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How to increase smoker temp??

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Post Sun Aug 31, 2003 6:13 pm
griff raw

Posts: 1
Location: chicago
I'm new to smoking. I have a Brinkman cylindrical smoker with a charcoal pan at the bottom, water pan in the middle.
I use Cowboy brand hardwood lump charcoal.

I can't seem to get the temp above 170 (and its tough to keep it even that high.

How do I get it hotter, preferably up to 250?

Post Sun Aug 31, 2003 8:08 pm
egkor rare

Posts: 39
Location: Tx
The water in the water pan acts as a heat "buffer". So your fire temperature can be in excess of the boiling point of water, but the water vapor out of the water pan stays at the boiling point of water (approx 212 deg?). Your bullet smoker is acting the way it was designed to act.

You could remove the water pan, and build a smaller fire and see if you reach the temps you want. You will have to closely monitor the temps, they will be up and down. The food will be cooking in a "dry" heat without the water pan and water, so you might want to keep a "baste" on the food as it cooks.

What are you cooking that you want the higher temps?

Last edited by egkor on Mon Sep 01, 2003 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

Post Sun Aug 31, 2003 10:15 pm

The smoker is usually 150 to 170.
I'm smoking ribs, and while the ribs do cook through, it just seems as though
the tougher tissues do not break down. I'm assuming this is b/c the its not hot enough.
Perhaps I'm wrong about that.

Another reason I assume it is not hot enough is that the temp guage on the smoker
indicates that 175 to 275 is the "ideal" range.
Also most recipies I've seen, including on this site, suggest 225-275.

Post Mon Sep 01, 2003 12:01 am
egkor rare

Posts: 39
Location: Tx
Hi again,

Check out the pork/ribs smoking info in the BBQ FAQ, link below. There is also some info on "bullet' smokers.


Post Mon Sep 01, 2003 3:20 am

Have you checked the accuracy of your thermometer? A pan of boiling water is 212°, depending on your altitude. Makes it easy to check the accuracy within a degree or so.

I don't have your smoker, so some of this may not apply.

Try filling your water pan 1/2 to 3/4 full of sand. Cover the sand with foil to catch drippings. The sand (or water) acts as a heat sink to help regulate the temperature of your pit. Helps moderate those peaks and dips as you open the pit to add fuel, etc.

Try a test run without any meat. Fill your charcoal pan with a full chimney of lit coals. Open all vents wide open. Fill your water pan with boiling water. How high does the temperature go? Still can't get to the desired range? Buy a small bag of Kingsford charcoal and try it. Do you get the same results? Since lump usually burns hotter, I'm wondering if your lump may be damp.

Just some thoughts that may be useful. If this doesn't help, you may want to take a look at the archives at or use the search feature on that site. Look for discussions on modifications that should improve performance for you.

Hope this is helpful.


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