Saw an ECB on Craigslist for cheap so decided to pick it up to do some grub yesterday. The Brinkmann vertical from my previous posts lives at a friend's house about an hour away, so I figured having one over here might be nice. Since this was all last minute, I went and got the smoker, got caught in the middle of about 9 trillion Harleys (Memorial Day tribute ride, Rolling Thunder I believe it's called) all of whom seemed to get a chuckle from seeing the little Miata with the smoker strapped to the back. Then went and picked up a buddy and then hit the grocery store. As (my) luck would have it, the shelves had been pretty well decimated and all I could get was match light charcoal. "How bad could it be?" I says to myself. I was about to find out. We also got the makings for a dozen ABT's and some Italian sausages. Did the ABT's differently than the last time, only used half a pepper in each one and I think I like it better that way.
Anyway, we get to the park across the street from my building and fire up the new to me Brinkmann. It's the older "Mr. Meat Smoker" model. About as basic as it gets. Flimsy thin metal, no adjustibility and a very awkward arrangement for the racks and pans. The upside is that the simplistic design offers no options and thus few opportunities for me to screw it up. Which brings me back to the topic of my choice of charcoal. I figured I'd let it burn for close to an hour to give a chance to burn off the petroleum. I loaded up the pan, lit it and ended up waiting for an hour and a half. Put the food on along with a couple fist sized hickory chunks. Couple hours later both the ABT's and the sausages appeared to be perfectly cooked, but tasted like the inside of a gas can. Moral of the story? As obvious as it sounds, even in a pinch, NEVER USE MATCH LIGHT. It pretty much ruined the meal.
Sorry for the bad pic, didn't bring a camera so my wife took it with her Blackberry.
Looking on the bright side, I discovered the ECB makes a pretty nice little fire pit. After the food came off we tossed in a couple logs left over from the last camping trip and with the access door open it was quite nice to sit and watch a crackling campfire. Since we were in a public park, it was nice that the fire was only visible through the small access door so as not to draw the attention of the police and/or fire departments. Another bright side was that the little smoker appeared to hold heat very well.Might be fun to have around for side items and fatties that will be finished within 3 hours or so, which appears to be about the limit of one load of coals.
All in all, it was a fun evening and a valuable learning experience.