Weber Smokey Mountain vs. Brinkman Charcoal Smoker


Scott D.

New member
Hi All, I'm looking to get into the world of smoking and am considering buying the Weber Smokey Mountain. I'm hoping to get some objective feedback on why the Weber Smokey Mountain is better than the Brinkmann Charcoal Smoker. The difference in price is $180 on Amazon - $249 vs. $69.99.

Who has experience with both cookers and what are the pros and cons of each?

I don't have the brinkman, but the difference is you'll still be using the wsm a year down the road, while the brinkman probably sits tucked away behind the shed.

You can cook pork butts 18 hours with little maintenance, while a brinkman will have you refueling every few hours along with guessing at temperature control.

Big price difference (you can find better prices) between the two, but you get what you pay for in this case.

The user quality is far greater than the price difference.
Take a look at this article: WSM Product Information.

This paragraph is probably the most important:

Temperature control is one of the most important aspects of creating great barbecue, and the near air-tight design of the WSM allows you to maintain the perfect 225-275°F temperature for eight to ten hours or longer with minimal effort. Three adjustable vents in the charcoal bowl and one adjustable vent in the lid give precise control over fuel combustion. With other competitive products, poor fitting parts and leaky designs have you constantly "babysitting" the fire to make sure it's not too hot or too cold. With the WSM, you can cook for many hours without making any adjustments at all.

Weber didn't write this.
I went through 2 Brinkman's and a New Braunfels before I bought my first WSM. I knew after the first hour of use with the WSM that the smoker was FAR superior to the models I had used in the past. Ease of use, temperature control and excellent quality of workmanship are all top features of the WSM. You will be very happy with one. If not, someone on this site would be happy to buy it I am sure!

No....I do not work for Weber......just a satisifed customer.

I've used both and the previous posts are all right on. With the WSM you can maintain constant temp, and you control what that temp is with the vents. The brinkman is going to run at the temp it wants to run at, you don't have much control.
Also the WSM is built alot better than the Brinkman. You really do get what you pay for here. Home Depot and others sell replacement grates for Weber and Brinkman products. Go look at the difference. It's that way for the entire cooker.
Finally if this doesn't tell you something about the difference nothing will. Go to a sanctioned BBQ contest and look at the types of cookers the teams are using. You will see a fair number of WSMs cooking right along side the big expensive rigs, but you'll have trouble finding someone using a Brinkman. And You'll see the WSMs taking home their share of the awards too.

Bunsen Burners BBQ Team
I currently own both, a brinkman (ECB) and 2 WSMs. I use the brinkman to hold my chimney while I light the coals for my WSMs.

People do get good quality food out of their brinkman. However, they modify them extensivly to work (and make the insides) like a WSM. Why go cheap and modify something that won't last.

My Weber kettle grill is over 23 years old and still going strong. That should say something about Weber quality.
Buying a Brinkman is kind of like buying a boat.

The two happiest days a boat owner has is the day he buys the boat, and the day he sells it.

With the Brinkman it is the day you take it out of the box, and the day you put it in the trash can (save the coal pan for your WSM!).
My 1st 5 smokes was on a brinkman. Turned out great, but was constantly managing temps and coals. I did some minor mods (drilled a few holes, elevated the coals on a weber rack), it wrked better. When I say a WSM at a local store for $179, I snagged it. What a major difference. This is by far the best vertical water smoker you can get hands down. There are no limits to this thing. I got hooked quick. Even the guy I gave my brinkman to bought a WSM. The only thing I did was install a comercial grade thermo. I cook every weekend, and start planiing it in the middle of the week. The manual does not tell you much, but this site will definetly help you out. IMO you gotta get one of these. This thing is built to last. I guarranty it will be the best money you spent if you get into it!
Oh yeh,
forgot to mention. You need to get the weber charcoal start also. No matter what you cook on. I was using 2 of the home depot starters before, and had to baby sit these as well. The weber starter is bigger, and engineered alot better.
My 1st smoker was a brinkmann smoker. that was almost 10 years ago. not knowing at the time about the WMS, i thought it was as good as it got. over time i quit useing it due to the fact that it was hard to keep the temp up and always checking on the fire. later i got a weber kettel grill and started to use it to smoke my turkeys on. after years of useing the weber kettel grill the legs gave out fron under it, guess what? the kettel grill sits perfect on top of the brinkmann smoker and i use the water pan to collect the ashes. On the cool/cold nights when we do bbq contest here in kansas city we use it to keep us warm by putting some fire in it and sitting around talking to other teams. So I guess what Im trying to say is that the WSM is a better smoker
I used a Brinkmann ECB for 2 seasons. If that was as good as it got, I wouldn't be Q'in very much. It's now sitting on the side of my house and it may go out in tonight's trash because I can't find anyone to give it to. I now have 2 WSM's and the little Brinkmann's soon to be homeless.
I had a CharBroil ECC which was a knockoff of the Brinkmann.

I made a lot of modifications and eventually got some pretty decent Q from it, but only with a lot of babysitting. I put it on the curb when I bought the Weber.

If you can spend $400+, look at the Big Green Egg line, everyone agrees they're great.

Don't buy one of the sub-$100 smokers, they'll only bring you heartache and heartburn. At around $250 the Weber is the BBQ sweet spot.

Good luck!
I had ECB for several years. The only thing I ever smoked on it was ribs. I can't imagine using it for anything else. I had problems keeping the temps up on a 6 hour cook. Doesn't seem possible to do something like a pork butt. I wouldn't have attempted it at least.

I found this site researching what to replace the ECB with. I got the WSM and couldn't be happier. I will probobly buy another this summer. My local true value hardware has one on display for $199.
I used my ECB (El Cheapo Brinkman) about a half dozen times over the ten years I owned it. Made some pretty good turkey, but just couldn't stand to deal with the thing.

Finally got a WSM 'cause my grill went to heck. Thought I could get an all-in-one device. Yep, great Q and not a bad grill, either.

Get the WSM if you can afford the money. Get the Brinkman if you can afford the time.

On second thought, just get the WSM.

There's just no comparison between the ECB and the WSM. The fact that they're similar in shape and style of cooking is misleading. In every way, at every level, the WSM will outperform the ECB, and very easily.

Many start with an ECB simply because they're not aware of its shortcomings, and the price is temptingly low. Once one attempts to actually use the ECB, its inferior design and quality become glaringly obvious, and regret sets in.

The price difference may seem considerable, but in reality there's just no fair comparison. The WSM is so vastly superior to the ECB, it's like trying to compare a home built go-cart to a fine automobile.

In addition, one must consider customer service. Weber's customer service is legendary, with many board members posting gushing reports of courteous agents, and speedy shipping, should there ever be a need. Weber products are known world wide as quality products.

And finally - since you're a registered member - you obviously know that this is *the* place for unbeatable support. Chris has provided a platform upon which an entire community of BBQ champs, personal chefs, backyard experts and average joes share and teach each other tips, tricks, recipes, and disasters -- and all of it is WSM specific. In my opinion, and I've looked around, there's no better forum for such an exchange.

You know, when you think about it, the difference in price kinda seems worth it.
When I decided to buy a smoker I researched for a LONG time (18 months or so) because I heard so many horror stories about BBQing. I was just nervouse about having a bad experience.

Lucky for me, I stumbled across this web site. No matter what you buy, this is the place to learn how to Q.

I bought a WSM after only 2 days of reading these boards and got great pulled pork the first time, and pretty much every time since ten.

My neighbor has a Brinkman sitting on his deck and almost never uses it.

One day he asked how on earth I could stand using my smoker so much when he has to work like a dog to get mediocre meat from his. He assumed my WSM was just as bad as his Brinkman.

So I invited him over to make ribs.

It took me about 30 minues of prep to light, load, and assemble. Then I just walked away.

He was speachless 4 hours later as how little I'd had to fiddle an how good it tasted.

Now a pretty new WSM sits on his deck and I occasionally have to put up with the mouth watering smells coming from his home.
Scott, I started out with a Brinkmann also. It was a P.I.A. to maintain cooking temps. I had turkeys that looked like they just reentered the atmosphere from outer space. I ended up doing what Clay did. Did a lot of research and bought a WSM and never regretted it. The people who've eaten the stuff from the WSM simply rave about the taste. Gave my daughter the E.C.B.She wanted to do some smoking. Thought it would be a good starting point for her so she could really appreciate a good cooker later on.
I cooked on a Brinkmann Gourmet (the ECB's slightly bigger brother) for about 4 summers before getting the WSM. I made a bunch of mods to the Brinkmann just to be able to get it to run for 6 hours without being baby-sat (adjustable air vent, elevated grate in the charcoal pan so ashes wouldn't smother the fire, added a real thermometer). The bottom line is, the WSM will run easily twice as long with almost no attention from me, it's much better built, and I only regret I spent so much time messing around with the Brinkmann. (Although everything I learned along the way translated very well to cooking on the WSM, and I was making some pretty good BBQ there toward the end). Get yourself a WSM, and you'll enjoy it for the next 30 years or more.
Welcome Scott,
I first found this website after watching a BBQ competition on Food Network. won grand champion. I thought maybe they have good rubs I can put on my steak. Well after clicking on the link to this site and reading how passionate people can be about BBQ and using the Weber Bullet I had to have one. All I can say is I now understand were the passion comes from. Lastly you know when you got a good smoker when you don't go out to eat for what you thought was good BBQ anymore.
Good luck and make the right choice.