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brinkman gourmet charcoal smoker - 1st time

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have used both propane and electric smokers but a friend of mine has a Brikman Gourmet charcoal smoker. He is new to it and wants me to help him smoke some beer chicken tomorrow. Can you help me with the basics of using this smoker! Thanks.
post #2 of 17
This was the first smoker I started out with!

If it's a brand new rig, right outta the box, you'll want to season the smoker before using it to cook food for the first time.

If this is a used rig, then skip this step and get yourself a chimney starter. Load that sucker up with some hardwood lump charcoal (Royal Oak is best if you can find it at your local wal-mart / hardware store) and pack some newspaper underneath the bottom and light it up and allow the coals to get real hot. When they get hot, pour the coals in the bottom of the charcoal pan.

Get your choice of wood (i.e. hickory, cherry, oak, etc...) and wrap them loosely in some heavy duty aluminum foil. Poke holes throughout the foil and throw that lil' wood packet on the coals.

Fill the water pan 3/4 full and place it in the smoker. The temp gauges on the lids are crapola so if you have a remote therm, or digital therm probe, poke it through a potato and stick it on the grates of the smoker so you can monitor the internal temp of the smoker. Add more coals if you need but don't overload it with coals or else you'll have massive temp spikes! You're looking for a nice, even burn with somewhat consistent temps between 250 and 275 (for rubbery skin). Let the temps fly between 300 - 325 if you want crispy skin, just be sure to check the chicken in both the thickest part of the breast and thigh, ensuring they hit 165 degrees.

That's everything I can think of for now. Throw out those questions if ya got 'em!
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks sumosmoke! We are all big hockey fans are doing this for the 7th game and are also Penguin fans - now that the Bruins are out!

My friend said that there are 2 racks in the smoker. Which one should we use? Do I wrap the foil completely around the wood and close it?
post #4 of 17
Woohoo!! Bonus for being a Pens fan! icon_lol.gif

The 2 racks are both used to hold meat to smoke. The water pan and the lower rack share the same brackets on the inside of the smoker, the grate being placed on top of the water pan.

You'll want to pinch the foil together to create a packet, of sorts. That will keep the surface area minimized regarding the fire getting at those wood chunks, thus causing flares - yuck.

Rule #1: if you ever smoke chicken and another type of meat in the smoker at the same time, chicken always goes on the bottom.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I have multiple racks in my own smoker and always put poultry on the lower racks. We will also be smoking some home made pork sausages at the same time!
Thanks again for the help and I will be rooting for your team. The guys who will be enjoying the food are all hockey players - we skate together on Monday nights. We have been enjoying the Stanley Cup games!
post #6 of 17
Sounds great, Charlie! Hope you and the crew have a great skate on Monday and let's hope good things happen for the Pens!!

Hope to see some pics of the stuff you smoke on his rig. Will be anxious to hear how things turn out.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
How do I regulate the temperature with this unit? There is no damper to adjust the temperature?
post #8 of 17
The best regulation on that model is achieved via how much charcoal you light. If it runs too hot, the front door that gives access to the coals can be opened, and the temp will fall quickly.

Has your friend modified it? Take a look at this link, and then check if your friend did any of this:


I've done those mods (well not the goofy feet extensions) I light off 32 charcoals, put them in the pan, toward the edge. Then I fill the rest of the pan with coal, and overlap the unlit coals over the lit coals some. That gives me 240 at my dome thermometer for 3 hrs. After 2 1/2 hrs you want to shake the ashes off the coals, and bank them to one side, then add some more unlit coals.

If your friend has not done the mods, I can't advise you. I did the mods before I ever cooked on mine, and never ran it unmodified.

BTW, chicken is okay to run hotter. You may want to start with 50% more lit coal to run hotter. If your friend does not have a decent thermometer, then shoot for the built in thermometer to point straight up (12:00) That should be hot enough to crunch up your skin. For Pork and beef, you would shoot for the "I" in the word "Ideal" on the thermometer.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks BigSteve! He has done no mods t his but was thinking of drilling a hole in the covr and adding a damper to let excess heat out. Your thoughs?
post #10 of 17
The lid has gaps where it meets the smoker. The lid fills with heat and smoke, and surrounds the meat to cook it evenly. It escapes through the gaps. I have always thought venting the lid would be counter productive.

He would be much better off doing the mods (less than $12.00 if I recall) and then learning how much charcoal to light.
post #11 of 17
I have a Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal smoker and I agree with what BigSteve has said about the lid. The temp in the smoker is controlled by the amount of charcoal that is lit, the door and the lid. If it's running too hot, either tip the lid a bit or open the door.

If it's not hot enough, add more coals. I have not done any mods to mine except I use a modified grill bowl as the charcoal basket. Here's the post to show you what I mean:

I do not wrap my wood chunks in foil. I just put them to one side in the basket. Works fine for me.

You'll soon see that some things work better for you than others. It's all a matter of personal preference. smile.gif
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
I will try without the mods and see how it goes. Let me know if you have any other ideas! Thanks to all!
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all for your help!!!!!! I was not able to get pictures as we were all watching the hockey game and started to eat before I could snap the pictures!! We ended up doing 3 racks of baby back ribs and 2 beer cheicken. They came out fantastic! The information provided by all was a great help and I want to thatnk you all for your input. I will be smoking 2 pork butts in 2 weeks for my sons college graduation. Can't wait!!PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #14 of 17
Ah, another smoke fanatic is born.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks BigSteve. Just to set things straight - I have been a smoking fanatic for over a year now. I have a MES and GOSM but had never smoked with charcoal. I have now popped my charcoal cherry!!!!!
post #16 of 17
Glad to hear the chicken smoke was successfull! Can't wait to hear about your next butt smoke! icon_biggrin.gif
post #17 of 17
no CLUE why no one directed you to the mods i did to mine

here's a link to em all


will really help with temp controls and getting a hotter more useful fire

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