Brinkmann Trailmaster Limited Edition

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Here's the finished baby backs.

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OK, I did it, after researching smokers till my eyes bled, I went with the Trailmaster LE.. I ordered it from Home Depot and they delivered it 8 days later.  The box was beat to S_ _t so I was concerned the smoker might be damaged, but upon unpacking i t everything was in perfect condition.  Assembled it in 2 1/2 hours the following day, using high temp silicon on every bolt, nut, and seam.  I also installed 2 additional temp gauges at the grate level while I had it in the shop.  Cured it that same day, and smoked my first chicken the following day.

I"ll have to work on the fuel loading as I had a hard time maintaining 220 degrees during the smoke.  I live in Colorado at 7500 feet and as soon as a little afternoon front moved in dropping the outside temps by 20 degrees,( 85-65 in 20 minutes is pretty standard weather around here), the temperature of the smoker dropped the same amount??  The chicken never did reach 165 degrees so I tossed it in the oven for 20 minutes and it turned out just right with great smoke flavor.  

I'll smoke a few more chickens for practice before moving on to more expensive meats, but I'm excited and can't wait for that learning curve to kick in.

 One question for you Ol' Pros out there...is there much difference in the brands on the wood charcoal?  Is Cowboy brand any better that a generic brand for maintaining heat and length of burning time??  I'm staying away from the "Briquette" style charcoal and just burning the real stuff, but it sure seems like I'm going through a lot of it on every cook.

Thanks, Kirk
 
Kirk,

Congrats on your new rig!  I love mine, smoke/BBQ every chance I get.  Here is link found on this forum for lump charcoal,

http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lump.htm.  You will find all kinds of lump and ratings from users as well as the website.  I understand that Cowboy has a lot of wood scraps, which is not conducive to a good smoke.  I use Lazzari, which is easily found in my area.  I tried another brand which Sam's Club carried and it was mostly waste and small particles.  The parts which useable, were so big I had to chop with an axe to fit in the firebox.

Good luck and post some Q-View on your upcoming smokes.
 
Hey Kirk, I've been extremely happy with this smoker.  I think the solution to your heat regulation is going to be found in the minion method of using charcoal.  I've had very good success with this method, which can be found here: http://www.homebbq.com/index.php/archives/82

My dad has a different brinkmann model smoker and has had problems keeping the heat constant and I made the same basket for him as well  and it works perfect in two installations so far.  I've been able to hold a constant 225-250 temp for 8-10 hours easy.  You can find the parts you need at Lowes or Home Depot.  I usually fill the basket up about half full, throw the lit charcoals on top and then some hickory wood chunks on top of that.

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Minion method, part 2.  Coals mostly burnt and cleanup later seemed easier as well.

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Thanks Johnny for the good suggestion and the photos.  I did build a basket for the coals, but I only went 3" up on the sides, not near as tall as yours.  I might need to re-think my engineering on that and build it deeper to hold more fuel.

I'm hoping to smoke all winter and I really need to get my heat dialed in and regulated before the snow blows, which it's doing in the mountains today already!

I'll give the Minion method a try and let you know what happened.

Thanks, Kirk
 
Any one now when Depot puts their BBQ,s on sale for the winter? I was looking at the Trailmaster Limited this weekend, (Labor Day) And figured it might get marked down soon?
 
Home Depot is where I'm getting mine. For the money this is a very good one! And, try using just enough charcoal or wood chuncks to get the fire going. Then use a log at a time. This way has worked for me.
 
Any chance we could get a how to on the charcoal basket for dum dums like myself?  It would be much appreciated.
 
Laxin, expanded metal for charcoal baskets comes in several sizes. Ideally you want at least 24"x24" sheet which will allow you to build a 12"x12"x6" basket with a minimum of cutting like so:

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You can secure the flaps to complete the basket assembly with anything that's fireproof, from baling wire to nuts and bolts and washers or whatever you have laying around in your workshop.

If you can only find 18"x24" you can still do something similar although the sides will be 3" lower on two sides.

Needless to say the higher the basket the longer your fuel will last before needing to be refilled. Just measure in advance to see how big you can go and still fit through the door of your firebox. A good idea is to mock up a basket out of cardboard and see what fits.
 
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Wow, that was awesome.  Thanks so much for taking the time to do that.  This is probably a stupid question but Im new to this and you have to start somewhere right?  How do you bend this without a press? 
 
You can wrangle it to a 90 degree angle by folding it over a 2x4 and using a hammer to sharpen the fold. If you have some clamps and can clamp it to work bench that makes it easier. There are different weights of expanded steel. You don't want the flimbsey stuff that is sold for reinforcing floor leveling cement, but you don't want it too heavy either. The right weight you can flex a sheet to a 90 degree arc (across the whole sheet) without too much effort.

BTW, looking at Jonny's basket that seems like an optimal, and simple design for the trailmaster for a couple of reasons 1) it has a large capacity since it sits down on the stock coal grate and so is taller than a 12x12 basket, and 2) it's easier to construct as you don't need to cut the flaps and fold them. Doing it all over again I might use that design as the more charcoal you can hold the better.

I just finished a five hour cook and I had to refill a few times. Of course it was 55 degrees outside too.
 
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Johnny - did you just cut two strips from a 24x24 sheet the depth you want, bend them in half, and connect the two bent strips?

Also, where have you guys been running the wire in to the smoker for your wireless thermometer probes?

Sent from my ADR6400L using Tapatalk
 
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I just run mine under the bottom lip of the door. For whatever reason my door does not seem to leak much heat or smoke either way.

I had thought about cutting a vertical slot or two in the lower door sill of the smoke chamber to accommodate the passage of probe wires but so far have not seen the need.
 
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I just run mine under the bottom lip of the door. For whatever reason my door does not seem to leak much heat or smoke either way.

I had thought about cutting a vertical slot or two in the lower door sill of the smoke chamber to accommodate the passage of probe wires but so far have not seen the need.


Yeah, I do the same on mine with no leakage around the door. 
 
Well boys,  I've now used the Minion Method (as recommended by Johny, thx Johny!!)  in my Trailmaster LE twice and I have to say it works, very well in fact.  I'm still using the original basket I made with 3" sides, but I was able to hold 220-230 for three hours.  I did re-load the basket at two hours with an unlit load of Cowboy from a Weber chimney, and it brought the temp right back up within 10 minutes, and with minimal smoke.  I need to build a taller basket with at least 6 " sides and I think I'll be good to go for longer smokes.  I'm lovin' the Brinkman Trailmaster  and with every smoke I'm getting smoother and better.  Thanks for all the GREAT advise, you guys rock!  Kirk  
 
Kirk, glad to see that's working out for you!

LovinSpoonful and LaxinFish:  I don't recall the exact size of the expanded metal sheet but I think it was 18 x24 and I ended up buying two of them.   I cut each sheet so that it would be just high enough to barely fit into the firebox when the lid shut.  Then I measured the width and depth of bottom of the firebox where the grate is and bent it into an "L" shape and cut one of the sheets to match one side (depth) and the front (width).  Took that piece and trimmed it down to fit in just perfect and then performed the same steps with the other piece.  At that point you end up with two opposing "L" shapes that you marry up and use some steel wire to sort of sew them together.  It doesn't have to look pretty, just as long as it doesn't melt and holds form.  In mine it's such a perfect fit that I have to just slightly wiggle it to get it in out out of the firebox opening. I took the KISS approach, which so far has worked out really well.  I took some pics with a tape measure so you could see the exact size.  As you can see, it's roughly 10.5 x 9.5 inches and almost 10 inches tall.  If I fill this with about 7 -8 inches of charcoal and pour the lit charcoal on top this will easily go 8-10 hours if not more.  I have filled it up about 6 inches and it burned for 6 hours for my pulled pork and still had some left burning when I pulled the butt off and stuck it in the oven.

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Hi all, good info here.  I have had my BTLE for a couple months, moved into a new house, and school started up so haven't had a lot of time to smoke.  I've smoked a couple goose breasts that turned out great and grilled a few meals (if I'm going to eat steaks I can't stand using propane when I've got the option of charcoal).  I'm looking at doing the expanded metal box in the next month but my question is whether or not anyone has found a cover that will fit our smokers?  The model number listed earlier in this topic does not appear to be correct.  I spoke with someone at Brinkmann a couple months ago and they told me that they do not make this cover yet...even though the owner's/assembly manual tells us to order from them.  I need to find a cover so I'm not pulling mine in and out of the garage all the time.  Thanks
 
I grabbed a Brinkmann 82” Grill Cover # 812-9097-S right off the shelf at Home Depot to try it out, and as luck would have it, it fit perfectly.  See?

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Love my Trailmaster!

Tom in MD
 
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That will have to do the trick.  I was told that they are working on a cover but it wont be out until Spring of 12.
 
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