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on April 24, 2013
This smoker works well enough in most conditions, but there are a few problems. On the positive side the unit is compact, and not prone to blow or tip over. It assembled pretty quickly, though I found the handles had to be bent to fit the pre-drilled holes, which seem to have been drilled too close together. Instructions were fine and there were no missing parts - actually I was left with a puzzling handful of bolts at the end, presumably because the bolt packet is the same for multiple Brinkman units. Using it is straightforward, and my first batch of ribs came out pretty good. Inside the unit is big enough to hold quite a bit - the unit held two full racks of spare ribs, which is enough to overfeed 4-6 people. It could probably fit two briskets or two butts just as well.

As for the problems, the lack of control over the heating element means there is no way to adjust the temperature. I found the unit ran pretty hot (for a smoker) at between 250 and 280, when I would have preferred to be cooking at around 225. There are also no vents for allowing more air in or smoke out as there are on most grills, so without modification there is really nothing to be done about the temperature..

One would think that the fixed-heating element would at least provide consistent temperature, and that would be a good thing, but the fact is that the thin walls of this unit mean that the internal temp is greatly effected by the outdoor temp. On a cool or breezy day, the unit will run much cooler, and presumably on a hot day it will run hotter. Only spending hundreds of dollars on a heavier duty smoker would fix that, but it's worth mentioning because it does affect cooking time and its something to watch out for. Not that you can really watch out for it, since the unit doesn't have a built-in thermometer...

My final complaint about the unit is that it doesn't have a door to add wood chips. This means having to carefully lift top part of the unit off of the heating base, mindful that the meat and water pan are inside, and setting it aside while adding more wood. It's not a huge hassle but it does lose heat and its more complicated than it needs to be. The larger Brinkman, which at the time of writing is actually just $5 more and includes a cover does have a door and is probably a better deal. Buying a cover for this cost me an extra $12, so in the end the bigger Brinkman would actually have been cheaper.

Overall this is a fine starter unit if you're looking to do a little smoking without spending hundreds of dollars, but using it will leave you wishing for a little more control and for a few changes to the hardware that you may end up making yourself, as apparently many Brinkman owners do.
9 people found this helpful
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on January 15, 2013
Wanted to get something that was easy to use and didn't require a whole lot of space. This fit the bill!! It fits just as much meat as a regular size smoker in half the size. Fast shipping thanks to prime, bought it Thursday got it Saturday and used it on Sunday!!! Some Pros and Cons
Pros-Easy to assemble, comes with a direction/recipe book, Fits a lot of meat, I was able to smoke a whole chicken, 2 racks of ribs 4 large onions and a pack of Hot dogs. Didn't have to fill my water pan, I smoked for almost 7 hours and only used an inch of water
Cons- No temperature gauge.

If your like me and just kicking around the idea of smoking your own meat but don't want to commit to one that has the bells and whistles and costs 10x more i would highly suggest this smoker it does what it needs to!
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on January 1, 2013
This is my first smoker so I don't have anything to compare to. I bought this unit along with a thermostat for a Presto electric skillet (about $20). I modified the thermostat and the smoker to control the temperature. It involved removing the 2 electrical pins of the thermostat and soldering the end of an electrical cord to the wires. I had to notch the thermostat to have room to run the cord out.

I drilled 3 holes in the mid-section of the smoker (I epoxied 2 nuts into the thermostat so I could add 2 screws from the inside of the smoker to hold it in place.) I plug the smoker heating element into the end of the cord coming from the thermostat. I checked with a good kitchen thermometer and it regulates the temperature to within 5 degrees F in the middle of the smoker.

That said, now it holds temperature great but I needed to modify the recipes online up about 10-20 degrees to get hot enough to boil the water in the pan. I also add boiling water to the pan to speed the process of steaming. I also use my kitchen thermometer with a cord to the thermocouple in my meat so I can leave the lid closed while smoking.

IF you do this, please follow good electrical practices and make sure wires are insulated and away from the smoker body.

2 people found this helpful
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on August 24, 2014
I've only used it once. 5 stats on how my baby back ribs came out. Just delicious. I've how I don't have to baby sit it. I wish a little more about on how to actually use it was int he user manual and recipe booklet. I wasn't sure if I could use wood chips with it as I'm a first time owner but a little googling online will give you information. I out some wood chips in a little foil pouch I made. Stood it up right against the side of the base with the lava rocks in it with some holes cut into the top. Less messy than putting right mixed in with the rocks and they last longer this way too. Make sure you keep an eye on the water or there will be lots of bad smelling smoke. You don't want your meat absorbing that.

The assembly was easy but irritating. The holes to screw in the side handles are closer together on the smoker than the handles. I had to squeeze the handles together just a little to get the holes to line up a little better. You must have a flat head and an adjustable wrench. That's all you'll need to put it together and it shouldn't take more than 20 minutes. In the instructions it gives you the instructions for both smokin' and a Cajun cooking setup, but only gives you the parts for the smoker. I don't know if it's because I ordered the smokers it didn't come with those other parts, but if it's going to suggest that setup, then it should come with the parts as well.

If your cooking different meats done at different times, put the meat done sooner on the top rack. Maybe the minor setup irritation isn't enough to only give this product 4 stars, but it does bother me. Other than that, I think it's the best thing ever. Our ribs are the best I've ever had. If your not sure how long to smoke with chips, I read that the general rule is half the time it takes your meat cook. There's lots f videos on YouTube to check out, so definitely watch some.

For the ribs tonight I used "the killer hogs method" they're on YouTube as BBQ right. I didn't use their products, but the method was easy and the results were outstanding. Anyways, I'm hooked on my smoker and I will update when I've used it a few more times
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on November 10, 2013
For the price this not a bad unit, but if you are a serious smoker you need to look elsewhere, unless you will use it only In the correct circumstances. There is no temperature control either with an eletric comtroller or with vents that can be opened. If you leave the unit outside, rain will run into the lower pan and fill it. Lastly, if the temperature outside is lower than 50 degrees F, it will not get to 225 degrees cooking temp.

I added a temperture controller and only plan to use this in the summer with our motorhome. If you understand the serious limitations of this unit, you may be able to use it within its tight performance window.
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on July 15, 2013
Ease of use and affordability make this smoker a great choice for me.

I've cooked on it many times now, and it could not be easier. Once it is ready to go with meat, wood chips/chunks, and some water in the pan, I've just plugged it in and let it go for a few hours (depending, of course, on what I have in it). Since it is electric, the heat is constant -- no messing with charcoal or wood, or even adjusting the temperature.

Another pro: it cleans up pretty easily since the main pieces separate readily.

And of course, the price was right (about $89 when I bought it early in 2013).

Cons would be:
No thermometer. This could be easily remedied, though. I just haven't had time nor inclination to buy one and attach it.
No temperature control. I've seen descriptions of DIY projects to add one. If I feel the need to try some more advanced things, I might look into those.
Somewhat cheaply made. This is the only real issue for me to this point, and so far it has been pretty minor. On the cooking grates, one end weld has broken on two different cross pieces. But because the cross pieces sit on top of the outer ring, this has only been a minor inconvenience. I mostly only notice it when I'm washing the grates, but I have become more careful about lifting the grates.

All in all, I think this is a solid product for the price. I might have rated it lower due to the cons mentioned, but I really enjoy using it and the results have been very good.
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on June 26, 2013
If you're a novice smoker like me, and want something compact, inexpensive, easy to use, and durable, this is your new smoker. Two spacious rack, nice big water bowl. The body of the smoker lifts off with e racks and water bowl so you can easily add more wood chips around the element. S far I've done ribs, chops, turkey, loin, and a small ham on this smoker, all have come out excellent!

With the right chips this guy produces a lot of good smoke. You'll be very happy. Follow the directions to season it properly our first few uses m
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on July 27, 2014
This was a gift to my grandson and his wife. I've owned one since 1994...had to finally replace my original smoker. Bought another one just like the first. I actually have one at our mountain home and one at our home...It can be used as a smoker, or taking the middle section off the bottom, it can be used as a grill for grilling chicken, steaks, etc. One of the most inexpensive ways to grill and smoke. I use different wood, mesquite, etc., soak them in water for about 30 minutes, then carefully place them around the element prior to plugging it in. Your food will taste just like smoked meat....I'll fill both racks with meat on the weekend and smoke enough meat for a week or two.
And...your temperature is charcoal to buy...
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on December 27, 2011
I got this item for my husband for Christmas, and I don't know much about these things, but after many of hours of research this was the most bang for the buck. I was easy for him to assemble (less then an hour). It is compact (fits under our grill for storage). We have gotten it to 325 degrees without water, but it could use a thermoater (we had to go buy one to go in it) and he doesn't like the fact you can not control the temperature it is either on or off. But he used it the other day and was just beaming so overall a good buy.
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on November 14, 2015
I have had this Brinkman SMoke'N Grill for one year, and have enjoyed using it except for the fact that the heat cannot be regulated.
Most recently I tried to use it and the heating element did not get hot.....not even warm. It is on a covered patio away from weather
conditions and I have taken excellent care of it. Now I am wondering if a new heating element can be purchased separately.
It was very inconvenient to have meat ready to grill - and no heat. I am very disappointed.
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