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An Old Brinkmann Gourment Electric

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
This weekend, after I got back from the morning hunt (deerless and dissapointed) i was further dissapointed by my dad who checked out a local yard sale and bought a Brinkmann electric for 20 bucks. It looks like its been used maybe once or twice. I set it all up, turned it on and let it sit with a thermometer in it for about 30 minutes. At this point i assumed it had reached max temp which read 300. I was wondering if anyone knew of some easy, inexpensive ways to bring this bad boy down a little. Its got lava rocks at the bottom under the heating element. Could this be holding heat TOO well? I have heard of using sand instead of water in the pan, but not sure exacttly what to do. Any ideas anyone? Thanks
post #2 of 19
I don't know for sure, but taking the lava rocks out should help bring it down some.
post #3 of 19
I'd take out the lava rocks for now (you may need them by say February). I'm not real happy about putting water on an electric appliance but the sand seems to work well for some folks here. Does it have any vents?
post #4 of 19
Does it have a water pan? My electric ecb has one and it seems like the more water in the pan the better the heat regulation. But I still have much to learn about using it.
post #5 of 19
Open the little door on the side about an inch. Depending on weather, you should maintain 110 to 140.

Where are you taking the temp reading? That of course plays in huge.
post #6 of 19
I have one of the bad boy Brinkman Smoke 'n grill Electric smokers. I have used that guy about 7 times, mostly chicken, but also 2 briskets and some chx quarters. It does seem to heat up fairly quickly. I have been toying with the idea of installing a homemade temp regulator but, the manual says that the water in the pan helps to marinate and keep the meat tender. Don't know though. I would love to hear from other users with this ECB.

post #7 of 19
Don't know what to tell ya guy's, been using the same unit for 6 yrs.
Mine runs at 240 all day with sand pan mod.

Skinner.....take temp at top grate level and/or check your thermo, also remember, an empty smoker Will run hotter.

A.J. why would you smoke at 110*??

Brent.......moisture and tenderness from the waterpan is a myth!

I now have 6 smokers but MASTERED the ECB first!!
Some of my very best Q came off that sucker, learn the pit and you will reward yourself!!PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #8 of 19
Fill the water pan with water. (To within reason).
Sand in the water pan is to increase the heat.(Don't expect too much).
Leave the lava rocks. (I add more, but don't know why).
Put in about 10 to 16 pounds of butts and then check the temp at the grate levels.
Add a rheostat.
Add about 50' of extension cord (Kind of a poor mans rheostat)(Maybe not too safe though)
Check your thermo and then recheck the smoker at each grate level near the center of the grates. I think that near the wall of the smoker the temps are higher because of the convections (Heat slipping by the outside edges of the water pan on its way up).
Place a couple of small diameter rods 1/4" (or simular device on hand)across the top of the unit and then set the lid on the rods instead of down into the body of the unit.
Leave the access door open to varying degrees until you find a sweet spot.
Consider adding an adjustible vent on the domed lid.

Consider yourself lucky that you are trying to lower the temps and have several options, it is when you can't make 200 that things get really annoying! I would almost beg for a ubnit that could hit and hold 300!

I think that I only ever had A unit run hot one time. I think it may have been that I let it run start up for a pretty long time (No food in it for an hour or so) But as soon as I started loading it and fiddling with the lid on and off the temps dropped right on down.

Typically, and I have had four units over the last twenty years or so, these units struggle to hit and hold 220 in the shade. And if you have even a breeze or a cool fall day, you will learn what low and sloooooowww is all about.

My biggest problem is that the unit catches rain water and the botton rust out. Not the units fault, it is my fault, but that has been the demise of all of the old units that I neglected. (Ya know, if I was half as clever as I like to think I am, I would just drill a couple of weep holes in the bottom or get off of my lazy arse and cover the unit when not in use)

Some mods I tend to think are good.
Find a steel plate or a chip box that will stand off of the heating element using legs or the lava rocks to put you wood chips in/on.

Add a couple more levels for additional grates (You can never make too many ATBs!)

I am the poster child for the Brinkman Gourmet Electric Smoker, I swear by it. (And yes it has aggravated me on occassion, but not as much as alot of things in life). It is about as simple as it gets and still doing it yourself. Even Ron Popeil would have a hard time making a "set it and forget it" smoker like this. (Self Mopping and automatic smoking wood loader is all that is missing)
post #9 of 19
BBQ Bubba

Why would you say that the water pan does not add moisture and tenderness?

And then how do we comfirm this?

Lets put a dry saltine cracker into a smoker with a water pan and see if the cracker gets any moister (Is "moister" a word?, Makes me think of a giant oyster)

Second test, Lets put a soaking wet sponge in a smoker without a water pan and see if the sponge gets any dryer.

I have been led to believe that a water pan helps and am preaching the same. I have been wrong before, too many times to count, but I think that I might need some imperical evidence one way or the other.

It is an interesting point. I have had stuff come out that was relatively dry before and I see that there are drippings in the drip pan. I also see the shrinkage in the meat and assume that it is water and grease.

I wonder just exactly how far down the moisture content of a sample could be taken in a smoker with a water pan and what the RH is in the chamber. Time to find a high temp humidistat and start tinkering.icon_biggrin.gif
post #10 of 19
I took one I found apart and made use of it this way:


The ECB Squared!
PS: The launch time joke has already been cracked heh!
post #11 of 19
I got to side with Bubba on the water pan thought. The meat isn't going to abosorb the moisture. If the meat would just absorb water, we wouldn't have to waste time and money putting salt in a brine.


Not trying to be a smart ***, but we aren't cooking sponges or crackers, we are talking meat (well most of the time wink.gif ). Sponges and crackers respond differently to water.

All that being said, I don't have any emperical evidence, jsut throwing in my 2 cents based on personal experience...............and will gladly admit that I could very well be wrong...........it happens daily according to my wife. LOL


I've been fooled ladies and gentlemen, I was told and held the belief that the main reason for using water in your H2O Smoker was to "Keep your food, moist and succulent" and also to add maranides to the water pan to "add EXTRA FLAVOR" Well people, it's a lie I tell you, ALL LIES!! The only reason to use a water pan is for a heat baffle, nothing more.

http://www.thebbqguru.com/bbqDisplayList1.cfm?categoryID=30&parentID=210&pag eHeader=Hot%20Topics&CatImageFolder=bbqHotTopics

Questions and answersQuestion: Will a water pan add moisture to your meat while you cook?
Answer: No, the only simple way to add moisture or liquid is to brine your meat before you start cooking.

Question: Will a water pan keep my meat from drying out?
Answer: Yes, to some extent, but meat can dry out even while a water pan is in use. The water pan is an aid to keep temperatures low so that drying out doesn’t occur.

Question: Why?
Answer: All living tissue is made up of a good quantity of water. Water boils at 212ºF and vaporizes or evaporates at even lower temperatures. This is true whether the water is in your water pan or in your meat. Get your meat hot enough inside and this moisture will turn to vapor or steam and go up the stack along with water vaporizing in your water pan.

Question: Will steaming or boiling add moisture to meat.
Answer: No, in fact you can boil or steam meat until it is tough as a boot! When you poach meat in a broth, it is important not to exceed about 140ºF liquid temperature to prevent this liquid loss from happening and making your meat tough.

Question: If this is true, then why do I need a water pan at all?
Answer: When you use a water pan, it will do several things for you. First and foremost, it is a simple and rudimentary temperature control. The water heats up early on in the cooking process and becomes a thermal mass. This makes damper adjustments less critical. If your fire gets too hot, more water vaporizes which cools the heated air rising toward the stack of your cooker. If the fire is losing heat, the thermal mass of the water maintains the temperature in the cooking chamber for a while. Second, moist vapors carry heat to the food product being cooked at a faster rate than just heated air alone would. This is why you steam vegetables to cook them quickly. The bottom line in a BBQ pit is that the water pan makes the temperature more stable around an ideal low and slow cooking temperature.
post #12 of 19
Thank's Joe, way to early in the morning to try to explain that.......icon_mrgreen.gif
post #13 of 19
PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif It beats working!
post #14 of 19
Sorry, meant to say 210 to 240.
post #15 of 19
That Mod is great! Really made my day. Looks like that darn thing is about to take off!

post #16 of 19
maybe convert it to gas?

easier to control teimps?

post #17 of 19
@ Fatback Joe and BBQ Bubba

Gooooood points! I'll have to be a changing my sermon a bit it looks like!cool.gif
post #18 of 19
That's exactly what I was thinking ...
post #19 of 19
as to your original question... i posted a mod covering what you wanted


as for the waterpan, well i am one of few who dont use it, depending on the temp outside, i can control my temps myself. the meat i smoke comes out moist, juicy and full of flavor...

to each his/her own i guess
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