Buying my first smoker

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by yonni, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. yonni

    yonni Newbie

    Hi everyone. Great looking community you have here. I'll get to updating my profile and posting in roll call when I have a chance but my computer is slow as all hell here so I'll get to it some other time.Anywho, I've never used a smoker before and mentioned to someone that I thought it would be an interesting task to take up (with summer ariving soon!) but that it's a huge investment for something I'm not too sure about. Well, I was suprised to find out that starter smokers don't actually go for all that much money (Canadian Tire has a Master Chef vertical smoker for $80).I've searched this forum a bit to find if there was a guide for first time smokers on what to buy and where to start but couldn't find anything. Does anyone have any advice? Is the Master Chef worth buying or will I be terribly frustrated with it right off the bat?Thanks,Yonni
  2. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sometimes you get what you pay for.

    A lot of times folks new to smoking will get discouraged using a lower quality smoker, that's not to say go out and buy a Lang tomorrow.

    There is a learning curve to Smoking.

    There is also a learning curve to smokers/pits/grills etc... each beast has it's own personality.

    Some smokers/Pits have a steeper learning curve such as a stickburner.

    Just in the stickburner category there are different types of pits, methods, fuels and performance.

    I could go on forever about the differences and such but to keep it sweet and short my point is if you dive into this and have bad results, don't get discouraged, just hang in there and weather the won't be sorry.

    Heck a seasoned smoker can smoke with a can, hotplate and card board box.

    And were here to help you if needed, SMF significantly reduces the learning curve.
  3. yonni

    yonni Newbie

    Thanks. I got the idea mainly because I've quasi-regularly been making a pulled pork in the oven and keep buying liquid smoke to add to it. Looks like one of the easier things to make on a smoker but the versitity of smoking looks quite amazing. And forgive the avatar, not quite sure how I ended up with that there... Got to change my Gravatar I guess.
  4. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey I'm sure you'll be fine whatever you decide.

    how bout this avatar, the name is so close... just kidd'n, have a great day!

  5. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Best thing to do is read through the forums and decide what type of fuel source you want to use first. Then figure out which one people recomend on the forum in your price range.

    Personally I have a Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5" (WSM), and absolutely love it. It uses charcoal for heat with chunks of wood for the smoke, and it is super easy to use. I had spent $200 on a cheaper one to start with, then after getting frustrated with it sold it for $80 and bought my WSM - that was 4 years ago, and I have never looked back.
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What he said---Neither Johnny Rod or SQWIB would steer you wrong!!!

    Personally I have an MES 40, and I love it, but I'm not mechanically inclined enough to do the ones that don't have an on/off switch.

  7. yonni

    yonni Newbie

    That electric smoker looks quite appealing for a newbie smoker with very little mechanical inclinations. However, looking into them, I see that they may have issues in colder weather? I live in Toronto which is plenty warm for the summer but it'd be nice to keep smoking into the Fall (~5-10C).Getting excited just thinking of this. Can't wait to get one now.
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Gets plenty cold in PA, and never had a problem with my MES 40. They are very well insulated.

  9. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have a propane smoker a Camp Chef Smoke it and will buy another.

    Price range...and plenty of questions to those here who own answer to figure out what you will want.

  10. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    The guys are already giving you good advice.  There are lots of members here successfully using electice smokers.  You can get into a reasonbly priced rig-  whether it be electric, gas, or charcoal-  that will make some great Que for ya.  Whichever you choose, good luck, and just ask when you have questions.

  11. YONNI....I was recently in the exact position you're in. It was late in the season (early September) when I decided to get my first smoker so availability was limited at the larger chain stores. I opted for a small, cheap ($89) Char Broil offset smoker. I was actually amazed at how well it cooked and how easy temp regulation was after playing with the dampers a bit. My first cook was good but after that (call it the learning curve) I managed to turn out some REALLY good food on that little thing. I'd still be using it if there was more cooking space available but bought a much bigger and nicer unit about a month ago. As the other guys have said though, you'll need to figure out what fuel source you want to use but for your purposes I don'thave a bad thing to say about the little Char Broil unit I started with. It got me hooked :)

  12. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Welcome to the forum , yonni.
    Check out this link . Lots of good info. Picking out your first smoker can be tricky. It depends on what you want to do and how much effort you want to put into it.

    I had a budget brinkmann smoker to start with , and I recently graduated to a weber smoky mountain and I am happy as a pig in.....well , you know

    Good luck , brother.
  13. Really good info, I am a newbie as well. My dad owns a nice smoker, and I thought I would experiment with his before purchasing my own! Any ideas for a newbie recipe? Was thinking chicken or brisket
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would start with one of the most forgiving------"Boston Butt", or chicken parts, as in thighs & drums.

  15. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Chicken thighs are a great place to start. Cook fairly fast, and fairly forgiving on not drying out.
  16. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Fanatic

    A fattie or a meatloaf is also very tasty and easy to smoke. I use a char-griller duo w/a few mods. Vermont weather is always predictable and it's suited my needs well. However I have to tell ya it's definitely not a set it and forget it. It takes a little babysitting, but I love that part almost as much as eating the finished product. 

  17. I have the same smoker you are looking at. I got it about almost a month ago at Canadian Tire and I love it. It holds heat like a dream. Get a good Therm though as the one that comes with it is a POS mine was 100* off. That being said, I have done, chicken, ribs, pork roast and a serlion roast so far on it and each time it has come out amazing. I am using RO lump and have yet to have to add fuel, so far my longest smoke has been 6 hours.

    I had to tweak the doors a bit to get a good seal, for that price grab it and if you need a hand in getting it ready PM me I am more then happy to help. I have only been smoking on a real smoker for a month, but I have learned this smoker inside out by now.


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