Quantcast

El Cheapo Smoker Purchase

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

BNVince

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
282
Reaction score
2
Location
Linwood, NJ
I was perusing home depot after work today since I had a mere $20 left on a gift card and I noticed that the Brinkman Smoke and Grill was on sale for $35! How can I pass up a bargain like that?

So I bought it and now I realize that I'm not that experienced with true BBQ cooking. I'm wondering if anybody has this smoker and how they have had success with it.

And what's the deal with the water tray? Should I be using that if I'm trying to smoke some ribs at a real low temp? Can I put beer in it for more flavor? Should I just return the thing and act like this never happened since I look like a complete noob right now?
 

Brakeman_Brewing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2007
Messages
948
Reaction score
8
Ive never seen that smoker before, but BBQ and meat smoking is just like brewing, youve got the basic key factors- Meat, rub/spice, time, and temp. The best part is brew and BBQ go hand in hand!

Take some time and browse through this site. Its a pretty good resource, and its free!
 

Sluggo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2007
Messages
109
Reaction score
0
Location
Chicago Burbs
Ahh, how I wish it wasn't 12° outside so I could use my smoker without freezing my cajones off.

You always want to keep the water tray filled. It helps regulate the temperature and helps keep the meat moist (though the fat in the meat is the primary "moisturizer"). If you keep the temp around 225°-250° and the water filled you ribs will take between 4-6 hours depending on how tender you want them and how much you like to gnaw on the bones vs. the meat completely falling off when you look at it funny (I prefer the latter, but that's just me).

Is that smoker the electric one or charcoal? The electric is more convenient, but you won't get as much flavor as you would with charcoal. I'm a diehard charcoal man so I'm biased, but I see the merit in both. You can add wood chunks to either to get more of the hickory (or apple or pecan or mesquite) flavor.

Here's another site that has a ton of information and recipes:

http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/

A lot of the information is about the Weber Smoky Mountain cooker (I have two of them and can't recommend them enough), but the majority can be applied to all smokers.

Just tell yourself that you NEED a smoker to go with your beer habit. It's an easy justification.
 

tgrier

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2007
Messages
310
Reaction score
1
Location
Austin, Texas
I have one of these... and I really liked it.
I have one of these now.
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=3342508

The water pan is for steam and to create humidity so that the meat does not dry out too much.

My issue with this unit was the access to the fire area down low. Difficult to maintain a good temp and add fuel. But great results in my opinion if you watch your fire.

My gas smoker is not "fancy" or expensive.. but I can use the wood and get a great smoke line in the first 3-4 hours.. and then walk away and 15 hours later.. I have a great brisket or pork butt or whatever...

You will love smoking .. meat... It rocks and creates greaet flavor!
 
OP
B

BNVince

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
282
Reaction score
2
Location
Linwood, NJ
Sluggo said:
If you keep the temp around 225°-250° and the water filled you ribs will take between 4-6 hours depending on how tender you want them and how much you like to gnaw on the bones vs. the meat completely falling off when you look at it funny (I prefer the latter, but that's just me).
So does cooking them longer make them fall of the bone?
 
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
1,474
Reaction score
4
Location
Orlando, FL
My two cents is that if your are going to use charcoal. Use the natural wood variety in place of briquettes. It makes a huge difference in flavor.

For me if you are able to keep the smoker close to 225°-250°. For me 5-6 hours are the magic number for ribs.

Yes you can add most anything to the water, beer is a great addition for ribs. I will often baste with beer too.

You can tell if the meat will "fall off the bone" when the meat pulls back from the bone substantially. The catch 22 of all this is that you don't want to open up the smoker much. It takes forever to come back up to temp.
 

talleymonster

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2005
Messages
2,130
Reaction score
28
I've got an ECB (El Cheapo Brinkman). I like it a lot.

It is a cheap model though. I wouldn't rely to heavily on the temp guage. Just get yourself a grill thermometer and set it right on the grate with your meat. You will get a much more accurate reading right where your food will be cooking.

Also, when you smoke you may want wrap foil around the rim of the lid to get a better "seal" and keep some of the smoke and heat in.

Once you get it properly tuned, you can set it and forget it. It will burn for a good 4 hours or so.

The water pan works great with beer.

I believe Evan! has the same smoker as I do and he has had good success with it.


Here are a couple threads from a smoking forum that I like to lurk at:

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2317&highlight=project+ecb


http://thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9287&highlight=ecb



My smoker in action


Drunk Chicken

Smoked Spare Ribs





P.S. Edwort is the Pitmaster around here when it comes to BBQ.
 

Hell Brew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2007
Messages
320
Reaction score
2
Location
CLear Lake TX
This is weird. I was just looking at these online and considering buying one. I was just about to start a thread about this.
 
OP
B

BNVince

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
282
Reaction score
2
Location
Linwood, NJ
Wow talleymonster. Those mods are awesome. And that drunk chicken looks awesome as well. Did you just stick a can of coors light up the chickens nether regions and smoke away with a little dry rub?
 

Jim Karr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2005
Messages
1,252
Reaction score
7
Location
SW Michigan..Bangor/Covert area
The greatest recipe for BeerCan chicken comes from (and the greatest representative of the craft) is John Kass from the Chicago Tribune. Go to the Tribune's website and search thru his articles. I believe they all have a direct link to BeerCan chicken.

John Kass is the MAN!:ban:
 

talleymonster

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2005
Messages
2,130
Reaction score
28
BNVince said:
Wow talleymonster. Those mods are awesome. And that drunk chicken looks awesome as well. Did you just stick a can of coors light up the chickens nether regions and smoke away with a little dry rub?
Pretty much. I also peeled the skin back and rubbed sage butter between the meat and skin.

Yes, it was Coors Light:eek:.
 

EdWort

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2006
Messages
11,893
Reaction score
443
Location
Bee Cave, Texas
That's similar to the Weber WSM smoker. There's loads of info at http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/ on it. Same principle as your Brinkman. My first smoker was a Brinkman in Germany. I would smoke fresh trout with it every weekend.

It's a good way to get started into smoking meats without spending loads of money. Use natural lump charcoal and NEVER use lighter fluid (unless you want your smoked meats to taste like Techron) to start your fire. Get a chimney or use the wax starters.

Rule of thumb on cooking meats, if it is lean, cook it hot and fast. If it is tough or fatty, cook it low & slow to break down the connective tissue and render out the fat.

Enjoy and post some pics of your cooks!
 

zoebisch01

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
5,180
Reaction score
11
Location
Central PA
I have one :D

I built a firebox at the base of a small hill by our stream and used rock and daubed it with mud for mortar. Then I dug a trench up the hill, lined it with rocks, covered the top with big rocks and then covering it with earth to make a 'pipe'. At the top of the hill I dug a hole into which the Brinkman sits. Again more rock and earth around the base of it. I drilled a big hole on either side so that I can slide a dowel through to hold things like picnics, Turkey, etc. It works great, I get a nice cold smoke in weather like this. In fact that reminds me, I have a picnic that I need to brine and smoke! Doh. If I get around to it, I'll post some pics. It is a simple, inexpensive way to increase how much you can put inside. It basically acts as the shell.
 
OP
B

BNVince

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
282
Reaction score
2
Location
Linwood, NJ
zoebisch01 said:
I have one :D

I built a firebox at the base of a small hill by our stream and used rock and daubed it with mud for mortar. Then I dug a trench up the hill, lined it with rocks, covered the top with big rocks and then covering it with earth to make a 'pipe'. At the top of the hill I dug a hole into which the Brinkman sits. Again more rock and earth around the base of it. I drilled a big hole on either side so that I can slide a dowel through to hold things like picnics, Turkey, etc. It works great, I get a nice cold smoke in weather like this. In fact that reminds me, I have a picnic that I need to brine and smoke! Doh. If I get around to it, I'll post some pics. It is a simple, inexpensive way to increase how much you can put inside. It basically acts as the shell.
That sounds like something from the Shire where Froddo Baggins is roasting a pig. Do you have any pictures?
 

zoebisch01

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
5,180
Reaction score
11
Location
Central PA
BNVince said:
That sounds like something from the Shire where Froddo Baggins is roasting a pig. Do you have any pictures?
Lol. Yeah it is sort of hehe. The amazing thing is that just with rocks and mud after 2 years it's still there. If I fire it up this weekend I'll have to take some pics, although the weather is supposed to swing up to the 50's...so I am not sure yet.
 

cubbies

Tastes like butterdirt
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
1,919
Reaction score
11
Location
St Louis MO
Do not return it. If you haven't gotten into the world of smoking meat then you don't know what you are missing out on. What homebrew is too good beer, home smoking is to good barbecue.

Now, I must admit, I use the electric Brinkmann, and I am sure there are a large number of purists out there that would have me crucified for such an infraction. However, I have had no reason to change. I have been told on numerous occasions, by many different people that my pulled pork is the best they have ever had. And I also make some smoky spicy wings that would absolutely knock your socks off.

You do need to use the water pan to control the temp and yes you can put pretty much anything you want in there. I rarely use plain water. Dark beer, white wine, marinade...the list goes on and on. The one thing that I would recommend is that if you are smoking something for a really long time like a pork shoulder or a beef brisket, to add hot liquid. The liquid will most likely eventually evaporate and you will have to add more liquid...if you add it cold, it will temporarily cool off the smoker. To help keep the temp stable it helps if you preheat your liquid.

Seriously, take some time, do some research and smoke something this weekend. If you want to do something easy, go buy some chicken breasts, and a rub (you should really make your own rub, but for the sake of easiness...). Pat the chicken down with a paper towel and apply rub (you can add some sort of liquid to help adhere the rub if you like, but you shouldn't need to), and put it in the smoker at around 215 degrees. Smoke until internal temp is between 165-170 (this will take numerous hours) and remove. Let it rest for 15 minutes or so and devour.

The type of wood you use will make a difference. Use whatever you have. However, if it was me, and it was my chicken, I would probably go with half hickory and half of a fruit tree like apple or peach.

When you eat this you will see how much better even just a simple chicken breast is when smoked.
 

Alamo_Beer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2006
Messages
2,436
Reaction score
14
Location
Manor, Tx
Oh man smoking rocks! I've got the electric version as well and love it. I did a chicken recently that rocked. All it was was a whole chicken patted dry and some porter in the water bowl. I used pecan wood and let it go for a few hours. Man did that thing rock.

Hmm, I think i'll have to break it out for this weekend!

Enjoy :mug:
 

krispy d

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2007
Messages
609
Reaction score
5
Location
Old Saybrook CT
funny this thread shows up today... I just today bought all the parts to build a smoker. Spent the beginning of the afternoon throwing it all together and the meat is smoking while I type.

Yay for smoke and brew!
 
OP
B

BNVince

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
282
Reaction score
2
Location
Linwood, NJ
cubbies said:
Do not return it. If you haven't gotten into the world of smoking meat then you don't know what you are missing out on. What homebrew is too good beer, home smoking is to good barbecue.

Now, I must admit, I use the electric Brinkmann, and I am sure there are a large number of purists out there that would have me crucified for such an infraction. However, I have had no reason to change. I have been told on numerous occasions, by many different people that my pulled pork is the best they have ever had. And I also make some smoky spicy wings that would absolutely knock your socks off.

You do need to use the water pan to control the temp and yes you can put pretty much anything you want in there. I rarely use plain water. Dark beer, white wine, marinade...the list goes on and on. The one thing that I would recommend is that if you are smoking something for a really long time like a pork shoulder or a beef brisket, to add hot liquid. The liquid will most likely eventually evaporate and you will have to add more liquid...if you add it cold, it will temporarily cool off the smoker. To help keep the temp stable it helps if you preheat your liquid.

Seriously, take some time, do some research and smoke something this weekend. If you want to do something easy, go buy some chicken breasts, and a rub (you should really make your own rub, but for the sake of easiness...). Pat the chicken down with a paper towel and apply rub (you can add some sort of liquid to help adhere the rub if you like, but you shouldn't need to), and put it in the smoker at around 215 degrees. Smoke until internal temp is between 165-170 (this will take numerous hours) and remove. Let it rest for 15 minutes or so and devour.

The type of wood you use will make a difference. Use whatever you have. However, if it was me, and it was my chicken, I would probably go with half hickory and half of a fruit tree like apple or peach.

When you eat this you will see how much better even just a simple chicken breast is when smoked.
Thanks man. That was very informative.

I have the charcoal version and I was planning on smoking some ribs this weekend (with my own dry rub of course ;) ) Perhaps I will throw some chicken breasts on as well just to get a feel for everything.

Also, I bought some hickory and apple wood yesterday so I'll try a combination of that for my first smoke off.

What I forget to mention to everybody was that the reason I got the smoker was because I'll be doing my first all grain batch this weekend. I was going to make some ribs on the grill for myself, a friend, and swmbo while mashing and whatnot but I figured - wait, I have almost 4 hours to kill...why don't I just do it right and get a smoker.

It should be quite an eventful day. Pics coming soon.
 

the_bird

10th-Level Beer Nerd
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
20,968
Reaction score
594
Location
Adams, MA
I've been meaning to start a thread on these smokers for a while...

When researching these little water smokers, the only real downside I read was that they are hard to keep at the proper temperature. Figure that would probably render them pretty useless in the dead of winter. Let me know if that's an issue for you.
 

cubbies

Tastes like butterdirt
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
1,919
Reaction score
11
Location
St Louis MO
It is okay in the winter with my electric Brinkmann. I used it the Sunday before New Years and it was roughly 20-25 degrees all day and I cant say that I had major heat loss. It is tougher if you use wood chips. Wood chips need to be added every hour at least IMO, and therefore you have to take the top off which is obviously going to cause heat loss. However, wood chunks can be bought (typically about the size of a tennis ball or so), and those will smoke for a good long while.
 

Sluggo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2007
Messages
109
Reaction score
0
Location
Chicago Burbs
the_bird said:
I've been meaning to start a thread on these smokers for a while...

When researching these little water smokers, the only real downside I read was that they are hard to keep at the proper temperature. Figure that would probably render them pretty useless in the dead of winter. Let me know if that's an issue for you.
I've used my Weber in a minor blizzard with no real issues. I had to move it out of the direct gale force winds and fully open all the vents at the bottom to keep it at 225°, but other than that it was just like a normal smoking day. Once you get used to your smoker you will know how many vents to open and how far to get the temperature you want.

Be careful if you use natural lump charcoal. It will burn hotter and faster than briquettes, but isn't an issue if you watch it. There is also a lot of inconsistency between brands. Some will give off a horrible sulfur smelling smoke when they are first lit that will make your food taste like crap while others will be just fine. Personally I use natural lump for grilling and Kingsford for smoking.

Keep it and get to cooking those ribs dammit.
 

zoebisch01

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
5,180
Reaction score
11
Location
Central PA
Sluggo said:
I've used my Weber in a minor blizzard with no real issues. .
Smoking at it's finest! I LOVE going out in the snow to my smoker and adding wood. I seriously do.
 

SuperiorBrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2007
Messages
1,672
Reaction score
44
I started smoking with an electric brinkman. It worked pretty good in the cold as long as it wasnt windy. Had a bunch of smokers since then. They are like brewing equipment, I keep collecting more and more and passing the old ones down to friends or my parents.
That brinkman still made the best smoked cabbage I ever had, I almost consider getting one again just for that every summer.
 

SuperiorBrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2007
Messages
1,672
Reaction score
44
rickylr said:
Now that sounds interesting. Disregarding the obvious and obligatory "you had to suck real hard because it was tough to keep lit" answer, how'd you smoke cabbage?

Rick
Take a knife and remove the core by cutting a cone or V out of the bottom of it till it is all removed.

Wrap it in a double layer of tinfoil with only the top cone + 1/2" exposed.

sprinkle the top with your favorite rub & then fill the cone with a beef boullion cube or two, 1/2 stick butter, and some crumbled bacon if you still have room.

I usually make a ring out of tinfoil to set it on so it is stable (big tinfoil doughnut)

Smoke at 225 for 3 hours or so. Even those who do not like cabbage will like this. It will be super tender & juicy.

Fresh cabbage is best, about once a year I get a cabbage from the grocery store that looks fine but must have little to no moisture content, they just never get tender. Most of the grocery store cabbage will work, just expect an occasional dud. Farmers market cabbages always work great.
 
OP
B

BNVince

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
282
Reaction score
2
Location
Linwood, NJ
One thing I forgot to ask. The instructions for the smoker suggest curing the entire thing before use. Is this necessary?
 

zoebisch01

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
5,180
Reaction score
11
Location
Central PA
BNVince said:
One thing I forgot to ask. The instructions for the smoker suggest curing the entire thing before use. Is this necessary?
It's probably a good idea. You want a film to develop on the inside of it to make sure no manufacturing oils, etc are in the air when you have your food in. I would do this step.
 

Sluggo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2007
Messages
109
Reaction score
0
Location
Chicago Burbs
zoebisch01 said:
It's probably a good idea. You want a film to develop on the inside of it to make sure no manufacturing oils, etc are in the air when you have your food in. I would do this step.
Yeah, it would be a good idea. BUT...if you're impatient like me, I didn't do it for either of my smokers and I didn't notice a difference. But you probably should. But ...
 

zoebisch01

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
5,180
Reaction score
11
Location
Central PA
BNVince said:
That sounds like something from the Shire where Froddo Baggins is roasting a pig. Do you have any pictures?



My gallery has more :)

Members of the Shire:
 
Top