Electric Brinkman Question

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jun 21, 2007
Lincoln, NE
Question for you pitmasters out there. I have a new electric ECB. Last night was my first Q attempt. The loin took a little longer than expected but turned out great! My question, what is the best way to create that smoke. The directions say to place around the element, not touching, just laying on the included lava rock. The bag of wood I bought talked of placing it in a aluminum foil pouch, punching holes in the top. That appeared to be for charcoal or propane. I had also wondered about the Mods that the ecourse suggests for the ECB. That appears to be only for the charcoal design. What are the best for the ECB?
I use a cast iron smoker box that sits on top of the element. Tossing the chips right on the lava rock works well too, just leaves ash in there. No problems either way though.
Really no mods for the electric ECB, I personally use chunks sitting right on the lava rocks, but soak them first, they'll smolder and not just burn up
A small cast iron pan on the element would also work well!
I have tried a few methods with mine. I have found that soaked chunks is the easiest.

I tried a smoker box on the element and it seemed to burn up the chips fast. I did only soak them for about 10 minutes though... So if you are going to use chips, make sure they are good and soaked.
I use a pie rack that sits about 2 inches high and make a foil pouch to hold the chips. The chips smoke a lot slower that way, sometimes too slowly!

I have also confessed to just throwing the chips (soaked or unsoaked) directly onto the element and the rocks. My Brinkman keeps blowing over in strong winds so I essentially have no rocks left.
I was having an issue of maintaining consistent smoke as well. I decided I needed to add more chips frequently, maybe every 45 min or so. This worked but I’m still learning what the best method is with my new brinkman. I also tried one of those tin foil pie plates which I put directly on the element. That worked for a while but eventually the element burned through the tin during the smoke. I noticed too, that if I wrap the chips in tinfoil the smoke was ok but not consistent, maybe wrapped too tight.

My friend gave me some good size chunks of maple, hickory & oak and I found the chunks worked the best right on the lava rocks and would smolder perfectly. I had the nice thin blue going and I will stick to this from now on.

My brinkman is finally getting seasoned in. Is it ok to lightly rub down the inside and lid with a little vegetable oil? I thought I read that in the directions some where. Also, on the inside of the shell, there are some darker specs of smoke dust that look like tear drops I guess. Is this creosote or whatever or just grease from my food mingled with the smoke?
mark, thanks for your ideas and thoughts. It is good to hear from some one with a new brinkman testing things out. I sprayed down the grill pans, the lid and inside with a high temp resistant veg oil prior to my first smoke. Really made for easy clean up. I am just hoping I dont cause any issues with attracting more dirt, etc.
frieza thanks for your ideas. That is the one thing I did not do the first time was soak the wood. I will have to try that as well.
I added a thermometer to my unit, but maybe chose a bad spot for it, top center of the domed lid at the end of the handle. I maybe should have arranged it differently or just planned on several electronic jobs and varied their use depending on the cooking at hand. I also added one more level for a rack and use a rack/grate from an older unit between the factory settings. I may add a couple of more rack/grate/grill positions for doing large volumes of ABTs. My first extra rack was for extra turkey legs.

I also have found that the lava rocks round these parts just seem to be too big, so I break them up into smaller sizes. About 1" or so, I think that I will go even smaller next time I change them out. That brings me to another point. Because I throw wood chunks and chips straight onto the rocks (element be damned), my lava rocks do tend to get funky kind of quick. If I use the unit in the grill mode the grease gets to the rocks and if it rains good, the water gets to the rocks, either way this turns the ash into a muck that requires a good burn off or dry off before a smoking session.

This is, I think, my second electric unit and I have had one charcoal unit before as well, maybe my thrid elect (It all becomes a blur after awhile)

The water pan is my biggest hassle and I have been giving it a little bit of thought here latley.

First, I ain't gonna lie to you. I have been known not to line the pan with foil, it is expenesive, it runs out whenever you need it the most, I have cut myself on it and the box, it takes two peices wide to line the pan, it will still leak into the pan, if you leave the edges untidy it will block the heat from below, it ain't all that easy to get the foil to line the pan because of its' shape and so on. OK maybe seven out of ten times I foil the pan, but would think that they would make a prestamped disposable liner.

Second, I ain't gonna lie here either. After a big smoke, or even a little smoke, I don't really feel like messing with scalding hot liquid, and scalding hot greasy liquid at that. I like to eat what has been smoked, put away some leftovers, maybe do some of the dishes if it isn't getting too late and relax and let the food digest. Soooooo next weekend when I go to fire up the smoker, there sits an inch of mold covered greasy water that you know is gonna stink to high heaven if you disturb it. And you know that getting that water pan out is like going through an obsticle course of little spikes that hold the grills (Did I mention that I have added to this obsticle course by adding one more grill capibility)

At any rate I think that the disposable water pan would be the best option, so I may be looking in that direction for a suitable solution. I invision a large diameter pie pan of a shallow depth. Why shallow? Why I am figuring on adding maybe another rack of course!

Consistent smoke? Almost Impossible I say! But shoot for adding a bit every 30 to 45 minutes whether it needs it or not. Yes, this is kind of on the heavy side, smaller chunks or lighter flavored woods for the faint of heart. Wet or dry? From what I can tell, it don't burn/smoke until it dries out. I used to keep a bucket on the porch full of chunks and just let them soak there, turns out that the dog likes to chew on the soaked chunks so I gave that up. I may try a metal plate to try and slow things down or a castiron skillet. I think that most of the little iron boxes are too small for the average chunk. And I have above mentioned issues with foil!
As with any smokers water pan. After the smoking is done.....I wait till the morning to clean it out. Pretty easy to work with the pan at that time.

I have a question though with the Electric Brinkman. Since they do not have a temp guage or control for heat setting. Just how hot can this smoker get?
One other trick that I have used is to light a piece of charcoal and then place it in the middle of the pan cover it with chips and let it go. (Also a way to make sure that a smoke ring is produced)
On a hot Kansas day I am certain I achieved temps over 300 in mine. A 4 hour smoke was done in little over 2 hours.

I too have been known to not dump the water out of my Brinkman. I usually discover my mistake a couple weeks later when I smoke something again. I just bust out a power washer and nail the sucker.

I have switched to the chunks as the chips just burn too quickly. I still use my little pie rack so I can position a chunk directly over the element and get it nice and hot. I only put in one big chunk, and two or three smaller pieces and I am usually set for a couple of hours with the thin blue smoke. I don't soak them, but I do run the smoker for at least 30 minutes before I put any meat on it. My only drawback is I haven't done the modifications yet to regulate temperature.
I have an ECB, and I love it. If you live close to an Academy store, buy one of their beer can chicken holders. Knock the part that holds the can off. That leaves you with a nice little rack that fits perfectly between your element about 2 inches above the element and lava rocks. I use mesquite chunks (also found at Academy) on it. If you want to save some time , mess, and elbow grease, line your water pan with aluminum foil. I installed a temp. guage just above the lower lip of the top, it is very accurate ( for the top rack). My temp averages about 240 deg. I hope this is useful to you............
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