Newbie Question, what Grill to get (Entry Level)

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by thedish, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. thedish

    thedish Newbie

    I am totally new to the whole smoking scene, I'm quite familiar with direct Charcoal grilling, but for my birthday my wife wants to buy me a new grill. I've had my eye on a Barrel style with a fire box to do both grilling and smoking (the char-broil, Char Griller etc. Whatever is at every Home Depot, Lowe's and anywhere else that sells grills) I've done a lot of research and have read a lot of mixed reviews. I'm just looking to buy an entry level Grill/Smoker (horizontal offset, spending around $100-150) is it even worth picking up one of these grills or should I hold off for something better? Thanks!
  2. I recommend to anyone just getting into smoking to look at the WSM. They are very easy to use and produce to great bbq and they will last a long long time. The cost is a little more than what you are looking to spend ( around 250-299 for the 18.5) but you will get a quality product that may last you forever. The problem with the cheap offsets are that they leak quite a bit and are very difficult to maintain temps unless you are willing to do quite a bit of modifications. They are also usually pretty thin and are subject to rusting and burnout.

  3. cricky101

    cricky101 Smoke Blower

    If you want to grill and smoke, other than something like a kamado-style cooker like a Big Green Egg (not in your stated price range) a Weber kettle would do the trick. I use mine for regular grilling all the time, and use it for smoking when I don't want to break out the regular smoker (a weber smokey mountain). I've done whole chickens, multiple racks of ribs, whole briskets and pork shoulder all on the Weber kettle.
  4. I second the Weber Kettle for a good entry level.....  I have one of these    My 22.5 regular kettle finally gave up the ghost after about twenty years so I upgraded to this.  I grill chicken, fish, burgres and steaks on it.  I have also done 12 hour butts.  The long slow cooks take a lot of monitoring, which is a great excuse to sit on the deck and drink beer all day.  For long cooks, a good thermo is a must.  The one in the lid tells you the temp at the top of the lid, you need one at grill level and one in the meat.  A little research here will tell you which to get. (Maverick 72)
  5. mike91mr

    mike91mr Newbie

    I started with the Char-griller with side fire box, for the same reason you are looking at it.  I wanted a nice size grill with the ability to smoke, and I definitely made good use of it both grilling and smoking.  It does leak, and it takes a lot of attention to maintain temps, even after I spent some time modding it.  Eventually I learned to control the temperature swings, or at least predict them, and made a lot of great food with it.

    A friend started smoking with the Weber Smokey Mountain, and it is a huge difference in how it maintains temperatures.  You can pour in your charcoal and leave it unattended for hours and it will just keep going.  The Char-griller is nowhere near as consistent.  That said, you can't grill on the WSM.  I also didn't like the smaller smoking space, and having to remove the top grate to get to the bottom. 

    If I had to do it again, I would just get one of the big Weber Kettles.  Grilling plus smoking.  Just make sure you get the charcoal basket, and a hinged cooking grate (so you can get to the charcoal while cooking). 
  6. I have a Chargriller Duo. I made a bunch of mods to it and it works quite well. I really like having the gas grill next to it. Very convenient. It is old school smoking though. You do have to babysit it and watch the temps. Once you get used to it it ain't a big deal. I think it was a pretty good deal for the price.
  7. thedish

    thedish Newbie

    Thanks everyone for the help. I was really leaning towards the Weber Kettle grill, when I checked out craigslist and was able to secure a nice Brinkmann. Can't wait to start smoking

  8. That oughta work. Double check your thermometers in boiling water before smoking any meat. You be glad you did.
  9. thedish

    thedish Newbie

    Stupid question, but is there a particular way to pop the thermometers out without damaging them or the grill? Like I said stupid question, I assume you just pop them out, but rather be safe than sorry...
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  10. Should be a nut you can unscrew on the back of it inside.
  11. That's a nice entry level smoker that will do the job, but you should look into just getting a new accurate temp gauge and mod it so it won't be as problematic.  I do enjoy grilling as well so next to my WSM is a nice webber kettle.  Takes up a lot more space on the patio, but is by far the best of both worlds.
  12. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good job!

    I was going to recommend that you start haunting craigslist.  That way you don't have too much in it if you don't like it and can put it back on for someone else. 

    If you look up my posts, you will see that I asked almost the same identical question here about 6-8 months ago right down to how much I wanted to spend.  I wound up spending more because I'm getting long in the tooth and have a few health issues which makes tending a loooooonnnngg  smoke out of the question.  There is no way that I would ever be able to maintain a heat the way smoked meats deserve; so at the wife's suggestion, I broke down and bought an MES40 at Sams Club.   I also got Todd Johnson's AMNPS after the first smoke trying to keep the chip burner making smoke.  If you get past the Brinkmann or want to look at something easier to control temps on, take a look at the MES.  It is great value for money.
  13. thedish

    thedish Newbie

    what mods do you recommend? I jumped on this not only because it was $50, but because I noticed it already had a chimney at grate level, two thermometers at grate level among a few other things I would of had to do to something like a entry level Char-Broil. The person I bought it from was a veteran smoker who grew up in Texas and was selling her rig since they had to move and couldn't take it with her. I've read some links here about mods to offset smokers like deflector plate and tuning plates. What would be worth my time looking into doing? I plan on just trying a few "dry runs" before I try cooking some meat just to practice keeping a consistent temp, Should be interesting
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012

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