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Old 09-08-2011, 12:44 PM   #1
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brinkmann smoke 'n pit

I am looking at the brinkmann smoke n' pit smoker/grill combo at home depot. I am looking to take 14"-16" pieces of wood and split them up very small. It says wood/charcoal but at only $179 I am thinking it might not be able to stand that type of heat. I was wondering if anybody has tried to use this model or know of someone who has or if anybody has some info or advice about this product. Again I am using my own firewood and not bags you buy in the store.
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Old 09-08-2011, 02:11 PM   #2
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

Cut my teeth on one of them evil critters. Works best with about 3 lbs of charcoal and a few small sticks or chunks of wood. Can be used as a straight wood burner but its a big challenge.
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Old 09-08-2011, 02:26 PM   #3
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

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Originally Posted by bigwheel
Cut my teeth on one of them evil critters. Works best with about 3 lbs of charcoal and a few small sticks or chunks of wood. Can be used as a straight wood burner but its a big challenge.
I am not afraid of a challenge but what exactly do you mean by a big challenge. I love the idea of the flavor of cooking with wood and would love to try smoking some meat but don't want to go crazy and dump a $900-$1000 on a grill or a grill/smoker combo at least until I find out it is something I will do a lot but also don't want to spend $180.00 and have the thing warp the first time I use it.I just want to make sure what I am trying to do is safe and I am not going to ruin it. I realize that there is going to some trial and error in finding out how much of a fire I need to have to grill just a couple of steaks or a bunch of burgers and corn on the cob. I also like the idea of being able to slow cook a roast without using up a half tank of propane.I am looking to use wood in the firebox for smoking meat and using it in the grill chamber as well. Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me on whether or not this will work or not.
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:03 PM   #4
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

Bigwheel is very, very right.

The most difficult and least beginner friendly way to smoke is with a cheap bullet like an ECB.

Second is an inexpensive, small offset -- at least until you've made "the basic mods," added a couple of accessories, and learned the basic techniques. Using a charcoal basket with quality charcoal for heat and hardwood chunks for smoke makes a big positive difference.

Basket or not, burning nothing but sticks for heat and smoke takes constant (as in CONSTANT) management. In addition, the fireboxes are so small that any problem with the wood (wet, green, bark, flare-up, whatever) will end up as an acrid taste on the meat.

Also, small offsets are extremely inconvenient grills. Doable, but difficult.

If you haven't already bought, and are trying to keep your costs down, forget the offset, forget burning pure stick, and buy a Weber Smokey Mountain.

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Old 09-08-2011, 04:02 PM   #5
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

Hey Boar thanks for the input. Some of the biggest issues on the small offsets is airflow. It has a real small area under the firebox grate which quickly fills up with dead ashes and the heat production goes to zilch and the fire turns into a creosote factory as the wood goes into a smolder..so it takes constant attention to drag out the ashes. Only way I could ever come up with a reasonable plan to keep the air going to it was to cook with the firebox door open about an inch. The opening between the firebox and cook chamber is way too big..course there are all kinds of tweaks on that score to try to shrink the size of the hole otherwise it more of a sideways grill as opposed to a smoker. I had this brilliant idear on one occasion to turn the cook chamber into a big direct grill as outlined in the brochures but as I had been doing quite a bit of offset smoking with it there was apparently a large amount of invisible grease built up in it and I wound up with a grease fire about as big as my house...burned all the paint off of it etc. I would go with Boar's advice on the WSM. Never owned one but have heard nothing but good things about them.
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Old 09-08-2011, 04:17 PM   #6
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

I have good supply of hardwood and want to use that. I have a weber gas grill that works great and meat is flavorful and I still plan on using that when I don't have the time to use the wood but nothing,not even charcoal beats the flavor you get from cooking over a wood fire. I am not planning on using a smoker or a wood grill on a weekly basis like a lot of you probably do. If a unit like this won't work then I just won't get it. I might look into buying some pipe and have a local welder weld it up for me with some legs on it. I am not expecting to get 10 years out of something I pay less than 200 dollars for but I was just wondering if it was something that could be done.
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:37 PM   #7
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

Well lets get this sorted out here. You want a januine off set log burner type gizmo? You have plenty of free wood but a budget ceiling of two hundred bucks to bring the project to completion? Now is this hot or warm? If so..I would go into the wood bizness and save up a few hundred bucks to go with the 200 and buy yourself an Okie Joe and plan on a coupla 18 packs to find a drunk welder to make you a baffle for it. Those eat wood good. Least the ones I have seen. They suffer all the maladies of other specimens of a similar ilk so do not be expecting it to be cooking like a Klose or Gator. Try to talk your Little Bride into letting your slam the Onyx Visor card for one of them three choices. Save you from trying to peddle Ash or whutever
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:58 AM   #8
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigwheel
Well lets get this sorted out here. You want a januine off set log burner type gizmo? You have plenty of free wood but a budget ceiling of two hundred bucks to bring the project to completion? Now is this hot or warm? If so..I would go into the wood bizness and save up a few hundred bucks to go with the 200 and buy yourself an Okie Joe and plan on a coupla 18 packs to find a drunk welder to make you a baffle for it. Those eat wood good. Least the ones I have seen. They suffer all the maladies of other specimens of a similar ilk so do not be expecting it to be cooking like a Klose or Gator. Try to talk your Little Bride into letting your slam the Onyx Visor card for one of them three choices. Save you from trying to peddle Ash or whutever
The budget ceiling is not $200 but $900 is quite a bit more than what I want to spend for how much I plan on using it. I was just curious if it work for what I was looking to do with it. I realize it is not going to be the best set up for what I am trying to do but if the metal will hold up to what I am trying to do then I will consider it if it will not then I will look at other options. I have a firepit on wheels that I bought from the hardware store that I could use to burn the wood in to get it down to coals and then load it into the firebox to smoke food if that works better.I am just exploring options at the moment and I saw this unit and just wanted to know if it would work.
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:00 AM   #9
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

Re the wood: Use it. If you've got the square footage, make an open pit from brick or cinderblock, and some expanded metal for a cooking grate. If you're willing to devote a few hundred on something better looking and more flexible, get an inexpensive "Santa Maria" style grill like the ones I recommend in the Grilling forum. And if you're serious about smoking shoulders, briskets and other big pieces, get a WSM too. You can afford both.

Between 1976 and 2010, I went through four small offsets -- three of which were VERY similar to the one you're looking at; and the fourth tweaked beyond all recognition. To make them work their best, you have to add a manifold, build a charcoal basket or two, lower the flue, get a real thermometer, add a water pan. fool around with tuning, and so on. At the end of the day, even after "the basic mods," the inexpensive ones are still drafty, uneven from side to side and front to back, and sensitive to environmental temperatures. All of them, no matter how tight and heavily built, aren't stick friendly because the fire chambers are too small.

Medium and big offsets -- different story. But the price goes up pdq as size increases.

The easiest, cheapest way for a beginner to get consistently good low and slow results is a WSM.

You may think you don't -- but trust me -- your want easy. Easy doesn't mean "afraid of hard work," it means a realistic chance of turning out good food without running to the pit every 15 minutes to mess with the fire. If your idea of "barbecue" doesn't include enjoying yourself at your own party, ignore my advice.

Bigwheel -- Your way is a good way. A charcoal basket is a little more trouble to make, but works even better at doing the same thing: Allowing more and better controlled air flow around every side of the fire. Also does "Minion Method" well.
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:37 AM   #10
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze
Re the wood: Use it. If you've got the square footage, make an open pit from brick or cinderblock, and some expanded metal for a cooking grate. If you're willing to devote a few hundred on something better looking and more flexible, get an inexpensive "Santa Maria" style grill like the ones I recommend in the Grilling forum. And if you're serious about smoking shoulders, briskets and other big pieces, get a WSM too. You can afford both.

Between 1976 and 2010, I went through four small offsets -- three of which were VERY similar to the one you're looking at; and the fourth tweaked beyond all recognition. To make them work their best, you have to add a manifold, build a charcoal basket or two, lower the flue, get a real thermometer, add a water pan. fool around with tuning, and so on. At the end of the day, even after "the basic mods," the inexpensive ones are still drafty, uneven from side to side and front to back, and sensitive to environmental temperatures. All of them, no matter how tight and heavily built, aren't stick friendly because the fire chambers are too small.

Medium and big offsets -- different story. But the price goes up pdq as size increases.

The easiest, cheapest way for a beginner to get consistently good low and slow results is a WSM.

You may think you don't -- but trust me -- your want easy. Easy doesn't mean "afraid of hard work," it means a realistic chance of turning out good food without running to the pit every 15 minutes to mess with the fire. If your idea of "barbecue" doesn't include enjoying yourself at your own party, ignore my advice.

Bigwheel -- Your way is a good way. A charcoal basket is a little more trouble to make, but works even better at doing the same thing: Allowing more and better controlled air flow around every side of the fire. Also does "Minion Method" well.
I looked at the santa maria grills and they are very nice with a reasonable price but the trouble is they are in California and I am in New Hampshire and I imagine the shipping would be outrageous. Any idea where to buy these on the east coast. Do you have any good ideas on where to look for a medium sized offset in this part of the country as well. Thanks for your help, I will consider the WSM but it looks to me like it is only a smoker or slow cooker and I was just hoping to find a combo and have both in the same unit.
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:59 PM   #11
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

New Hampshire? Hmm.

Don't know where to get a Santa Maria type on the east coast without paying shipping. "Go to the source and ask the horse." That is, call Santa Maria Grills.

WSM's are pretty good grills. You should get on the WSM forum, http://virtualweberbullet.com, nose around and start asking questions. For that matter 95% of the regulars on this forum know more about WSMs than I do, too. Start an "Is a WSM a good grill" thread and you'll get lots of advice.

Mid-sized offsets? It's been a long time since I've surveyed the market, and I know squat about what's involved in getting one to New England...

Speaking of New England winters... have you thought about a ceramic or a keg? A little on the small size, but they handle cold weather well, better than just about anything else. They are also excellent combi grill/smokers. A ceramic like a Primo XL or BGE is going to stretch your budget, but a Big Steel Keg (nee Bubba-Keg) is something that should slot in nicely. Why not look at both? They burn charcoal and chunks. Sticks aren't happening.

FWIW, There are some less expensive ceramics, but I don't know if they're any good.

Hope this helps,
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Old 09-09-2011, 07:24 PM   #12
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

Do hear you on the charcoal basket. Have heard many good stories about how they cure the cheap offset blues. In fact I have one on my big pit. Havent been totally impressed with it but then I usually cook upright direct/semi direct with or w/o the optional water pan. I used a perforated SS steam table pan for a fire pan for years and it worked good. Been threatening to trade the basket in for another pan maybe one of the deep dish models. Hey Spider that burn barrel and shoveling coals deal works real well on those cheap offsets. Only thing missing will be the good old flavor of hot fat hitting the coals. Now this can be partially remedied by dumping your grease collecting bucket on the fire occasionally. In fact have heard of folks who drill a hole in the firebox wall and tilt the pit so the accumulated grease drains right back to the fire. Makes it taste like real bbq I had about twenty bucks worth of money and beer invested in the barrel. Dumb me loaned it to my yet future yankee ex son in law from PA to use to burn trash. He never brought it back of course. I also gave him the pit which went with it. He never used it. Dumb yankee huh?
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:32 PM   #13
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

There's plenty of sites out there that explain the mods for that model. Those will increase the efficiency if you really want to use it.

http://thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1943
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:52 PM   #14
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

I had mine stuffed full of 22 firebricks in the cookchamber. Worked ok till it rained then it sunk down into the ground cuz it was so heavy. I even carried the firebricks around in 5 gallon pickle buckets when we went to contests. I was a lot more industrious back in them days for some reason.
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:58 AM   #15
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

There might be times when I want to use charcoal because it sounds it Mitty be more convenient and and easier to maintain temps without a lot of work. On the other hand there might be days when I have the time that I can sit down in a chair with a good book and tend the fire every 15 minutes. Most of my original question was if this unit will handle the heat of a wood fire in the firebox or the cooking chamber.I am not talking about trying to cook a whole pig on it but maybe doing some briskets or roasts or maybe even starting a fire in the cooking chamber and doing something simple like burgers and dogs or even a steak.if it will not then I will look at other options either purchasing or ditching the smoker part and doing just a homemade grill because the grilling part is what I am interested the most but if I can do both with the same unit. Please keep in mind that this is not the professional model but what looks to be like a cheaper model(let me know if it would help to upgrade to a professional model). Even if I can use the cooking chamber with wood and use charcoal when I want to smoke. I just want to know if this is an option or is this thing going to twist and warp when I put that type of heat to it
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:12 PM   #16
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

I dont think it would be a good plan to depend on using the cook chamber as a direct grill. It aint designed or suited for that purpose. It is designed to operate in the offset mode using charcoal and chunks as fuel. It is hard to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:27 PM   #17
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

Big wheel, thank you that is what I was trying to find out. Do you know of any offset ones that would work for what I am looking to do.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:19 AM   #18
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

Have you looked at a New Braunfels Bandera model? The firebox is designed to be used as a grill. Have known several folks who have owned and who love the gizmos. They used to have a owners chat forum. Not sure whether they still make it or not but there is a bunch of them floating around.

http://www.charbroil.com/bps/char-broil ... nglish.pdf
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Old 09-12-2011, 01:23 PM   #19
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

It looks like that unit is not around anymore, New Braunfel has sold out to charbroil and charbroil does not have any grills or smokers that use wood. It looks like getting a food grade 55 gallon drum and cutting it in half and hinging the cover and installing grates in it and putting some legs on it and just have a wood fired grill and invest in a charcoal or electric smoker later on. It isn't the best idea but it should not cost a lot of money and I can grill with wood.
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:21 PM   #20
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Re: brinkmann smoke 'n pit

I just found an old country ranch hand smoker/grill that is around 450 shipped. Do you know anything about this unit?
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