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Cooking in 2012!

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Well, you asked for it. Here, Smoky answers the most commonly asked questions. He is direct, honest and offers an insight into the time proven techniques to preparing great barbecue that is unavailable elsewhere. If you are unable to locate the exact answer you are seeking, feel free to contact him directly and ask!
He returns all questions . . . . . . .

FAQ Subject: Brinkmann Horizontal Smoker

Hi Smoky,

Firstly, let me say thanks for taking the time to compile such a helpful web site. Much appreciated!! At all of 31 now, I have grilling for the past 20 years, but have no experience with actually BBQ'ing proper.

Growing up in the mountains and as a hunter I frequently grilled meat from whole Boar to quail. Grilling has long been in the family both in Europe and the US. My uncle started a Grill and BBQ mfg. business just after W.W.II upon returning from the Pacific to Northern California. While in high school and under grad, I worked for uncle welding grills and commercial smokers for high end restaurants and custom homes. Well, my uncle has been gone for some time, so I am now looking to purchase (gag) a BBQ rather than building my own.

The BBQ's which caught my eye where the Pitts and Spitts (endorsed in 'Smoke & Spice' book) basic model $1,085.00 +$300+ shipping = ~1400.00 and the Brinkmann (formerly Oakie Joe) Cimarron Deluxe from Bass Pro Shops @ 499.00 + 50.00 shipping =$549.00

From what I have read on the web, I understand that Brinkmann purchased the Ok Joe's factory in Stillwatter, OK, made some improvement in design manufacturing and now markets the former OK Joe's units as their own w/ 75 year warranty and 1/4" steel construction throughout.

To the point, have you had any 1st hand experience w/the Brinkmann smokers in question or have any feedback on them? The current Brinkmann unit seems to be a much better deal; I would imagine that is partially due to economies of scale in that Brinkmann is a significantly larger operation and can pick materials less expensively than smaller outfits such as Pitts & Spitts. + Skilled labor in OK might less expensive in OK than TX as the TX economy has been stronger.

Do you have any thoughts on the designs of these Brinkmann smokers: door design/seeling, baffles, pit orientation, etc.? I suppose what I am hemming and hawing about is that it seems difficult to justify WELL over twice the cost of the Brinkmann unit for a Pitts and Spitts smoker. Given that both units are made in the USA by Americans with 1/4" American steel, I wouldn't guess there would be any appreciable difference in durability. That would appear to leave the designs and cost as the lone variables influencing the proposed purchase. Do the current Brinkmann horizontal smokers work well, producing tender, flavorful, smoky meet? I am pragmatist at heart and am more interested in getting the right results than having a status symbol, which is accepted as the "Best."

Thanks Very Much for you Time, and Kudos for a exceptionally helpful web site!

Scott Bursese
San Jose, CA

Hi Scott,
Thanks for the kind words.

OK Joe company was bought by New Braunfels, a TX company which was acquired by CharBroil and the manufacturing and marketing move to New Braunfels, TX. Brinkmann moved into the old OK Joe buildings, hired ex-OK Joe workers and began producing similar products. From what I have seen of the NB and Brinkmann products, they are lacking in the design area and workmanship (i.e. fit of parts, etc)

They do not approach Pitts & Spitts in either design, materials or workmanship.

May I suggest that, before you narrow down your search, you click into the Barbecue Store from and check out "The Great American Barbecue & Grilling Manual" which has chapters on grill design considerations, construction materials, plans and illustrations. And you will find oodles of other good information, such as, why a grill or pit is not a BBQ.

It also leads you through a decision tree that helps you decide which grill is best for your needs. In the final analysis, you are the only one that can make the right choice for you, and you can make the best choice if you are best informed.

Was out in San Jose a couple of years ago with the CA. Barbecue Association, giving a little barbecue seminars. Frank Boyer, of Los Gatos, is president. If you would like to join with them, let me know.


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