02 PM
AJ,
Looks very, and I mean very similar to the Charbroil silver smoker I have. Not sure as to metal thickness, but every thing else looks identical.

Do the mods to it and you will see a big difference. Extend smoke stack down to cooking grate. Add a deflector to move the heat down were it enters the cooking chamber, and add a piece of metal in the bottom to distribute the heat more evenly. It works.
I can find a post on this somewhere for ya. give me some time.


It takes time to learn the in's and out's of a new toy. Give it a chance.

SmokyOkie
09-03-2008, 09:22 PM
I must be missing something. How do you know what it looks like Alan? I don't see anny pix.

Short One
09-03-2008, 09:27 PM
Here she is. Little rusty, but much larger than anything else I have ever used.
Tim, post 6 of this thread.:roflmaoha0::roflmaoha0:

SmokyOkie
09-03-2008, 09:31 PM
Tim, post 6 of this thread.:roflmaoha0::roflmaoha0:

That wasn't there when I looked! :blushing:

Short One
09-03-2008, 09:33 PM
I know Tim, you like the BIG pictures.

SmokyOkie
09-03-2008, 09:44 PM
Speaking of pix, did you ever get that camera I sent you to work? If so, does it take decent pix?

Short One
09-03-2008, 09:56 PM
Yes, and the wife loves it. Have posted several pics from it on here and other forum. If my post has a pic with it, it was taken with the camera. My avatar is our dog, L.D. and was taken with it. Thanks Steve

SmokyOkie
09-03-2008, 10:00 PM
Yes, and the wife loves it. Have posted several pics from it on here and other forum. If my post has a pic with it, it was taken with the camera. My avatar is our dog, L.D. and was taken with it. Thanks Steve

This is really funny, well that and embarrassing at the same time.

I don't usually look much at avatars, just kinda glance, but i still get familiar with them and equate them with the personality of the person behind them.

The funny part is that I never realized yours was a dog. At a glance it always looked like a profile of a man with a black cowboy hat on. Now that you pointed it out, it is obviously your dog, even at first glance.

maybe age is finally taking it's toll on me...........:blushing:

Short One
09-03-2008, 10:04 PM
Tim, put on your glasses.:oops: :roflmaoha0::roflmaoha0::roflmaoha0:

SmokyOkie
09-03-2008, 10:25 PM
I told you it was funny!

I think it's a brain issue, not a vision issue.:blushing:

ajthepoolman
09-03-2008, 11:33 PM
Here are some recent pics of a brisket that I did this last weekend.

I used sticks of mesquite with a nice bed of coals to start off with.

Tim, your searing method created a great brisket here in Kansas! I had some brown sugar in the spice mix. I won't do that again as that was the only flavor that had a burned flavor. Thankfully there wasn't much in there.

I was able to maintain my temp within a 30 degree swing. When it would dip down a bit, I just added a couple more sticks and it would swing right back to the 240 degree range. Much easier than constantly feeding coals to it.

SmokyOkie
09-04-2008, 10:22 AM
Good lookin grub AJ. Is that the natural au jus? I usually get a much darker one. How was the taste? Was it real deep and beefy?

If you have wood that fits your firebox, That's what I'd use for fuel, and mesquite is my wood of choice for beef.

Good job, and congrats on the success!:thumbs up:

ajthepoolman
09-04-2008, 01:39 PM
That is a portion of the natural au jus. The rest is off camera. I prefer my brisket with some sauce over it so I didn't sample the au jus.

SmokyOkie
09-04-2008, 01:55 PM
You might alter your preferences if you tried it. Most do. If you like sauce on your brisket, mixing 2 parts sauce:1 part au jus really kicks things up too.

ajthepoolman
09-06-2008, 05:59 PM
Will do next time.

I went to the store real quick for some donuts for the kids in the morning and found full racks of spares buy one get one free! They are frozen solid, but who cares! Next smoke will be spares and beans!

SmokyOkie
09-06-2008, 09:36 PM
I'll buy frozen spares buy 1 get 1 free any day. Good score AJ!

ajthepoolman
09-08-2008, 09:18 PM
A rack smoked up tonight! No beans, but we opted for sweet potatoes instead. No smoke on those.

gt2003
09-08-2008, 10:22 PM
AJ, I bought the New Braunfels Hondo smoker (see my signature pic) quite a few years back, prior to charbroil buying them out. It looks very similar to the one you have. I love it, but, it's quite a bit of work. I usually start with a good stack of lump, light it up then add a handful of lump (straight from the bag) every 45 minutes to an hour. I also keep a nice sized chunk of wood on it at all times. I always have the stack wide open and most times the damper is only 1/4-1/2 inch open. It seems to produce plenty of heat but it's fairly consistent. It only varies when I get busy doing other stuff and letting it die down too low. But, it recovers quickly.

I haven't made any mods to mine at all. But, there's always tomorrow. If you have any questions, let me know. Hopefully I can provide some input, Greg

rwc565
09-09-2008, 02:05 PM
I'll buy frozen spares buy 1 get 1 free any day. Good score AJ!
Walmart has 2 in one pkg in the frozen food side, for the same price as one side of unfrozen.

Capt Dan
09-09-2008, 02:54 PM
This is really funny, well that and embarrassing at the same time.

The funny part is that I never realized yours was a dog. At a glance it always looked like a profile of a man with a black cowboy hat on. Now that you pointed it out, it is obviously your dog, even at first glance.

maybe age is finally taking it's toll on me...........:blushing:

That right there is frickin funny! I am still laughing and coughing!:roflmaoha0:

ajthepoolman
09-09-2008, 11:18 PM
I haven't done any mods yet either. I have found that if I start off with a chimney full of coals and then a log of wood produces a consistant 250 degree temp that lasts for a couple of hours. I keep the stack cover wide open and have the firebox damper about a 1/4th open. When the temp drops I just throw another log on. If I am having trouble keeping temps up, I will add cold coals.

I am really enjoying the challenge that the offset offers. I still intend to convert to a reverse flow and get her painted back to a beautiful jet black!

SmokyOkie
09-10-2008, 05:25 PM
That right there is frickin funny! I am still laughing and coughing!:roflmaoha0:

Remember those pictures that looked like just some sort of print pattern, but if you stared at them long enough they turned into a 3D image?

It's kinda like that. Look at the avatar and kinda let your eyes blur a little and see if you can see the hat.:shake:


I haven't done any mods yet either. I have found that if I start off with a chimney full of coals and then a log of wood produces a consistant 250 degree temp that lasts for a couple of hours. I keep the stack cover wide open and have the firebox damper about a 1/4th open. When the temp drops I just throw another log on. If I am having trouble keeping temps up, I will add cold coals.

I am really enjoying the challenge that the offset offers. I still intend to convert to a reverse flow and get her painted back to a beautiful jet black!

What do you hope to gain by converting it to a reverse flow AJ?

ajthepoolman
09-12-2008, 11:13 PM
I would like to maintain a more level temp across the cooking grate. Right now I have to put a water pan on the grate to help absorb and regulate the temp. I am hoping that a reverse flow will help that.

SmokyOkie
09-13-2008, 11:21 AM
If your hot spot is righ next to the firebox it probably won't. you could put a piece of 1/4" plate that's just the right size to sit in below the grate right where the fire comes in and set a sainless water pan right under the grate on that end. That's what I used to do with my bottom fed unit.

ajthepoolman
09-18-2008, 11:18 PM
Do you think that reverse flow units are not worth doing? I am open to using the smoker as it is (with a few mods of course), but I was under the impression that a reverse flow gave more consistant temps across the grate.

SmokdHog
09-19-2008, 01:13 AM
On my New Braunfels, I have the inlet open to about half,Maybe a little less, and the stack closed off to about 3/8 of an inch at its widest point. Mine will stay on 250 for hours.. I enjoyed using my offset, but now I'm too busy learning my new toy...
Good Luck.. You'll get'er down.

ajthepoolman
09-19-2008, 08:05 AM
I have almost the same setting, but I leave the stack wide open. When burning coals, it goes through a batch every hour. But if I throw some split wood on there, it will go for hours without much babysitting.

SmokyOkie
09-20-2008, 10:34 PM
On my New Braunfels, I have the inlet open to about half,Maybe a little less, and the stack closed off to about 3/8 of an inch at its widest point. Mine will stay on 250 for hours.. I enjoyed using my offset, but now I'm too busy learning my new toy...
Good Luck.. You'll get'er down.

That's a long time.:msn-wink:

On the serious side though, are yo saying you close your stack most of the way while burning wood as opposed to charcoal?

SmokdHog
09-21-2008, 09:40 AM
Not wood, Lump Charcoal, I thought he started out this thread talking about burning Charcoal. Couldn't keep the wood burning at that setting.

seattlepitboss
10-24-2008, 11:32 PM
I think that smoker is a NB Black Diamond like mine. I had all the same issues you did, although my hot spot was considerably helped by the mods (damper/tuning plates/moved stack to right end). I wound up converting mine to use a shopmade blacksmith's propane forge burner:

http://www.tinyisland.com/images/temp/smokin.jpg
http://www.tinyisland.com/images/temp/burnerInstall.jpg
http://www.tinyisland.com/images/temp/firebox.jpg

I get incredible control now just by tweaking the knob on the propane regulator. I can hold
it between 210 and 215 all day now. I can add smoke whenever I want just by putting a pan
over the firebricks and tossing in some chunks of wood. When I'm done with adding smoke
I can just pull the pan with wood right out and presto no more smoke.

I am real happy with my NBBD - it cooks really great meat. Pretty long learning curve, but once
you get the hang of it you'll get great results.

Grant Erwin
Seattle, Washington

jerry516planes
12-14-2008, 12:43 AM
I converted my sisters Brinkman to a reverse flow. I found that the fire box was mounted to high and was helped considerably by lowering it so that an excesive amount of heat was not trapped in the fire box.

I also moved the smoke stack to the opposite end and lowered the outlet to a point below the center line of the smoke box. I used steel plate to accomplish the revese flow. If I were to do it again I would use pipe to move the smoke to the far end and accomplish the reverse flow. I also welded closed every opening and crack I could find.

Now I gained much more control by adding a Basket and filling it as full as I can get it. Use a weed burner to start one corner and as soon as the temp hits 250 close down the damper and the fire will burn for 5 to 8 hours unattended (with Lump charcole and pieces of wood). I also added some drill holes to the fire box walls to let in oxygen to allow a complete clean burn. This experimentation took me the better part of a year to get right, but was well worth the effort. I also leave the chimney closed to about 3/8". The damper control on the brinkman is pretty cheezy and I oped for an after market item from KCK.com.

Do yourself a favor and get the best thermometer you can find. I prefer the 3" dial with a 4" stem and place it so you can monitor the heat where the meat is.

The Hot Spot, well that will always be there. I agree that the water tray is definately a good way to help even out the heat.

I put a diverter plate in mine, lowered the smoke stack, and use the basket in the fire box and am well satisfied with the results.

You have a great smoker there! I have used mine for about 10 years and still love it.

stevemiller
08-18-2009, 06:35 PM
I have a question, if you made a plate to deflect heat on the smoke box and made it basically like a long triangle and had it full width at the fire then get narrower as it goes,would it disperse heat at a even rate from one end to the other?

SmokyOkie
08-18-2009, 09:30 PM
Steve, do you have a Chargriller? If you do, the ash cathcer pan is the perfect baffle if you turn it upside down, and hang it high so that it sits above the inlet to the cooking chamber.

Umpa
08-18-2009, 11:23 PM
if you wanna play with the reverse flow.. get some ceramic tiles and build a little shelf accross the bottom.. my plates aren't welded in. i have large pieces of diamond plate that just happened to fit the inside of my smoker.. didn't weld them so that i could a-take them out to clean them and b-could move them around..

also.. get a notebook.. what time.. what temp... what you did (how much charcoal and/or wood).. took me a couple weeks of burning to see the pattern. too often i was over reacting, and going from 200 to 350.. or from 225 to frozen.. then again over reacting and back to 350. ha.. f'n stickburners.. gotta love em..

SmokyOkie
08-19-2009, 10:36 AM
ha.. f'n stickburners.. gotta love em..

The smaller ones are particularly finicky.

As you are figuring your smoker out, also be aware that many are very sensitive to wind.

The Chargriller really needs to be out of the wind altogether.