New to Forums and to Smoking

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by triumphess, Sep 10, 2015.

  1. Hi all!  I'm Kathie, and I live with my husband in central Pennsylvania.

    I love to cook, especially now that I'm retired and I've been grilling for years.  So now I am looking to buy a smoker, and I've been trying to decide what kind I want/need.  

    The two main considerations are that I want to be able to smoke all year (and we get temps in the teens and 20's) and I don't want to spend a pile of money (at least until I'm sure that I like doing this!!)   I have it narrowed down to two (I think) -- the Masterbuilt 30" electric that's on sale for $179 at Lowes  OR the Masterbulit dual fuel that's at Home Depot.   From what I've been reading, I am leaning towards the electric, but any guidance would be much appreciated.  

    I'm looking forward to learning about the ins and out of creating great barbecue!
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to SMF Kathie!  Glad you are here and looking forward with so much enthusiasm to get into smoking.

    There's no question that the MES is a convenient and easy to use year-round smoker.  It is probably the most purchased first smoker on the market.  It requires minimal mods and with an inexpensive AMNPS you can have a set and forget smoker for 10-11 hours. Just use the search feature to learn about the AMNPS

    The MB Dual Fuel works well too.  Charcoal or propane, best of both worlds.   

    Another choice, since you have extensive grilling experience, is the charcoal Weber Smokey Mountain, aka WSM.  With an inexpensive welder's blanket as a wrap you can use it year-round in those frozen Pennsylvania winters.  It requires no mods and smokes great right out of the box.  The 18.5" diameter WSM It runs about $120 more than the MES though and you have to deal with charcoal, so not quite as convenient as the plug and play MES.         

    Whatever you get, have fun and keep us posted on your smoking journey!

  3. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Don't listen to him! Get an offset stick burner and fuss over it every two minutes like a steam locomotive.  Welcome to the board!
  4. Thanks!!  So I ended up going with the WSM....  Decided it was worth the extra $$ for the flexibility it will give me.  I've always said I was too lazy for charcoal, but I really think that it had more to do with not allowing enough time for the fire to get where it needed to be, etc.  I have a 22"  Weber kettle that may see some more use!     

    So the WSM is on the deck (under the edge of the patio umbrella, since it's decided to rain.)  I'm taking some time to play with getting the temperature adjusted, and then am planning on putting on a couple dozen wings.  Should be done just in time for the football game!!  

    Thanks again for your input!!  
  5. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You might want to lay some pavers under the WSM if it's on a deck.
  6. It's sitting on 4 12" pavers!     
  7. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  8. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I gave my old Weber away to a friend but I admit to running it sloppy, without the ash tray underneath. It would drop a lot of ash and embers but it was on a concrete patio slab so that didn't matter.

    It scares me to see grills on wooden apartment balconies. Propane + bratwurst + inattention ...
  9. We have a learning curve here!  [​IMG]  

    Used the amount of charcoal that the WSM manual said to use for chicken.   Obviously not enough because after the initial 45 minutes or so the temperature dropped to 175 -- well that's not gonna work!!  Ran to Lowes for a new starter chimney (which is way better than the one that got all rusty from being stored under the grill) and added about 1/2 - 3/4 of a chimney of hot coals --   It seems to be settling in at about 230-235 --  am hoping that we're good for the two hours these wings are supposed to take.   (Lunch is gonna be a little late!!)
  10. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yep that's how it goes, everyone has to try it themselves and learn. You can get a lot of advice here but nothing substitutes for hands-on experience.

    All in all though, a lot of people come here and celebrate learning how to make some great smoked foods, entertain a lot of people, etc. Smoking is a skill that invites exploration and delights those who don't do it yet.
  11. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It all works.  I think the instructions with the WSM complicates the loading issue.  I fill the charcoal basket full with cold charcoal and wood chunks, then dump various amounts of hot charcoal in the center of the pile depending how hot I want to run the smoker.  Don't use water in the water pan if you are aiming for temps above 225F.  The physics of water will work against you. 

    When done with your smoke just close all the vents and snuff out the charcoal.  Reuse it again on your next smoke! 
  12. Not bad for a first try.     Definitely will make a few changes next time, but I am really pleased with these!!   First photo is ready to come off the smoker - second is after I threw them on the Genesis for a couple minutes to crisp the skin (next time I will smoke with the temp just a bit higher than 225 and won't put water in the pan and I'm thinking they shouldn't need that)    They were really delicious!!  [​IMG]


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