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Joined by our passion for meat, beer, cards and meat, we created a compitition bbq team to partake in just that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

BBQ Reviews - Brinkman Smoke 'n Grill

This BBQ review is for the Brinkman Smoke ' Grill.

This grill was purchased at HD for about $40. There were no high expectations on quality, temp control, or cook quality. I was mistaken.

Assembly - the instructions were clear and easy to follow. All parts were in the box. There was no damage to the packaging or contents. Assembly took about 2 beers (or twenty minutes).

The grill comes with a fuel pan, water pan, and a grate surface. The sheet metal construction was very thin - approximately 16 gauge - powder coated. The supports for the fuel pan, water pan, and grate were stepped stamped aluminum. I didn't feel that the construction of the supports were sufficient. I was partially right. There is also a fake temp gauge that only registers Warm, Ideal, and Hot. This is not really any good reference so use a quality oven thermometer to monitor the actual temp at the grate.

The unit comes with a water pan which I did not use. If you were going to smoke something - like a turkey - for a long period of time, I would use the water pan to add some flavor to the meat. Adding apple juice and some citrus will add some flavor to what you are cooking. Otherwise I would avoid putting too much liquid in the water pan - it would require more fuel to heat and maintain the temp of the water and the meat.

Time to light this fire!

It was obvious after a few minutes of lighting the 10 or so lbs of charcoal / lump that the materials of the body and supports were too light weight. As the heat expanded the metal, the fuel pan started to slip sideways. I had to use a set of tongs to recenter the pan on the three supports. I had to do this once more during the cook. It was a high possibility that if left unattended, the fuel pan could have dumped the fuel on the deck causing who knows what kinds of fire hazards. I would add some additional bolts to hang the fuel pan from if I was going to use this grill any more. The water pan and grill grate didn't shift but the supports are so questionable, I would add some bolts to support these parts as well. The water pan fits directly over the fuel pan with very little space. The grill grate fits directly over the water pan. Not the best situation but Brinkman is trying to fit a lot of function into this little grill.

Secondary issue - the grill body was slightly out of round so there was a significant gap between the body and the lid. Some squeezing made the gap smaller. Another issue is the tolerance between the water pan, the fuel pan, and the walls of the body had significant gaps. This leads to any condensation collecting on the walls of the body dripped down and stained the concrete underneath. I would recommend a BBQ mat (non flammable) to place underneath the grill when in use.

I used a combination of charcoal and lump the first time I used the grill. The maximum temp I could get out of the grill was about 325 based on a temp probe. Unfortunately there are no air vents on the body or the lid of the grill so there is no real way of controlling the temp. I did have some success smoking at a temp of about 225 but it must have been based on the amount of fuel and the air available to the fire - or just plain dumb luck. I seemed to hold this temp for about 3 hours.

This fatty was smoked at 225 for about 3 hours. The temp dropped a little in the last hour so I opened the door to let in more air and the temp climbed back up to "ideal". Fatty came out GREAT! I think I got lucky with the temp holding so well but like any grill, once you get used to the grill, you will have more control over the unit.

This unit is called the Smoke AND Grill. So for the grill part - basically they want you to remove the water pan, move the fuel pan up to the water pan level, and put the grate directly on top of the fuel pan. This is a typical set up for a standard charcoal kettle grill. With the lid off so there was plenty of air flow, the grate temp got up to 325 - 350. Plenty hot to cook some sausages or steaks.

Overall - for $40 this is a fantastic purchase. . This is a great way to try out smoking some meats without breaking the bank. You can also use it as a regular charcoal grill. There are not many charcoal grills available for $40 so it is a great value. I know a few people who own this grill and after using it / experimenting with it for 10 - 20 cooks, you can get the hang of it and cook some quality meats. Not too many ways you can spend $40 and get some great experimentation and learn the basics of smoking meat.

Overall opinion - for $40 - well worth it - buy one if you are just getting into smoking and have some patience and are on a budget!

Pros: Low low price. Dual function smoker and grill.

Con: No true control over the temp without experimenting.

1 comment:

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