By Les Fenton
If you’re a BBQ enthusiast you’ve probably used wood chips in the past to flavor the fish or meat on your BBQ grill and used marinades together with wood chips to produce many different and amazing tastes using fairly basic types of meat or fish.
If you’ve done this you’ve probably developed a taste for BBQ smoked food so why not extend your BBQ smoking skills by buying a dedicated smoker grill to compliment your conventional BBQ grill?
But although you might agree that you’ve got the space for an additional grill you may not be happy about the additional expense of buying it. (Maybe you’re already planning and budgeting to replace your current BBQ grill). But don’t worry. It’s possible to add a very inexpensive smoker grill to your garden cooking equipment without financial pain. The Brinkmann Gourmet Smoker Grill is currently available on sale on the web at a cost between $50 and $100 (depending on the model you choose).
You might think that a grill at that sort of isn’t going to be very good. You couldn’t be more wrong. The Brinkmann Smoker Grill is not only widely considered to be good value for money (by lots of different Amazon customers), but it will also enable you to produce a wide variety of different barbecue smoke grills that will wow you with their authentic smokehouse flavor.
In this article I’ll introduce you to the Brinkmann Gourmet Smoker and provide examples of how easy it is to use. At the end of my article I’ll also provide you with some tips on where to buy one at a good price.
How Does a Smoker Work?
The main idea behind a smoker grill is that the food is cooked by water (steam) and smoke not directly by heat from the charcoal (or gas burner). The fantastic flavor of the food produced on a smoker is obtained by using different types of wood chips or chunks mixed in with or replacing the charcoal.
Because of how a smoker grill works cooking is carried out at a temperature around the boiling point of water (212 degrees F), which is a much lower temperature than on a conventional BBQ grill. This constant temperature makes cooking times fairly predictable, but it’s important to remember that on very hot or cold days the surrounding temperature of the air can lower or raise the cooking temperature of a smoker that’s out in the open. These variations in temperature need to be watched because they can have a significant effect on the cooking times.
The Brinkmann Charcoal Smoker
As I mentioned above, the Brinkman Gourmet Charcoal Smoker has a tremendous reputation. It’s made of stainless steel, but it’s quite small (17″x17″x35″) and lightweight (around 30 lb.). It, but it can cook up to 50 lb. of food on two cooking grills mounted one on the top of the other inside the main smoker box.
The Brinkmann Gourmet Smoker is made of three parts
- Base Pan for charcoal
- Smoker Box which contains the water bowl and cooking grills/grates
- Smoker box lid
The charcoal base pan can contain enough charcoal for 4 to 5 hours of cooking, but if more is needed it can be replenished through the side door of the smoker box.
The smoker box sits directly on top of the charcoal pan. The water bowl is situated towards the bottom of this box and can contain enough water for 4 to 5 hours of cooking. The two grills are situated in the box above this bowl. The smoker box has a side door through which additional charcoal and water can be added during cooking, and two insulated handles so that it can be removed safely when hot.
The lid has a temperature indicator and an insulated handle, but the lid shouldn’t normally be removed during cooking.
Using the Brinkmann Smoker
As mentioned, the Brinkmann Smoker is very easy to use. Here are the main steps involved in cooking a typical meal:
- Remove the lid and the smoker box
- Add charcoal to the base pan
- Insert the water bowl into the smoker box and fill it with water
- Insert the bottom and top cooking grills into the smoker box stacked with the food you want to cook.
- Light the charcoal in the pan, and when it’s burning strongly (white ash over surface) fix the smoker box on top.
During cooking keep the charcoal and water replenished until cooking is complete. You don’t need to keep a permanent eye on the smoker grill, just pop back to see it from time to time.
A Typical Recipe for the Brinkmann
Here’s a simple smoked pork tenderloin recipe that works well on the Brinkmann Smoker. It’ll produce the most delicious pork which is great for cold sandwiches:
- Use 1.5 to 2 pounds of pork tenderloin (sufficient for 2 – 4 people)
- Prepare a marinade using ingredients such as:
- Apricot nectar – one cup
- Apple cider or apricot brandy – half cup
- Soy sauce (two tablespoons), Vinegar (two teaspoons), Hoisin Sauce (one teaspoon)
- Minced garlic (one clove)
- Brown sugar (one tablespoon)
- Allspice (1/2 teaspoon), ground ginger (1/4 teaspoon)
- Whole cloves (one tablespoon)
- Combine these ingredients in a saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved, then cool the mixture and use it as your marinade
- Pierce the meat with a fork in several places. Place it in the marinade in a suitable dish or a heavy-duty plastic bag. Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the meat from the marinade and place it on the smoker box cooking grid and pour the remaining marinade into the smoker box water bowl.
For cooking use 5 lbs. of charcoal, 3 quarts hot water, 2 wood sticks (cherry, hickory etc.) and smoke for 2 and a half – 3 and a half hours.
Smoker Grill Cooking Times
As you would expect, one important consequence of the lower cooking temperature on a smoker grill is that cooking can take a long time (frequently many hours, as in the recipe above), especially if you’re cooking large joints of meat. For this reason BBQ smoking requires more patience and advance planning than is necessary with a conventional family BBQ grill.
Should You Buy One?
If you’re contemplating buying a smoker grill like the Brinkmann Charcoal Smoker Grill, I recommend reading Amazon’s customer reviews. You’ll find that most customers were impressed with the quality of results they obtained using the Brinkman grill. It’s regarded as a good entry-level smoker that’s very easy to use, and it will make a great companion for your existing BBQ grill.
So yes, if you’re a fan of BBQ smoking you should consider buying a smoker grill like the Brinkmann.
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