Best way to spend $200 or less on a Smoker? Good with tools. Have plenty of Firewood on hand. Mostly

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by 777funk, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. 777funk

    777funk Fire Starter

    I'd like to spend under $200 to get smoking. I had a Brinkman a while back (was a youngin at that point) and didn't have the patience to keep the charcoal fed every hour. I'm older and more patient now and would probably put up with it but it's gone now. I never used it and my wife sold it in our garage sale last year.

    So that brings us to today. All I have left is a smoker box for the gas grill (a Weber Genesis). I'm a minimalist so I wouldn't mind just that box if it worked.... but I find it to not quite give enough smoke flavor and at times too much of the thick blue smoke. 

    I love smoked chicken (cheap and tastes great) so that's where my goals are currently at with smoking meats. There was a grocery store we used to frequent that had a BIG outdoor smoker that used a real firewood log stuffed in a hole for the smoke and I think propane for the heat. That system made great smoked chicken (IMO). Can I do this at home? I'm not set on any one type of fuel (electric, gas, wood). I have plenty of firewood mostly hickory and oak, so that'd be as fine a heat source as anything.

    Thanks in advance for any tips and a direction pointed to get the tools I need!

    Something like this is what I'm after:

  2. If you are up to building one, do a search for some "mini" builds. You can build one for well under $200 and they work great. My jumbo mini will hold a consistent 250 degrees one one basket of charcoal for eight hours without much babysitting.
  3. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    for that kind of price range ... One of the easiest to use with best results would be just a plain ol Weber 22.5" kettle(around $100)...
  4. lendecatural

    lendecatural Smoking Fanatic

    Don't overlook an upright drum smoker (UDS), they cook pretty well and aren't that expensive.
  5. gravey

    gravey Smoke Blower

    UDS all the way! Easy to control, cheap to make, and if done right, can burn at a steady temp for 18-24 hours!
  6. 777funk

    777funk Fire Starter

    Thanks to all for the suggestions. I'd read about UDS's a while back. A friend of mine's brother runs that sells plans. I may have to pick his brain a bit on an UDS. I'm sure I could build it. Really there's enough out there on the internet that it should be easy.

    Hammerhead, you mention Mini... is that a Weber Smokey Mountain? I searched Mini Smoker Build and that's all I could find.

    Seems like they can be bought used for around $100 or so at times. I may watch for one if that's what you meant. Might be easier than sourcing materials and putting it together if they can be found used that inexpensively.

    A UDS seems like the same concept as a WSM just bigger (and maybe cheaper). Is that right?
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
    Here is a link to my build. Basically you build a smoker using a weber smokey joe grill and a steamer pot. Mine is a jumbo mini, using a weber jumbo joe and a 80 quart steamer pot. Was a fun and easy build, it cooks like a champ and it's portable.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
  8. 777funk

    777funk Fire Starter

    Thanks for the recommendations.

    I'm still curious what that grocery store had and if there's anything on a smaller scale. It was a big silver box on wheels. There was an extension cord going to it and I'm not sure if there was also gas. It had an area where a log split was stuck into a door.
  9. lendecatural

    lendecatural Smoking Fanatic

  10. 777funk

    777funk Fire Starter

    I did some research and I think the smoker the old downtown grocery store had was an Ole Hickory. Is there anything similar but on a small scale? These are $10k and more and way too big for our family.

    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
  11. +1 on the idea of building yourself a mini WSM. They easily cook a couple of ribs or birds if you install two grates. Add a charcoal basket and it goes 10 hours straight rock steady 250°. Really simple to build and cost next to nothing. If you want more space, build a bigger one. Or go RF (but then a $200 budget gets stretched).

    Cheers /W
  12. 777funk

    777funk Fire Starter

    It looks like a mini WSM costs around $100 to build. Not too bad. I wonder if there's an advantage or disadvantage to build a UDS? Seems like a little more cooking area and similar concept for around the same cost. A store in the area sells drums for $15 each. They're old Veg Oil drums and are painted. Burning the paint off would be a disadvantage but I have LOTS of wood to burn it off with.

    I'd like to use a thick bed of coals to cook with perhaps instead of charcoal. I like getting big fires going and building up the coals.
  13. Neither a uds or a mini would use a big bed of coals. That's the reason we use charcoal. A small bed of burning coals. You light the basket of charcoal in one place and it burns over the hours. A gallon buckets worth of charcoal will give about 7 hrs of cook time in my mini.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015

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