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Brinkmann 810-5503-S Square Vertical Smoker


Pros: Price

Cons: Needs Tweaking

Started using the bullet shaped smokers and what a pain in the A they are. Saw the Brinkman for sale and after a year of using it, it works great. Used it for meatloaf, whole chickens, wings, turkey drumsticks, 2 inch thick pork chops, ribs and steaks. Have not been disappointed. Start off with this to see if it’s something the family likes. You can always go bigger after you know if you are going to use it. You can sell the smoker to your buddy when moving up.

You are going to need to do some tweaking.

  1. Get 2 wireless thermometers, one for the meat and the other for the internal temp. Allows you to kick back with a cold one and not have to keep running over to check the temps.
  2. Buy some thin fire brick (got mine at a fireplace store) and line the bottom, lower sides up to the first rack and stick fire bricks on top. Helps in keeping heat in.
  3. For the fire box a lot of people drill holes in theirs, myself I bought a square vegetable grill box. They sit perfectly over the firebox and allows air flow. Search for “Charcoal Companion Nonstick 12-Inch Square Grilling Wok” and you will see the pan.
  4. Charcoal Chimney starter, yes they are worth it. If you need to add more charcoal, this starts them quickly without the lighter fluid taste.
  5. Lastly, I tore apart the old gas grill I had and mounted the smoker in its place. So much easier to move around.

Happy Smoking!


Pros: ease of use, access to meats and fuel, separate doors for meat/fuel compartments

Cons: Temp fluctuation, poor quality thermometer, thin metal construction

This is my first smoker and I really am enjoying the learning process.  It's kind of tasty!  This is a great learning unit.  Being charcoal, it's kind of forcing me to be more involved and attentive to the smoking process.   It's easy to load new coal and water into the unit and has a separate door for this which helps retain the heat in the upper section where the meat resides.  Likewise, the upper door allows access to the meat without flooding your coal area with air and keeps your burn about the same.  Of course the temp drops from opening the door, but it quickly recovers. 


You will need to modify the charcoal pan with some holes around the sides of the pan and to the bottom of the pan.  The holes on the sides increase airflow and make it burn better.  The bottom holes allow ash to drop out.  I place a aluminum lasagna pan in the bottom of my smoker to catch the ash.  Makes clean up a breeze.


Another mod or suggestion is to change or utilize a different thermometer, as the one that comes with it is horribly unreliable.  Others have also suggested placing sand in the water pan in place of water as it's a better heat sink and does not evaporate (unless you're really overheating!!).  I haven't tried this yet, but will.  Research the type of sand to use, though as it matters for some reason...





Pros: Lightweight, pretty inexpensive, makes good Q

Cons: doesnt hold heat very well, uses a good amount of fuel

Ive had this smoker for a couple of months and have turned out some really good BBQ. I bought this because of the price and I liked the fact that it was all enclosed unlike the ECB. It has 2 vents to control airflow on the bottom and 2 vents at the top for exhaust. 


I have drilled about 40 holes along the bottom and the sides of the charcoal pan which has helped greatly in airflow to the charcoal as well as ash reduction. I just shake the pan a couple of times and the ash fall into the tin pan i put that the bottom. I run this with the top L exhaust closed and the top R full open. The 2 vents i change throughout the smoke depending on the wind and temperature outside.


All in all, Im glad i got this, but it can be a lot of work on the longer smokes like a butt or a brisket. 


Pros: Lightweight, simple construction, easy to use

Cons: Metal thin, doesn't hold heat well

It's a good choice for a beginning smoker because of its simplicity of design, and ease of use, but the thin metal casing doesn't hold heat well, and the fire requires more than regular attention.


Pros: Cheap as dirt, works for my needs

Cons: Needed work before remotely resembling a smoker

Out of the box, I felt I got a really good deal on a file cabinet with some racks, bowls and vents. I tried it a couple of times and was ready to return it until I stumbled across these forums. After some screws, a stainless basket, some felt for the doors, and a good thermometer, I have a smoker that works great for what I need. I put about $25 extra into this thing with about another $25 to double wall it, and still get a better deal with this than I would blowing a grand on a smoker. For me, smoking meat and q-ing is what I do to relax on the weekends. I don't mind turning a vent here and there and it doesn't bother me to add coal and wood every few hours. I feel I got a great deal.  


Pros: easy access doors, looks nice

Cons: hard to maintain heat, doors do not seal, small charcoal pan, inaccurate temp gauge

After cooking with a Brinkmann cylindrical smoker for 7 years, I was ready for an upgrade. The paint was peeling on my old smoker and I had my eye on this one for a while. The double doors and slide out shelves looked much more convenient than stacked grill design of my cylindrical smoker. When Walmart cleared the grill area for the season I bought this one on sale. I should have read reviews first as many people have had the same problems I experienced.


First, the charcoal pan is very small. I was suspicious when I opened the smoker and even thought that I may have received two water pans by mistake. When I transferred a chimney full of red hot coals to the pan, I could not get the temperature up to 200 degrees on a 55 degree day. No problem, I thought. I just replaced the pan with the larger charcoal pan from my old smoker, which slid nicely in, and added another batch of hot coals. When the temperature still did not reach 200, I played with the vents for a while. Then I thought that maybe the temperature gauge was inaccurate. So I brought out a thermometer from the kitchen and found that indeed the temp gauge was reading about 30 degrees low.


The new thermometer was reading at 200 so I added my meat. After this, the temp fell to 180 and did not reach any higher despite adding multiple batches of red hot charcoal. As a result, I had to throw out my poultry, which I suspected had been at an unsafely low temp for too long, and finished my pork in the oven.


Brinkmann will tell you that you have to set the vent correctly and shelter the smoker from the wind. This is an outdoor product an one should not have to worry about using it outdoors except on the most windy and cold of days. In my 7 years experience smoking with Brinkmann's entry smoker, I have never had such problems. Yes, I have had to monitor temperature and add more coals. But this smoker cannot maintain heat for any length of time.


It would however make a good storage cabinet if it were not full of drippings.


Pros: Cheap - Free

Cons: Heat control, air leaks, coal consumption, cheap, charcoal basket

I found this for free since the neighbor was throwing it out.  Worth every penny.  biggrin.gif  


I had been wanting to get a smoker but did not want to spend any money on one.  I wanted to try it out and to see if I actually liked smoking meat or if it was just too much work.  Well, I learned a lot in the 4 months that I used my Brinkman.  After the first couple of uses, I had to do some much needed improvements just to be able to get it up to the right temperature.  After replacing the charcoal bowl with a stainless steel veggi grill basket, I could burn up all my lump without snuffing out the coals with the ash.  Then I added some BGE felt to the doors to make it more air tight.  This only worked on the top door as the bottom doors felt burned off the first smoke.  


Pros: easier access to food

Cons: not alot of cooking area, does not flow as good as round ones

Decent smoker I used for years,  You will want to replace the charcoal pan with the stainless vegetable tray mentioned in another review ( it fits perfectly ) and use the pan under it for ashes. If I had to choose between this one and the original round smoker, I would go with the original.


Pros: Cooks well

Cons: charcoal pan

This is my second smoker, my first bieng a texas hibachi.

 irony.gifFirst off in order for this to work right get rid of the factory charcoal pan and replace it with a SS wok topper. Its a cheap fix ($6 at joblot) and the charcoal burns great with this mod. You would think they would have fixed this at the factory but no

first.gif I love the double doors because you can easily access the charcaol and water tray w/out letting all the smoke/heat out. I found there was a reasonable amount of room on thr racks (there are 2), but getting large 41/2 up untrimmed racks of ribs was tight. There is plenty of vent control which I like. The temp will vary a little (in my hands) 220-250 but not bad. My factory thermometer was on the money (checked at 250F with a digital). I have heard others say theres were off so clearly I cant speak for all of them. Down side is its thin metal, non insulated and the doors do leak some. So smoking up here in the winter maybe an issue. Still you cant beat it for the price. Overall I am very happy with it and it puts out some good Q

Brinkmann 810-5503-S Square Vertical Smoker

Add great smoke flavor to your meat with this affordable, heavy-duty steel charcoal smoker. Able to hold up to 50 lbs. Of meat, this smoker has a space-saving vertical design with two locking front doors for easy access to food, water and charcoal pans. With four adjustable air vents to control heat and smoke, plus a professional temperature gauge. The smoker has sturdy chrome wire handles that stays cool to the touch, porcelain-coated water and charcoal pans that slide out for easy clean-up. Finished in a durable black textured paint that will last for years. Over 354 square inches of cooking area Heavy-duty gauge steel construction Locking front doors for easy access to food, water and charcoal pans Porcelain coated cooking grates MFG Brand Name : Brinkmann MFG Model # : 810-5503-S MFG Part # : 810-5503-S Assembled Depth (in.) : 19.3 in Assembled Height (in.) : 39.4 in Assembled Width (in.) : 19.9 in Cooking Area (sq. in.) : 354 in² Energy Star Compliant : No Grill Type : Charcoal Grill/Smoker Fuel Type : Charcoal Heat Thermometer : Yes Ignition Type : Manual Item Weight : 39.6 lb Primary Cooking Area : 354 in² Warming Rack : No Warranty (Parts) : One Year Limited Warranty

Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
SmokingMeatForums.com › Smokers & More › Smokers › Vertical Charcoal Smokers › Brinkmann 810-5503-S Square Vertical Smoker