A Brinkmann Fail Story

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by ej73, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. ej73

    ej73 Fire Starter

    Tried this little project over the past couple weeks, and thought I'd share.

    I'm a dedicated WSM guy - but have always wanted an offset, you know, for that big party I'll have maybe every 2 years, lol.

    I was at the orange big box store, and I saw a Brinkmann mini-offset on the floor, marked down from $160 to $70. It was a little banged up and looked like the runt of the already crappy looking offset smokers. A manager came over to me and asked if I was interested. "Nah, I know these things aren't very good ..." he replies, "$40 and it's yours." So I took him up on the offer, and decided to try and repaint, reseal and renovate this thing.

    I found a great video here that did exactly what I was aiming to do:

    I bought grill paint and high-heat (blue) brake caliper paint for the lid. I used fireplace sealant in every nook and cranny (there are a LOT). Then I used high-heat gasket seal tape all around every single opening. When I did my first burn-out with veggie oil, there were still leaks, so I could only imagine how bad it would've been untouched.

    Here's what she looked like when all was said n' done:

    Over the weekend I decided to give it a shot at a real cook: Chicken Wings and Pork Butt. I created a baffle from a baking pan that I cut in half, then 2 more pans that I punched holes in, so the hot air would cover across. In initial tests, the temp difference was over 40 from left to right. With the baffle, I got it down to 15-20.

    Once fired up, I threw in some hickory and cherry. It got up to 250 pretty easily, and I threw on the meats. (The Brinkmann thermo read 400, when in reality it was 250) Steady ... steady ... but after about 1 hour, the temp started falling. I added more coals/woods. It was struggling now to stay above 225, as it was windy and cool outside. It eventually fell sub 200 and struggled to stay above. The paint then started chipping off the firebox! This was simply blue bag Kingsford and wood chunks, about half-full - not even the high heat stuff. After about another hour, I noticed the ashes were suffocating the coals, as the bottom is pretty shallow. I used an old paint brush to yank the ashes out and keep this thing going. The temps just kept fluctuating, mostly between 180-215, and the coals burned so fast. I went through almost a whole bag in 4 hours of trying to do this.

    I eventually gave in and finished it on my old trusty basic Weber grill. The chicken was just OK. Sadly, the pork was way too dry. I attribute that to the fluctuating temps and then going at 300 on the grill, in-direct. I knew that was a bit too hot, but my patience was as thin as this damn cheap offset smoker by then.

    In the end, it was a fun project trying to get something out of this thing. I think I'll use it for a large party or anything that takes two or less hours. Like chicken, dogs or veggies. For anything else, I'm sticking with my beloved WSM. And no wonder Brinkmann is gone! I'd pity anyone new to smoking who tried their first smokes on this puppy, out of the box.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
    mike5051 likes this.
  2. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the info!  I love my WSM, but have eyed up a few offsets in the stores.  Those "deals" really arent any type of bargain.  I'll wait and get a quality stick burner one day.  Points for the attempt!

  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Wow, good story. Looks pretty though. Yeah, this hobby is not something with which you can go cheap and get great results. My first was a $50 Mecco Bullet similar to a Brinkman. Tryed a couple of smokes and put it away. 2 Years later my MIL bought me a quality heavy steel New Braunfels Offset, around $300, for my B-Day. I was making some great Q in short order...JJ
  4. hakamo0o

    hakamo0o Fire Starter

    At least you did not pay retail price for this scrap. you reminded me of my first attempt; but I just did some wings which took me 4 hours because of temp fluctuation.

    Live and learn
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great story!

    Gotta love those WSM's

  6. ej73

    ej73 Fire Starter

    The worst part was I invited a few people over - and I've built a solid reputation for smoking awesome tasting meats (always on the WSM).

    I spent the evening constantly apologizing for the dry pork, telling them to forget this meal ever happened, haha.

    But yeah - next smoker will probably be another WSM or drum :)

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