Rated 3.8 out of 5 by 86
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by MrPringlz Excellent smoker for bbq, sausage and even pizzas - after just a little work
First off, I love this smoker and would recommend it to anyone who wants a real fire breathing BBQ machine but doesn't want to spend a grand for a competition cooker, but it isn't for the "set it and forget it" crowd. I have had a few electric smokers over the years and made the upgrade to a real smoker this summer and will never go back.
The package arrived on time, and while the box was in rough shape the parts were unharmed. The assembly took very little time, and I used high temp/food safe sealant at each joint and self adhesive gaskets on the main door during the initial setup. The only issue I had with assembly was closure on the main door, however, during the curing cook the heat was enough to mold the door to the opening and it now closes pretty well.
This is a great smoker for ribs, pork butts/roasts, birds and sausage, though I still do my fish in the electrics due to the low temps and short cook times. With a little bit of experimenting it is quite easy to maintain temps once the fire is going. I made a wire coal cage out of chicken wire to keep the embers away from the sides to reduce wear on the fire box. I fill the cage up half-way with lump charcoal and then pour a chimney of white-hot Kingsford on top to get it going. I also throw in several chunks of my wood of choice for the day for flavor. Once I am up to temp on the cooking rakes it takes another 30 minutes to get the temps leveled out, but from then on, it is very easy to maintain your cooking zones. I typically will add more lump coal about 3 hours in to make temps easier to maintain.
The sausage hooks on top are a great bonus that most smokers can't offer since they aren't vertical.
The round cooking chamber also works perfect for making wood fired pizzas. With a combination of coal and mini logs you can easily get the chamber up to 600-650 degrees for a perfect crispy crust. If you preheat a pizza stone, this method lets you cook up your pizzas in only 6-8 minutes. It works so well that I would recommend this smoker for the pizzas alone.
I've now used this smoker through all temperature extremes (0 up to 95 degrees) and it works fine in all conditions. The trick I've found is lining it up with the wind so you get a nice draw when it's cold out, or so there is little to no draw when it is hot. I also have a large coal basket for winter cooks and a smaller coal basket for summer cooks. I use about 50% more fuel to cook in the winter. I've also found that the vertical design lends itself to easy temperature control between racks. From my testing, there is about 25 degrees in cooking temperature drop for each rack you move up. This is very convenient when cooking different meats, but be warned, the bottom rack is 75 degrees hotter then the gauge reads. I run digital temp probes in through the water door to help me monitor temps for longer cooks.
My only concern is the long term life of the smoker. I've had it for about 9 months and it has received a lot of use, and is showing some rust on the fire box. Come spring I will prep it and repaint the fire box so hopefully this is a nonissue. The main door latch is a bit touchy, but once you figure it out works just fine.
I think with some annual TLC this smoker will be making my neighbors drool for years to come, and I would recommend it to anyone - and have to dozens.
February 20, 2015
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by TurfGuy Yes, I've gone Vertical
I am a former Brinkmann TrailMaster LE Horizontal Offset Firebox Smoker owner. WE had it for a number of years and, although I seal up some of the leaks in it; I never really got consistant heat across the width of the BTLE.
I bought this a couple of weeks ago and sealed it with RTV 600 degree caulk at all the seams. It's orange, but I knew I was going to add a couiple of coats of new paint so I didn't mind. After the caulk had dried, I gave it 3 coats of Rustoleum 1200 degree High Heat paint, as my old Brinkmann started to show signs of rust a little sooner than I was happy with. We then sealed all the doors and lid with Nomex 1/2" self stick gasket material. Just finished my first smoke (pork shoulder and baby backs with Hickory) Saturday and could not have been happier with the results. It was easy to keep the temps where I wanted them and obviously very even heat with the vertical design. I was also happy with the porcelain covered water dish and chrome racks. They cleaned up reasonably well in the dishwasher after cooling off.
Bottom line, it's an affordable entry into the world of PitMasters, and with a little extra work and money, it will be around for a long, long time. I also sprung for the cover, something I neglected to do last time, short sighted on my part.
April 29, 2014
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Barros68 Great Overall Smoker
I'm a first year smoker and have already upgraded to a bigger (this model) smoker. I'm very happy with the durability of the smoker (weighs over 100 lbs), but has wheels and can be moved easily.. The pit has a water pan to keep the meat moist and It has a small door in the back to add water without losing a lot of heat.It's well worth the investment. I cooked a Boston butt, chicken thighs, bacon, full rack of ribs, mac and cheese all on my first run with this smoker. I was also surpised as how quickly it cooked, I was assuming that the offset/in-direct cook would take much longer. I plan to use the sausage hooks that mount to the ceiling of the smoker this weekend.
July 26, 2013
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by Bigsarge Fairy good for the Price.
Just like everyone else I had a problem with the door and Leakage. Home Depot do not carry the Items needed to seal the pit tho I would like to see them carry them. Mine was shipped to my home. it wasn't packaged very well inside foam was broken in several places. Lucky I was home because the UPS driver did not have a dolly to get it off the truck. The Box had large hole in the bottom. I ordered the Sealer and tape from an online store and waited until it arrived to put the smoker together. I sealed and placed gasket as I erected it, so I did not have to take anything apart later. Hopefully you can see in the picture where I had to apply the seal and gasket to include the water door. The seal around the fire box door did not hold up very well during seasoning. I have not used it for cooking yet and plain to paint the sealed areas. 5 stars if it came sealed, leak proof and with a free smoking cook book.
June 27, 2014
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by Kenman The Brinkmann Vertical Trailmaster Smoker is Worth More than just Look!!
Overall I am pleased with the Brinkmann Vertical Trailmaster Smoker. I have only had it for about a month but I have already smoked a pork loin roast, a spiral cut ham, and a couple turkey breasts. I searched for a while looking for a vertical cooking chamber smoker that also had a large fire box, all while being priced affordably.
The unit arrived nicely packaged with all the hardware needed. Assembly went smoothly and I discovered a nice Water fill Door on the back of the unit that is not stated in the description, it saves a lot of heat loss when topping off the water pan. The unit easily achieved 250° for the curing, 400° was not going to happen in the cooking chamber but easily got it that high in the charcoal box.
There are, like almost every smoker under $500, a couple mods I recommend:
1 - High temp silicon sealant on all the joints. . I used Red Devil high temp RTV, it worked well and is food rated. Cover the sealant with wax paper and lightly close the doors, let cure and remove the wax paper, now you have an air-tight gasket around all doors
2 – Mount latches on the upper/lower corners of the cooking chamber door. The unit has one central latch that doesn't pull the corners in enough allowing some heat and smoke to escape. JB Weld works nice and you don't need to drill more holes.
3 - Upgrade the charcoal grate. Mine buckled under the heat of my first smoke and as a result I had trouble keeping cooking temps up.
4 - Make a charcoal basket. It keeps your charcoal away from the walls of the box extending the life, and makes it easy to shake the ash down and out of the coals to keep oxygen feeding the coals and keeping your temps where they should be. ¾” x 24” x 24” expanded metal is $20 at Home Depot, a little snipping and bending is all that is required.
After the above mods: One basket full, about 4 lbs of charcoal ( 3/4 lump & 1/4 briquette) easily mantained 235° for 3 hours:)))
A couple mods and just a little time, for around $300 I have a smoker that is ready for whatever I throw in it for years to come.
April 22, 2013
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 by edic109 Trailmaster Vertical Smoker
Have had Brinkmann horizontal smoker +10 years excellent product and durable, kids bought vertical for Father's Day worst piece of construction seen , seems wide open on top and bottom large 1/8" gap entire door. After initial seasoning burn (controlled) grate totally warped and melted. Very happy with old Brinkmann product , new Chinese manufacturing pitiful can no longer or will I recommend Brinkmann. Have pictures t send Brinkmann but no process or access to
July 3, 2014
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Loadie Smokin' Smoker
Have had a few different smokers but this one "Rocks"! Nice lots of grilling space and Heavy Duty. Put it together by myself if I can do it anybody can.! Not sure why anyone would complain about it. I highly recommend it and so dose my son..
July 17, 2014
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by smokydoky1 This is a great working smoker for the money.
The smoker is heavy duty and the value is great. The temperature is very controllable.It is easy to assemble but I did have to bend the firebox door stop to fit and also I had to place the cook chamber smoker door bend down, then I stood on the top edges balancing to bend the door to a good fit. There was to much of a bend out of the box. I also added a latch on the door at the top and bottom in addition to the door handle. the door now shuts tight and secure. I also added a rotisserie at the second shelf up from the water pan.You can get this smoker to 400 degrees for the curing. What I did was I added additional hot charcoal directly to the cook chamber in a charcoal chimey. A little tweeking here and there and you will have a better smoker than one that costs $1,200 dollars. Great bang for the buck!
August 14, 2013