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Old 08-05-2013, 02:29 AM   #1
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Default Help Choosing a Smoker for a Newbie

Like many, my family and I really enjoy grilling and BBQ. This past weekend we had fantastic smoked ribs and are now looking to purchase a smoker. Originally thinking it was going to be an easy purchase I'm really nowhere closer with deciding with what to buy.

I certainly cannot justify the Big Green Egg, or similar, for a first go-around; however, I don't want to spend $100 on a POS when spending $300 will give a quality product that will keep everyone happy. I'd appreciate positive and negative reviews for your equipment - I'm currently considering the Brinkmann Smoke 'N Grill (~$80) and the Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 inch (~$300).

Many thanks in advance for taking time to give input.

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Old 08-05-2013, 02:34 AM   #2
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Do you want electric, charcoal, gas, or pellet fuel. I use charcoal and electric. I have a masterbuilt electric and a home made charcoal. I prefer the flavor of charcoal over electric but the convince and easy-to-use properties of the electric make it a good choice also.

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Old 08-05-2013, 02:40 AM   #3
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Sorry, excellent observation! I originally was looking for electric for convenience, but decided charcoal would deliver the better end product. I'm open to change and happy to be convinced otherwise.

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Old 08-05-2013, 02:57 AM   #4
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I have a Treager electric pellet smoker. Love it! Turn it on, throw some meat on and sit there and drink beer all day!

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:32 AM   #5
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Get the Weber Smokey Mountain. I have the 18.5" model and it is so easy to use and creates excellent food. I was going back and forth on what to get but finally dropped the cash when there was a coupon that worked and got it for around $270. I have yet to screw up any food it's that easy

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:41 AM   #6
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With my electric I can come home from work turn it on, thaw a couple chicken breasts and have them ready to eat by 6:30. I can also throw a pork butt on it for 12-14 hours and not worry about leaving the house for a few minutes to do something. I do love my charcoal pit though, throw some pecan logs on there and let it go.

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:49 AM   #7
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Real men build their own smokers.

My brother and I built a Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS) out of a 55 Gallon drum earlier this summer and have used it a number of times with great success. We have a two rack setup and have down multiple racks of ribs and pork shoulders at the same time.

Yes it requires work and effort but hey, so does making amazing beer.

There are plans all over the internet for UDS and the cost is around $100-$150 depending on what you want to do to it.

Like most charcoal smokers they require attention but at the end of the day you get to say you built the very smoker you used to smoke the food. Its quite rewarding.

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:53 AM   #8
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Don't buy the $150 one at Lowes that runs off propane. I bought one and its garbage. It won't put out enough heat and leaks smoke like a sieve.

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:54 AM   #9
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I own a BGE - but if I was doing it over again and budget minded - WSM! Seems like a whole lot of bang for your buck... plus tons of info out there on usage. If you have google, you should have no trouble mastering the WSM in a short time.

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Old 08-05-2013, 04:29 AM   #10
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I have been using smokers of many different style and heat options. I recently purchased a Masterbuilt XL 40. This is a huge smoker! 1330 square inches of rack standard and room for more. Mine is propane powered, the MES 30, is the electric version, and great in it's own right. Like many smokers, tweaks can be done to improve their usage. I paid 199.99 at Amazon, and by signing up for Prime, I got two day no charge shipping. By only using the flame intensity w/o any mods, I can hold temps from 160 F through 300 F. The only time I need to open the smoker is to put more water in the water pan. I suggest you go to "Smokingmeatforums.com" There is wealth of info there, and opinions on probably every smoker/bbq made. Personally, i now prefer propane to electric, the electric may require less tending to sometimes, but i can't always have electricity out camping/etc.

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