Many have asked what modifications were done to make world class ribs, ribs that propelled me to the top of the podium in the 1st annual Smoke Off.
I cut a small 3 inch vent into the top lid of the smoker. The hole is located between the handle brackets. I cut a circle slightly larger than the vent hold that swivels to open and shut the top vent. I fasted the vent cover with a pop rivet. I relocated one of the handle brakets so the handle sits a little offset. This provides free movement of the vent to open and shut. I also drilled a small hole to the side of the vent to place my thermometer into to monitor the temp of the smoker. I recommend the webber replacement thermometer, you can get it at the depot for around $10.
This next modification is probably the most important mod of all. I took a spare cooking grate from another grill and cut a 4 1/2 inch strip of sheet metal to form a ring around the cooking grate. I fasted the grate to the ring with pop rivets and some scrap pieces of sheet metal. This is the new charcoal pan. The new charcoal basket sits on top of the old charcoal pit that came with the smoker. The added space allows for air flow and a place for the ash to fall through and not collect and choke out the burning charcoal. You can buy a sheet of metal from the dept for around $5. It will be more than enought to do all modifications.
I also drilled several 1" holes in the silver charcoal pan that came with the brinkmann smoker. Again, better airflow from the bottom. Also will allow ash to filter out of the smoker without choking out the airflow.
Lastly, I created a air vent at the bottom of the firepan. I placed a piece of sheet metal that pivots side to side to open and close the air vents. This makes regulating your air flow and keeping your temps in range. I drilled several 1" holes in a pie shape so i can regulate how much air enters the smoker.
Aftter doing these simple modifications I am able to hold a constant temp for several hours using minimal charcoal. If you have the less expensive Brinkmann smoker (fire pan and smoker all one piece) you can go to the link below and view some modifications.
Another great resource for smoking is:
Virtual Weber Bullet