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massphatness
05-09-2011, 08:20 AM
School me, if you will, on my options for buying my first ever smoker.

I've done some reading and internet research and am leaning toward the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker, probably the 22.5-inch version.

I'm looking for some validation (or alternatives) given that I am very new to this and am not looking to become a professional like Smokin' Gator. I want a smoker I can use 5-10 times a year that doesn't require a degree in physics to operate.

Any and all suggestions based on your experiences are most appreciated.

:tu

pnoon
05-09-2011, 08:31 AM
I'm no expert but I love the simplicity of the Traeger (or any pellet grill/smoker). But from what I hear, the WSM is a winner, too.
:2
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replicant_argent
05-09-2011, 08:57 AM
You might want to look at a Bradley. I don't have one, but I do lust for one, and those that use them seem to be very content. A different breed, but about the same cost, and as far as simplicity and ease? Right in the ballpark.

My McGyver approach to most things will probably suffice for me in the long run, however. I am also certainly no expert

Steve
05-09-2011, 09:19 AM
The Webber is a great little unit. It holds temperature pretty well and has fair capacity for someone that just wants to cook for togethers.

It really comes down to how much input/work you want to put into it. A Treager all you do is put the meat in, load up the pucks, set the temp and go. The Webber you will have to watch a little more and probably reload the charcoal pan at least once if you are doing a porkbutt or a brisket.

nofeardiver
05-09-2011, 09:26 AM
I know i will catch some crap prob, but i love my Green Egg, they are expensive, but man i we have loved every piece of food that comes of that thing, and i can do 20 hour smokes if i choose on one load of lump wood... I have also looked into get the smoky mountain as a second smoker... I do have a buddy that has a traegar for sale but he is in FL... I think it is all a prefrence...

pektel
05-09-2011, 09:41 AM
My buddy is trying to talk me into a Green Egg. Why would you catch crap for owning one?

gpugliese
05-09-2011, 10:17 AM
I'm in no way shape or form an expert, but the WSM is great for me. I average maybe once a month (similar to you) and like the simplicity. I got the 18.5 and it's more than enough room.

If I had the extra money laying around, I probably would have gotten a Green Egg, but the WSM is fine. Plus there is a huge WSM customer base and a lot of modifications, tips & tricks that are well documented.

mosesbotbol
05-09-2011, 10:39 AM
If I had the extra money laying around, I probably would have gotten a Green Egg, but the WSM is fine. Plus there is a huge WSM customer base and a lot of modifications, tips & tricks that are well documented.

:tpd:

Green Egg is where it's at if you can swing it! I'd go for the bigger WSM if you can. Harder to find that model on sale, but the smaller one can be too small when doing many racks of spare ribs. WSM is the most foolproof smoker in its class. I have had smokers for 15+ years for whatever that is worth and most my family is in TX.

Smokin Gator
05-09-2011, 10:56 AM
Vin... for the money it is really hard to beat a WSM. They are great smokers and turn out a really nice product. I would consider a large Big Green Egg if I were you though. IMO it is one of the best grills out there, is a great smoker, and can also be used like a brick oven to turn out some killer pizza. They are super easy to cook on and with very little practice you can control the temp for hours like a pro. If you really want set it and forget it, you can add a Stoker (https://www.rocksbarbque.com) to either one. It makes turning out great product a no-brainer!!!

Chainsaw13
05-09-2011, 02:05 PM
I"ll put in my vote for a Bradley, which I own one of. If you get the digital version, it's truly set/forget. The non-digital version requires you to adjust the heat level with the slider switch on the bottom. once dialed in, just leave it there. The pucks get cheaper when you buy in the larger quantities. Amazon usually has the best prices.

After seeing a friends pellet grill (non-Traeger), I"m very interested in one of those now. I love how you can set the temp and really get it cranking if you want to grill, or set it low for bbq'ing.

kgoings
05-09-2011, 02:11 PM
Build one! It takes a bit longer, but it is very gratifying!

http://www.cigarasylum.com/vb/showthread.php?t=29931

awsmith4
05-09-2011, 02:21 PM
I love the Primo that I have, not cheap but mine was a gift.

http://www.primogrill.com/home.html

My stepdad has the Oval XL and you can get a lot of food on that model.

massphatness
05-09-2011, 03:35 PM
Build one! It takes a bit longer, but it is very gratifying!

http://www.cigarasylum.com/vb/showthread.php?t=29931

I'm nuthin but thumbs, Kirk ...

nofeardiver
05-09-2011, 03:44 PM
I love my Egg, i dont some ppl just are against the egg cause of price, i mean its a long term investment, i have about $1,000 in mine, since i build a custom table, and etc... So you got to be willing to spend some cash, but i swear i will never go back to a gas grill ever, and as long as i have my egg, i wont use anything else, i havent had a bad tasting piece of food off the thing yet... and doubt i will...

Here is a pic with my table when i was building it, it has 4 coats of sealer on it now...

http://heavyequipmentrepair.com/dod/eggtable.jpg

mosesbotbol
05-09-2011, 09:44 PM
I love my Egg, i dont some ppl just are against the egg cause of price, i mean its a long term investment

http://heavyequipmentrepair.com/dod/eggtable.jpg

It's worth it. I am getting one next. It can do so much and once you've cooked on such devices for a while, it really clicks that it is not so much money.

dadof3illinois
05-09-2011, 09:45 PM
In my opinion it's based on how often your going to use it, how much you want to spend and how much at one time are you planning on cooking. Over the past many years I've had electric, charcoal and gas smokers.

They all can produce very good food if used properly.

The electric smoker I had 25 years ago did fine but the heating element kept burning out and was kind of hard to control the heat if it was cold or windy out. But with the right conditions cooked some good food.

The Charcoal smoker takes more tuning if you will, but with practice can turn out some wonderful food. The down side is unless you pimp one out your going to have to watch and do a little babysitting while your cooking. I think most people believe this is the only way to truly cook/smoke food.

The gas smoker, which is what I have been using now for 8-10 years is the choice for me. It was cheap $165 when I bought it and is pretty much a set and forget other than adding extra wood or water depending how long your smoking. It's easy to use and clean up is fast.

I'm looking at a new smoker, and thought about a green egg or pellet style cooker but now I may just buy a new gas smoker and save the extra cash for more smokes...:D..........:2

LooseCard
05-10-2011, 11:00 AM
If you read this post, please understand that there is some opinion contained. I will try to stay as neutral as possible... but....

It really depends on what you plan to do with it. Just Smoking, maybe some grilling? It's not like a grill that you just throw food onto and pull off 15 minutes later; it's an Art form that you will learn over years and takes hours.

What is your price range? An El Cheapo can be had for under $100, or you could look at a Jambopit for $12k-$15k.

What do you want for a Heat source? It helps to determine your Smoke source too.
Actual Wood (we say 'sticks'), Charcoal, Pucks, Pellets, or Gas?
Where will you keep it? Will you need to move it around?

I won't even begin to discuss the high-end stick-burners. It's more than you'll need or want.

The Big Green Egg is a well liked device, but it is a heavy ceramic cooker. It's great for smoking, but not it's main intent. I've heard of many different meals being made on them. IMO: Bonus for mulitasking.

Weber, brinkman, and Charbroil (I'm sure there's more...) all make a capsule-style smoker. They are all escentially the same design, and can be found in electric for some. Some of these are mulitaskers as well.

There are 'offset' smokers, where the firebox is beside the cooking chamber. These can burn sticks or charcoal.

Bradley makes one that uses Pucks of wood. I believe that the heat is provided by electric. It will slowly feed the smoke puck across the element to smolder and burn away, and works in an upright chamber. This falls under the set-and-forget group, because once you dial-in the temp, you walk away and the machine does all the work.

Traeger makes high-endin pellet smokers. It slowly feeds the pellets from a hopper through to and element to smoke and heat the cooking chamber. Also a set-and-forget.

There are several brands that are gas smokers, but I won't go there... sorry, but gas is for grillin - not BBQ.

= = = = = = =
I cut my teeth on a Charbroil capsule style a friend won and would never have used, and bought a Weber Bullet (just before the new style came out :sl) when it came time to replace it and get my own.

I've changed to using sand instead of water on some of my cooks, but haven't done any major mods to mine. (trying to learn it all first...)
I like the water pan option, as I can opt to use apple juice for my Butts (you know the stuff I'm talking about...http://www.emoticons4u.com/evil/204.gif). My wife is loving the BRITU style Ribs I started doing last summer, and I swear to doing my 'right-of-passage' brisket this summer.

fxpose
05-10-2011, 01:59 PM
I just converted and modified my electric ECB (el cheapo Brinkman) for charcoal use. I turned it into a great little smoker. Just one chimney worth of charcoal in the basket is all it takes for this guy to keep a steady 275° for over 7 hours.

forgop
05-10-2011, 02:05 PM
I purchased the 22.5" WSM about a month ago. On my first attempt, I made better stuff than many other alleged BBQ establishments that I've stopped at over many years. It's a great unit.

Be sure to print this page and take it into Lowes and have them price match for your best price. http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_SPM1710106301P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1

fxpose
05-10-2011, 02:11 PM
^^^ only problem with that is that it comes from a third party and there is a huge delivery charge. I'm not sure if Lowe's will honor that. There's a big thread about this over at the Brethren forum.

T.G
05-10-2011, 02:33 PM
Vin... for the money it is really hard to beat a WSM. They are great smokers and turn out a really nice product. I would consider a large Big Green Egg if I were you though. IMO it is one of the best grills out there, is a great smoker, and can also be used like a brick oven to turn out some killer pizza. They are super easy to cook on and with very little practice you can control the temp for hours like a pro. If you really want set it and forget it, you can add a Stoker (https://www.rocksbarbque.com) to either one. It makes turning out great product a no-brainer!!!

:tpd:

Plus, the virtual bullet website (http://virtualweberbullet.com/cook.html) lays stuff out so simply, step by step, even down to the vent positions, that getting great results even your first time out should be easy.

If you don't want to mess with briquettes and wood then the Traeger as suggested by Peter is super simple - just load the hopper with pellets, set the temp and cook.

forgop
05-10-2011, 03:54 PM
^^^ only problem with that is that it comes from a third party and there is a huge delivery charge. I'm not sure if Lowe's will honor that. There's a big thread about this over at the Brethren forum.

If you print it out, they don't know anything about the huge shipping amount. Worked for me and many others.

BigAsh
05-10-2011, 04:09 PM
Vin, I've been using a BDS ("Big Drum Smoker") for a couple years now....easy and produces some killer Que...
http://i313.photobucket.com/albums/ll369/kdos66/BDS%20Smoker/004-8.jpg
http://i313.photobucket.com/albums/ll369/kdos66/BDS%20Smoker/001-3-1.jpg

nofeardiver
05-10-2011, 08:38 PM
Did this on my egg tonight, incredible as usual...
Ok so did some chicken, hamburgers, bella mushroom caps(my favorite), baked potatoes, and squash all on the egg..


http://heavyequipmentrepair.com/dod/nub/bbq/051011/7.jpg
http://heavyequipmentrepair.com/dod/nub/bbq/051011/5.jpg

ahc4353
05-10-2011, 09:11 PM
I'm nuthin but thumbs, Kirk ...


Grace told me the same thing about you Vin. :sh

OLS
05-11-2011, 07:46 AM
While we are lining up t get fussed at, my 99 dollar Char-Griller turns out wicked food using indirect
smoking, I just pile my food on one 2/3 and pile coals on the other 1/3. Then when I want to grill,
it has a 5 level adjustable coals rack that can get the coals TOUCHING the grate from the bottom side.
I MIGHT be able to make a pizza, lol, but never tried it. There are far too many choices in the market-
place, some of them exceptional. All the best are pricey. Some of the priciest are not entirely
all that versatile. My rig is NOT A SMOKER. Tell that to the people that eat my ribs, though.
God I would love to have a smoke-off with the best cookers in this thread.
That would be a HUGE event. So it will come down in the end to what you HAVE to do with your rig.
If it absolutely HAS to smoke and grill, you might have cut your choices in half. If it HAS to be
electric or propane, you can cut it in half another way.

mosesbotbol
05-11-2011, 09:29 AM
While we are lining up t get fussed at, my 99 dollar Char-Griller turns out wicked food using indirect
smoking

I had the Smokin' Pro for 10 years before buying the WSM. I like the grates and ability to grill. I thought the BBQ came out smokier than WSM.

fxpose
05-11-2011, 12:09 PM
You can turn a $39 ECB from Home Depot into a killer smoker with a couple of minor mods and about $15 worth of materials.

Steve
05-11-2011, 12:27 PM
You can turn a $39 ECB from Home Depot into a killer smoker with a couple of minor mods and about $15 worth of materials.

:tu:tu

LooseCard
05-11-2011, 05:30 PM
I'm nuthin but thumbs, Kirk ...
You can turn a $39 ECB from Home Depot into a killer smoker with a couple of minor mods and about $15 worth of materials.
:r :sh

dadof3illinois
05-11-2011, 10:26 PM
While we are lining up t get fussed at, my 99 dollar Char-Griller turns out wicked food using indirect
smoking, I just pile my food on one 2/3 and pile coals on the other 1/3. Then when I want to grill,
it has a 5 level adjustable coals rack that can get the coals TOUCHING the grate from the bottom side.
I MIGHT be able to make a pizza, lol, but never tried it. There are far too many choices in the market-
place, some of them exceptional. All the best are pricey. Some of the priciest are not entirely
all that versatile. My rig is NOT A SMOKER. Tell that to the people that eat my ribs, though.
God I would love to have a smoke-off with the best cookers in this thread.
That would be a HUGE event. So it will come down in the end to what you HAVE to do with your rig.
If it absolutely HAS to smoke and grill, you might have cut your choices in half. If it HAS to be
electric or propane, you can cut it in half another way.


Great points and I agree 100%.

Over the past 25 years I've used electric, charcoal/wood and propane. I've found for me it really doesn't matter what my fuel source is as long as it will hold an even temp with no cold spots inside the cooker. I can add as much or as little wood/charcoal I want to impart any flavors.

ucla695
05-12-2011, 09:57 AM
Vin... for the money it is really hard to beat a WSM. They are great smokers and turn out a really nice product. I would consider a large Big Green Egg if I were you though. IMO it is one of the best grills out there, is a great smoker, and can also be used like a brick oven to turn out some killer pizza. They are super easy to cook on and with very little practice you can control the temp for hours like a pro. If you really want set it and forget it, you can add a Stoker (https://www.rocksbarbque.com) to either one. It makes turning out great product a no-brainer!!!

:tpd:

Plus, the virtual bullet website (http://virtualweberbullet.com/cook.html) lays stuff out so simply, step by step, even down to the vent positions, that getting great results even your first time out should be easy.


:tpd:

I love my 18.5” WSM. Very easy to get up to speed and use. The TVWBB site is great! There’re a lot of great, knowledgeable people there that can answer just about any question you’ll ever have. Right now, Amazon has the 18.5" for $270 and the 22.5" for $345. Great deals and you can get free shipping with a one month trial Prime membership. Definitely worth checking out.

mosesbotbol
05-12-2011, 09:59 AM
Right now, Amazon has the 18.5" for $270 and the 22.5" for $345.

The extra four inches in diameter is worth the $75 cost.

forgop
05-12-2011, 10:45 AM
The extra four inches in diameter is worth the $75 cost.

Agreed. With the 22.5", you can put down 2 spare ribs side by side. Can't do that with the 18.5".

gpugliese
05-12-2011, 11:14 AM
Agreed. With the 22.5", you can put down 2 spare ribs side by side. Can't do that with the 18.5".

Just bend 'em a little and they will fit on the 18.5

mosesbotbol
05-12-2011, 11:18 AM
Just bend 'em a little and they will fit on the 18.5

What happens when you want to 6-8 racks at once?

Steve
05-12-2011, 11:39 AM
What happens when you want to 6-8 racks at once?

Rib Racks...

http://www.homedepot.ca/wcsstore/HomeDepotCanada/images/catalog/5977b7ab-7ec3-4f41-a613-f8d238623b49_4.jpg

nofeardiver
05-12-2011, 11:43 AM
no do the bigger size you wont regret then... i wish i would have bought the bigger egg, to late now...

gpugliese
05-12-2011, 12:06 PM
What happens when you want to 6-8 racks at once?

I really only do two at a time. I could do two rack stands of 4 each, but that's extremely uncommon for me.

wayner123
05-12-2011, 12:13 PM
What happens when you want to 6-8 racks at once?

Convince the spouse that you need a bigger smoker! :r

I would personally scout craigslist for "drum smokers". I would bet there is someone local building them, and it would be less than the WSM and hold FAR greater the amount of food.

I built my own, and besides the hole drill, it's as easy as tightening nuts to a bolt. It really is insanely easy, costs far less and holds a ton more.

mosesbotbol
05-12-2011, 01:28 PM
I really only do two at a time. I could do two rack stands of 4 each, but that's extremely uncommon for me.

4 ribs will have to be really trimmed down to fit on each rack, which I don't mind as the rib meat can be used for something else. The rack will fold on each other or not get as even a coat. The other alternative is more grates than the two provided.

Steve
05-12-2011, 01:32 PM
Convince the spouse that you need a bigger smoker! :r

That was my strategy...:D

http://oldchurchbbq.com/sharedpictures/2010-11-20_Pork%20Butt/2010-11-20_Pork%20Butt%20004.jpg

massphatness
05-12-2011, 01:34 PM
You guys convinced me on the Weber Smokey Mountain. I went with the 22.5-inch size.

Sears had it on "sale" for $315- but because they provide it through a 3rd-party vendor, they did not offer any kind of ship-to-store option. Shipping added an additional $125-!!!

However, because of what I learned in this thread, I marched over to Lowes and asked them to price match, and THEY DID! I got if for the Sears price of $315- instead of the Lowes price of $399- plus Lowes has a free ship-to-store option. :wo (Lowes would not do the price match + 10% because the smoker is considered a special order item since they don't stock it in the store, but I'm not going to quibble -- I feel like a saved a Benjamin+.)

Thanks for everyone's input here!

Steve
05-12-2011, 01:36 PM
Great choice Vin! You are gonna love it.

fxpose
05-12-2011, 01:37 PM
Congrats!!

nofeardiver
05-12-2011, 01:58 PM
Very nice choice, let us know how you like it, been looking at getting one as an extra smoker to run along side my egg when doing big smokes...

jonumberone
05-12-2011, 02:03 PM
Congrats Vin :banger

When can I come over for dinner? :D

massphatness
05-12-2011, 03:31 PM
Congrats Vin :banger

When can I come over for dinner? :D

Open invite, Dom -- you're welcome any time, brother.

MarkinCA
05-12-2011, 04:10 PM
You guys convinced me on the Weber Smokey Mountain. I went with the 22.5-inch size...

Congratulations Vin! We expect to see you in the "What's in you smoker" thread soon:D

forgop
05-12-2011, 04:33 PM
Rib Racks...

http://www.homedepot.ca/wcsstore/HomeDepotCanada/images/catalog/5977b7ab-7ec3-4f41-a613-f8d238623b49_4.jpg

May work for baby backs, but I doubt those will work for spare ribs.

BigAsh
05-12-2011, 04:44 PM
Nice Vin!....Nothing better than a smoke while you...uh...smoke!! :D....Enjoy, the fun is in the "practice" :tu

Steve
05-12-2011, 06:23 PM
May work for baby backs, but I doubt those will work for spare ribs.

I was actually being a little sarcastic/tongue in check. I will say though, that I have used them on trimmed spares. Not the best, but it can be done.

I'll have to look around and see if I can find pictures of the racks I had made for a smoker I got rid of.

forgop
05-12-2011, 06:26 PM
I was actually being a little sarcastic/tounque in check. I will say though, that I have used them on trimmed spares. Not the best, but it can be done.

I'll have to look around and see if I can find pictures of the racks I had made for a smoker I got rid of.

I think it would be great for baby backs. On my last smoke, I did 3 baby backs and 3 spares at the same time. I rolled up the baby backs and used a toothpick to hold them in place. I think my preference would be to get a rack like you pictured though in the future. If there was one built wide enough apart for spares, that would be awesome.

Smokin Gator
05-13-2011, 06:10 AM
Great choice Vin. That is a cooking machine!!

wayner123
05-13-2011, 07:59 AM
I think it would be great for baby backs. On my last smoke, I did 3 baby backs and 3 spares at the same time. I rolled up the baby backs and used a toothpick to hold them in place. I think my preference would be to get a rack like you pictured though in the future. If there was one built wide enough apart for spares, that would be awesome.

http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Raichlen-Best-Barbecue-Nonstick/dp/B000AXQAIS/ref=dp_cp_ob_ol_title_1

There are a couple more on amazon. I am sure someone out there has rigged them one as well.

mosesbotbol
05-13-2011, 09:08 AM
Great choice Vin! You are gonna love it.

Good move and choice. This smoker is so easy to use. Stock up on quality charcoal and wood chunks. I bought half a pallet and have been working through that, but I use the smoker more often than most around our parts.