On October 8, 2015, Brinkmann filed for Chapter 11 under the US bankruptcy code.
The Brinkmann 55 Gallon Drum Charcoal Grill is a generic device offered in similar versions by other manufacturers. As is often the case with Brinkmann, they throw in a few upgrades that are worth noting. The large steel wheels ease the task of moving this big horizontal BBQ drum. Brinkmann also offers porcelain coated wire cooking grates, much better than the uncoated cast iron grates on some other brands that require constant maintenance to prevent rust. Click here for more about charcoal grills.
Another asset is the adjustable height charcoal tray, always a nice feature that allows you to drop the coal bed low for roasting or lift it right under the grate for searing. There's a chrome plated warming rack, a small door on the side of the firebox to scoop out ash, and an inaccurate bi-metal thermometer.
On the downside, construction is flimsy and loose. Air leaks in all around the lid and dampers making heat control, difficult.
Although these grills are popular, inexpensive and offer relatively large capacity, we suggest you consider a Weber kettle instead. Although the cook surface is smaller, Weber's superior construction provides much better heat control and will last forever.
But if you want to go BIG for small bucks, Brinkmann's 55 Gallon may be the answer.
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.