How to Convert a Brinkman Smoker From Charcoal to Electric

Updated February 21, 2017

Converting an upright Brinkmann smoker from charcoal to electric creates a device with more even, predictable heating. Many smoked barbecue purists prefer the flavour imparted by a combination of charcoal and hardwood chips. However, consistent temperatures and ease in cleanup characterise Brinkmann smokers converted to electric heating. A kit available through the manufacturer is all you need to make the switch.

Remove all cooking grates and scrub with a wire grilling brush. Remove any leftover debris or char form the last session of charcoal grilling to make the grates ready for the first smoking session following conversion to electric heating.

Remove the water and charcoal pans, and set them aside.

Place the electrical converter, with heating element facing up, in the bottom of the smoker with the power cord hanging through the bottom opening in the smoking chamber. It takes over the position of the charcoal pan. The round bottom of the element rests either upon lower brackets or the smoker legs, depending on the Brinkmann model.

Place water pan and cooking grates back into the smoker, leaving the charcoal pan out because it isn't needed for electric-heat smoking.


Fill the water pan to manufacturer recommended levels prior to smoking to create moisture and a grease squelching dripping pan in the smoker. Place water-soaked wood chips in the metal disk-shaped tray that came with the converter heating element. The pan sits directly atop the heat element during smoking to produce wood smoke for flavouring. Wood chips soaked in water for at least an hour before cooking time produce more smoke.


Always handle hot smoker lids, grates and other hot metal with heat-resistant grilling mitts to avoid burns. Use long-handled grilling tongs, spatulas and forks when moving, removing or transferring meat, fish or poultry within, to or from the smoker.

Things You'll Need

  • Upright Brinkmann charcoal smoker
  • Brinkmann Electric Converter heating element
  • Stiff wire grill brush
  • Rag or sponge dampened with warm water
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About the Author

Marc Chase is a veteran investigative newspaper reporter and editor of 12 years. Specializing in computer-assisted reporting, he holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Southern Illinois University and a Master of Arts in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois.