Rated 4.1 out of 5 by 138
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by RustyBones Great little smoker
Bought this item without checking any reviews & when I did look, I found a world of data on mods & tips. A tip on seasoning the smoker, use shortening & coat everything but the charcoal bowl then fire it up for two hours. Touch up occasionally to keep it shining.
1-Drilled holes in the charcoal bowl for air flow
2-Mounted the legs on the outside
3-Drilled hole & mounted a real thermostat
4-Stacked patio stones underneath for charcoal bowl
Cooked several times with no problems until the smoke residue collected on the lid.
5-Cut vent in top of lid then mounted smokestack from previous smoker, sealed with Permatex 81160
6-Added fiberglass rope & gasket sealer to close off default smoke vent
Now it cooks turkeys non-stop for five hours with only $60 out of pocket.
January 12, 2015
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by bobincinti 1st smoker, needs modification
I have wanted to try my hand at smoking meats because I love pulled pork and pork ribs. I received this as a gift for Father's Day (2013) and here is my review after the 1st use.
From a quality perspective, it is what I expected for a $50 smoker. The temp gauge is not the best so I purchased a digital model that can monitor the temp of the smoker and meat. Getting the meat to the right temp is the key to success with this grill.
I had problems with the fire for the 14+ hours I ran the smoker. The ash has no place to fall, so it chokes the fire and you are constantly stoking the fire every few hours. When the fire was out, I had unburned charcoal and wood at the bottom of the fire box.
To fix the problem, I have purchased a Weber smokey joe 10.5 inch charcoal grate ($7) for the fire box to allow the ash to fall through. This will give me about 2 inches of clearance from the bottom of the fire bowl and as the coals turn to ash, they will fall through. This will allow the fire to smolder and not choke itself out and keep a more consistent temp.
For my first use, these were the types of problems I expected because it was a learning experience. But despite the problems I had with the fire, the food it produced was fantastic and over 30 people loved it. So for a beginner, this is a great smoker.
June 25, 2013
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by Steve Great overall smoker, Perfect for the beginner!!
I originally bought the Brinkmann box smoker that went on clearance 1 1/2 ago. After opening it up to build it while i was on a camping trip there was no hardware packet. I brought back to the nearest Home Depot to me and they gladly switched it out for me no questions asked. After i got settled in back on the camp site I started on my first real smoking adventure. After about 4 hours the smoked chicken was done. IT was DELICIOUS, perfectly cooked, juicy on the inside crisp on the outside. Beautiful smoke ring as well. I love this smoker the only bad thing about it is 1.) the temp gauge is cheap and hard to read( I bought a new one for under 10 bucks to replace it) . I have smoke d everything from pork butts to chicken wings and have loved every meal. I have also used it as a charcoal grill while on picnics and it is absolutely great. Would Definitively buy it again if this one every breaks down. When you buy this unit make sure to pick up a cover, temp gauge that give actual temps and lava rocks for the bottom ( helps to hold heat for perfect smoking)
May 10, 2013
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Willyhoeshow I'm on my second one
I bought one three years ago and have used it no less than once per week. I've done ribs, chicken, turkey, pork, burgers dogs and a lot more. I gave my first one away when we had to move and have been kicking myself since. the temp gauge isn't the best, but a replacement is less than $10. I am going to go pick up another one of these because I miss my old one. This thing has TONS of room for cooking too.
November 16, 2013
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by xanman528 Great starter smoker!
I have been a gas grill guy all my life but after my Wife and son got me this smoker a few months ago I am now hooked on smoked meats! Its very easy to to use and does a great job! I've cooked beef ribs and baking hens so far and I must say its been some of the best I've had! I am going to smoker a turkey this year for Thanksgiving on it! I would highly recommend this smoker to anyone wanting to get started in the smoking game!
June 8, 2013
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by DougM Franken Smoker
I had wanted to experiment with smoking for some time, so this inexpensive smoker seemed perfect. I had read all of the advice about instilling the legs on the outside, drilling holes in the bottom of the charcoal pan and putting the pan on bricks.
I tried a slightly more difficult approach, but the results are great. I modified my smoker so that I too can lift the entire smoker off the charcoal pan but I did it slightly differently.
After installing the legs on the outside, this leaves the charcoal pan on the ground unless you put it on bricks or something else. I did not love the idea of bricks as I was certain the wife would object. So back at home depot, I bought (4) 5”x1/4” hex bolts, 8 nuts and 8 washers. Then I drilled 4 ½” holes around the perimeter of the pan and used the hex bolts as legs. This gave it the perfect height and the “legs” look like they came from the factory that way (In hindsight, I should have used carriage bolts). I also drilled the holes in the first bend of the pan so that the legs would angle out slightly, giving me more stability.
This sounds far more complicated than it is. The other nice think about the way mine turned out is that the charcoal pan still fits in the top of the smoker if you want to use it as a grill rather than a smoker.
Then I drilled a few holes to improve airflow as others had suggested. Since this would let ash fall through and pile up on the patio, I bought a cheap 12” frying pan that sits under the smoker when it is in use. This catches the ashes and makes cleanup a snap. When I am not using the smoker, the fry pan fits inside so I do not look quite as dorky as I actually am.
June 13, 2012
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by ACinPGH ECB!
Do yourself a favor and run an internet search for ECB of "El Cheapo Brinkmann." You'll get the mods that people use to successfully convert this into a much better smoker for not a lot of $. For instance, I drilled vent holes in the ash pan and added a charcoal holder to get better heat. I also installed the legs facing out and use bricks to support the fire/ash pan. This means that I can lift off the entire smoker to dump and refill the coals. I also drilled the lid and added an inexpensive thermometer that gives me temp reads instead of the "low, ideal, high" designations on the smoked (which are not calibrated anyway). You can also seal the lid with stove rope and drill and vent the top, but I have not yet gotten there. The food that this makes is amazing, but it is time consuming (as it should be!).
April 14, 2014
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by ATLien Perfect for beginners!
I, like many, had my doubts due to the low price of the Brinkmann Smoke N Grill. This is my first smoker, and I didn't want to spend a lot learning how to barbeque. However, after a few simple modifications, this smoker does everything I need it to and works great!
My first attempt to smoke a 4 lb Boston Butt with the smoker fully assembled per the directions was a bust! I could never get the temp hot enough - even though the horrible gauge said it was in the "Ideal" range - and getting there was even tough. After I thought it was done (after 6 hours), it wasn't even close. Had to finish it off in the oven. Once I read the reviews on how to mod it, though, it works like a CHAMP!
- I use Kingsford with Hickory charcoal as it burns longer and cleaner. Don't buy anything with lighter fluid already added as it messes with the taste.
- I use wood chunks that have been soaked in water overnight (these work better and longer than wood chips).
Here are the real tricks:
- Put the legs on the outside instead of inside. This will allow you to lift the entire unit off of the charcoal base and allows you to add charcoal and wood MUCH more easily.
- I drilled holes in the lip of the charcoal pan and added 10" carriage bolts (with locking nuts) to make "legs". This lifts the pan off the ground and helps airflow.
- Drill several holes in the bottom of the charcoal pan to help air get in and ash get out.
- Get a smaller grate to put in the pan to keep the charcoal from being smothered by ash. This also helps air flow.
- BUY A REAL THERMOMETER and add it to the top of the unit. I noticed that even in the "Ideal" range, the temp was only 125 or 150 - not hot enough to be safe. I've also seen people get a second one and drill it by the door to get gauge on the mid-level grate. If you use only the provided gauge, you have to get it at least to the "L" in "Ideal" for it to be hot enough.
- I've also seen some people add a damper to the lid (like you see on many regular charcoal grills) that you can open to let smoke out, but I have not seen a need for it.
Overall, I probably spent about twenty bucks more to completely modify this smoker, and it now works better than smokers that cost three to four times as much!
There are also videos on YouTube that show you these mods, but I've listed the best of them all here for your convenience. =)
I highly recommend this and wish you years of happy smoking!
June 11, 2013