The Brinkmann Barrel Smoker is a combination charcoal grill and smoker. It has a 427-square-inch cooking chamber with lid-mounted thermometer. The Barrel Smoker has a simple design – charcoal provides direct heat to the items placed on the grill grates above it, or, with the addition of wood to the coals, smokes it. Although it does not have a water pan as most smokers do, the inclusion of a water-filled dish or cup placed alongside the smoking food can provide adequate moisture when needed.
Place the cooking grid in the cooking chamber and ensure the ash tray is in place. Add 2 lbs. of charcoal to the charcoal grate and cover with charcoal-lighting fluid.
Open the smokestack damper halfway, and, with the chamber lid open, allow the accelerant to saturate the coals for two to three minutes. Ignite and let burn until ash forms over the coals.
Remove the cooking grates using oven mitts and scrape away the ash covering the coals with long-handled tongs. Distribute a layer of wood chips over the coals and allow them to heat up again. Replace the cooking grates.
Adjust the cooking grates to the lowest setting, close the chamber lid and preheat the smoker to 175 degrees Fahrenheit to smoke large items, such as a roast. Smoke smaller items that cook quickly, such as fish, as high as 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow approximately one hour of smoking time per pound of protein. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends smoking beef to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees, pork to 160 degrees, poultry to 165 degrees and fish to 145 degrees.
Remove the cooking grates from the grill, adjust the charcoal grate to the lowest position and ensure the ash tray is in place.
Apply a thin coating of vegetable oil to the interior of the chamber and the grill grates. Do not apply any to the charcoal grate or ash tray.
Add 2 lbs. of charcoal to the charcoal grate and cover with charcoal-lighting fluid. Open the smokestack damper halfway, and, with the chamber lid open, allow the lighting fluid to soak into the coals for two to three minutes. Ignite and let the coals burn until ashen.
Replace the cooking grates with oven mitts and cook according to intended preparation method.
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A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.