Best smoker/grill to buy in the $200-$400 range

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by big twig, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. big twig

    big twig Smoking Fanatic

    I grew up using my dads custom offset smoker so I have experience smoking and grilling. Problem is we don't live close anymore so I want to get something that I can grill and smoke with. I hear people talking about Char Grillers, Brinkmann SNP's, etc. I know they are not made like a tank which is what I'm used to and they need mods to perform they way they should. I saw a Masterbuilt barrel smoker at sears which looked like it didn't need any mods (stack at grill height, gauge at grill height, ash trays is main chamber and firebox, etc.) I was wondering if anyone has ever used one, since I think they are new I havnt seen any reviews. It is made of the same style of thin steel as Char Griller and Brinkmann snp. I just cant decide which one I should start with. If I had 1k this wouldn't be an issue. I like the size of the Brinkmann but I like not having to do mods (as far as I know) of the Masterbuilt. Please help me make a decision, my B-day is next month and I plan on throwing myself a party like I always do. I grill just about every weekend on a Weber but I need a lot more space so I am looking for something that does both. Sorry I just rambled on. Here are my choices unless someone knows of something better.

    Brinkmann -

    Char Griller -

    Masterbuilt -
  2. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I just recently purchased the Brinkmann Trailmaster Limited from Home Depot for 399 & so far I'm wsihing I had got the Weber Smokey Mountain. It just seems you can't get a good horizontial for less than 1000 without having to do somekinda mod. Just my two cents! Good luck & let us know
  3. coacher72

    coacher72 Smoking Fanatic

    In that price rang a 22.5 Weber Smoking Mountain grill would be my choice.
  4. fife

    fife Master of the Pit

    I got the Masterbuilt 40 with glass door for $299.00 at Sam's last week and it cooks some awsome grub. Easy to use also.[​IMG]
  5. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Twig,are there any Bass Pro Shops in your area[​IMG]? They have SFB's at the one here,Horizon I think;well build(heavy)@ about 300# maybe more[​IMG],but will  as they say,'Be Willed to the kids[​IMG]' ! They look good,and are an eyecatcher when you see them. Probably about of cooking area on the horizontal , some are them have the verticle cooker on them. If I did not have my Tejas, I try snagging one of them. IMHO the BrinkmanSnP and the Chargriller are both of light metal and have too many leaks to mess with,(haven't seen a Trailmaster ) ,but I'll leave with a hint I followed and am glad I did;when you choose the Smoker you want,go one(1) bigger.You'll be glad you did.[​IMG]

    Have fun ,hope you get one you like,and when you smoke,do it... [​IMG]
  6. porked

    porked Smoking Fanatic

    I never owned or used a WSM, but from what I hear and what I see, that would be the way I would go if I were you.
  7. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    For quality and price masterbuilt sound really good. I  want the one from sams for ease of use when i don't want to(dance around) tend a fire all night[​IMG].1 grill or smoker will never do all things good just some.That why you see the list of grills and smokers on more than ones persons avitar good luck on your search
  8. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Get the 22.5" WSM, I had a Char-griller Smokin' Pro to start with and then got the 22.5" WSM and it was hands down the best thing I have done for my smoking career. I have at least as much room on the grates as I did with the Char-griller, use about half the amount of fuel, and don't have to babysit it all the time like I did with the Char-griller. A lot of folks here have bought them from for about $365 with free shipping. It really is considered one of the best smokers you can buy for under $400.
  9. big twig

    big twig Smoking Fanatic

    There is a Bass Pro Shop somewhat near me but the cheapest Horizon they have is $700+. It also seems like my budget might get smaller due to more financial issues (closer to the $200 mark) [​IMG]. I want a WSM but I need a large grilling surface since I grill A LOT and the Webber Kettle doesn't cut it at all (have to cook in several batches and keep warm in the oven). I think I might try the Masterbuilt since it looks like the least amount of mods needed (going to look at it again today). Then hopefully in a couple of months grab a WSM also. Thanks for all of the input everyone. I will keep you updated on my decision.
  10. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    If you are on a budget build a UDS!!
  11. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  12. woodchucks

    woodchucks Smoke Blower

  13. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I have to vote for the char-broiler also.
  14. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Remember the 22.5" WSM has TWO 22.5" grates, so you can fit a LOT of food in there at one go. Here is a recent smoke of mine: (2) family packs of chicken, (2) corned beef getting turned into pastrami, (1) pan of baked beans, and (1) pan with a mix of sausage in it. I have also had 60 lbs. of pork butts in it at one time as well.
  15. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  16. big twig

    big twig Smoking Fanatic

    So I went to look at the El' Cheapo horizontal offset smokers and they are just made so poorly I just can't get myself to buy one. Thin metal and gaps everywhere. I have decided to go with the 22.5 WSM and just buy another 22.5 Weber Kettle for my grilling pleasures then later down the line find someone to help me make the horizontal offset I really want. Noticed that someone else here saw the craigslist add for a store in Northern Virginia selling 22.5 WSM's for $299 so I hope to go get one next week after I pay the bills. They better still have them. Thanks again for all of the input, it really helped in my decision. I will have plenty of pictures when I get my hands on it.
  17. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    You won't be disappointed Twig! The WSM rocks!
  18. Yep, I use the Chargriller DUO and have had to mod the heck out of it to get it anywhere near usable.  That pic of the duo above is not in a working condition, especially with the temp being what it is out there.

    Mine has an oven seal installed, propane burner in the large chamber for preheat, a layer of soapstone slab to manage heat dissipation, tecate tall boy can in the stack to lower the stack entrance, water heater blanket wrap, home built charcoal basket for the firebox.  And I use dual wireless digital thermometers, the blanket covers the thermo face (fine by me). 

    And most of this was figured out under severe stress and a year of unhappy smoking. 

    I do have a fair amount of space though.

    I think you will be happy.  Someobody made a flyer talking about how they will make good bbq for cheap for the neighbors family and friends, maybe you could make a little cash on the side while learning your skills and start a new bbq fund.  You'll be sporting a Dave Klose before you know it!
  19. big twig

    big twig Smoking Fanatic

    OH YEAH!! Just ordered the 22.5 WSM and it will be here tomorrow. I Hope Friday I can put it together and start seasoning it but probably won't be able to cook anything till next weekend due to rain, prior engagements and the fact I have to do all of my fire cooking at my grandmothers house since I live in a apartment. Thanks for all of the great advise and very soon you will be seeing some Q VIEW!!
  20. Are you open to getting a used smoker??  I like the WSM, but wanted an offset and something a little bigger so I searched ebay, craigslist, etc and found an amazing deal on a $1600 smoker for $400 on a local BBQ forum in my area.  The setup had only been used about a dozen times and was in great shape.  Since smokers are built to last buying a used one isn't that big of a deal. 

    If I was going to get a new one a WSM would be my choice.

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