How to Smoke a Brisket on a Brinkmann Charcoal Water Smoker

Ready to master smoking a delicious, juicy brisket?

If you’re using a water smoker your in the right place!

These units are incredibly user-friendly and are far less expensive than offset or pellet smokers.

Plus they take up half the room!

Find out how to set yours up and smoke a brisket like a true pitmaster!

What Is A Water Smoker?

Well, a vertical water smoker is s a small and compact smoker that stands vertically.

It is also known as a ‘bullet smoker’, because of its shape. We highly recommend these types of smokers to people who have a small backycharard or patio area, as these don’t take up a lot of space.
While bullet smokers do stand quite tall, their width and base size can be comparable to that of a standard kettle grill.

The only disadvantage of this smoker is that it will not be able to cook as much food as an offset smoker in a single cook.

It can still, however, hold a reasonable amount of food. In the cooking chamber, you could, for example, cook two racks of pork ribs at the same time, or a whole pork butt.

However, a Brinkmann smoker is a lot more spacious than other water smokers. It has two cooking tiers which mean that you can smoke several different types of meats in there.

Types of  Vertical Waters Smokers

There are a total of three different types of vertical water smokers:

In this article, we’ll only be going through how to use a charcoal water smoker. However, the structure of all three types doesn’t vary too much.

Plus, charcoal bullet smokers are cheaper and more portable compared to the other two options.

Don’t Forget The Water Pan!

A water smoker’s main components are a firebox, a water pan, and a cooking chamber. The only thing that distinguishes it from standard smokers is the presence of a water pan.

So, why would you even want to have a water pan in your smoker? Does it serve a purpose? 

The answer is ‘yes!’ It does! The presence of water pan helps to stabilize cooking temperatures. And it also prevents your meats from drying out or burning during your smoking sessions.

How to Set Up Your Water Smoker

First thing’s first, let’s walk through the steps for setting up your bullet smoker. 

Step 1: Pick the wood flavor you’re going to use, see below what types of wood we suggest to use. Then soak the wood for 1-2 hours.

Step 2: Locate the base of the smoker. It has feet and is round in shape. Just set it down where you’d like your water smoker to be set up.

Step 3: Next, place the charcoal pan on top of the base. It looks like a black metal bowl. 

Step 4: Light up your charcoal pieces with a charcoal chimney starter, and pour the lit briquettes into the charcoal pan.

Step 5: Stack the barrel portion onto the base. Next, you’ll want to boil some water and fill the water pan until it is 3/4 full. It’s best to place and secure the water pan in the barrel of the smoker first before filling it up.

Step 6: Make a pouch with tin foil and enclose the wood in it. Wrap your wood in tin foil and poke small holes in the fopil. Place the pouch directly on the chrcaol,.

And that’s it! Your vertical water smoker is now fully set up. 

If you’re worried about lacking access to the charcoal base, don’t worry.

There’s a side door on the body of the smoker that you can use to check up on the current charcoal situation. To create more smoke, you should also add some wood chunks to the charcoals during your cook.

Should You Use Wood Chips Chunks?

We recommend using chunks of wood. As wood chips will burn up fast. Remember to soak the wood for at least 1-2 hours before using but you can let them soak all day and they will last longer

Want That Delicious Bark on Your Brisket? You Need a Rub!

Before you place your brisket into the smoker, you’ll need to give it a rub.

Dry rubs are great because they’re quick and easy to make. Plus, they help the bark to form on the brisket.

Here’s one of our most favorite beef brisket dry rubs that we highly recommend you try:

The Brisket Rub

You will need to combine these ingredients together:

  • 1/4 cup of Paprika
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper

Steps To The Perfect Smoked Brisket

Step 1:
Preheat your smoker, you want to have it sitting at around 180°F

Step 2:
Trim your brisket. You want to leave about 1/4 of an inch of fat. Spread a thin layer of mustard over your brisket and cover with your rub.

Step 3:
Place the brisket into your water smoker.

Step 4:
Ensure that your water smoker is at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Throughout the entire cook, the benchmark temperatures should remain between 225 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit. The water pan should help prevent any temperature fluctuations from happening.

Step 5:
Use a temperature probe to keep an eye on the internal temperature of your brisket. 

Step 6:
If the meat’s temperature stops rising and stalls, you can just wait it out. Or you can use the Texas crutch method. 

Step 7:
You’ll know when the brisket is ready to be pulled from the smoker when the thermometer reads 204°F

Step 8:
Let the cooked brisket rest under a makeshift tent of aluminum foil for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Don’t Forget To Clear Away The Ash

Around two to three hours into the cook, you might notice that there’s a lot of built-up ash from the charcoal section.

It’s important that you clear away this ash because this build-up can prevent proper airflow and mess with the cooking temperatures.

To clear away the ash, you should first wear proper eye protection and thick grill-safe gloves.

To get to the charcoal pan, you should lift the barrel section off the smoker base. Try not to move the entire smoker too much because this can cause the light ash particles to go everywhere. 

Next, move the charcoal briquettes around a little bit so that the tiny ash particles can fall through the pan and into the base section. Then just clear the ash out that way.

You might also need to add in fresh new coal pieces and wood chunks as most of them might have already burned off.

And that’s it!

Water smokers are incredibly easy to handle and portable to boot! If you’re still new to smoking, we highly recommend trying out a water smoker first! 

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

Hungry For More?

2 thoughts on “How to Smoke a Brisket on a Brinkmann Charcoal Water Smoker”

  1. What about the smoking part? which wood, what sizes? how much? is the only smoke from the charcoal or am i to add oak or something?

    1. Hi Mott,
      I would use wood chunks as they burn for longer. All you need to do is create a smoking pouch with foil. Presoak your wood chunks and place them in the pouch and poke some holes in it. Then place your pouch on top of the charcoal. If you find the chunks are burning out before the cook is down you can prepare 2-3 pouches, that way you can throw on another one as soon as you notice the smoke declining. Let me know how your brisket goes mate 🙂 Also for red meat, I go for something heavy like hickory or mesquite 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *