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Anyone have the Brinkmann Gourmet Electric Smoker Grill?

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#16 Pign It

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 06:43 PM

I got rid of the Brinkman electric at the beginning of the summer. In my opinion it is junk. If you wish to modify it for charcoal...you ABSOLUTELY would need vents at the bottom in the charcoal bowl and one in the lid. The way that Brinkman is made...there is quite a gap between the body and the lid...allowing oxygen into the smoker...and I assume this will allow your charcoal to burn far too hot and fast.

You, my friend, need to bite the bullet and buy a Weber Smokey Mountain. You are trying to modify the Brinkman to be the WSM. I have found that there is some engineering that goes into these things. Example...the amount of play between pcs. ...should be tight so that the dampers/vents allow you to control the air and therefore the temps....also the qty. and size of the vents does matter. The WSM does a great job and seems to be what you are seeking given your post.

You are absolutely right about the Brinkman Electric and high temps....it cooks far too hot. I have heard of some guys hooking up a rheostat to the electric element allowing them to dial up or down the amperage...and therefore dial in the correct needed temps. I'm no electrician...but I'm talking about the same type of rheostat that allows you to dim a light. I'd try this before modifying for charcoal...cuz I don't think you will like the result after modifying that tin can with dampers. Charcoal also imo is just better for smoking....no question about it.

If I were you...I'd sell it or junk it....and look for a good used WSM. I have one I'm selling now on Craigslist...used once...with a Tel Tru thermometer...it is great...if only you were in KC. I am ONLY selling cuz I picked up a Big Green Egg. If the WSM doesn't sell for my price...I'll just keep it for when I do a big cook.

Good luck...I hope this was helpful.


I'm sorry guys but I have to disagree with most of this. My first smoker was a Brinkman electric. It is simple, no hassle and easy to use. A butt takes about 10 hours on mine. Ribs take about 5 hours. I don't use wet chips but I set chunks in between the elements. I do have to replace the wood chunks every now and then. I don't keep it smoking the entire smoke and I get plenty of smoke flavor and my meat has a beautiful smoke ring. I've cooked ribs, butts, chickens whole and quartered on it with fantastic results. I got mine at home depot and I can't imagine a better 58 bucks spent. The heating element is suppose to cook at 225 to 250. I've actually never checked my internal temp, but I haven't gotten a bad piece of meat out of it yet.

Update: I cooked my Thanksgiving Turkey on the Brinkman and I did check the internal grate temp. It was sitting right on 250 degrees. A tad hot but like I said, I've had great results with this little cooker.
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#17 felixdacat



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Posted 07 November 2010 - 01:10 PM

[Put me in the unhappy category.
I bought the Brinkmann electric smoke because…
1) I have friends that have been using their charcoal smokers for years and had no issues.
2) I wanted electric because I did not want to have to constantly be checking to see if I needed more coal.
3) It was inexpensive. I do not anticipate using the smoker more than once every 2 months, so I did not want to shell out major bucks for something that had so little use.
I have been using my Char-Broil Red as a smoker. I would only light the far right burner and throw wood chips/chunks in the tub above that burner. It worked great for chicken and roasts, but it would run too hot (275-300 degrees) for ribs. I wanted something that would give me 175-225, especially after getting a great ribs recipe in a book I bought, “Serious Barbeque” (it came out charred on the Red, but had the right taste and texture).
Yesterday I put together Brinkmann and did a run to season it. I threw a thermometer on the grates. Consistently, 300 degrees with no way to lower the temperature.
Some other little things that I could have lived with if it could have gotten the temperature right:
• It comes with two grates which I presume is for the middle section and the upper section. If I was keeping it I would have added a third to place above the electric element and use that for the wood chips (the enclosed material kept saying “don’t put the wood on the element, but it would have been real difficult to avoid that).
• Cleaning out the ash from the lava rocks would have been a real tough job.
• It is not a solid unit. None of the sections lock into each other. It would have been difficult to move it back and forth between the deck and the garage as I was planning to do.

#18 bluesmoke


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Posted 08 November 2010 - 03:32 PM

I'd disagree somewhat with the above. For the $40 I paid I'm pretty happy with my Brinkmann smoker. The inconsistent temperatures and cook times mean you need a thermometer to get desired results, but otherwise it's easy to use. You don't clean the ash out from the little lava rocks (lava gravel) that come with the machine; you just dump it all out about once a year and put new lava rocks in, $5 at Home Depot. You do put the wood near the elements, ideally not atop them because it tends to catch fire there.

Bottom line, it cost $40 new. It's not going to do what a top of the line unit is going to do. It works quite well for what it does; mine's on its third year of turning out really delicious smoked tri-tips and still going strong.
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#19 Robamus


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Posted 08 November 2010 - 05:20 PM

Ive got a char broil charcoal smoker at our cabin and a propane at home that has been modified for natural gas. Never had an electric, but for me, I prefer the gas.

The charcoal is great on the weekends, when I am "on vacation" and want to spend the day cooking on it. And I have been for the past couple of months, and its a blast.

The gas smoker though has awesome temp control, awesome smoke control, lots of space, and since its natural gas, it never runs out of fuel. Best thing I ever did was go to NG on that thing - Ive done a number of 20+ hour smokes in the past 6 months or so and its been great.

I was thinking about an electric smoker as well - but now I am not sure.... Hope something I wrote helps someone lol.
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#20 brucered


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Posted 08 November 2010 - 06:57 PM

Ive got a char broil charcoal smoker at our cabin and a propane at home that has been modified for natural gas. Never had an electric, but for me, I prefer the gas.

didn't even know you could mod a LP to NG for a smoker, but that sounds awesome.
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#21 Ugly



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Posted 24 November 2010 - 09:53 AM

I have the Brinkman Electric Smoker as well. I too thought it was junk until I tried something that really worked well.

Last Saturday I put a 6lb butt on it with a full water pan and as usual the temp started climbing up toward 300 degrees, then I remembered something I had read about a guy putting a bread pan with water in it to sink things even more. This was not a Brinkman but I thought I would give it a try.

I put a bread pan 3/4 full of water on the top rack, (the butt was on the bottom rack over the water pan. I couldn't believe it. The temp fell to 235 degrees(I have a Maverick) and remained there rock solid for 12 hours never moving even a degree.

After about 5 hours I checked the pan and it really didn't need to be filled at that point but I went ahead and did that, then never had to do anything with it again. Next time I will wait until 7 or 8 hours have past to check.

The butt was outstanding. Perfect really.

I am a newbie at this, but will certainly be keeping this inexpensive little smoker that can do something like this. It really can be set it and forget it.

I also put the wood chunks in foil(poking holes in the foil with a fork) and just set three of those between the heating elements and after everything was finished I had no ash mess to clean up. Sweet!

#22 Coachrem12



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Posted 28 November 2010 - 08:52 PM

I have one of these... the tall red smoker, and I love it. I DID over cook a couple pieces of meat on there the first few times I used it, then I found this forum, where the experts reside, and decided I needed to check the temp-- it was running close to 300, as stated by many.

I simply hoisted the lid up on a cedar shim I had laying around from finishing my basement. I wedged the lid open just a 1/4 inch or so... and then I was able to A) use my thermometer without removing the lid, and :lol:, maintain the temperature at a fairly consistent range. It DOES take some experimenting to hit the number-- when it's hot outside (mid 90s this summer, I did ribs) I had to shim the entire lid up, all the way around. That temp stayed at about 215... then, this past weekend I did a brisket (Shelly's method, MAN it's PERFECT and EASY!), when it was 30 degrees outside, and I just barely had the lid shimmed up at all (I had to lift the corner of the lid up to stick the temp. probe in), and the temp was in the low 220s.

Perfect? No. Good results from an inexpensive thing? N0--they were great! My first brisket (I even took a pic, now that I think about it-- I will post when I get my camera hooked up again) was one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten, and it was so tender that I could hardly pick the brisket up off the rack.

I am doing a Boston Butt this weekend, too... anyone have a recipe they'd like to recommend? Never done one.

Happy grilling!
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