Help me decide....

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by balsalsa, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. balsalsa

    balsalsa Newbie

    Okay well I my first smoke was a week ago and learned a couple lessons, first, patience will be rewarded. And two, smoking on a gas grill sucks. So I have convinced my better half to let me indulge my inner manhood and get a dedicated smoker. I have done some research online and have nailed it down to the following options: Char-griller Smokin’ Pro, Royal Oak Offset, and Weber Smokey Mountain. I have heard good things about the CGSB but I have seen posts on this forum saying that they have started using thinner steel as of late. The Royal Oak is relatively new to the game and there isn’t much out about it, good or bad. Anyway, your opinions and comments are much appreciated.
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Congrats on the decision...I've been there myself...spare ribs on a gas grill for 3 years...what a PITA.

    A few things you should consider when deciding on the brand/type you wish to buy:

    Size of groug you plan to cook for;

    Size of the largest piece of meat you plan to smoke;

    Features that your choices in smokers will afford you;

    Budget: buy larger than you want/need, if you can afford it.

    If you plan on doing a large packer, then the grate size should be about 20-25% larger than the meat in order to avoid hot/cold spots on the grate.

    I'm guessing you have decided on charcoal fired, so you've got the hardest decision made already. [​IMG]

  3. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Having not used any of those smokers all I can do is offer my feeling about the Smoke-n-Pit, It was only $178 or so I think, after a few mods were done to it I absolutely love the thing. I have heard the WSM is a good one as well, but boy do I ever love my sNp.
  4. balsalsa

    balsalsa Newbie

    Most of the time I’ll be smokin’ for 2-4 people, occasionally it could be 10-15 but I also have a gas grill for doing burgers, steaks, etc. I think the biggest cut of meat I plan on doing is maybe a turkey at Thanksgiving.
  5. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you check Craig's List you can sometimes find a good deal on an older heavier built unit before the companies started getting cheap with their construction...
  6. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I love the WSM. A couple of downfalls that I've found (and they're not that big of a deal for me) is the water pan is tricky to add to once things are rolling. And the capacity. It'll do a turkey, but nothing else is going to fit in there with it.

    Also, it's charcoal. While it's pretty easy to maintain temps, you do have to keep an eye on things and fiddle with vents every once in a while. But not that often. But it's certainly not set-it and forget-it like some of the gas and electrics that are out there.
  7. helljack6

    helljack6 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I think a lot of it has to do with how much time (therapy) do you want to devote to tending the smoker?

    While I was a previous owner of the Char-griller, I found that my therapy times were often long as well as the fuel bill. I haven't heard a negative thing about the WSMs and for as much reading as I have done, the WSMs rival the UDS/BDS smokers almost point for point. One post, heck several posts that I have read about the WSMs have often stated that even a N00bie can produce killer Q on a WSM with just a little time and effort. A simple mod like flipping the fuel door upside down seems to help even the experienced smoker. Unfortunately I haven't heard anything positive or negative about the Royal Oak smoker so I can't provide you any input on that.
  8. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you are handy I suggest building a drum smoker. They are super simple to use and cost is very low. If not I have read some really good things about the WSM.

    If you want an offset you will be doing some tending, no question about it. I don't mind tending my offset and wood is far cheaper for me than charcoal. With that said buy the heaviest gauge steel smoker you can afford. Go out shopping and check out the different build quality of the offsets in your area, you will be amazed at the difference if you find one made of 1/4 inch steel.
  9. balsalsa

    balsalsa Newbie

    Well it looks like I might just have to get the WSM, found it today on Newegg for $258 including UPS 3-day shipping.
  10. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    I fit a turkey on my WSM recently on the bottom rack, and had room for stuff on the top as well.

    The one thing I dont like is access to the bottom rack meat, but its not horrible. You just have to be fast and smart about it, like when you want to foil something on the bottom rack.

    I got the 18" and I probably would have been ok with the 22" but this thing churns out great food! The 18 is also very economical with fuel.
  11. ronf

    ronf Smoke Blower

    You are going to enjoy that WSM. I had a horizontal smoker and enjoyed playing with it. It produced excellant BBQ. I was planning (and still am) on building a UDS, but when I retired this past July, my work bought me a 22.5" WSM. There is not much tending to now. Good luck with your new tool.
  12. norrell6

    norrell6 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    These are my favorite questions cause they get a lot of replies with so many different opinions. My CGSP has turned out to be my favorite smoker, however I use different smokers for different reasons. I recommend that you start with an inexpensive Brinkmann water smoker. It will teach you how to use charcoal (which I had never used before I started smoking, I always used gas) and it gives really good results without using much charcoal. Its kind of like giving your kid a Lexus for their first car. You dont appreciate the Lexus until you have driven the Chevette. My gas smoker also does a great job, but I personally love tending the fire on my CGSP. Good luck and whatever you decide, it will be way better than trying to smoke on your gas grill.
  13. balsalsa

    balsalsa Newbie

    Well I did it, got WSM 18 1/2", should be here middle of next week. Can't wait to do some real smokin'.
  14. ronf

    ronf Smoke Blower

    We will be anxiously waiting for a full report on your first smoke with it.
  15. papoo

    papoo Fire Starter

    As mentioned, the WSM is great It's as set & forget as you get at that price (for charcoal). Take a look at Sears or K Mart if you have one. They do a total rip off (of lawsuit proportions) of the WSM, and IIRC, it's $80. Not too bad a deal!

    Also, depending on your budget, look at craigslist etc for ceramic units - primo, big green egg, etc. I have a primo oval Jr, and it fits an 18lb bird in there no issue. a large egg will do the same.

    Pretty much set and forget, too... Just a thought..
  16. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Congrats on the new smoker, I'm sure you'll love it.

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