Advice for first smoker

Post
lukez1122
Junior Burger
2010/09/26 11:41:21
I am interested in getting a small smoker to do a little BBQ here and there.  Nothing major, just looking for nice tender meats done at home.   Does anybody have advice for a simple easy to use smoker?  I have been reading about an eletric water smoker as since it is eletric you can control the heat better.  Never have talked to anybody who has used any type of small smoker so I don't really know where to start.  
porkbeaks
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/26 11:50:14
For the last 5 years, I've had a gasser that uses wood chips. It works great and temp control is a snap.  pb
joerogo
Filet Mignon
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/26 12:00:12
This is the only item you will need.  It smokes, grills and bakes.

The Big Green Egg.  Very easy to use.
post edited by joerogo - 2010/09/26 12:01:34
porkbeaks
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/26 12:34:08
For sure, the BGE is a great cooker. However, $700 compared to about $150 for my smoker. I think my smoker holds more meat, too.
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/26 13:40:57
joerogo

This is the only item you will need.  It smokes, grills and bakes.

The Big Green Egg.  Very easy to use.

Also VERY EXPENSIVE! This guy appears to be just a parttime, start up, smoker. Since you're just getting started, I suggest an Electric Smoker.
 Lowes sells an Electric Smoker for about $120 Bucks. Check it out. Also Bass Pro Shops & Cabela's sells them as well.
Google Electric Smoker and you can explore all different ones.
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/26 13:45:15
Here's a good primer web site to help you get started.
He has some "How To" PDF's on here
http://www.smoking-meat.com
post edited by Foodbme - 2010/09/26 15:16:49
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/26 15:07:25
lukez1122

I am interested in getting a small smoker to do a little BBQ here and there.  Nothing major, just looking for nice tender meats done at home.   Does anybody have advice for a simple easy to use smoker?  I have been reading about an eletric water smoker as since it is eletric you can control the heat better.  Never have talked to anybody who has used any type of small smoker so I don't really know where to start.  

Here's a selection from Cabela's, alone  -- just to give you an idea of the range of smokers available. Someone who knows more about smoking than do I can make suggestions.
http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/browse/home-cabin-outdoor-cooking-smokers-accessories/_/N-1101316/Ns-CATEGORY_SEQ_104582880
 




post edited by Michael Hoffman - 2010/09/26 15:24:19
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/26 16:57:27
I bought an inexpensive electric smoker. It works great. Since we cook for just the two of us most of the time  it serves us well.
Here's a shot of it loaded and the finished product of a day's smoking.

 
The ribs and shoulder ready to eat.
 

 
Hope this helps a bit.  Cost for the Masterbuilt unit was under $200
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Davwud
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/26 17:39:20
Cooks Illustrated did a comparison of BGE and Webber Smokey Mountain. The BGE barely beat out the WSM and when it costs 3 times more, it's better to get the WSM
 
DT
This is the only item you will need.  It smokes, grills and bakes.

The Big Green Egg.  Very easy to use.



edwmax
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/26 18:38:31
I've been using the Brinkmann Grill King for the past few years. With the 16 x 30" grill, you can cook or smoke for a large crowd.





joerogo
Filet Mignon
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/26 19:30:59
Jeez, I should have known my advice would be wrong.  I forget how many people on this site are smarter than me
 
Again, one unit, smokes, grills and bakes.  Didn't say it was cheap.
 
Smokes....

And Grills.....

 
Sort of reminds me of me......Easy, but not cheap.
post edited by joerogo - 2010/09/26 19:59:16
acoustic blues
Hamburger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/26 20:46:09
Hey joerogo, nice to see another NEPA Egghead!
I agree the BGE does it all including being able to get to very high temps for pizza

But to the OP, my suggestion for a low cost smoker would be the WSM. It will reward you with bbq as good as any commercial joint. I cooked on mine (and still do when I need the extra capacity) for over 10 years until I got my BGE last year.
ab
post edited by acoustic blues - 2010/09/26 21:31:47
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/26 23:08:01
I gave away my Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker, my 22" Weber AND my gas grill after I bought my BGE.
 
I smoked 4 chickens on it this afternoon for a party I just got home from.
 
My chicken was served along a tray of chicken purchased from The Santa Maria BBQ.
 
I heard someone say....   "This chicken is delicious, what restaurant does it come from?"
 
Best compliment I never got!
 
The BGE is worth the extra money.
Thinking back I should have kept the 22"er as I could take it places.
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/27 03:40:59
If youze guys paid attention to Lukez1122's ORIGINAL POST, he said, " I am interested in getting a small smoker to do a little BBQ here and there.  Nothing major, just looking for nice tender meats done at home.   Does anybody have advice for a simple easy to use smoker?
He's looking for a KIA and you're suggesting he buy a Lexus! Sure, a Big Green Egg is great, and maybe some day he'll want one but that's not what he's looking for right now!
post edited by Foodbme - 2010/09/27 03:42:48
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/27 08:31:05
That's the way I read his question also. I look with envy at the egg, but the $500 I didn't spend for an item I have used twice this summer is a definite contributing factor to the decision-making process.
BTW my new Husqvana 414cc 30" Snowblower is due to arrive today ! Guess where my savings have been invested ! That pactically guarentees a snowless winter for us.
Rusty246
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/27 08:41:03
Go to Walmart and get a Brinkman, about $50.
edwmax
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/27 09:10:55
These will all do a Great job grilling or smoking.
At Wal-Mart
The Char-Broil charcoal smoker $89

 
The Meco Water-charcoal smoker $57

 
A smoker similar to one above.
Brinkmann Split-Door smoker $74

 
The Brinkmann Grill King pictured in my above post is discontinued, but a similar model is available.  I think I paid $80 for it.
 
A hint to make these charcoal grills last and the bottom not rust out.  Make sure water can drain out and not stand in the bottom. Drill 1/4 inch holes in the corners if needed to insure drainage.   I did my Grill King and it's now 10 years old with no rust and it has always sat outside in the rain. 
post edited by edwmax - 2010/09/27 09:20:36
porkbeaks
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/27 09:15:56
ScreamingChicken
Filet Mignon
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/27 09:39:10
Vertical units like the Brinkmann and Meco can be gateway drugs to a Weber.
 
My first smoker was an offset Char-Broil (the Silver Smoker model) like the one Edwmax posted above.  I found that it was usually too large for the amount of smoking I did and when I found a used 18" Weber I got rid of the CBSS.  The Weber takes up less space and burns less fuel, and is much better suited to the type of smoking I do.
 
Luke, keep an eye on Craigslist.  You might find a good deal on a used one that just needs a little elbow grease.  Good luck!
 
Brad
post edited by Brad_Olson - 2010/09/27 09:40:27
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/28 15:42:12
I don't know anyone who owns one of these but it looks and sounds amazing.  When built it's very similar to the $500 Cookshack that I used to own... and it's only $99.95
 
http://www.cameronscookwa...20Fold%20Aluminum.aspx
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/28 16:28:42
mar52

I don't know anyone who owns one of these but it looks and sounds amazing.  When built it's very similar to the $500 Cookshack that I used to own... and it's only $99.95

http://www.cameronscookwa...20Fold%20Aluminum.aspx

WOW! That Smoker looks great! And it comes in Stainless Steel for only $119.95. I wonder if it leaks heat & smoke?
You can get a thermal blanket for it also, so I guess that would solve the problem. Interesting other products on there too. Have you ever tried any of those Smoker Bags? I bookmarked that website!
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/28 18:02:04
Did you also notice that they offer free shipping over $100?
 
How do they do it?
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/28 18:10:33
mar52

Did you also notice that they offer free shipping over $100?

How do they do it?

Must have good markups on their total product offerings or they are desperate for business! They say their best sellers are their wood chips and their stovetop smoker.
baughman
Cheeseburger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/30 09:40:14
I would say a WSM. Its a great bullet smoker. Even top teams in the KCBS use them in comps.  Once you get use to how it works, not much is better for the low end price range.  I have had one for a few years now and love it.
  
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Advice for first smoker 2010/09/30 15:42:44
baughman

I would say a WSM. Its a great bullet smoker. Even top teams in the KCBS use them in comps.  Once you get use to how it works, not much is better for the low end price range.  I have had one for a few years now and love it.
 


He's looking for an Electric one, not charcoal.
zimm3839
Junior Burger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/04/16 11:49:05
I bought a masterbuilt... Excellent smoker. Its insulated like a frigde!!!  U can smoke year round.  The real cool feature is u can add chips without opening door... No heat or smoke loss.. Ita awsome!!!!!
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/04/16 13:10:39
Davwud

Cooks Illustrated did a comparison of BGE and Webber Smokey Mountain. The BGE barely beat out the WSM and when it costs 3 times more, it's better to get the WSM

DT
This is the only item you will need.  It smokes, grills and bakes.

The Big Green Egg.  Very easy to use.



After reading the above, I had to go see what a Weber Smokey Mountain was.
 
http://www.weber.com/explore/grills/smokers-series/smokey-mountain-cooker-22
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/04/16 14:14:03
MiamiDon

Davwud
The Big Green Egg.  Very easy to use.


After reading the above, I had to go see what a Weber Smokey Mountain was.
http://www.weber.com/explore/grills/smokers-series/smokey-mountain-cooker-22

I guess Weber does not make an Electric Smoker.
I hate it when companies build web sites using black backgrounds and then print in dark ink!
Can't read the damn things. Don't these people ever try to read their own web sites?
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/04/16 14:35:00
I just noticed that lukez1122, the OP, last logged in six months ago.
 

EdSails
Filet Mignon
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/04/16 14:45:40
Yeah, a "drive by" poster!
Lost Nation
Cheeseburger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/04/20 05:19:45
The best bang for the buck is a Webber Smokey Mountain. They work great and are easy to use ans cheap. If you go to a BBQ contest you will see tons of them.
ChicagoIrish
Hamburger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/09/25 05:04:32
If you're going to SPAM, at least put some thought into it...
 
I have a Brinkman similar to the Weber Smoky Mountain, about half the price (or so) and while it is fine for me.  I have to say that it's ability to hold temps as precisely as a WSM isn't there.  Over a 8-10 hour smoke it's fine, but if you want to do chicken/parts or ribs the Weber might be a better choice.  Not sure why my Brinkman, which is like a WSM clone, doesn't hold more precise temps but thats what it is.  I do chicken and ribs on it, and have had great success now that I "know" it, but for beginners probably not the right choice.  Adding this since the OP hasn't been around so adding my 2 cents as if its a general smoking topic.  Would love a BGE if anyone wants to donate!  ;)
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/09/25 14:48:01
This is a fairly old thread, but not too old.  They are just being bumped by the Spammer.
 
The Brinkman doesn't hold the heat as well as the WSM because it's made of a thinner guage metal and the gaps aren't addressed as well as with the WEber.  Weber cares and has a huge following.
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/09/25 15:04:04
mar52

This is a fairly old thread, but not too old.  They are just being bumped by the Spammer.

The Brinkman doesn't hold the heat as well as the WSM because it's made of a thinner guage metal and the gaps aren't addressed as well as with the WEber.  Weber cares and has a huge following.

I'm waiting for Weber to bring out an ELECTRIC SM Grill! I understand they're working on it!
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/09/25 15:15:27
That would be interesting.  They should make it so they could sell adapter kits to those that already own the charcoal, water style.
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/09/25 15:20:51
mar52

That would be interesting.  They should make it so they could sell adapter kits to those that already own the charcoal, water style.

You should email them and suggest that. They pay attention to emails. That's how I found out about the electric Smoker.
joseiw
Junior Burger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/09/25 16:06:07
I have only ever used an offset firebox type of smoker, but a regular Weber can be used as long as the source of the heat is indirect, by which I mean the fire does not directly heat the food but is off to the side.  I recently looked at Myron Mixon's book and he advocates some methods that he calls "power" smoking that cooks at much higher temperatures than traditional, "low and slow" barbecue methods.  The system then uses long insulated rest periods in which the cooking continues.  I haven't yet had a chance to try this out, but it sounds intriguing and makes sense, and it works for him, and he's a BBQ god. His book or Smoke & Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison would have a lot of good advice and recipes for smoking/barbecuing.  At any rate, its a lot of fun and gets good results, as fresh barbecue is much better than what you can get at the best barbecue restaurants unless you happen to be there at the time when the meat is at its peak.  I get lots of compliments and recommendations to open my own place, but I always tell folks that I don't want to work that hard, and it is hard work.
manofschwa
Junior Burger
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/10/01 11:08:14
Foodbme

If youze guys paid attention to Lukez1122's ORIGINAL POST, he said, " I am interested in getting a small smoker to do a little BBQ here and there.  Nothing major, just looking for nice tender meats done at home.   Does anybody have advice for a simple easy to use smoker?
He's looking for a KIA and you're suggesting he buy a Lexus! Sure, a Big Green Egg is great, and maybe some day he'll want one but that's not what he's looking for right now!


Aside from the stem message, this may be the key posting in the thread.  Luke1122 is wanting to explore the concept of using a smoker.  It very well may be that after some success with an entry-level model, he'll want to refer back to the suggestions made throughout this thread.  I suspect most of us started small, then upgraded to a more versatile and expensive smoker.  In my case it was a very inexpensive water smoker which produced as good a brisket as many I've judged during KCBS events.  Once hooked on the concept, I was ready to upgrade to a 1/4 inch steel Brinkman Cimarron that allows me the option to avoid charcoal altogether and use stove-wood sized oak, hickory or fruitwood (generally wild cherry and/or plum, and grapevine) harvested from my woodlot.
 
Luke1122 is at that enviable exploratory stage and about to discover a great hobby.  Start small, ask questions, experiment, and soon you'll be offering us advice.
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Advice for first smoker 2011/10/01 15:39:59
Had I started small, I would have given up altogether.  Some of the lower priced smokers are difficult to control or use which means put them in a corner of the yard and ignore, never to be used again.
 
That was the sentiment I received from a lot of my customers who never wanted to try smokers again.
 
Sometimes spending just a little bit more assures better results and a lust for the product and process.
 
It really works both ways.