Meet our new toy! The Brinkmann Smoke 'n' Grill. It is a simple yet effective compact design that is perfect for any size backyard. Our last visit to Tennessee of course included a trip to Home Depot with my mom so she could get the military discount. While she was debating over--lightbulbs?-- I wandered over to the grill isle and saw this beauty. The price got me really excited: $39.95! (If you don't want to assemble it yourself you can pay another $10 for someone to do it for you.) With our 10% military discount, the deal was too good to pass up.
Once the box was in our cart, I became even more excited because I could see the actual setup of the grill. On the bottom you have the charcoal/wood pan which will hold about 10 lbs of charcoal. Halfway up is the water pan to keep everything moist and regulate the temperture. On top of that is the first grill rack then at the top is a second grill rack. You can fit a lot of food onto this thing. The pans and racks aren't in fixed positions so they are easy to remove for cleaning and for moving the charcoal pan up for traditional grilling. Also, there is a convenient little door on the front to easily add more wood or charcoal. Included is a basic cooking guide with some simple recipes and time table.
My only complaints about this grill are very minor ones. The first rack is basically impossible to get to if you have food on the top rack. (More expensive models with horizontal configurations have hinged racks that are really convenient.) Now, this isn't a problem if you properly plan out your smoking times. Larger items that are going to take longer have to go down in the middle of the smoker and smaller items need to go on the top. Just make sure you don't plan on removing middle rack items before top rack items. The positive side to this is that the smoke flavor is more concentrated because it has less travel time (and therefore less time to diffuse) from heat source to food. Secondly is the fact that the cooking time table is rather incomplete. It has the basics but does not include strategies for smoking a large variety of items. I suggest buying a true cookbook dedicated to smoking because the internet is also seriously lacking in decent information for anything out of the normal relm of smoked foods. (Ex: It was really hard to find the time for shrimp smoked in the shell. The time I did find was wrong. That experiment needs to be repeated.)
If you are considering purchasing this fantastic little smoker, you will want to buy a chimney starter, heat proof/grilling gloves, good quality charcoal (nothing flavored and nothing that says instant or match light), and hardwood chunks. The chips burn too fast and they put out our embers when we soaked the chips. The chunks last a good while and produce great flavor!
Yeah, soooo, Mother's Day just passed, which means Father's Day is coming up. This would be the perfect gift for the dad who loves outdoor cooking! Louis says there is nothing that can make you feel manlier in a short amount of time than grilling. I guess you can feel even more masculine if you assemble it yourself. (Although, I will say form our experience, tiny fingers work better.) The assembly is really easy and straight forward. If you can use a screw driver, you can put this puppy together. Even if your dad/husband doesn't like outdoor cooking, you may find that you do. And isn't always nice to buy a present for someone that you can use and enjoy?
This is decidedly not Sparta.