How Good Is It?
My Brinkmann Smoke ‘N Grill Charcoal Smoker does a really good job with almost everything I put in it. Having smoke pass up through the meat is a proven design, and the water pan acts as a buffer so direct heat doesn’t burn your food. Also, all of the juices drip down into the water, which adds flavor to the rising steam. Sometimes we add apple juice, orange slices, etc. to the water for even more flavor. Just get creative.
This is a one-piece model that doesn’t allow you to lift the unit off of the charcoal pan portion and tend to your fire, so it’s very difficult to add charcoal or even wood chips through the small door. It’s also difficult to arrange the coals once they’re in the pan. If I had known this before purchasing, I would have opted for a two-piece model that allows access to the charcoal pan.
Gauge and Maintaining Proper Temperature
The gauge in this unit is as basic as they get, so you really need a good thermometer in order to know the true internal temp.
Or, do you?
Back when I first started using this, all I did was tend to the charcoal throughout the smoking process. My goal was to keep the needle straight up, and the food came out fine. Many experts get into all kinds of detail about temperature, but thinking back, I was winging it and never even knew the inside temp. The meat always ended up done, though, and I never even burned anything. Maybe this style smoker is more fool-proof than I thought.
Space is a little limited inside this unit, but there are two racks and I always seem to get more meat in there than I thought it would hold. Overall, this is not a deal killer. You just have to pack it in tight if you’re smoking a high quantity of meat.
How Long Will it Last?
I bought mine 20-25 years ago. The exterior is finally beginning to rust, but I don’t blame it after a couple of decades on the back patio, uncovered.
The legs, however, are aluminum, so they’re rust-free and not staining anything at all. This is a very nice feature.
Food I’ve Smoked With My Brinkmann Smoke ‘N Grill
- Pork Shoulders / Boston Butts, for Pulled Pork
- Pork Ribs
- Whole Chickens (click to read)
- Whole Turkeys
- Salmon Filets (click to read)
Cons: Limited access to charcoal
My Rating: 7 out of 10
Best Place to Buy: Amazon
It makes great barbecue
Almost impossible to burn your meat
Water pan moisturizes the meat
Water pan catches meat juices, returning flavor as steam passes up around the meat.
Aluminum legs – no rusty metal
Difficult to add coals, tend to fire, etc.
Somewhat limited space for meat
No temps on basic gauge
Bart’s Bottom Line
Would I buy this unit again, knowing what I do now? – No.
If I was purchasing a bullet-style smoker in this category, I would opt for a 2-piece model that provides full access to the charcoal pan during the smoking process. See the “Better” option, below.
Considering how long smokers last, and how perfectly Pit Barrel Cookers
smoke their food – we’re talking premium barbecue – I could easily justify their extra cost. No contest. See the “Premium” option, below.