On October 8, 2015, Brinkmann filed for Chapter 11 under the US bankruptcy code.
There was a time when the Brinkmann name appeared on line of serious smokers that were made so solid they came with a 75-year limited warranty! The Cimarron, Longhorn and Southfork smokers were built with tight tolerances and made with 1/4 inch steel. Turns out they were actually made for Brinkmann by the same folks who started Oklahoma Joe Smokers. If you want to get your smoke on with one of those classic OJ 1/4 inch BBQ pits, check out our review of Horizon Smokers. The same guys who made Oklahoma Joe are back in business with a new name, Horizon, and the same solid designs and craftsmanship that earned their stellar reputation.
Alas, the newer Brinkmann Trailblazer Limited Editions, like the current Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn, were but a shadow of the great smokers of yore. The basic design was similar to the classic 1/4" pits, but quality, construction and, fittingly, the price were drastically reduced. The warranty dropped from 75 years to 1 year. Still, it is a step up from Cheap Offset Smokers. For about a hundred bucks more than Char-Griller or Smoke 'N Pit you got an all-around upgrade: heavier construction, better wheels, handles and shelves; everything is a bit more sturdy. The chimney vents out of the side instead of the top for better air flow and a warming rack is built onto the firebox for cooking sauces and sides.
Looked Closely At It
We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners, and other reliable sources.
On October 8, 2015, Brinkmann filed for Chapter 11 under the US bankruptcy code. As of November 30th, 2015 they are no longer selling products, not accepting returns or exchanges, and not honoring warranties. It appears one of their biggest client, Home Depot, stopped ordering and that pushed them over the edge.
Brinkmann is known for super low priced cookers, made for frugal people. Quality and price are close to value brands like Masterbuilt, Char-Griller and Master Forge, but Brinkmann is a small step above and sometimes offers interesting and useful value added features. Brinkmann is one of the largest BBQ manufacturers in the United States, angling for the market of price driven rival, Char-Broil, but lacking that company's focus and innovation. They have a thousand and one models and some have merit considering the price, but many of their products are more of the same cost driven stuff with a different logo on the lid.
Brinkmann is widely distributed online and at brick and mortar outlets, including big box stores.