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Shopping for a Smoker.

Shopping for a Smoker.
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  • Post #241 - December 13th, 2017, 1:51 pm
    Post #241 - December 13th, 2017, 1:51 pm Post #241 - December 13th, 2017, 1:51 pm
    What about just getting him a smoker box that he can use on the gas grill he already has? Obviously it won't do as well as a dedicated smoker, but it would come in well under your $150 limit.
  • Post #242 - December 13th, 2017, 2:33 pm
    Post #242 - December 13th, 2017, 2:33 pm Post #242 - December 13th, 2017, 2:33 pm
    nr706 wrote:What about just getting him a smoker box that he can use on the gas grill he already has? Obviously it won't do as well as a dedicated smoker, but it would come in well under your $150 limit.

    Great idea—that, along with GWiv’s book, so he could start reading up on the process to decide if it sounds like something he’d enjoy, seems like a good plan.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #243 - December 13th, 2017, 7:24 pm
    Post #243 - December 13th, 2017, 7:24 pm Post #243 - December 13th, 2017, 7:24 pm
    Actually.
    If he's anything like the guys I know...
    A great gift for ME, would not be the smoker itself. I need a year to hem and haw and kick tires (finally settled on a Kamodo, and my first brisket this year was about an 85% success, and I'm a pretty harsh judge.)

    A coupla books, and a BIG gift box of rubs from the Spice House, maybe some specialty fancy bbq sauces might get the ball rolling on his purchase, and leave you with a decent amount of money to spare*...











    Rib.
    Made you look :P
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #244 - December 14th, 2017, 7:51 am
    Post #244 - December 14th, 2017, 7:51 am Post #244 - December 14th, 2017, 7:51 am
    I had gotten a barrel smoker as an work anniversary gift, of the sort that's under $100, and it was a disaster: there was no means of adjusting the air flow and therefore no means of adjusting the temperature. It would run hot one cook, cold the next, and you're stuck with it. I bought my 18.5" WSM off Craigslist, from another LTHer as it turned out.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #245 - January 19th, 2018, 12:40 pm
    Post #245 - January 19th, 2018, 12:40 pm Post #245 - January 19th, 2018, 12:40 pm
    Get a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. Foolproof and you don't have to babysit the temperature all day. Works great.
  • Post #246 - January 19th, 2018, 1:47 pm
    Post #246 - January 19th, 2018, 1:47 pm Post #246 - January 19th, 2018, 1:47 pm
    +1 for the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. It's a great first smoker. It only costs $150, requires very little attention and even the inexperienced can make some wonderful BBQ. The convenience of an electric is unmatched, which means you'll likely use it more frequently than you would a charcoal or gas rig. If you decide you really enjoy BBQ, you can always upgrade.
  • Post #247 - January 19th, 2018, 3:59 pm
    Post #247 - January 19th, 2018, 3:59 pm Post #247 - January 19th, 2018, 3:59 pm
    egghead wrote:+1 for the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. It's a great first smoker. It only costs $150, requires very little attention and even the inexperienced can make some wonderful BBQ. The convenience of an electric is unmatched, which means you'll likely use it more frequently than you would a charcoal or gas rig. If you decide you really enjoy BBQ, you can always upgrade.


    have you tried the Amaze'n Pellet holder? Works well and you never have to add more chips/pellets.
  • Post #248 - January 19th, 2018, 4:01 pm
    Post #248 - January 19th, 2018, 4:01 pm Post #248 - January 19th, 2018, 4:01 pm
    Another positive experience for the Masterbuilt smoker. Echoing what has been said, it is my first smoker and is perfect for smoking with minimal supervision. As a novice smoker, I appreciate not having to tend to it and worry about temps. All I need to do is feed it wood chips and have a terrific piece of smoked meat by the end of the day.
  • Post #249 - January 19th, 2018, 4:16 pm
    Post #249 - January 19th, 2018, 4:16 pm Post #249 - January 19th, 2018, 4:16 pm
    Dlongs wrote:Another positive experience for the Masterbuilt smoker. Echoing what has been said, it is my first smoker and is perfect for smoking with minimal supervision. As a novice smoker, I appreciate not having to tend to it and worry about temps. All I need to do is feed it wood chips and have a terrific piece of smoked meat by the end of the day.


    These are sometimes disparagingly referred to as lazy-q because they offer a shortcut for the novice. The only downside is that you don't get into a Vulcan mind-meld they way you do with a conventional smoker where you have to be on top of things with some consistency and learn more about the smoking process and how to gauge your meat for done-ness. It's absolutely possible to learn well on an electric but the lazy convenience makes it less necessary.
  • Post #250 - January 19th, 2018, 7:50 pm
    Post #250 - January 19th, 2018, 7:50 pm Post #250 - January 19th, 2018, 7:50 pm
    I think you don't learn much about making bbq using an electric smoker. I've no doubt it turns out decent product but as far as learning the process, it's kind of a dead end. You've got to play with fire to learn bbq. As was posted above, grab copies of Low & Slow 1 and 2, and burn it up on a WSM!

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #251 - January 22nd, 2018, 10:42 am
    Post #251 - January 22nd, 2018, 10:42 am Post #251 - January 22nd, 2018, 10:42 am
    And my opinion is that pretending it's all that different is a bit self important. ;) Heat and smoke are heat and smoke. If you want to say that it's hard without the electric, you're right. But it tastes just as good. Less work = better, IMO.
  • Post #252 - January 22nd, 2018, 10:48 am
    Post #252 - January 22nd, 2018, 10:48 am Post #252 - January 22nd, 2018, 10:48 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I think you don't learn much about making bbq using an electric smoker. I've no doubt it turns out decent product but as far as learning the process, it's kind of a dead end. You've got to play with fire to learn bbq. As was posted above, grab copies of Low & Slow 1 and 2, and burn it up on a WSM!

    =R=


    I agree you probably don't learn as much with an electric smoker, but part of that is that you don't need to. I think of it in a similar vein as sous vide in some respects. You won't learn as much as far as doneness, timing, temps, etc but you can turn out a very good, perfectly cooked meal. Is the final product as good as traditional? Maybe, maybe not, but I (and my guests) have been pretty damn happy with the results and I have less failures to date because of it. Which of course is nice when you don't want to ruin a monster piece of meat :D
  • Post #253 - January 23rd, 2018, 4:50 pm
    Post #253 - January 23rd, 2018, 4:50 pm Post #253 - January 23rd, 2018, 4:50 pm
    +1 also on the WSM
    love everything about mine, except dealing with the water pan after the smoke
    love the food
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #254 - January 23rd, 2018, 5:06 pm
    Post #254 - January 23rd, 2018, 5:06 pm Post #254 - January 23rd, 2018, 5:06 pm
    Chitown B wrote:And my opinion is that pretending it's all that different is a bit self important. ;) Heat and smoke are heat and smoke. If you want to say that it's hard without the electric, you're right. But it tastes just as good. Less work = better, IMO.


    I couldn't disagree more. That's like saying a burger from McDonald's is just as good as a burger from, for example, Red Hot Ranch. They're both burgers, right? There's an obvious difference between meat cooked in an oven (which is what an electric smoker is) and meat cooked over a live fire (which is what a true smoker is). Just throwing in a couple of wood chips is hardly the same as cooking over real wood and charcoal.

    Of course, if you can't taste a difference, then what I am saying wouldn't make a lick of difference to you, but if you've got any kind of developed taste for BBQ, the difference between a smoker and an electric oven with wood chips is night and day. (And by you, I don't mean Chitown B in particular. I mean you in the general sense.)
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #255 - January 24th, 2018, 4:19 pm
    Post #255 - January 24th, 2018, 4:19 pm Post #255 - January 24th, 2018, 4:19 pm
    irisarbor wrote:+1 also on the WSM
    love everything about mine, except dealing with the water pan after the smoke
    love the food


    Wrap the water pan in foil before you start. It takes only a little work and is worth it. You don't need to wrap the outsides, just the insides where the water will sit. I get extra wide heavy duty foil for this purpose, but regular will work just fine if you piece it together.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #256 - January 25th, 2018, 9:28 am
    Post #256 - January 25th, 2018, 9:28 am Post #256 - January 25th, 2018, 9:28 am
    leek wrote:
    irisarbor wrote:+1 also on the WSM
    love everything about mine, except dealing with the water pan after the smoke
    love the food


    Wrap the water pan in foil before you start. It takes only a little work and is worth it. You don't need to wrap the outsides, just the insides where the water will sit. I get extra wide heavy duty foil for this purpose, but regular will work just fine if you piece it together.


    Same here
  • Post #257 - January 25th, 2018, 10:10 am
    Post #257 - January 25th, 2018, 10:10 am Post #257 - January 25th, 2018, 10:10 am
    I love you guys. I ended up not getting the smoker at Christmas due to fundage (or lack thereof) but his birthday is coming up in March. We also discussed this at Christmas and he's focused on a few things. I'm going to share this thread with him so that he can hear all of your good advice. I suspect i'm going to do a related to smoking present as suggested by seebee -- I wish I'd have seen that before Christmas! Although he seemed to like the wallet. Oldest daughter gets to choose the easy to please wallet!

    Anyhow -- if you have more to contribute, do so! I can't help but think this is a good thread for lots of folks and I'm still gathering evidence!

    Cheers to you all!
  • Post #258 - August 29th, 2020, 9:27 am
    Post #258 - August 29th, 2020, 9:27 am Post #258 - August 29th, 2020, 9:27 am
    Howdy!
    I'm thinking hard about buying an electric smoker. I have a host of reasons. I have a mind meld with my Kamodo for long cooks and I am pretty proficient with my Weber kettle for a few slabs of spares or small cooks for the fam.

    The issue is, that I want an electric for the vacation house, where I could actually trust a few other family members to use it. I have a weber kettle there that I load with spares in a rib rack, but as the family grows - the kids (all boys) are meat eating machines, and
    that standard kettle size isn't gonna be enough next year. I could get a jumbo, but, that would also mean that I'd be the only one smoking with it. An electric would just be so much simpler for others to use - set it and forget it.

    One of the fam members bought a cheap propane smoker model this year. The results on the table were pretty damn good, BUT, using it is an absolute hassle. Not sure if it is defective or not, but the flame goes out, and does not re-ignite. I didn't pry too much into the troubleshooting. They said they went through all of the suggestions, and it simply won't re-ignite as it should. They'll still use it, but with supreme prejudice, and lots of grumbling under their breath. Everyone agreed that the results on the table were really good tho. Over the entire summer, we only used it twice since it's such a hassle.

    Anyway, just wondering if anyone has any new suggestions for an electric. I see some love for one of the Masterbuilt products as an entry level. I want an easy to use, set it and forget it, big enough for at least 5-6 slabs at a time, big enough for a full packer (even though I know we'll prolly have to cut it in half,) big enough for a few pork butts at a time. I'd cap the budget at 300-ish (but easily expandable for the right reasons) for this one. Any new intel?
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #259 - August 29th, 2020, 9:43 am
    Post #259 - August 29th, 2020, 9:43 am Post #259 - August 29th, 2020, 9:43 am
    seebee wrote:I'd cap the budget at 300-ish (but easily expandable for the right reasons) for this one. Any new intel?

    Electric smoker?

    Spend $300 on cryovac racks of precooked ribs from Costco. Freeze, reheat in microwave as needed. Maybe a dash of l*quid smoke to boost flavor. You will save time and hassle with similar results.

    Sounds snarky, but of all types of "smokers" electric is the low end of the scale. Yes, of course, this is my opinion. I have fairly wide experience with this type of equipment, YMMV

    Of the set it and forget it type Traeger pellet cookers give the best, in context, results.
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #260 - August 29th, 2020, 10:19 am
    Post #260 - August 29th, 2020, 10:19 am Post #260 - August 29th, 2020, 10:19 am
    The snark is not lost on me.
    300 dollars of pre-cooked is probably 2 meals with these boys.
    There are a bunch of reasons I want a simple electric one. It will fill the niche, I think. That niche will not be greatest bbq, but more like, "acceptable, if made by people that have no interest in learning how to make it, but just eating it."
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #261 - August 31st, 2020, 7:34 am
    Post #261 - August 31st, 2020, 7:34 am Post #261 - August 31st, 2020, 7:34 am
    I just purchased my first pellet grill, more or less for the same reason you're seeking electric but also because we're down to cooking for 2 most of the time (not a single backyard barbecue this summer). The pellet aspect gives me simplicity as well as smoke when I want it. Here's a youtube peek (that's not me).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXi_7HIQdR0
  • Post #262 - September 1st, 2020, 5:52 am
    Post #262 - September 1st, 2020, 5:52 am Post #262 - September 1st, 2020, 5:52 am
    Is the general thought that propane is better than electric for these entry level, "set it and forget it" models?
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #263 - September 1st, 2020, 6:39 am
    Post #263 - September 1st, 2020, 6:39 am Post #263 - September 1st, 2020, 6:39 am
    seebee wrote:Is the general thought that propane is better than electric for these entry level, "set it and forget it" models?


    If you're looking for "set it and forget it" I'd probably go with electric since you won't have to worry about your electricity tank running dry mid-smoke.

    I switched from an electric smoker (Bradley) to a pellet grill (Camp Chef) last year and would not hesitate to recommend a pellet grill over an electric if at all possible.
    Cookingblahg.blogspot.com
  • Post #264 - September 1st, 2020, 7:38 am
    Post #264 - September 1st, 2020, 7:38 am Post #264 - September 1st, 2020, 7:38 am
    I'll look into the pellet grills, but this new smoker will be for some folks that are not familiar with bbq at all. They like to eat it, but they are only aware of using a gas grill as being bbq, or using a charcoal grill for burgers and brats. I'm pretty sure they will have no interest in tending to a fire and maintaining temp for long periods of time. They honestly read the directions on pasta boxes. Their meat grilling seasoning is Mcormick Garlic Salt and a dash of pepper, same with vegetable seasoning. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, I'm just saying they are set in their ways, mostly set in stone, which is not really a bad thing.

    How this thing would mostly be used:
    I'd prep and rub the meat the night before. Then someone else would smoke it the next day while I was at work. When we're at the vacation house, I leave early for work.
    OR
    I'd start the smoking before I left, and then come back at the end of the work day - 9 hours or so.
    Or -
    On weekends, I could do a long brisket / pork butt cook, and leave to go fishing or tubing, or whatever for a few hours on the lake

    I'm trying to move away from me being the only person that can produce BBQ, because that limits the fam's ability to have it to the weekends when I am not working, and I can tend to it. I'd also like to come home from work and have someone else's q once in a while, and hopefully it'll spark someone else to start being a bbqer. Everyone really liked the product that the cheap propane smoker put out, and the guy who bought it was pretty enthused using it for the first 5 or 6 times, but then grew super tired of having to re-ignite it so often. I think this is a good chance for me to get other ppl involved in making bbq, but if it's too much work, then I'll just be back to square one of ppl hinting and asking me when I'm going to bust out the weber for some ribs. In that case, I'll just wind up buying a bigger smoker, and still being the only one that will use it, on weekends only. I don't mind it, but there's other ppl that could be doing it 7 days a week if we had an easy way of doing it, even if the results are not optimum. (And I'd get to come home after work to some bbq!)
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #265 - September 1st, 2020, 10:05 am
    Post #265 - September 1st, 2020, 10:05 am Post #265 - September 1st, 2020, 10:05 am
    Pellet grill is essentially "set and forget." The full-size can hold about 20lbs of pellets and use around 1lb/hr. I have a portable-size that holds 4lbs, but you can easily refill while it's running and it uses about 0.5lb/hr at "smoke" setting.
  • Post #266 - November 10th, 2020, 2:09 pm
    Post #266 - November 10th, 2020, 2:09 pm Post #266 - November 10th, 2020, 2:09 pm
    Hi all,
    Looking for advice for what type of smoker would be a good starter for a neophyte. He is interested in learning how to smoke but has no experience. This is a master's degree completion graduation gift and $ and space considerations aren't the biggest factors. I guess I'm looking to hear if you'd suggest something like The Big Green Egg or if you'd recommend for a newbie (who we aren't sure will love this pastime) an electric smoker to start. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!
    Senorita P.
  • Post #267 - November 10th, 2020, 2:37 pm
    Post #267 - November 10th, 2020, 2:37 pm Post #267 - November 10th, 2020, 2:37 pm
    senoritap wrote:Hi all,
    Looking for advice for what type of smoker would be a good starter for a neophyte. He is interested in learning how to smoke but has no experience. This is a master's degree completion graduation gift and $ and space considerations aren't the biggest factors. I guess I'm looking to hear if you'd suggest something like The Big Green Egg or if you'd recommend for a newbie (who we aren't sure will love this pastime) an electric smoker to start. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!

    The Weber Smoky Mountain is available in three sizes. Hard to think of a better entry level smoker, especially because one can advance beyond that stage with it. I don't know from electric smokers, so I cannot comment on them.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #268 - November 10th, 2020, 2:42 pm
    Post #268 - November 10th, 2020, 2:42 pm Post #268 - November 10th, 2020, 2:42 pm
    senoritap wrote:Hi all,
    Looking for advice for what type of smoker would be a good starter for a neophyte. He is interested in learning how to smoke but has no experience. This is a master's degree completion graduation gift and $ and space considerations aren't the biggest factors. I guess I'm looking to hear if you'd suggest something like The Big Green Egg or if you'd recommend for a newbie (who we aren't sure will love this pastime) an electric smoker to start. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!


    Senoritap - I just merged another thread on the same topic into this one that has some recent recommendations. So you may see some new posts above that you didn't see when you originally posted.
  • Post #269 - November 10th, 2020, 5:06 pm
    Post #269 - November 10th, 2020, 5:06 pm Post #269 - November 10th, 2020, 5:06 pm
    Senoritap -
    I don't have a great rec for a specific product for you, but I can tell you I'm in the market for an electric smoker, or a propane smoker for my extended family, and a fancy schmancy Weber gas for me. Watch for Black Friday deals. Ace Hardware went kinda grill / smoker nutty last year.

    From experience, I have a Kamodo which is a Big Green Egg style thingy. It's heavy as shit, it looks weird, but it's pretty simple to use. It kinda fell into my lap, so I didn't get a WSM as my first. I've been using a Weber Kettle all my life, so I'm not unfamiliar with smoking. I'd suggest feeling your grad out just a little bit to see how lazy they are. Electric and Propane can be cheap, EASY, entry level starters. BGE's are pretty expensive pieces of lawn furniture if your grad decides they don't care. WSM's are not terribly expensive, but might take some learning time, probably not a lot if they are familiar with charcoal for indirect heat. I don't know anything about pellet grills other than what people have mentioned here, but they seem to be pretty positive remarks. Maybe a mid grade pellet would fit the bill for you? Youtube can probably help as well.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #270 - November 10th, 2020, 7:04 pm
    Post #270 - November 10th, 2020, 7:04 pm Post #270 - November 10th, 2020, 7:04 pm
    Ummmm....sooooo.. a lil' embarrassed over here.

    I had no idea these pellet grills were electric.
    I am soooo getting one for next spring for the fam.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.

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