Newbie Buying first smoker

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by jspence3, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. I've been handy on the grill but want to take my cooking to a new level.  I always enjoy food coming out of a smoker so want to begin smoking..  I've had friends recommend two different Smokers/Grills to me the Char-Griller 6719 Series Kamado Charcoal Grill OR Brinkmann Trailmaster Limited Charcoal Smoker and Grill...

    From what I have read both need some mods done in order to control leaking...Having a $300 budget for my first smoker should I pick one of these, if so what one, or should I be looking at something else that is better for a Newbie???

    I'm sure once I have ordered the smoker I'll come up with about million other questions, please help me get started!!!
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm a newbie myself JSpence3.  My dad always says "buy first what you'd buy last and you'll save money in the process by not continually upgrading your equipment."  Well, that probably goes for smokers too.

    In my case though I am using what I had on hand, an old 22" Weber One Touch Kettle.  For $70 delivered my wife bought me a device off Amazon called "The Smokenator."  Turns any 22" Weber Kettle into a smoker and does a dang fine job of it.  Although it is basically a bent piece of stainless steel with a few holes, a water pan, and a stainless kebob stick for stirring coals, it does a great job of keeping the heat and smoke circulating properly and is a breeze to control the temperature.

    With your $300 you could buy the following:

      a.  22" Weber One Touch Kettle:  $149

      b.  Smokenator:  $70 delivered.

      c.  Maverick ET-732 Wireless Digital Dual Probe Thermometer:  $60

      d.  2-20 lb bags Kingsford Charcoal:  $13

      e.  5 lb bag of your favorite wood chunks:  $5

    Total:  $297.

    All you'd need is a chimney starter for $10 at Home Depot and you'd only be $7 over budget!

    The one drawback to the Weber Kettle is there is no insulation for winter smoking.  Well, I plan on recruiting my wife, someone who knows how to sew, and turning a cheap welder's blanket into a dome insulator.  Problem solved.

    I'm sure the more experienced smokers will give you much better advice than me.  That's what make a place like this great!  It's all good!

    Have fun shopping for your smoker, whatever you choose!
  3. Thanks for the advice... I wish I could just mod what I have but we just moved and left our grill behind so I have nothing right now...I'm interested to hear what people on here have to say but more then anything else they tell me to post my question in a different area so I'm trying to get my question out into the right group!!!

    Hope to get Smoking soon!!!

    Good luck with that grill blanket!
  4. I own the Brinkmann Trailmaster. It's going on 2 years now and I am still glad I made the purchase. I'm a stick burner at heart so that's why I went with an offset smoker. It does a fine job. If you choose this model, just remember to seal every joint, bolt hole, etc up with a high temp RTV silicone. I did this when I assembled smoke leaks.

    Only mods I have ever done is adding 2 at each end of the door at grate level....and adding steel tuning plates in the smoking chamber to regulate the temp across the smoker. I touch up the paint on the firebox with some high temp black bbq paint once a year.

    Of course it takes more fuel and tending than a "egg" type would.
  5. sknabnoj

    sknabnoj Newbie

    Here is my two cents. The Brinkmann offset you are looking at is really not the greatest, it is very hard to control temps and the metal is very thin. With an offset you really need quality metal to be able to maintain and distribute heat. With that being said, it would be hard to find something like that in your budget, so I would go with the Brinkmann trailmaster VERTICAL smoker. Heat wants to rise so, even though the metal isn't super thick on this smoker either, physics is your friend here and a few mods will make this smoker perform very well while still giving you the "stick burner" feel. Not to mention the loads of room you have to smoke meat and the fact that you can hang sausage and ribs inside the chamber.

    I love the Kamado style grills but, the trade off their is space, you really won't be able to smoke as much in that kamado. Great performing grills though, and very versatile.

    My last suggestion would be to build a UDS. I love mine and find myself lighting up the UDS more often than any other smoker I have. For $300 you could build 2 or possible 3 if your frugal. Anyway, keep us posted on what you decide to do! Good Luck!
  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    For the set-it-and-forget-it of charcoal smokers you can buy a Weber 18.5" WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain) for $300. They are very easy to use, don't require any modifications to work, and produce some excelent BBQ. If you can stretch to $400 you can get the bigger 22.5" WSM - that's what I have.

    During summer weather I can run over 20 hrs. on a 20 lb. bag of charcoal at 250° with very little input from me. I can put a brisket on a midnight, go to bed for 6 or 7 hrs., get up check to make sure it's still running steady, then go about the rest of my day untill the brisket is done. Also if are limited on deck space it is very nice that the WSM's have a very small footprint, but due to the double racks they hold a lot of food!

Share This Page