Extreme newbie smoker in CT

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by kindofblues71, May 9, 2013.

  1. Hey everyone, my family bought me a Brinkmann barrel smoker/grill (see pic below) as an early Father's Day gift and my wife wants me to smoke a brisket for Mother's Day. Trial by fire I guess! I plan on seasoning it tonight and getting up early Sunday to start smoking the brisket. I've been googling all week trying to find any info on using this type of grill, which side to put the charcoal/wood and which side for the meat, tips on brisket, etc. If anyone has any tips/tricks for this grill or similar please let me know!

    Once I get familiar with using my new toy I'm sure I'll be asking a lot of questions here.



  2. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    :welcome1: to SMF!!! We're happy you found us! You've come to the right place, we have over 45,000 members who just love to share their experience and over 900,000 posts describing it!

    The search bar at the top can be your best friend when you are trying to find answers to your questions but you can still ask too if you want!

    You might want to check out Jeff's Free 5 day E-Course, it will teach you all the basics plus a whole lot more!
  3. Thanks auto-reply bot! :D
  4. smokethis65

    smokethis65 Newbie

    I got the exact same on last year for Father's day and have had great success with it.  Looking to upgrade soon, but it will certainly get you started.  The biggest challenge to smoking in a unit like this is maintaining a steady temp.  Don't plan on getting too far away from it for the duration of cooking.  The temp indicator on the unit I have found to be reliable enough for chamber temp, but am currently in the process of getting a Maverick ET-732 so I can have remote access to chamber and meat temp.

    As far as the charcol......well first, natural wood only.  Don't want to add any chemicals or off flavor.  Not sure if you got any smoker wood(I got some down state last year, pretty reasonable....also in CT btw).  If the size of meat allows I take the grate out of one side and make that the fire/smoke side and the other side for smoking/cooking.  I keep a can handy for the removal of some fuel if the heat starts to climb too much and a can with water for the smoker wood if I have to take it off for a few mins.  Soaking it helps slow it down again and produces more smoke(which is good).  When I upgrade looking at one of the units with the firebox off to the side and the ability to raise and lower the grate to mutiple positions to help control the heat input. 

    It's a little trial by fire....red meats are a little more forgiving because fear of leaving dangerous bacteria around is a little less than say chicken or pork(you might miss your goal "done-ness" if you will, but it will still be really good).  You definitely need a good probe for the meat itself.  Something that can take the heat and that is within say 5 degrees or better.  The box temp is the box temp, but the internal meat temp is the measured result.  Leave yourself a little extra time so you can get the fire up and going and settled in.  If you have a 6 hour cook time and you are just lighting up at 6:15 to go, you are asking for trouble.  Also, it doesn't take nearly as much charcol as you think to maintain say 225 or 250F.  The first time I used it, I stoked up some charcol closed her up and went away for 10 mins.  I came back to a glowing chamber, a pegged Brinkman thermometer at 700F and some missing paint...lol.  You really only need a couple of handfuls of the heat charcol to get started and then one piece of the smoker wood(I use hickory, apple, and cherry).

    Hope that helps for info.  My first post, but not my first piece of meat.......good luck and Happy Fathers Day!!!  
  5. Smokethis65 - Wow, thanks for all the helpful info! I feel more prepared after reading your post.

    Would you recommend having the meat under the smokestack, or the coals there?

    I have two bags of charcoal briquettes (needs lighter fluid, Kingston I think) and a bag of hickory wood. I wasn't aware that there was natural wood charcoal when we bought everything but I'll get some once I'm out of the briquettes. Warning heeded - I'll only use two handfuls at first.

    Would it be a good idea to use the Minion Method or is the unit too small since I'm only using half the charcoal tray?

    Thanks again, and Happy Fathers Day to you as well!
  6. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    [​IMG]to SMF!  We are so glad you joined us!

    If you didn't read the "Terms of Service" notes.....please do.  There are a few things that everyone should know about those pesky little rules before plunging into the forums. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/a/terms-of-service

    If you need any help roaming around the forums....just holler!  Happy to help out!

  7. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Welcome to the forums!  Glad you joined us.  You've found a great place to learn and share ideas on our favorite pastime...Smoking and Grilling great food!  Lots of friendly and knowledgeable folks here who really enjoy helping one another.  Good luck with that brisket cook, and just ask when you need help and you'll get plenty.

  8. smokethis65

    smokethis65 Newbie

    Glad to help.  You are where I was almost exactly a year ago.  As far as the wood charcol you can get at the Big Y or Stop and Shop etc.  Just keeps the chemicals and odd flavors out of your meat(my opinion).  If you use the briquettes the minion method might be a little more challenging as you would need to light them off from the pile, burn off the lighter fluid and then transfer over(obvioiusly no lighter fluid on the pile).  Give it a go, but still watch how much fuel you put in at once or it will likely take off on you.  If you have the habit of downing some suds while you grill, you need to adjust for smoking..lol.  One of the early times I barely made it to the dinner table as it is a much longer process.  Perhaps that's just me.....?  The good news is I have yet to make something that wasn't loved out of the smoker.  My times early on were quite out of whack sometimes finishing an hour early and sometimes two hours late.  Remember if you get done early, just take off and wrap in a bunch of foil.  If you're real early you could probably pull it 10 degrees early as it will continue to cook in the foil.  Be safe and check though.  As far as the side, I have been putting the meat on the chimney side.  Idea being I want any flow going over the meat.  When it gets rolling with the smoke I typically have it throttled down to almost shut.

    Happy to help btw.  As my father has always said....."if we have to go back to the cave and wait for lightning to strike, we're not going to get very far..."  Take the knowledge and advance civilization, or at least your back yard....  ;-)
  9. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Welcome aboard, If you need help or have questions there will be plenty of help!
  10. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Hey blues71
    CT here, too. They picked one of the more difficult cute of meat to smoke right off the bat. Some nice ribs or a pork butt are much more forgiving. But lets see if we can make mom happy.....
    Simple salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder for seasoning. Get your temp stabilized to around 240 give or take 10 to 15 degrees. Don't know how large of a brisket you are wotking on but remember that patience is the key. You are going to lose about 25 percent of the weight. You do need a good temp meter for the meat and the smoke chamber. The ones that come with the brinkman are usually not that accurate. You will need to get to an internal temp of about 195 to 200 before you pull the beef off the cooker and then wrap in double foil for about two hours. Leave yourself plenty of time as you can always leave in the foil for a long time to rest but if you are running late folks will be yelling for you to serve before its ready and if you pull too soon brisket can be like shoe leather. Best of luck.

    PS. I would definitely grab a nice pork butt to cook along with the brisket just in case. Hard to really screw one up too badly. If you don't need it pork holds real well for pulled pork or slices in the fridge.
  11. smokethis65

    smokethis65 Newbie

    He said butt.....hehe....  but seriously, the backup meat plan not a bad idea.  Best of luck.......and enjoy.....
  12. Smokethis65- Thanks again, and I'm a homebrewer so I usually have a beer in my hand (especially when grilling). [​IMG]

    geerock- Another CT'er! Good idea about the back-up meat. I've told my wife several times that brisket isn't a "beginner" meat to start with but she just tells me it'll be fine. I told her to pick up some pork as a back-up and that if I screw up the brisket it's all her fault.

    I'll be seasoning the grill this evening and starting the smoking early Sunday morning, so wish me luck!  I should be in good shape by noon (when I start drinking).

  13. smokethis65

    smokethis65 Newbie

    Just picked up the Maverick ET-732 over in Ashford.  It was relabeled as GreenEgg and cost about $5 more, but worth it to pick up on the spot.  Psyched to do beef tenderloin tomorrow.....
  14. mdsujaan

    mdsujaan Newbie

    Hello kinofblue.welcome to SMF.I am also a chain smoker but like as you i am a newbie also.[​IMG]
  15. Hey everyone, just a quick update on my first smoke this past Sunday. Up at 4:30am, 7 lbs brisket and whole chicken on at 5am. I had some trouble keeping the temps steady at 225 for the most part. At noon I cheated and put the meat into the oven at 350 and we were eating by 1:15. IT WAS DELICIOUS! My first smoke turned out awesome and everyone was really impressed. I even received an "I'm not worthy" bow from my sister-in-law, who happens to be the best griller in the family.

    I now understand the point of an offset firebox, as well as a bigger cooking surface! My smoker is half the size of the barrel of the Brinkmann Trailmaster LE and I had to keep the brisket and chicken on the right side and the coals and hickory on the left, so there wasn't much room at all. I may have to experiment with a baffle in order to use part of the left side grate so I can smoke some ribs without cutting them in half.

    Thanks again for everyone who stopped in to say hello and many thanks for the tips and advise - it definitely helped me be successful with my first smoke!

  16. smokethis65

    smokethis65 Newbie

    Good, I was starting to wonder how it went.  The unit you and I both have, can be used for smoking, but it is a LOT more work than some of the more regulated units.  Looked at a Green Egg when I was picking up my temperature probe, but have to convince my wife that the $1,000 would be worth it lol.  Like I told you, even with some miscues, it's rare that you will get something off there that doesn't taste awesome.  The key(as you did) is to make sure by hook or by crook that you cook the meat completely.  I have often considered a hole in the side and a swing down flap with handle so you can work the fire while still using the whole cooking surface.  To your point, I am think I am  just looking at something bigger with the offset box.  Time to graduate.....  ;-)

    Congrats on the successful outing.  Points with the sister in law could come in handy some day.

Share This Page