Brinkmann Trailmaster LE

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by lovinspoonful, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. I finally got around to tearing down and rebuilding the Brinkmann Trailmaster that I got from Home Depot. It was the last one left and had been assembled incorrectly so they gave me a discount on it. I had been eyeing them, trying to decide between one and a WSM before they ran out of stock and after haggling with the manager about the quality of assembly we had a deal and I could not say no.

    Rebuilding ended up being not as bad as I thought and the process went fairly quickly, taking about an hour. The legs were a little wonky as the mounting flange plates were not well aligned in the fabrication process which was a problem since they are pretty thick, but my impact driver made short work of getting the assembly straight and tight. Broke the firebox down and sealed the seams with Rutland's high temp RTV, as well as all the bolt holes and joints between the smoke chamber and firebox and chimney.

    Cured it yesterday morning and then in the afternoon I threw on a slew of chicken legs rubbed with Szeged chicken rub and tossed a few chunks of apple wood in the firebox with the burning hardwood and an hour or two later I had my first meal off her. I'm quite gleeful of her 18"x41" smoke chamber...should accommodate pretty much anything I want to throw on her for he foreseeable future.

    I have to say I'm pretty pleased. She hold's heat well and is easy to control and responsive. The stock thermometer, appears accurate but 50 degrees above grate temps, no doubt from the short probe. There is a bit of smoke that escapes from the main door but the fit is as tight as one could expect and it's not worth doing anything about it as it is pretty minor. I'll eventually get around to the obligatory SFB mods starting with the firebox basket. If I have one complaint it is that he firebox door is on the smaller side and that will limit the size of the basket I can wrangle in there.

    For the money I think this is a great value. I got mine for $200 but even at the MSRP of $299, after using it, I think you can't beat it. It is 1/8" steel and a very solid piece of equipment.

    Interestingly, I think this product is the direct descendent of the Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn smoker ( They sold a version at Sam's Club for a bit, then sold out to New Braunfel which in turn as I understand it sold out to Brinkmann.

    Funny thing is they have a serial number on each to highlight that it s a limited edition, but mine is something like #009521 which means they have room to go up to 99,999, lol. Also on the plate it says "For Outside Use Only" which I found pretty entertaining.

    Next time I cook on her I'll post some pictures... 
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  2. smokinal

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


    Sure would like to see some pics of the smoker!
  3. smoking gun

    smoking gun Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Would like more info on this smoker. Does it need to be modded like the SNP for even temps and would it need a charcoal basket? Also I see the main chamber is heavier metal, is the firebox the same heavier metal as well?


  4. socalbbq

    socalbbq Fire Starter

    SG, I bought one a few months ago and really love it.  The only thing I have done so far is installed a 90* vent pipe on the exhaust opening.  The exhaust pipe is on the side so it's probably not as critical as the SNP, but I did it anyways.  Some people complain about the lids leaking, mine is pretty good but I will install some gasket material for good measure.  I don't have a convection plate, but use a large Aluminum pan with water to even out temps.  So far no real problems and my temps have stayed very consistent. 

    The unit is well made and the material is the heavier duty though-out.  The only complaint I have is the Ash tray drawer seems a bit small, especially for longer smokes.  Hope that helps,
    smoking gun likes this.
  5. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

       Spoonful,you are going to love your pit.It looks like my New Braunfeld RedRiver. Nice and heavy and holds heat well.By placing a piece of metal in the bottom(1/4"),you have bnetter heat retention and use less fuel.

       These do very well using wood chunks,(get them from neighbors when tree trimming time comes);they will be glad to save you and themselves money by not having them picked -up by the tree trimmers.[​IMG]Maple,one of the prevalent trees in the area are great for anything[​IMG].Cut into baseball size pieces and light in a charcoal chimney,then watch the temps. and enjoy your friends and family with a nice Soda or Drink.

    Have fun and...
  6. I made a charcoal box for my Trailmaster.  Bolted everything together.


    And that little leak in the door I took care of with some slide bolts.

  7. Breeze,  I'm looking to do the same thing for a charcoal box.  I'm curious what are the dimensions of your basket?
  8. smoking gun

    smoking gun Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Bought a Trailmaster LE a couple weeks ago but haven't put it together yet. Also got some expanded metal and some flat sheet steel. Just waiting for the heat wave to subside before I get to work on it. :)
  9. Schmitt a 12x12 x 6 basket fits pretty well. I bought a piece of 18" x  24" expanded steel that I turned into a 12x12x6 (slightly lower on two sides) that fits well. Could have gone an inch or so taller and wider but it would be getting tight.

    The basket has made a HUGE difference in both the stability of temps as well as the length of time before refueling. I will say one thing, and this is more a reflection of my lack of prior experience with a big SFB, this thing eats charcoal at a good clip. I can go through 5 lbs. of hardwood  during a 6 hour smoke with no problem. Then again, I can stuff it with 60 lbs of meat, too.

    I added a 1/8' plate that's about 18" long with 1" clearance on the front and back as a baffle, set right on the bottom grate. Bent the edge that is against the smokebox up 45 degress. My whole smoker now varies less than 25 degrees end to end which is a huge improvement.

    I was lucky. My door fits nice and  tight and I don't get any leaking at all and have not had to mod it.

    Yes the smokebox is the same weight of metal as the smoke chamber. *However* I have a sneaking suspicion that the doors are actually heavier than the rest of the chambers which would of course give the illusion to the user, who is opening and closing the doors, that the whole unit is as heavy. I'll take a closer look next time I roll her out.

    I saw that my local Home Depot got a recent shipment of these and has a stack of them that don't seem to be moving. I had bought mine on the assumption that they would get what they got and when they sold them out they were gone. I bet they are going to go on sale soon given that Labor Day is here.
  10. Schmitt I just saw your question.  The basket can not exceed 12 x 12 x 7 3/4 deep if you want it to sit on the bottom and still have the lid close.
  11. Great info on the plate on the grate! Also, Home Depot gives 10% off to Vets! I didn't know this until recently and man that can make a difference!
    polkat likes this.
  12. I'm having a basket made. Got my LE today!
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  13. smoking gun

    smoking gun Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    WOW??? 25 degrees? That's a pretty big difference, what was it before? After I made my tuning plates and got them set I usually didn't run more than 5 degrees difference end to end on the SnP.

     I have considered buying one of the horizon convection plates but will probably just build some tuning plates for the trailmaster.

    Horison Plate....

    They also offer charcoal baskets if you want to purchase one instead of fabricating it yourself.,-Charcoal-for-16"/Detail
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  14. Great pics! Best basket I've seen.
  15. As far as temp difference, I'm talking about from right snug up to the firebox all the way to the other end. The middle 80% of the chamber is even. If I cut the plate up into strips, which I'm contemplating doing at some point, I'm sure I could bring that down to what you're seeing. As it stands now I put that variance to good use by arranging the meat from smaller to larger toward the warmer zone.

    I looked at the horizon plate and it's very nice but it's width does not fit the TE exact and in truth I think you're better off with just a series of plates you can space as needed. Cheaper, adjustable, and specific to your needs.

    That basket is on the small side for what you can fit through the door of the TE. You'd be giving up a few hours of smoke time with that, I suspect.
  16. hi guys, anybody mind if I cut in for some help or should I start a new thread?
  17. socalbbq

    socalbbq Fire Starter

    I think that's why we're all here to help each other out!
  18. Ok, I know but anyway my LE kind of drives me up a wall first got it tried all the mods I could find on-line so the charcoal box approx 12 x10x 8.5 just fits in the door holds 4 chimneys of charcoal, won't burn unless ash drawer is open some then burns from bottom 1st cook came out  fantastic went through 40 lb Lump  20lb kingsford and bunches of chunks and chips. way to expensive tried gas  (for later dissc) maybe enough for now.
  19. When you say on the bottom, you mean on the grate, right? Thanks.
  20. smoking gun

    smoking gun Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I gotcha. ;)  .... My temp gauges are probably 8-10 inches from each end and I have a quarter inch cast iron plate above the firebox connection. Helps with temp spikes and also to hold heat. After the cast iron are 3 more steel plates that I can adjust.I have a larger cast iron plate but not sure if it will fit the Trailmaster  ....

    Thanks for your info on the TLE. I'll definitely fabricate my own plates and basket but wanted to add those links for those without the tools or metal working knowledge to build their own. [​IMG]

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