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  #1  
Old 08-09-2010, 09:35 PM
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Default Smoker Advice

My birthday gift to myself this year is gonna be a smoker. My intention is to buy the cheap Brinkman job. Research tells me its not really well made and a b*tch to assemble but does a decent job. I am ok with that as I am not looking to spend a lot of cash and do not need something that does large quantity. From what I see these are around $60. i am definitely not going for something super expensive but would be willing to spend twice that for something that will last longer/do a better job. Is there something I should know? I am not one to tweak and modify so I want something out the box that will make a good brisket. CBS the way to go?
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Panch, the Brinkmann you have your eye on is widely referred to as the ECB, or "El Cheapo Brinkmann". If you Google it, you will see lots of info on it. Here's a link to my friend, Randy's, excellent article on the subject. http://www.randyq.addr.com/ecb/ecb.html

It's what I started on.

Without modifications, the ECB will cook most short-cook (several hours) items adequately. Last I knew, the ECB still does not have bottom vents, which means that the temperature is difficult to control, and after several hours, the burnt ash will choke your fire.

Cooking briskets and butts will be a challenge.

If you don't want to make mods, I suggest the Weber Smokey Mountain bullet smoker. You may be able to find an older or used model online. Sounds like the 18 and 1/2 inch diameter (the original) will be plenty big enough for you.

The newer version has a diameter of 22 and 1/2 inches, and it's more expensive.

It's a great bang for the buck!

Lee
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Do you want to use charcoal or electric as your heat source? Charcoal is more hands on and a little more difficult to hold temperatures. I built a UDS and love it. If your going to buy one, I would go with a Weber Smokey Mountain rather than the Brinkman. You could also look at a Weber Silver One Touch. It's large enough to do some indirect smoking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PanchoHambre View Post
My birthday gift to myself this year is gonna be a smoker. My intention is to buy the cheap Brinkman job. Research tells me its not really well made and a b*tch to assemble but does a decent job. I am ok with that as I am not looking to spend a lot of cash and do not need something that does large quantity. From what I see these are around $60. i am definitely not going for something super expensive but would be willing to spend twice that for something that will last longer/do a better job. Is there something I should know? I am not one to tweak and modify so I want something out the box that will make a good brisket. CBS the way to go?
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Do NOT waste your money on an ECB unless you are willing to tinker. Out of the box, it is a pathetic cooker. But, if you’re willing to tinker, you can make a nice cooker out of it.

I'd get this one. In fact, I'm about to.

Amazon Amazon

I HATE how this forum treats an Amazon link! Click that Amazon thingy above to see the cooker.

It's very versatile and does both gas or coal. The cooking body isn't huge, so you’re only able to cook enough for around 4-6 people at a time. The largest thing being a whole turkey, or 2-3 slabs of ribs.

I've got a Masterbuilt Charcoal smoker now, and if it hadn't been discontinued (the model I have) I'd buy it again. Porcelain coated, well made, and fantastic air control (both upper and lower vents). The air control on my Masterbuilt is BETTER than that on the Weber Smokey Mt cooker. The ONLY reason I haven't bought a Weber Smokey Mt smoker yet is because I hate the lower vent controls on that model. Utterly worthless.

The ECB has NO air control to speak of - at least not out of the box. Really, don’t waste your money on it unless you are willing to do the mods.
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:58 PM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

A breakdown of the 7-in-1 Masterbuilt unit.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...736&CatId=4575
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:29 PM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Keltin, why do you say that the bottom vent controls on the WSM are totally worthless?

Lee
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:46 PM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

The ones I've been looking at are the typical little aluminum discs that spin to close the 3 holes.

1. They are on the botton of the unit and hard to reach.

2. They get too hot to touch.

3. There are 3 of them making an adjustment 3 times harder.

4. They tend to lock up over time, and even fall off.

The Masterbuilt has two large vents on the front of the fuel pan with a sliding panel (per vent) that controls 5 holes per vent. I can actually load that unit with 8 pounds of coal, light it all, close the vents, and then simply watch the temp and crack the vents over a 6 hour period to keep temp at 230 or so. Never been easier!

Reaching those vents on the Weber is hard becuase they are on the bottom meaning you put your face near the sidewall of the fuel chamber (hot) as you bend over and there are 3 of them to dig around for and find.....and that's IF they will turn or if you can touch them without burning yourself.

Don't get me wrong, I love Weber, but I'm no fan of their air control on that smoker. The alternative to this is to start with less coal and then fiddle with it throughout the day and add coal as needed. Not a terrible alternative, but not as easy as other alternatives.
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Old 08-10-2010, 12:48 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

1 more vote for "don't bother with the brinkmann" unless you want to do some tinkering with tin snips, high temp epoxy, and other stuff.

i got one as a gift last year from dw and returned it as soon as i saw how thin and flimsy it was. paint had chipped off the water bowl when i was putting the unit together because the slightest pressure is able to bend the ridiculously thin metal. same would go for the not much thicker construction of the smoker chassis itself.

i ended up getting a perfect flame 36" gas smoker from lowe's that i've just recently figured out how to use. unfortunately, it also requires a small mod in order to keep constant temps on a breezy day. that is that you need to enclose the area around the legs to be able to keep temps steady because the burner on the bottom is openly exposed.



i would imagine other smokers with a similar construction would also need a mod. right now i'm just using aluminum foil, but i plan to get around to cutting out some thin metal to screw into the legs on three sides.

also, the thermomoter in the door is wildy inaccurate; off by as much as 50 degrees, so you'll need a probe thermometer.

panch, if this isn't a rush, i would look around and when you find a model you liked, i would then search the internet for mods that have been made to said model. that way you'll know if smokers (who are a bit crazy to begin with from the lack of oxygen, all those silly acronyms and nicknames) feel a need to tinker with a store bought unit to get it to work well. if there aren't a lot of mods and reviews are good, then go with it.

as the blues man said, you first need to decide on gas or wood/charcoal.
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Old 08-10-2010, 05:37 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
i ended up getting a perfect flame 36" gas smoker from lowe's that i've just recently figured out how to use. unfortunately, it also requires a small mod in order to keep constant temps on a breezy day. that is that you need to enclose the area around the legs to be able to keep temps steady because the burner on the bottom is openly exposed.



i would imagine other smokers with a similar construction would also need a

I had that same problem and fixed this way with some sheet metal and painted it black, works gust like it should now! No problem controlling the flame at all.
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Old 08-10-2010, 06:06 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

This is not advice, it's just my 2 cents, so don't nobody get their nose out of joint that I'm slamming their favorite unit. I'm just presenting what works for me, and I'm a pretty cheap guy.

I have an el-cheapo electric Brinkman Gourmet from Home Depot for $69, and as long as it's not too cold and windy it cooks pretty good for me. Without a wind screen it's a warm Summer unit. I have put a 10# fresh picnic ham in it and it came out pretty darn good. I've loaded it with ribs, ABT's and chicken and everything cooked fine, and it holds pretty good around 225-230 as long as you're not doing too much peeking.

Yes, there are better and more expensive units out there, but for a plug-it-in-and-forget-it unit, it ain't too bad.





I also picked up this CharGriller off Craigs List this Summer for $60, and put about $25 worth of mods into it (sheet metal baffles to redirect the heat and smoke). Aside from screwing with charcoal and it's inherent design properties which make it burn out when you need it most, it's a pretty good cooker.







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Old 08-10-2010, 10:21 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Very nice Mod Guts! Looks very professional!
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:27 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keltin View Post
Very nice Mod Guts! Looks very professional!
I agree, very nice mod. I have that same grill and had problems last turkey day due to winds, it could not maintain the temp. Looks like an easy fix.

Good pics of yours to Joe. Looks like you have it down pat on both grills!
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:33 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

If you could be talked into something with a little more capacity, here's what I have.

Smoker
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:36 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keltin View Post
I HATE how this forum treats an Amazon link! Click that Amazon thingy above to see the cooker.
That smoker is 30 bucks cheaper here.
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:37 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzard767 View Post
That smoker is 30 bucks cheaper here.
Awesome, and Home Depot is local! May be stopping by there this evening!
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:49 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keltin View Post
Awesome, and Home Depot is local! May be stopping by there this evening!
It say two things:

1) (check mark) online only
2) out of stock online


figures
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:53 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzard767 View Post
It says two things:

1) (check mark) online only
2) out of stock online


figures


And crashing down my spirits come!

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Old 08-10-2010, 11:05 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keltin View Post
The ones I've been looking at are the typical little aluminum discs that spin to close the 3 holes.

1. They are on the botton of the unit and hard to reach.

2. They get too hot to touch.

3. There are 3 of them making an adjustment 3 times harder.

4. They tend to lock up over time, and even fall off.

The Masterbuilt has two large vents on the front of the fuel pan with a sliding panel (per vent) that controls 5 holes per vent. I can actually load that unit with 8 pounds of coal, light it all, close the vents, and then simply watch the temp and crack the vents over a 6 hour period to keep temp at 230 or so. Never been easier!

Reaching those vents on the Weber is hard becuase they are on the bottom meaning you put your face near the sidewall of the fuel chamber (hot) as you bend over and there are 3 of them to dig around for and find.....and that's IF they will turn or if you can touch them without burning yourself.

Don't get me wrong, I love Weber, but I'm no fan of their air control on that smoker. The alternative to this is to start with less coal and then fiddle with it throughout the day and add coal as needed. Not a terrible alternative, but not as easy as other alternatives.
Oh, okay. I now see why you don't LIKE the bottom vents.

Lee
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:23 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by QSis View Post
Oh, okay. I now see why you don't LIKE the bottom vents.

Lee



Yeah, you're right, I don't like them.

I really wish they'd make a Smoker with the same fan like vent control that is on their Weber One-Touch Silver kettle. I LOVE that vent control. It's perfect. I wonder why they never added it to the smoker.

Oh, and this is from left field, but do you remember that rhyme for spelling - "i before e except after c"?

Whoever made that one up didn't consider the word "their"!!!
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

K, and I don't like the vent control on the kettle because I like having the ability to close or partially close one vent at a time on the WSM's.

And, I don't think I've ever thought of the exception word, "their", before. Thanks a lot! Now it's going to bug me! ;-)

Lee
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:49 AM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by QSis View Post
K, and I don't like the vent control on the kettle because I like having the ability to close or partially close one vent at a time on the WSM's.

And, I don't think I've ever thought of the exception word, "their", before. Thanks a lot! Now it's going to bug me! ;-)

Lee
Do you use the Mininion Method in your WSM? That may help with controlling the heat. The few times I used a WSM, I did so like I do in my Masterbuilt, and lit a cage full of coal till ashed over then added wood. Fire was way too hot (webers are very efficient at burning the coal!). Perhaps if I used less coal or tried the Miniion Method.....

Really, if I took the time to learn the WSM like I've learned my Masterbuilt, I know I'd love the thing....just being lazy and set in my ways I guess!
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

I agree the 3 holed vent thingies are hard to adjust just right, especially when hot. A gloved hand can't do the fine tuning needed ...and no glove or hot pad means you probably will get burnt.

----
OT but the i before e except after c rule ....I do remember learning it with exceptions but didn't realize how many exceptions there were. You guys prompted me to google it and Wiki came through with a decent answer:
Way more than you ever wanted to know on this subject I'd guess.

"I before E, except after C" is a mnemonic device devised to help students remember how to spell certain words in the English language. It means that, in words where i and e fall together, the order is ie, except directly following c, when it is ei. Examples:

* ie in words like siege, friend, thief
* ei in words like ceiling, receive, deceive, conceit

However, the rule, in its short form as above, has many common exceptions, such as species, science, sufficient, ancient, society (where ie follows c) or seize, weird, theism, weight, protein, sovereignty, foreign, vein, feisty, kaleidoscope, being, and neighbour "their" (where ei is not preceded by c). More exceptions are listed below. Various augmentations to the rhyme have been proposed to handle these exceptions.

Several other alternative versions to the basic mnemonic have been proposed to account for the numerous exceptions to the rule. One alternative version includes:[6]

i before e except after c
or when sounded like a
as in neighbor and weigh

Exceptions to this version include gneiss, neither, height, leisure and weird. Further exceptions including ancient, efficient and species can also be covered by the addition of the line

"drop this rule when -c sounds as -sh".

An additional version is:

i before e except after c
unless you're being weird

Another version, particularly common in Britain is:[6]

when the sound is ee ([iː])
it's i before e except after c

or [4]

in ei and ie
when sounded as e
put i before e
except after c

or

"i" before "e" except after "c" when the sound is long "e"

The most frequent everyday failures of this version include weird, weir, seize, caffeine, protein (here -ein(e) was originally pronounced [iː.ɪn]), and, for those who pronounce the initial vowel sound [iː], either and neither. Inflections of words ending -cy (fancied, policies etc.) are exceptions for those with happy tensing accents, who pronounce the -cies/-cied endings [siz]/[sid]rather than [sɪz]/[sɪd].

Few common words have the cei spelling handled by the rule: verbs ending -ceive and their derivatives (perceive, deceit, transceiver, receipts, etc.), and ceiling. Many words spelled with ei are pronounced [iː] in America but not Britain (e.g. sheikh, leisure, either have [eɪ], [ɛ], [aɪ] respectively). In these cases, the British pronunciation is a corollary of the British "rule" (i.e., when spelt ei, the pronunciation cannot be [iː]).

Another mnemonic device that takes the form of a non-rhyming sentence has been used to help students remember a list of common exceptions to the rule: "Let neither financier inveigle the sheikh into seizing either species of weird leisure." This sentence contains both "ie after c" exceptions and "e before i" exceptions.
[edit] Exceptions

This section lists exceptions to the basic form; many will not be exceptions to the augmented forms. The word oneiromancies (divination from the meanings of dreams) breaks the rule twice, in both ways.
[edit] cie

Of the 319 words in the The Collaborative International Dictionary of English that contain a combination of cie or cei, 212 words (66%) are exceptions to the rule.[7]

Some groups of words have cie:

* species and specie
* Inflections of words ending -cy (fancied, policies, etc.)
* science and related words (conscience, prescient, etc.)
* Other words ending -cient -ciency (ancient, efficiency, etc.)
o deficiencies, efficiencies, sufficiencies have cie twice each.
* Suffixes -ier or -iety after a root ending in -c (financier, glacier, society, etc.)

[edit] ei not preceded by c

Many words have ei not preceded by c:

* Chemical names ending in -ein or -eine (caffeine, casein, codeine, phenolphthalein, phthalein, protein, etc.)
* Many proper names (Keira, Breidi, Keith, Leith, Neilla, Sheila, Neil, Ashleigh, Heidi, etc.)
* Scottish English words (deil, deid, weill, etc.)
* Prefixes de- or re- before words starting with i (deindustrialize, reignite, etc.)
* Inflection -ing after verbs those ending in e which do not drop the e (being, seeing, swingeing, etc.)

In the following lists, words are grouped by the sound corresponding to ei or eir in the spelling, as listed at Wikipedia:IPA for English. An asterisk* after a word indicates the pronunciation implied is one of several found. Most derived forms are omitted; for example, as well as seize, there exists disseize and seizure.

/eɪ/
these exceptions are excluded by the American version: abseil, beige, cleidoic, deign, dreidel, eight, feign, feint, freight, geisha, gleization, gneiss, greige, greisen, heigh-ho*, heinous*, inveigh, inveigle*, neigh, neighbo(u)r, obeisance*, peignoir*, reign, rein, seiche, seidel, seine, sheikh*, skein, sleigh, surveillance, veil, vein, weigh. (This sound is never pronounced ie).
/ɛər/
these exceptions are excluded by the American version: heir, their. (This sound is never pronounced ier)
/iː/
these exceptions are the only ones that slip through the strictest interpretation of the British version: either*, heinous*, inveigle*, keister, leisure*, monteith, neither*, obeisance*, seize, seizin, sheikh*, teiid (see also the chemical names such as caffeine listed above).
/ɪər/
these exceptions may slip through the British version: weir, weird. (This sound may also be pronounced ier, as in pierce.)
/aɪ/
eider, either*, einsteinium, feisty, heigh-ho*, height, heist, kaleidoscope, leitmotiv, neither*, Rotweiller, seismic, seismograph, stein, zeitgeist. (This sound may also be pronounced ie, as in pie.)
/ɨ/
counterfeit, foreign, forfeit, reveille*, sovereign, surfeit
/ɛ/
heifer, leisure*, peignoir*. (This sound may also be pronounced ie, as in friend.)
/ś/
reveille*
e and i in separate segments
albeit, atheism, deify, deity, herein, onomatopoeia
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  #23  
Old 08-10-2010, 02:18 PM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

Wow Doc, I think my head is going to explode now!
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:45 PM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

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Old 08-10-2010, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Smoker Advice

I also have the ECB, just like JoeV has, and it's a decent smoker for the money. But lately I've only been using it mostly to do ABT's and hot sausages and the like while I have some else smoking on my Weber 22" OTG.

Unless you're planning on doing a lot of smoking I would seriously consider getting the 22" Weber kettle instead of a dedicated smoker as the kettle does a great job smoking. Using the Minion method I can keep the kettle going at low temps for several hours.
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