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Old 06-14-2011, 09:14 PM   #1
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Default Good for starting out?

I'm looking to get my first smoker:

http://www.amazon.com/Char-Broil-Offset-American-Gourmet-Charcoal/dp/B00365FI9Y/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1308085953&sr=8-2

My cousin has been using this for years and recommended it, but I want more opinions. I'm limited by space (no backyard and limited garage space), so I want to keep my investment down but still get some quality.

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Old 06-15-2011, 12:38 AM   #2
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I've got the same smoker. Had it for about 4 years now. It's on it's last legs these days but it's worked great. I haven't taken the best care of it so it's my fault. Good value for the money.

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Old 06-15-2011, 12:58 AM   #3
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I always recommend checking craigslist in your area too if you have a decent sized vehicle. I found the same unit but a couple of years old in great shape for $60. I like it a lot though, and they can be modified to increase their consistency.

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Old 06-15-2011, 01:10 AM   #4
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What sort of modifications are you referring to? Definitely interested.

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Old 06-15-2011, 01:42 AM   #5
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Most of the mods I have seen revolve around sealing gaps and cracks in the units to hold in more smoke. Also adding a pan where the smokebox connects to dissipate the heat more evenly. From what I have read, these types of smokers can have a 50 degree temp difference between sides, but modifying them a bit can change that to a 10 degree difference.

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Old 06-15-2011, 10:43 AM   #6
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I've seen guys put some bricks in the bottom to help dissipate the heat, also put a computer fan mounted on the air inlet on the smoke box side.

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Old 06-15-2011, 02:55 PM   #7
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I would highly recommend that you either build a UDS or spend a little than what you are looking at and buy a Weber Smokey Mountain. They are really the two best options in the >$500 range.

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Old 06-15-2011, 03:01 PM   #8
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What is a UDS? My main concern is that when I move and have a yard, I am going to upgrade either way, so I'd rather spend less money now based on the limited space I have to store whatever I buy.

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Old 06-15-2011, 03:07 PM   #9
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It is pretty much a 55gal drum that is used upright as a smoker. It only takes drilling a few holes and screwing a couple bolts to do. Hardest part is usually finding the drum. It would also be cheaper and take up less space than what you are currently looking at.

You would probably be very happy with either the UDS or WSM and most likely won't want to upgrade unless you start cooking a ton of food at once. They both will hold temp very steady for many many hours without you messing with it.

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Old 06-15-2011, 03:26 PM   #10
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My wife just got me the exact same smoker for my birthday 3 weeks ago. Word of advise: if you like to smoke meats, BBQ frequently, and not have to maintain you equipment - don't buy this. She got it from walmart for $168 and it took me 1 1/2 hours to assemble, not that bad cause I'm excited and like the way it looks. Next night (before memorial day) I started smokinig 10 racks of ribs. It puts out alot of smoke and heat, smoke excapes from everywhere not just the stack. I lost one rack of ribs next to the opening where the firebox opens into the main chamber because of excess heat, oh well it took one for the team I can live with that. 20lbs of chicken, 30 burers, and 40 hot dogs later now the disappointment comes. The grate where the firebox is that holds the wood up completely softened and formed to the shape of the fire box, the charcoal tray for the main chamber does not stay assembled without some serious tweaking and jerryrigging, the heat guage is just that, it goes from warm-ideal-hot, no temps at all. It's a pain in the but to clean the fire box out, the racks attract every little thing.

All in all it's mine and it does its job. Would I ask for again, never. Would I buy again, HELL NO. That's my honest opinion

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