Smoker Recommendations?

Author
ncage
Junior Burger
  • Total Posts : 2
  • Joined: 2004/06/19 22:50:00
  • Location: Springfield, IL
  • Status: offline
2004/06/19 23:01:15 (permalink)

Smoker Recommendations?

Hi everyone. I started trying my hand at BBQ a few years baq. Started with on of the cheap brinkman BBQ bullet smokers. Well i love the results but i HATE this smoker. For anyone that has used one its just a pain to use. Most of the time when i try to bbq now i just use my weber charcoal grill and put the charcoal on one side and put the meat on the other. I also have a metal bread pan with water that i put right under the meat. Anyways im searching for a economical side fire box smoker. I started looking today and i found one at lowes:
http://www.lowes.com/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=44754-000001646-2121

Its $90 for the base grill and another $50 for side fire box unit. I am trying to spend about $150 total. Is this what you guys would recommend or would you go with something else?

thanks,
Brent
#1

15 Replies Related Threads

    r0dkn0cker
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 24
    • Joined: 2004/06/13 18:49:00
    • Location: Locke, NY
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/20 11:15:29 (permalink)
    Brent, that's what I have. You'll get so many different opinions from smokers that range in cost, it will drive you nuts. You have already found this out yourself, it's not what you use, it's how comfortable you are using it. What I do like most about the Chargriller Pro, is that its cost is lower to most smokers comparable to it. I looked for almost two years. My wife wouldn't let me spend the money on a smoker. She always told me " you have a 300.00 grill, your not getting a smoker". So 4 years ago on Father's Day (how ironic), she got me my first bbq cook book. After reading this cook book, I realized I was not Bbqing I was grilling. So after many heated debates,we got what we wanted. As for me I got my smoker. As for my wife, she got a husband that cleans house on the weekends (well in my opinion, see you got an opinion already). Chargrillers have the 4 cast iron grates, these separate grates are nice because if you're not using the cooking surface to full capacity, you can easily remove a grate to add wood chips or charcoal if using direct heat. For the indirect heat you will have to order directly from Chargriller the firebox. Maybe your Lowes will carry or even have in stock the firebox, mine did not. So for $59.00 (shipping included in this price)Chargriller shipped it to the house. I had used my smoker enough before I got my firebox that the tab was almost impossible to remove when I tried to install it. My brother was so impressed with mine, he went out and got his own smoker. He orderd his firebox before he got his smoker at Lowes. So when he removed his tab, before he used his smoker for the firebox, it came right out. I strongly suggest, putting on the firebox before you use it. Now I have a lot of friends that "BBQ". Many have switched from thier smokers to ones like mine. I'm not trying to tell you the smoker will do all the work for you and make you a pitmaster that day, the price was right for me and I sure like mine. One last thing for you to think about...I have had meat cooked in a 55 gal drum that was 100% better than out of a 3,500.00 smoker....Good luck on your quest.
    #2
    ncage
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 2
    • Joined: 2004/06/19 22:50:00
    • Location: Springfield, IL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/20 11:36:03 (permalink)
    Ya i have some many people saying don't buy that smoker its junk and go with the weber smokey mountain smoker which is a bullet smoker just like the brinkman. I really want the convienence of a side box smoker and i don't want to change ordering a $200 smoker and not like it. Say r0dkn0cker how easy is it for you to keep a constant temp with this smoker? Do you have to be there all the time working on the fire/airflow to keep it at a constant temp. A guy in another forum just told me "if you like doing things the hard way" you will like this smoker. I dont' know what else he could of meant other than keeping a constant temp
    #3
    RibDog
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 593
    • Joined: 2003/06/06 11:23:00
    • Location: St. Petersburg, FL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/20 13:28:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ncage

    Ya i have some many people saying don't buy that smoker its junk and go with the weber smokey mountain smoker which is a bullet smoker just like the brinkman. I really want the convienence of a side box smoker and i don't want to change ordering a $200 smoker and not like it. Say r0dkn0cker how easy is it for you to keep a constant temp with this smoker? Do you have to be there all the time working on the fire/airflow to keep it at a constant temp. A guy in another forum just told me "if you like doing things the hard way" you will like this smoker. I dont' know what else he could of meant other than keeping a constant temp


    I saw that thread also Brent. The person is just trying to tell you that the WSM is a great deal easier to use. But if you are dead set on an offset, I would strongly look into getting a charcoal ring or box to go inside the side firebox. Using the ring or box will help get you longer more consistent burns and temps with your offset.

    I don't know about you, but I don't like sitting up all night tending a fire on my smoker. As I stated in the other thread is that I use WSMs as my smokers of choice. With them, I use maverick ET73 thermometer so I can set a range for the cooking temp in my smoker. With the Maverick, if the temp goes out of the range, then an alarm goes off and I adjust the smoker.

    Just a few thoughts for you.

    John
    #4
    RibDog
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 593
    • Joined: 2003/06/06 11:23:00
    • Location: St. Petersburg, FL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/20 13:38:14 (permalink)
    Two other thoughts. First, if you do end up with a offset, I would suggest you go and look the smoker modification section of http://www.teddybearbbq.com. There are many suggestions there, one being a charcoal basket, that will help make the offset a friendlier smoker.

    Second, if you end up with a WSM, get the charcoal pan for a Brinkman and swap the water pan in the WSM out for the Brinkman charcoal pan. Doing this will double the capacity of water the pan can hold in the WSM. Also, check out www.virtualweberbullet.com for a tremendous source of information on using a WSM.

    John
    #5
    r0dkn0cker
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 24
    • Joined: 2004/06/13 18:49:00
    • Location: Locke, NY
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/20 19:17:51 (permalink)
    Brent do you have a grill that you can direct heat grill on? I do, I also indirect heat bbq on it(Same chargriller). I have never used a R2D2 smoker(loved the movie). I love a Weber Joe grill, they are a great grill. As far as a Weber smoker, Im sure they are great, never used one. Everyone out her will try to sell you on the best smoker out there. They will try to tell you "This one is the best and yours sucks". You get a smoker to fit your style of bbqing. If I wanted a smoker that I didn't have to tend to, I'd put it the oven and add liquid smoke. As far as tending mine. When I'm slow cooking a brisket or ribs or whatever... every hour I check. I'm not going to sit here and tell you this is the best smoker ever... As I have said before you get what you are comfortable with. I have a friend who takes a new garbage can and can smoke a turkey under it that I can't even come close to. I've had bbq pig that was barried in the ground that will rock your world. I also cook some great damn bbq at a catering level. I turn down more catering "Q'S" than I can do. I have a BBQ spit I can cook 1/2 beef on or a 200lb pig very easily. Im not trying to tell you by any means this is the best smoker. All I've said is you get a smoker that best fits your style of bbq. Yes I tend my fire, I love it. Every hour or so I must add wood/ If using charcoal w/chips every 2-3 hours. I also have a thermometer with an alarm, I dont need to use it. You look around and get or build your smoker. thanks!
    #6
    Poverty Pete
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 2310
    • Joined: 2003/08/16 07:10:00
    • Location: Nashville, TN
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/20 19:34:57 (permalink)
    Does anybody have any experience using a Big Green Egg?
    #7
    r0dkn0cker
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 24
    • Joined: 2004/06/13 18:49:00
    • Location: Locke, NY
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/21 00:14:07 (permalink)
    Sorry.
    #8
    Rick F.
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1736
    • Joined: 2002/08/16 09:35:00
    • Location: Natchitoches, LA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/21 02:37:39 (permalink)
    Shucks. For a real opinion, search for "Bushie." In the interim, I hsve been happy w/ my Weber water smoker. Not perfect, but it works. People like it, I like it.
    #9
    frognot
    Hamburger
    • Total Posts : 54
    • Joined: 2004/02/16 16:39:00
    • Location: Allen, TX
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/21 03:43:09 (permalink)
    I gotta give a plug for the New Braunfels Bandera. Check it out at:
    http://www.nbsmoker.com/smokers.html

    Char-Broil bought NB and put out a similar smoker under their name. You can still find some of the "original" NB Banderas at Academy Sporting Goods & sometimes Home Depot or Loew's.

    Definitely recommend the baffle mod (listed above).
    #10
    rjb
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 451
    • Joined: 2003/12/15 09:33:00
    • Location: Bronxville, NY
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/21 09:19:32 (permalink)
    I've had a Klose (www.bbqpits.com) for several years and love it. Not cheap, but extremely well designed and constructed, and performs great.
    #11
    Theedge
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1196
    • Joined: 2003/11/16 14:10:00
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/21 11:45:11 (permalink)
    I've been very happy with my cookshack smoker.
    #12
    Stogie
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 128
    • Joined: 2003/03/12 09:21:00
    • Location: Ft. Wayne, IN
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/21 18:17:08 (permalink)
    Brent.....

    I will add to the chorus of Weber Smoky Mountain cookers! I now own 3 of them after cooking on several of the offsets....I would have to spend thousands on one that would work for me. Like knocker says..if you like tending the fire every couple hours, go for it. For me, when I cook a pork butt or brisket for 20-24 hrs. I like to get some sleep. That is near impossible with an off-set. You will need to tend it to keep your temps constant....trust me on this!

    You can make that CharGriller cook just fine but you should do some mods that may cost you over $29. If you factor those in, then the WSM is a real bargain and will work much better than what you are looking at. I cooked against 3 of these units this past weekend and I saw how they all struggled with temps.

    Here are those mods I suggest and why the off-sets....no matter how expensive....will always have heat issues. Even with these, you will still need to tend the fire every 4-5 hrs.

    Smoker Mods

    OK...here are the simple mods you can make to most "cheap" off-sets.......

    Your exhaust vent needs to be extended down to the grate level....it is currently fixed at the top of the unit. This can be done easily with some aluminum flashing....just roll it up and shove it up into the exhaust pipe and make sure it comes all the way down to the grate. It makes opening the top a little more difficult on some models, but you need this to be done.

    Why??? Heat will follow the path to the nearest exhaust opening. In this case it goes directly from your firebox, thru the opening and directly up to the top of the unit. Thereby passing OVER your meat. The temp difference between the grate and the top of the unit can be 100º! By getting that exhaust opening at the grate....the heat will now flow horizontally to the far end of your cooking chamber.

    Check the opening between your firebox and cooking chamber. Look to see where it is located in reference to the grate....is it above the grate or half way above or below. Here again, your hot air will come blasting out of that opening and go directly thru your meat over to the now extended exhaust. That means it will be very hot at that opening. A simple solution is to put a large pan of water right at that opening. This will deflect much of the heat and will tone down that hot spot.

    A surer fix is to attach a "baffle plate" to the top of the opening and bend it downwards so it deflects the heat UNDERNEATH the grate. No welding required but you would have to drill a couple of holes and simply use nuts and bolts to attach. The thicker the metal the better the baffle.

    The firebox also leaves a lot to be desired. They have a problem with nowhere for the spent ash to go, so, they eventually drown the live coals out. Resulting in a fire that will burn for a very short period of time. This can be remedied by placing bricks underneath the corners of the fire grate. This raises it above the bottom of the firebox and allows those ashes to drop out of the way.

    Second problem is the coals get too spread out on the grate. If you could somehow “stack” them, you could take advantage of a technique that would allow for much longer burn times. I have seen charcoal baskets that help to keep the charcoal all in one place and allow for some air circulation. This can be an actual extruded metal basket or a “ring” that is designed to keep the briqs in one place while burning. Even the high-end Klose smokers lack this critical piece of equipment. Folks using these have much longer burn times and much easier temp controls. Why?? Once your charcoal starts to burn down, the live coals get smothered and choked out by the ash. By allowing airflow, your temps will stay where you need them and are much easier to control because of the added air.
    Here is a link to charcoal baskets and also pics and further explanation of the mods for some specific cookers...........

    http://www.teddybearbbq.com/smoker_modifications.htm

    Stogie
    #13
    albinoni
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 149
    • Joined: 2003/07/21 21:01:00
    • Location: Plainfield, NJ
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/28 10:31:36 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Poverty Pete

    Does anybody have any experience using a Big Green Egg?


    We've owned a Big Green Egg for several years--when we bought our house after living in an apartment, it was the first thing we went out and bought. I have never been happier about a purchase.

    I use it mostly for smoking turkey and ribs. The results are amazing--the smoke flavor comes in as a subtle undertone, rather than overwhelming everything else. And, it requires much less cooking time than metal smokers. I can do a whole turkey in about 2 hours.

    My most rewarding experience using it was last fall, when I smoked a brisket, using a dry rub, a wet baste, and mesquite chips. Although still took about 8 hours or more, it was worth every minute of my time.

    My enthusiasm for the BGE borders on the evangelical. Just make sure that if you do buy one, you get the largest size, because the smaller ones supposedly don't circulate the air as effectively, and the grill space is on the small size.

    Now if only I can find a place near me where I can get one of those Texas-size briskets.
    Charlie
    #14
    astaboy
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 2
    • Joined: 2004/06/30 16:54:00
    • Location: atlanta, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/30 17:06:48 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ncage

    Hi everyone. I started trying my hand at BBQ a few years baq. Started with on of the cheap brinkman BBQ bullet smokers. Well i love the results but i HATE this smoker. For anyone that has used one its just a pain to use. Most of the time when i try to bbq now i just use my weber charcoal grill and put the charcoal on one side and put the meat on the other. I also have a metal bread pan with water that i put right under the meat. Anyways im searching for a economical side fire box smoker. I started looking today and i found one at lowes:
    http://www.lowes.com/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=44754-000001646-2121

    Its $90 for the base grill and another $50 for side fire box unit. I am trying to spend about $150 total. Is this what you guys would recommend or would you go with something else?

    thanks,
    Brent
    #15
    astaboy
    Junior Burger
    • Total Posts : 2
    • Joined: 2004/06/30 16:54:00
    • Location: atlanta, GA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Smoker Recommendations? 2004/06/30 17:13:26 (permalink)
    Hey Bret,

    Have you tried the New Braunfels brand smokers? Home Depot usually carries them and it was my second (After a bullet style cooker) and it was great. I recomend the horizontal barrel style with the side firebox. I used it for 2 years with great results until I got a larger more picey outfit 2 years ago. I gave the Braunfels to a buddy of mine and it's still turing out great Q after 4 years. I think I paid about $120- for it.

    Tim
    #16
    Jump to:
    © 2014 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.1