Newbee in search of first smoker.... Brinkmann Trailmaster or Horizon, etc.....

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by lycokayaker, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. lycokayaker

    lycokayaker Newbie

    Hey Gang

    I have been lurking here for awhile reading up on smokers.  I want to buy my first smoker and learn. Ironically I don't know anyone in the area that smokes meat so I am kinda on my own.  I have learned a lot about the Brinkman Trailmaster and how you can mod it to make it run really efficiently.  Is it worth the extra money to buy a Horizon or some other brand smoker in the long run?   This may sound like a dumb question but I have seen many people mention that there Brinkmann smokers rust is this the case with the more expensive smokers?  Any ways any help or guidance would be much appreciated.  

  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Okay, it has been a week since this post and there have been no answers.  Allow me to share my opinion.

    I am not a fan of any equipment you have to modify extensively out of the box to make it work nicely.  That said, the BM Trailmaster can be modified relatively easy with some Nomex felt and high temp silicone sealant.  Making a charcoal basket helps too. 

    Rust does appear to be an issue with the Brinkmanns, especially if they sit for long periods unused in winter.  If you are handy with a metal brush and a can of high temp paint, you can stay ahead of it.  You can spend significantly more and avoid the rust issue for the most part.  Ten years seem to be about the longest I've heard BMs lasting but there may be folks who have had them longer.  I've read of some folks finding their equipment unusable in as little as two years.  The Brinkmann folks can best help you here.  

    Since this is your first smoker, any smoker you buy will have a learning curve, not only for your equipment but for your techniques.  Having an analytical nature helps shorten that learning curve.  Folks here can help with that, the learning curve, not the analytical nature.

    Horizontal smokers require more tending, which can be tedious on long smokes. 

    Sales pitch begins now:  You can do all the above, or you can buy a Weber Smokey Mountain as your first charcoal smoker, not deal with the rust, no mods are necessary (though they can be done as I have), it will last a lifetime, it can go hours and hours without so much as a glance, and the learning curve is relatively short regardless of your nature.   

    For a first time smoker with no experience, start with something relatively easy to use so the successes come quickly so smoking becomes a lifetime pleasure.  As an engineer by education vertical smokers just make more sense to me (heat rises), but horizontal smokers work great too if you understand what is happening in the smoker.  It took me decades to get into smoking meat because the friends I knew with smokers all had complaints.  Complaints are few with the WSM

    I'll step aside now and let other folks share their viewpoints. 

    Whatever you get, have fun! 
  3. lycokayaker

    lycokayaker Newbie


    thanks for the note....  I am not opposed to a WSM.  I am trying to avoid having a collection of units as my wife will catch on and I will be flamed!    I called the good folks at Yoder and spoke to them about there Cheyenne and Witchita.  I am considering purchasing a Loaded Witchita at the moment.    I host every holiday and have many gatherings over the summer at our home I am trying to find something that can accommodate larger groups yet let me figure this whole thing out. 

    I do agree I am not a fan of buying something only to have to modify it to make it work properly.

    I have read some of the reviews about the Witchita if anyone can chime in about easy of use and wether a newbie can figure it out please do!

  4. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I should have known that the WSM folks would be the first out of the chute. No problem. I had a WSM 22.5 and it is a good way to start. What I didn't like was constantly taking it apart and putting it back together. The only mods that I did was a smaller charcoal basket for small cooks and a groove in the top section for therm probes. One that I think is needed is handles on the center section.

    When you get a good feel for heat management and want a larger cooker, I would suggest an offset horizontal smoker. Lots of fun and good smoking results. With that, I would suggest anyone look into the Bell. Good workmanship, a one off build, cooperation in design and a good value. Good luck, Joe
  5. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I waited a week and a day before answering the OP's question.
  6. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It just slipped by me. We can't possibly see them all.
  7. kuyawil

    kuyawil Newbie

    I'm in the same position you're in and am also considering the Loaded Wichita. I figure that if you're going to do it right, do it right the first time. I've even talked with the folks at Yoder, and my gut is telling me to bite the bullet and pay now. Now I've looked at Horizon and Lang, and they look good too. I just keep coming back to the Wichita.

    Anyway, whichever one you choose, good luck with your decision!
  8. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yoders, Langs, Horizons, all get me warm and fuzzy inside, especially that Stockton model at Yoder.  Unfortunately living on the West Coast has its drawbacks when it comes to fuel if using them with splits.  Cooking wood out here is ridiculously expensive, in excess of $300/cord, and as much as $400/cord.  Mixed cooking wood/odd and ends are still $220/cord. 

    I suspect with the drought I could go foraging with a chainsaw.  I can't tell you how many orchards I've seen where the growers are just ripping trees out of the ground. Hmmm, might have to stop in and ask them if they'd mind me cutting up a tree. 
  9. golfpro2301

    golfpro2301 Smoking Fanatic

    Do you only want stick burners or are you open to vertical insulated cookers? Depending on you budget you can get a backwoods, Assassin, Stumps, or rebel. You will have plenty of space on those and as close to set and forget as it gets with charcoal. I just acquired a Pitmaker Vault and absolutely love the thing. I got a great deal on mine but new one will cost you prob $4500 shipped to your door. You can also get good pellet cookers from Cook Shack. 
  10. Lots of great info on here the will help you decide


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