Question: Smoker recommendations

RollTide_HTTR

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Feb 22, 2017
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Trying not to break the bank but looking into buying a smoker. I don't have a ton of experience smoking meat and honestly just not sure where to even start.

Should i go with a pellet smoker or a charcoal smoker and any suggestions on solid affordable options?
 

day-day

Hall of Fame
Jan 2, 2005
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Bartlett, TN (Memphis area)
I used the Bandera vertical smoker made by New Braunsfel smokers for years and it really worked well. It holds a large amount of meat. The fire box has to be monitored periodically during long smokes and may require additional charcoal or wood during the process. I used charcoal with wood chunks and had to start a 2nd batch of charcoal then add it after it was burning good. Sometimes I'd have to add it a 3rd time. Looks like it is now Oklahoma Joe's Bandera smoker. The plant in New Braunsfel closed and I think consolidated with the parent company at Char-broil.
 

RTR91

Super Moderator
Nov 23, 2007
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Love my Traeger and a few family members are now really interested in getting one after seeing it work.


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rolltide_21

Hall of Fame
Dec 9, 2007
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I like my Weber Smoky Mountain. You have good temp control and it's not nearly as expensive as the BGE and it's variants. Regardless of what you purchase, be sure and get an electronic thermometer with remote readout. I didn't knew they had them in bluetooth until I looked for a link to provide you. Something like this: https://www.foodfirefriends.com/best-bluetooth-bbq-thermometers-for-smokers-and-grills/
^^This. If you go to competitions, you’ll see WSMs all over the place. They produce top level bbq and are very easy to use. I’ve used them for catering for years. For personal use, I recommend the 18.5”.


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dayhiker

FB|BB Moderator
Dec 8, 2000
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^^This. If you go to competitions, you’ll see WSMs all over the place. They produce top level bbq and are very easy to use. I’ve used them for catering for years. For personal use, I recommend the 18.5”.


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The only thing that I don't like is that there isn't a hinge for the lid.
 

RollTide_HTTR

All-American
Feb 22, 2017
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Thanks for all the input! I think I'm going to get a Weber Smokey Mountain sometime soon.

In the meantime, a friend of mine has a Big Green Egg that I've been using to smoke a few things. I tried a brisket and a pork butt. Pork butt worked great but I messed up on the brisket. Not 100% sure what I did wrong yet. Hopefully getting an actual smoker will help some.
 

dayhiker

FB|BB Moderator
Dec 8, 2000
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Pell City, AL
Thanks for all the input! I think I'm going to get a Weber Smokey Mountain sometime soon.

In the meantime, a friend of mine has a Big Green Egg that I've been using to smoke a few things. I tried a brisket and a pork butt. Pork butt worked great but I messed up on the brisket. Not 100% sure what I did wrong yet. Hopefully getting an actual smoker will help some.
I keep wanting to do a brisket, but haven't pulled the trigger. You're going to screw up the first few things you do, most likely. I can screw up a whole bunch of pork shoulders for what a single brisket costs, so I keep doing pork.

One thing to remember on the Weber is that it'll take a while to get the inside coated in soot and grease. When it's shiny and new, it won't regulate the heat as well. Once you get it seasoned, it seems to do much better. OTOH, maybe what's really going on is that by the time it's seasoned, the owner has figured out how to use the thing consistently. :)
 

ddsmit

Registered
Jan 3, 2003
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Thanks for all the input! I think I'm going to get a Weber Smokey Mountain sometime soon.

In the meantime, a friend of mine has a Big Green Egg that I've been using to smoke a few things. I tried a brisket and a pork butt. Pork butt worked great but I messed up on the brisket. Not 100% sure what I did wrong yet. Hopefully getting an actual smoker will help some.
I have a BGE and the problem could have been the grid was too close to the fire. I saved the grid from an old Brinkmann and used fire bricks to raise the grid. I cut the firebricks in half and put them on the BGE grids perimeter with the Brinkmann grid on top of that. It turned out I used a raised grid so much I bought a stainless add-on to raise the grid to the felt line.:smile:

I normally use a plate setter when I'm cooking a brisket or a pork butt for indirect heat.
 
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RollTide_HTTR

All-American
Feb 22, 2017
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I have a BGE and the problem could have been the grid was too close to the fire. I saved the grid from an old Brinkmann and used fire bricks to raise the grid. I cut the firebricks in half and put them on the BGE grids perimeter with the Brinkmann grid on top of that. It turned out I used a raised grid so much I bought a stainless add-on to raise the grid to the felt line.:smile:

I normally use a plate setter when I'm cooking a brisket or a pork butt for indirect heat.
interesting, I may have to try that or something similar. I'm trying brisket round 2 this weekend. There are a few things I think I'll try differently this time (I think I'll wrap it this time)
 

rolltide_21

Hall of Fame
Dec 9, 2007
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Thanks for all the input! I think I'm going to get a Weber Smokey Mountain sometime soon.

In the meantime, a friend of mine has a Big Green Egg that I've been using to smoke a few things. I tried a brisket and a pork butt. Pork butt worked great but I messed up on the brisket. Not 100% sure what I did wrong yet. Hopefully getting an actual smoker will help some.
You can’t go wrong with a WSM. It’s a great investment. You won’t buy BBQ again.


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Bamabuzzard

FB Moderator
Aug 15, 2004
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Where ever there's BBQ, Bourbon & Football
I'm SEVERELY late to this conversation and obviously need to visit this board more often! LOL! I'm a BBQ addict (my wife claims) and have entered a few comps. I've got a Stumps insulated cabinet smoker. Starting off with the WSM smoker is the best way to go for someone just getting into smoking meat. They are very good smokers for the money and are perfect for beginners. I assume you've gotten the smoker and used it by now. How do you like it?
 

Bodhisattva

Hall of Fame
Aug 22, 2001
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I appreciate the information in this thread. My wife and I have about a month to go before we close on our new house, and I have plans for the lanai, including a smoker. We have a whole house full of furniture to buy, but I hope to be able to get around to this before we get too deep into the summer.
 
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rolltide_21

Hall of Fame
Dec 9, 2007
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I was recently given an Oklahoma Joe. It was in rough shape but my son and I restored it. Really like it. It’s an older model. One more thing I plan to do with it is add a new temperature gauge. The placement of the factory one is 75-100 degrees off because it’s at the top near the smoke stack. Newer models don’t have this issue. OK Joe’s are a little pricey but well made. Here’s a few pics.
CCC96A0C-CAB4-4F1F-A557-036B2F61D27D.jpeg69890994-317C-400B-8D76-376AE7721032.jpeg156981D9-D494-4169-BBA2-0151555E0871.jpeg
 
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