Brinkman - is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by missed-em, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. missed-em

    missed-em Smoke Blower

    OK, folks, I'm new to this, really got started smoking 4-5 months ago with an MES 40 with mostly hits but a few not so good.

    I also have in the shed an old  Brinkman Smoke'NGrill that I bought at an auction for a buck 5 or 6 years ago and never got around to using.  Being new and knowing 'nuthin is it worth cleaning up the Brinkman to use?  What's the advantage of using a charcoal smoker verses an electric w/ AMNS? (that should bring the 'use wood only' bunch out)  I think this is a cheap unit, seams don't look too tight and might take some work to make it work right.  Any thoughts?
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    It could be a fun project. IMHO charcoal/wood smoked food has a better taste than electric. That being said, my first smoker was electric & I smoked just about everything under the sun on it with no complaints.
  3. OK, you drug me out. IMO nothing beats charcoal or wood. Just sayin'.
  4. I'll chime in.. and Katy bar the door... but I think stuff from my stick burner tastes better then from my gasser...I don't have an electric smoker.. but if Al says stuff tastes better... you can take that to the house!

  5. psycho-smoker

    psycho-smoker Newbie

    Get yourself invited to someone's house that has a charcoal smoker and see if you can taste any difference. Then you can decide for yourself if you want to go through the trouble of cleaning off the Brinkman.

    Love mine by the way (Smoke-n-Pit model).
  6. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I own electric, charcoal and stick and people love my cooking on all three.  I think my UDS does the best pork and chicken my stick burner does the best brisket and my electric does a good job on letting me sit back and enjoy my day.  I love using the MES on things like nuts and cheese also.
  7. Everyone's pallet is different. Clean it up, put fire to it and see which one you prefer. I'll bet in the end you'll find a use for both of them. 
  8. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    OK I may get [​IMG]  for this but ooh well I never can keep my big mouth just ask my BIL(Brother in law) or my wife.

    I own a WSM and 2 Gasser's.  I quite honestly can't tell the difference in flavor between them. I do normally put a handful of lump in the chip tray on the Gasser's. I mainly do this to help keep the chunks and chips going good. To kinda prove my point here awhile back a guy at the lake kept bugging me telling me I couldn't turn out good Q without a stick burner. I got tired of hearing this and told him next weekend we'd do a cook off and have the camp host decide. long story short the camp host couldn't tell the difference between them, how ever said my q was a bit more moist. Nough said.

    If I was you I'd clean that smoker up and smoke some Q
  9. johnnie walker

    johnnie walker Smoking Fanatic

    Since you already have it, heck clean it up and use it. The charcoal smoker will probably take a little more fooling around to get it set than the electric (set it and forget it), but you have it so use it. You can do twice as much Q at once that way! [​IMG]
  10. I have 3 brinkmann smoke n grill units and are quite pleased with them. Just finished my annual Christmas smoke project (37 salmon filets and assorted ham and turkey) and everything came out scrumptious. I have never used a gas or electric smoker but I imagine temp. control is easier with those units although by using a combination of both wet and dry wood I am able to keep the temp in my smokers pretty much where I want them to be. My only complaint w/ the brinkmann is my disatiisfaction w/ the quality of the juice pans which I have found to lack enduring structural integrity even though I baby them (I save the old ones and place the new one inside an old one) and keep them clean. This is not a unit you can set and forget but to me that is not a drawback as I enjoy giving it the attention it needs, such as adding wood every 45 min or so.

    And you got it for a buck? Fire that puppy up!
  11. missed-em

    missed-em Smoke Blower

    I picked up the stuff to do the bottum end mods (legs on the fire pot & charcoal rack) today.  Looking at the many pics of ecb's on here there seems to be a lot of variation, i.e. mine has a one inch hole in the fire pan while many pictured did'nt.  Think I'll try it without additional vents to see how it does.  Plan a burn soon just to get all the gunk, webs and nests out.  Not sure I want to tackle the top end vents yet.
  12. So I got a Brinkman given to me last year. My father had it given to him and it was in rough shape. He simply called Brinkman and they sent him all the replacement parts.....FREE! New racks, water and charcoal pans and new handles and temp gauge (useless but new). So far I have had good luck with it without modifying it. You do have to watch it though, it is not a set it and forget it smoker.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  13. missed-em

    missed-em Smoke Blower

    Well, ran the empty test yesterday, didn't want to ruin good meat so just ran it w/ therms.  I'm sure a butt or brisket would modify these temps some.

    Time 11:30 am

    Weather was 50-70* (close to a record for here in SIL) w 10-15 MPH

    Double row of briquets in pan

    10 hot briquets in center of pan to slowly burn outward, ie MM.

    1200  topgrate - 288, water grate 193

    1230                   338                     287

    0100                   316                     271

    0120                   267                     248

    0210                   226                     208

    0300                   227                     204

    0400                   161                     152

    At 12:45 had lost my smoke (started w/ 2 large chunks of hickory) and all briquets were white.

    Questions - is this temp curve normal?  At what point (temp) should I add more cold briquets to extend cooking time?  Better method of hot/cold coals to moderate temp spike.

    In all I proved to myself that this ECB was a viable alternative, but I'm not selling my MES yet!

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