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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 10-30-2013, 07:52 PM   #1
Larso
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Default My first smoker(brinkmann charcoal)

Hi,
Ive never smoked meat before. Just waiting for delivery of my brinkmann charcoal smoker http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Not really sure where to start! Id love to maybe smoke some turkey. recently visited the US(Phoenix) and couldnt get enough of the smoked turkey. Also intend smoking some pork shoulder, ribs and whatever else.
I would appreciate any advice or pointers to get me started, whats easy to get right and any points about setting up my smoker?

Thanks

L
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Unread 10-30-2013, 07:54 PM   #2
SmittyJonz
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This Dude has got the tricks - do as he does.

http://home.comcast.net/~day_trippr/smoker_mods.htm
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Unread 10-30-2013, 08:06 PM   #3
Toast
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OR you don't need any modifications at all. I see you have purchased the Gourmet model. That's the exact same one I started with. There is a center hole at the bottom of the charcoal pan (air intake). Keep it open during your smokes. I took a long metal skewer and bent the end 90 degrees and about 4 inches long to reach under it and clear any ash accumulation. Also, on those smokers, it helps to have a shield for wind.

I made some really good BBQ with mine, it was a great learning experience.

Good luck on your new rig and the main thing is to have fun with it.
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Unread 10-30-2013, 08:07 PM   #4
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you are going to make mistakes. Nobody can tell you how to do it . They can tell you how they do it but till you do it make some mistakes and learn from them you realy don't know . If that makes any sence to you .orry just trying to help
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Unread 10-30-2013, 08:25 PM   #5
landarc
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Wow, that is a lot of work to make a Brinkmann smoke a little tiny bit better.

Use it as you bought it, learn what works and what doesn't. You might have to fight it a bit, remind yourself that if you end up passionate about this, it will be all better when you upgrade in a year or so.

Enjoy all you can learn about smoking meats, temperature control and clean fire are your friends. Read a lot here.
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Unread 10-30-2013, 08:49 PM   #6
El Ropo
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Yeah the mods shown in that link are a bit over the top, but with a little creativity, the gourmet can be turned into a smaller version of a WSM with a much smaller price tag. I had great success modding mine and making a lot of good food in it. All I did for the bottom is mount a piece of sheet metal that slid over the intake hole. It worked perfectly to regulate air. Raising the fire off the bottom of the pan is another must do mod.
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Unread 10-30-2013, 08:49 PM   #7
Larso
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Thanks guys, I like those mods smitty but for now I probably will just fire up as is. realistically itll take me ages to get round to those mods, Im busy building a pizza oven at the moment although of all the mods he did, I reckon the vents and thermometer look most worthwhile.
Thanks for the tips guys!
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Unread 10-30-2013, 09:22 PM   #8
mikeleonard81
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Started out on 1 a lot like it 12 years ago. You will be hooked! Good luck!
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Unread 10-30-2013, 09:33 PM   #9
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Start with easy stuff - ribs, pulled pork. You'll have no problem making great stuff on it. Have fun!
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Unread 10-31-2013, 03:09 AM   #10
sliding_billy
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The one mod I say you have to do immediately is a charcoal grate. I can't remember exactly which one fits perfect, but it is one of the Webers that they sell at HD. You can hang it with 4 S-Hooks (there are holes in the bottom section that work for hanging) and save yourself the trouble of drilling holes for bolts. Also, an easy way to block off some air if it is running too hot is to find a ceramic dish or something that just barely fits under the unit, wrap it in foil and put it in place as a damper under the hole in the bottom. No need to vent the top. The leaks between the lid and middle section will act as a draft.
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Unread 10-31-2013, 07:31 AM   #11
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I can't comment on the cooker itself but I think turkey or other poultry would be a good starting point. Poultry does not benefit from low 'n slow they same way that pork or beef does so if temperatures run a little on the high side, that's not going to be a bad thing.

You may not achieve the same results you found with commercially smoked birds unless you determine what process they use and copy that. I haven't done that. Maybe I should try. My birds come out more like a roasted turkey with some smoke flavor.

Of course you will want to get some chunks of smoking wood to add to the charcoal. A little mesquite, apple, hickory would add some flavor.

Also consider brining if your turkey is not already injected. I'm not sure what you will find in the UK. In the US most frozen turkeys are "enhanced with up to 12% special sauce" or something like that. It's basically salt water. Don't brine if injected.

A pork butt is also another good first cook as it is rather tolerant of a range of temperatures.

Good luck and post pictures!
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Unread 10-31-2013, 11:23 AM   #12
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I have the Brinkman Gourmet as well, I did 2 mods, I added a temp gauge at the top grill grate level and I made a charcoal basket. The basket made a significant difference in temps and having a good burn. Enjoy it, I've used and made great food on mine for years now.
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Unread 10-31-2013, 04:02 PM   #13
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I would return it, if possible. I have a similar unit that sits in my basement. I do all my cooking on a Weber kettle, never miss the Brinkmann. Landarc's cooks on the kettle prove how great the kettle can be for smoking.
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Unread 10-31-2013, 04:24 PM   #14
Dauvis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toast View Post
OR you don't need any modifications at all. I see you have purchased the Gourmet model. That's the exact same one I started with.
IMHO, I think that the charcoal grate and intake mods are needed. When I first got my Master Forge (rip off of the Brinkmann), I used it for a few smokes as is out the box. Yes, it did a great job (compared to the Chargriller) but I had a couple cooks where the charcoal went out of control. With the intake mod, I can do the minion method and have a way to get things back under control if needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larso View Post
Thanks guys, I like those mods smitty but for now I probably will just fire up as is.
I like the mods from this post better than the ones Smitty posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sliding_billy View Post
The one mod I say you have to do immediately is a charcoal grate. I can't remember exactly which one fits perfect, but it is one of the Webers that they sell at HD.
It's the charcoal grate for the 18.5" kettle if I remember correctly. Another option would be to use some 2 1/2" bolts, nuts, and washers to fashion legs for the grate.
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Unread 10-31-2013, 05:27 PM   #15
Toast
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I agree after seeing the other posts Dauvis. I've also heard of drilling 3/8" holes in the existing pan for better ventilation and draft..
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