Smoke eater going to buy his first smoker and need advice

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by halliganbar, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. halliganbar

    halliganbar Newbie

    Hello,

    I'm finally breaking down and going to purchase my first smoker.  I have a goal in mind (See below),  I've done a lot of research, and I'm down to asking for personal tips.  My list of things I'm looking for in a smoker is below.  The research I've done seems to lead me towards an electric smoker.  However, just like Abraham Lincoln said.  Don't believe everything you read on the internet.  You guys can be the judge on what would be best.  My cooking and grilling experience is pretty extensive but I have avoided smokers until now because of the time sink and don't want to ruin the meat incase I get hit out for a call and gone for an extended period of time  (Example, got hit out for an MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident) this past Wednesday night at 1740hrs.  It turned out to be a double fatal and I didn't get home till 2300hrs.  Thank you in advance for your opinions. 

    1)  Something I can babysit.  Nothing like a cold beer while grilling so why not while I'm smoking.

    2) Also something I can walk away from for 3 or 4 hours incase I get a fire call.

    3) I can instruct my wife what to do if I'm gone longer.  (I know I'm asking a lot here.)

    4) Relatively easy to clean but not a million parts.

    5) Reliable company that I can continue to order parts from if need be.

    6) Idiot proof.  Not too many bells and whistles

    7) Any extra items I would need or be very helpful.

    8) $700 budgeted

    Meat:

         Any suggestions on beginner meat to do that is forgiving.  I'm assuming a pork shoulder.

    Goal:

         My whole family always comes to my place for the holidays.  I live in the country and everyone loves coming to my place.  This year for Christmas, I'd like to smoke a Prime Rib.

    Thanks a bunch for any help!!!

    Jonathan
     
  2. bowlbq

    bowlbq Fire Starter

    perhaps a pellet smoker or a combination of a uds with a BBQ guru
     
  3. I have had a wood reverse flow, MES, and a PG100. After smoking on all three I would recommend the pellet grill. The Green Mountain or the REC TEC would be my recommendation. The other addition you should probably make would be a good thermometer for measuring the IT of your meat and can also measure the ambient temperature of your smoker. Many of these thermometers have alarms you can set for your IT which if you're called out can alert your wife to pull the meat.
     
  4. I've been doing tri tip pretty easy I just stated smoking in June and it comes out good every time with different marinades and injections
     
  5. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Fanatic

    If your not dead set on an electric I would recommend a Weber Smokey Mountain(WSM). If your cooking for a large family then the 22 would fit the bill. No moving parts, great customer service, well built and will last a lifetime. Once seasoned it's pretty much set-it-and-forget-it. Plenty of people here have them so there's more then enough information floating around to answer any questions. Price for the 22 is about 400 dollars. Which leaves you plenty of money for food.

    Chris 
     
  6. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Jonathan, welcome to SMF!  Glad you're here and looking to join the growing ranks of smoking enthusiasts.  You have a very clear set of criteria.  I'm a bit biased by my equipment (Weber Smokey Mountain, aka WSM), but I try to be objective, but often don't succeed.   

    1)  Something I can babysit.  Nothing like a cold beer while grilling so why not while I'm smoking.  There's nothing better for baby sitting than an offset stick burner or offset charcoal smoker.  Unfortunately, those smokers really won't fit #3.  A Weber Kettle, especially a 26.5" version ($350), can be set up to run for 8-12 hours, is nice to baby sit, and should fit #3.  

    2) Also something I can walk away from for 3 or 4 hours incase I get a fire call.  Like mentioned above, the 22.5" WSM ($399) fits this like a glove, especially when you use the correct charcoal like Royal Oak Ridge briquettes.  Avoid Kingsford Blue Bag Original, which are really formulated for short grilling.  They can be used in the WSM, but temps vary more greatly than the RO.  The WSM doesn't take much baby sitting, if any, but sure makes a good beer companion.  My bias is showing on more than one point in this answer. 

    3) I can instruct my wife what to do if I'm gone longer.  (I know I'm asking a lot here.)  Once again, the WSM.  You can use the extra money in your $700 budget to buy a nice wireless thermometer, like a TP20 ($70).  If the chamber temps change by say 50F because you used the Kingsford charcoal, it is no problem at all to have your wife adjust the vents slightly. 

    4) Relatively easy to clean but not a million parts.  Any Kettle or WSM.  

    5) Reliable company that I can continue to order parts from if need be.  Weber's customer service is fantastic.

    6) Idiot proof.  Not too many bells and whistles.  Kettle or WSM.  No mods are needed either.  Some are available, but they are pretty much just bling. 

    7) Any extra items I would need or be very helpful.  Definitely a wireless thermometer ($70 max), an instant read thermometer ($8 to $100), and heat resistant silicone gloves for handling hot pans and meat ($20-$30).    

    8) $700 budgeted.  By now, you get the idea. 

    Meat:

         Any suggestions on beginner meat to do that is forgiving.  I'm assuming a pork shoulder.  Actually, chicken thighs are even more forgiving, but pork shoulder is a great meat to start with.  A brisket "Point", not the full brisket or a flat, is just about as forgiving as the pork shoulder. 

    Goal:

         My whole family always comes to my place for the holidays.  I live in the country and everyone loves coming to my place.  This year for Christmas, I'd like to smoke a Prime Rib.  With the 22.5" WSM you can easily fit two 7 bone prime ribs, maybe even larger.  No worries about failure either. 

    Thanks a bunch for any help!!!  You're welcome!  My bias leaked out all over the place, but those like me with the WSM will back up what I said. 

    Jonathan  Ray
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  7. Being fairly new to smoking, I second the Weber Smokey Mountain.  It is so idiot proof and easy to use!  It's something you can babysit with a beer or walk away from for a while if need be.  Once the vents are adjusted to maintain the temp it'll stay there for quite a while without having to readjust.  Although with any cook there are a lot of variables that will affect the temp and I've had to add more coals to get it back up to temp but that'd be with any smoker I think.  But it is really reliable and I think really easy to use so if your wife needed to all she'd really have to do is adjust the vents.

    I think it is also really easy to clean so long as you don't let the fat burn into the water pan.  I learned that the hard way in forgetting to keep that somewhat full and it all evaporated.  Other than that all the pieces (only being the 2 grates and water pan) clean incredibly easily.  And when the coals are cool I just empty it all into a trash bag and I'm ready for my next cook.
     
  8. [​IMG]   Good morning and welcome to the forum from a nice warm day here in East Texas, and the best site on the web.   Lots of               great people with tons of information on just about everything.

            Gary
     
  9. halliganbar

    halliganbar Newbie

    Well,

         The results are in.  Not by my choosing.  The wife knows I've been talking about getting into smoking and heard me talking about a smoker and the electric as in my original post.  She went and bought me an electric smoker without my knowing and surprised me.  She got me a Masterbuilt smoker.  So this is what I have to go with because there is no way in hell I'm telling her to take it back.  Husbands, are aware of what NOT to do.

    Thank you all for your response.  It is very much appreciated.  Now it's time to smoke something in which I did.  I did a pork shoulder and it turned out fantastic.
     
    kcsmokefan83 likes this.
  10. bowlbq

    bowlbq Fire Starter

    Congrats on the new smoker.
     

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