Smoker Advice

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by djtech2k, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. djtech2k

    djtech2k Fire Starter

    Hello All.

    I just started smoking last summer and I definitely have the bug.  I have a friend that smokes, so I ask for his advice occasionally.

    I currently have 2 smokers, but I want a better experience so I want to buy a new one.  I currently have a vertical "smoke'n'grill" that I got from Lowes.  It was very cheap, and performs that way.  I also have an older smoker I bought years ago thats a charbroil.  Its a horizontal with firebox and its very heavy.  Again, its nothing special, but the heat is much easier to deal with in the firebox, plus its much bigger than the vertical.

    My experience in learning was that of struggle...LOL.  I struggled the most with maintaining temps.  With both smokers, I have to tend to the temp every 30mins or so.  Needless to say, it makes for a long day.  I am sure part of it is my inexperience, but part has to be the smoker.  I have to refill coals/lump at least a few times during a 6-10 hour smoke.  I have never done anything big because of the temp/heat struggle.  I normally had smoked a couple 4lb chickens along with a small brisket, or something relatively small (5lbs or less).  I tried a few pork butts, but they were never great.  I did ribs like 2x, but they were a little tuff.  Everything I did got better each time. 

    So here I am not trying to get ready to smoke since the season is getting warmer. 

    I want a good smoker that will not be such a struggle to maintain temps.  As I said, I dont need to cook anything massive, but I do like to have cookouts.  My buddy highly suggests the BGE.  I looked at it once, but the price of the smoker and all the accessories is a bit scary.  I was looking at the Lg or XL BGE.  I am still considering, but not 100% sure.

    On a side note, I currently live in a townhome with a 12x12 deck on the 2nd level that has no outside stair access.  I would prefer to put my smoker on that deck if possible.  Currently I have my small vertical on the deck, but the bigger horizontal is too big so its behind my house.  Needless to say I have to run a lot when I smoke on that smoker, but its the best one I have right now.  Location is a convenience thing for me, not deal breaker.

    I am looking for suggestions for the best smoker first and foremost, but am open to any and all advice on smoking or the equipment.  I am reading as much as I can, but there's definitely a lot to digest and learn :)

    Any suggestions are appreciated! 
  2. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Id suggest a WSM or Traeger. I like the GOSM too.

    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

  4. I have the Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5". I can't say enough good about it! It holds temps very well and has produced some very delish BBQ in the 8 months I have had it. Last weekend, I did a larger smoke (16 hours). I loaded up the charcoal ring and fired it up at 3am, had temps stable and meat on by 345 and went back to bed. Had my ET-732 wireless thermometer set to alert me if it went below 225 or above 250. Woke up at 930am and it had maintained a constant temperature the whole time. I did have to load about 30 extra bricks of charcoal at about the 13 hour mark, as the heat was starting to drop a bit.

    Here's a link to the WSM on Amazon:

    Here's a link to the ET-732 on Amazon:

    Good luck with whichever one you decide on. If you have any questions, you are definitely in the right place!

  5. djtech2k

    djtech2k Fire Starter

    Thanks for the advice so far. I hear a lot about the wsm. The egg is pricey but I hear it's amazing. I def want something that's a nice smoker. Does anyone have a good suggestion for a remote thermometer also? I have one for he meat, but not one that tells me the grill temp.
  6. djtech2k

    djtech2k Fire Starter

    Well I fired up my side by side smoker yesterday. Boy I forgot how much of a pain it can be to maintain temps in it. i must have used more than. A whole bag of coal. Food was pretty good but it was a lot of work.

    I am still on the prowl for a new smoker. My buddy has the bge and loves it. I am always afraid of the vertical style because i am afraid i will have to reload coals, but my buddy says it's never necessary in the bge.

    The convenience of an electric or propane smoker does sound nice but i worry about the flavor and moistness of the meats.

    what's the deal with the pellet smokers? are they good and are they expensive? I know i am all over the place but i am hooked on smoking and u can't wait to get a good smoker so i can do it more often.
  7. djtech2k

    djtech2k Fire Starter

    As I have been reading as much as I can about all smokers, I have been trying to learn about electric and propane smokers since I was only considering charcoal.  So I started to look at this model you suggested.  It looks nice, but I am not sure how the smoke works on electrics.  I see the Bradleys burn those discs, but what about these Masterbuilts?  Whats the AMNPS all about?

    Honestly, I am a little concerned about the quality/flavor/tenderness of using an electric smoker so any experience on that would be helpful too.
  8. missed-em

    missed-em Smoke Blower

    Believe Chef JJ - I have an MES and it makes great BBQ - You can use the wood chip trey it comes with and have good results, or go with the add on like the AMNPS.  Nice, plus in your sitation (second floor deck) is its electric and generally gives your neighbors fewer things to complain about and would be easy to get up there.
  9. heyer5

    heyer5 Meat Mopper

    WSM 18.5 or 22"

    Yeah, it's a charcoal smoker which can lead to having to tend to it a bit more than electric or gas, but I love mine.  It was my first smoker purchase (the 18.5") and I love it.  I have done several long smokes including a few over nighters with little to no worry.  It works well and is highly recommended by a LOT of people on here.  I only wish is that I went with the bigger model, but I guess there is always next time!
  10. onoku

    onoku Smoke Blower

    I have a WSM 18.5 and it has been great maintaining temps (at least over a 6 hour period). I have yet to try out a shoulder yet, so I don't have data on longer smokes.
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hey Dj, Put your fears aside...Electric kicks a$$! You can run them for PENNIES compared to the several $ cost of Charcoal or Propane...The MES will use wood chips from any where instead of the Pucks that are only made by one company. The MES is super well insulated and has a good seal so it retains moisture and heat extremely well. I and many others here get consistently great moist, super tender, flavor packed Q with minimal tending, every 30-40 minutes to add Chips. If you go with Todds A-MAZE-N AMNPS pellet smoker, for less than a $1 you get 10 hours+ of continuous smoke for those overnite Butts and Briskets. Lastly for the cost of the EGG you could get ...1 MES 40, a 1HP Meat Grinder, a 10 LB Sausage Stuffer and enough meat to keep you busy all weekend...JJ

  12. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    WSM all the way! [​IMG]

    I have used the 22.5" WSM for several years now and have gotten great results. I can maintain a 250° chamber temp. for over 20 hrs. on a single load of charcoal (provided the outside temp. isn't super cold or windy). The WSM is as close to set it and foreget it as you can get with a charcoal smoker.

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