First attempt at using a smoker! (advice needed - brinkmann gourmet charcoal)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by steve16999, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. steve16999

    steve16999 Newbie


    I assembled my brinkmann gourmet charcoal smoker, and Im playing with it now without wood to season it (after cleaning and to get a feel for temps).

    After seeing many people installed a proper temp guage, I did as well....

    it looks like im maintaining 250 degrees from half a weber chimeny of charcoal.

    My questions:

    - I see some people do not use the water pan? What are your reasons why or why not?

    -are the charcoal pan and damper modifications necessary? Is no one using this thing stock?

    - how to I position the wood? do i throw it on the charcoal? wrap it in foil?

    I really appreciate the help!

    I am going to smoke a couple chickens next weekend, and I want to be prepared.

    thank you

  2. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    HI WOW I'm surprised no one offered any opinions on your post..Here are mine I would put play sand instead of water in the pan, might hold temps better.Wood right on top of the charcoal is my way, others wrap in foil.

    Don't know your smoker,so my opinions are just in general. Well this is a start..Some one should come along soon to help you out.

    Good luck with your 1st smoke.Lets us know how it goes..

  3. mtm29575

    mtm29575 Smoke Blower

    The Brinkmann was my first smoker, years ago. It's been a long time, so don't know how much help I can be. But from what I remember, I had a lot of trouble with mine maintaining temps. But with some monitoring, I had some good smokes from it. I agree with everything that DanBono had to say. I used to soak my chips, and then just toss them right on the coals. I can't speak for the mod's, as I never did them. But I'm sure mod's done correctly would help the air flow and improve maintaining temps.
  4. steve16999

    steve16999 Newbie

    thanks guys!

    Seems like everyone has their own style....which is pretty much what I expected
  5. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Hello steve, I missed this post at first , but here's my 2 cents worth. I had a brinkmann gourmet for years and once I learned what it could and couldn't do , I turned out some pretty decent bbq.
    I'm not really up on all the mods for this smoker. I had not discovered bbq forums when I had mine so I was pretty much flying blind. From what I read not too many folks leave that smoker stock for long.
    If you are maintaining 250 degrees for any length of time , you are already on your way to mastering that smoker. The big challenge (I found) was trying to cook for a long time at that temp.I will be curious to see how it will go when you fill the pan up with charcoal for a long cook like pork butt or brisket. (You might want to try some kind of snake method with the briquettes for long cooks).
    When I used to try for long cooks my temps would be up and down like a roller coaster. At the time I thought that the fire needed more air and I made a homemade vent for the lid which helped not one bit.
    What I have come to understand is that too much air was getting to the fire thru all the gaps and cracks in the lid and body and door. So if anything , I would do the gasket mods at least.

    Ok ,since you are starting with chicken the good news is that the brinkmann gourmet is a chicken cooking machine. If you like smoked chicken , just fill that bad boy up with charcoal , light up a bunch and let it rip. Whole chickens chicken parts , legs , wings....all day long. Chicken likes to be cooked hot and fast anyway , so you don't have to mess around trying to keep the heat down. I would take your empty water pan ,cover it with foil ( just put it in there as a heat shield) and cook your whole chickens at 350-400 degrees.
    Post some pictures of your cook and let us know how it goes. You are just getting started so don't be too stressed if things don't go perfect .
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  6. steve16999

    steve16999 Newbie

    getting ready for tomorrow!!

    putting the chicken in a brine tonight

    any last minute advice?

    I am particularly interested in your wood placement...

    I have apple wood chips ( I was planning on going with the foil method without soaking them)

    what are your thoughts?
  7. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Foil pack works great. I never soaked mine , but some still do. I had one of those cast iron chip boxes , but you don't really need it. Good luck with your maiden voyage. Post some pix !

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