Easy To Use
Not too bad!
Summary : The Brinkmann Gourmet Smoker is a good Entry-Level smoker.
By Sal Verini –
If you’re country, there’s one thing for sure… you like your BBQ. And if you like BBQ, you love smoked meats. Chicken, ribs, turkey, pork and other meats take on a whole new flavor when you add smoke to the mix. Personally, I’ll take anything smoked over grilled (not that I don’t enjoy grilled food mind you), but there’s something about a slow cooked, smoked meat that just works for me. You know what I’m taking about, right? You’re driving down a country road and get smacked in your face with that smell and you’re like “Damn… I gotta get me some of that!”.
Now in order to get that smell and taste you need a smoker. There are many different brands, ranging from inexpensive to rather costly. From charcoal, gas or electric powered, each have their benefits and drawbacks. But today we’re going to look at The Brinkmann Gourmet Electric Smoker Model 810-7080-k that also doubles as an electric grill in a pinch. It’s an entry-level smoker and good for someone who is kind of on-the-fence about whether or not you want to add smoking meats to your grilling repertoire, or just want to dip your toe into the smoking pond to later justify spending a little bit more money for a higher-end smoker down the line.
That being said, the Brinkmann Gourmet Smoker is an entry-level smoker that retails between $80-$120 depending if you’re shopping online or in a retail store. It boasts 189 cubic inches of cooking space, which Brinkmann claims is enough space to smoke 50 pounds of meat (more on that later). The set up was relatively easy. With some simple hand tools it comes together in just a few minutes, which is good as I had some “ribs a marinatin’ “and they were ready to get their smoke on. So after assembly the smoker took on a reminiscent look of R2-D2 from Star Wars, but with a brand new shiny red paint job, I was ready to smoke some ribs… or was I?
Nope! “And why not, Sal?” you ask? Jack Daniel’s wood chips … check! Ribs… check! Six pack… check! A way to actually heat the smoker… nope! For some unknown reason the actual heating element DOES NOT come with this smoker. Now who in Brinkmann’s product design team came up with this brilliant idea? If you buy an electric smoker, one would assume it would actually come with the element, right? But no… it didn’t. So off I went to Outdoor World where thankfully they had it in stock. $30 later and now armed with a 1500 watt electronic element that should of come with it in the first place, I’m finally smoking ribs.
Now I prefer to wet smoke, which means there’s a pan inside the smoker that is filled with either water, beer or some other fluid to create a moister environment and not allow the meat to dry out as easy. Not to mention adding the flavor of the beer or other fluid that’s in the pan to the meat. This smoker comes with an enamel lined pan which is nicely positioned to be able to add more fluid should the need arise during a long smoke. Directly above it resides a grate for the meat and above that the second grate. Brinkmann claims you can get 50 pounds of meat in this smoker. It’s hard pressed to fit half of that in, in all honesty. Now if you had two solid blocks of meat… no I take that back… ain’t happening! Maybe 30 pounds is a bit more realistic. So back to cooking… I added my 12 or so pounds of ribs and spread them out on both grates. I would of liked to see a temperature thermometer built into the lid, but this smoker doesn’t have one. So I broke out my trusty iGrill temperature gauges; two for the meats and one for the ambient temperature. Finally it’s time to kick this smoke-fest off!
The Brinkmann Gourmet Smoker maintained a nice temperature right above 200 degrees. Some more hardcore chefs prefer to be able to fine tune the temperature for different meats and smoke methods, but this is a set-and-forget electric element. One temperature fits all, so no adjustments can be done. Once the smoke starts rolling you don’t have to babysit this smoker. Just keep tabs on your meat and smoke volume and that’s it. I personally run two smoker boxes with wood chips. Once one burns off and the smoke ceases, I load another into the smoker and pre-load the one I took out. I do this so I can swap it out later once the new one fizzles out. My issue now is there’s just not enough room to get a smoker box in and out of the metal door with any finesse at all. With my long tongs, taking the boxes out really requires a strong grip so you don’t dump the chips all over the lava rocks causing a flash fire. So be aware it’s not an easy chore.
So, I bet you think I don’t like this smoker right? Wrong. It’s actually a pretty good entry-level smoker. It keeps the heat rather consistent, has enough internal room to cook a descent about of meat, and is priced rather moderately. Yes you can get smokers that are bigger, have more bells, whistles and knobs (built in temperature gauge, pull out smoker boxes, etc.), but if you’re new to the smoking and don’t want to break the bank, the Brinkmann Gourmet Smoker isn’t a bad choice. Just bear in mind there is NO ELEMENT and whatever you pay for the smoker body, you need to factor in another $30 for the element. But all in all, considering the price of the unit and the quality of the final product it produces, I recommend this for any beginner smokers out there.