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mc2mens
distinguished member(3311)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
01/25/2015 04:38PM  
I am interested in purchasing a meat smoker and would like to hear what your preference is in smoker type and why - charcoal/wood, electric, gas?
 
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01/25/2015 06:51PM  
Good topic. I'm very interested too. I do really like cooking a turkey breast on my Weber charcoal grill. Takes about 3 hours, and they are awesome! Usually put some red oak or black cherry wood in the coals as it is cooking for some smoke flavor.

Tomster
 
babaoriley7
distinguished member (155)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
01/27/2015 09:31AM  
I've done a fair amount of smoking. First on a cheap electric vertical smoker. It was a piece of junk, but turned out some really tasty bbq pork. I could only use it on warm days otherwise it wouldn't get up to temp. The seals around the unit were not even close to providing a good seal so it had a lot of heat loss.

When that one died mid-smoke I actually had decent luck using my weber kettle. You have to do a lot of fiddling to get the air intake just right so it doesn't get too hot, but it can be done.

I've also used a weber smoky mountain. If you go that route, think about getting the smaller one unless you are going to be producing prodigious amounts of smoked meat. These are fiddly and require a lot of attention.

I've since replaced the old electric with a new cabinet style smoker. I haven't figure out this one yet, so far the flavor has seemed off, kind of burnt. I need to experiment with rubs and such and hopefully I'll get this thing going to a point where I'm happy with the product, because it is the closest to set it and forget it.
 
cgchase
distinguished member (215)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
01/27/2015 04:31PM  
I first started smoking on my Weber Kettle. It works pretty well for quick smokes like chicken, turkey breast or even baby backs.

I eventually upgraded my way through a few different smokers before settling on the Smokey Mountain Cooker. This is a great smoker, IMO. Using the minion method of firing the coals, it requires very little attention and can run for 10-12 hours without adding more fuel.

Smoking meat is just one of those things. It seems really simple and it is . .but there's a subtle art to it. I'm mostly competent with the smoker but far from excellent.

Start with easy stuff when learning to smoke. Chicken, baby backs ribs and pork butts usually come out great all the time. Spare ribs, beef ribs and brisket are much less forgiving.

One of my favorite things to smoke is a whole lamb shoulder. I get it from my supermarket butcher - they keep em in the back and they're cheap! Slather with a paste made from garlic and fresh chiles, smoke for 10-12 hours, serve as tacos or mexican "plate" w/ rice and black beans. Put a pan of water under the roast and catch all the drippings and use them to make a birria so good your Mexican friends will slap their mammas - all the way back in Mexico, lol.

Make sure and throw a couple fatties on there, too.
http://www.grilling24x7.com/fatty.shtml

Minion method instructions:
http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/fireup2.html

 
dblwhiskey
distinguished member (257)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
01/27/2015 09:05PM  
My first smoker was a Weber (if memory serves me right) it was a vertical type and could be used as a smoker or a grill. Load it up with charcoal and wood chunks that had been soaked and let it go. If you were smoking something for a longer period of time you would need to check and add charcoal as needed. It finally rusted through and was thrown out.

My next was a Brinkman vertical smoker. Much more heavily made and it smoked pretty much the same as the Weber. The differences were the Weber had a lid you lifted off to put the meat on or to take it off and the Brinkman had a door that opened to do that instead. The Brinkman also had more racks so it would hold more.

Both of the charcoal ones worked okay and I will say I enjoyed using them but they did require a bit of tending to ensure the temperature stayed constant and things didn't get burnt.

I have now the pleasure of owning a Masterbilt Smoker. I have the 40 model (which I believe refers to the height) and if that is bigger than you need they also make a 30 model. Its about the size of a college dorm fridge and very similar in design. The door does have a window to see in but after a few hours of smoking it becomes useless. It has 4 very nice sized racks and there is a water/drip pan just below the bottom rack. There is another drip pan on the very bottom of the inside compartment. All of these are removable for cleaning. This is an electric smoker and I will say it it has been the best so far in both my wife and my opinions. Why do I say that? It because it so easy and convenient to use and so far has consistently turn out great smoked meats. I have used it for jerky, ribs, pork chops, chicken, and many pork butts and beef briskets. I still need to try some salmon and I'm looking to get the cold smoker attachment to do cheese. This past summer I did 30 pork butts (they are actually Boston butts which is really a shoulder) for the local Thrashermens event. I could put 8 in at a time, I would set my temp and set my time, then load the dry wood chips in through loading port on the side and away it would go. Come back every 30-40 minutes to add more wood chips which I did for about 4 hours (the first 3-4 hours is about all the meat will take for smoke) and then I went to bed. 8 hours later take them off, wrap them in foil put them in a cooler to hold the heat and finish cooking. After that remove and shred for pulled pork add sauce, eat and enjoy. This year I will do it again but the thrashermen group has bought their own smoker like mine so I'll do 16 butts one night and 16 the next afterwhich my wife and I can leave for the bdub. Hope this helps to answer your questions.
 
mc2mens
distinguished member(3311)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
01/28/2015 07:31AM  
thanks for all of your replies! the information is enlightening!
 
CrookedPaddler1
distinguished member(1363)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
01/28/2015 08:45AM  
I recently purchased an old refrigerator that was converted into a smoker. Can't wait to try it out!
 
dblwhiskey
distinguished member (257)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
01/28/2015 08:04PM  
quote CrookedPaddler1: "I recently purchased an old refrigerator that was converted into a smoker. Can't wait to try it out!"

Look it over closely before you use it and check the insulation. Did they leave the foam insulation in it or did they pull it out and replace it with something better suited for heat. I've done some reading on how to convert a refrigerator to a smoker and that is one of the issues that comes up.
 
yogi59weedr
distinguished member(2643)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
01/29/2015 11:14AM  
I prefer my electric smoker.. more control over charcoal. ..
 
01/29/2015 01:23PM  
I have charcoal and gas. I prefer the charcoal smoker hands down. I LOVE to cook, and I feel it gives me better control of the process.
I take my cooking very seriously, and have had food from every kind of smoker out there, and I will always choose charcoal.
 
01/29/2015 01:26PM  
quote CrookedPaddler1: "I recently purchased an old refrigerator that was converted into a smoker. Can't wait to try it out!"


Would love to see that beast! Post a pic!!
 
plainspaddler
distinguished member (310)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/01/2015 05:20PM  
Look at a Big Green Egg. I have a large and after having it for a year and a half I can't eat BBQ anywhere else but at home or my neighbors (he has one too). You can cold smoke in them too if you want to do cheese,salt, nuts and things like that. They are spendy but I looked at all the grills I have bought and figured I'd be ahead of the game in the long run. They have a lifetime warranty on the ceramics. They are a lump charcoal only grill/smoker. Be careful though...they become cult like just like CCS gear in the paddling world!

Mike
 
Freebs
senior member (72)senior membersenior member
  
02/03/2015 06:23PM  
Just like plainspaddler I own an XL Big Green Egg. Best all around cooker on the market. I started with an electric rig and and it was useless 4-5 months of the year. Couldn't keep in heat. Moved to a propane cabinet and it worked better. Wife bought me the BGE for a gift and I've never looked back. I can cook pizzas at +500F or it will hold 225F for 12-15 hours in January, when doing a butt or brisket. For the Superbowl, I cooked two racks of ribs, opened the vents and cooked a dozen wings, opened them some more and finished with a tri-tip. Oh, and in between, I made some ABT's. If you can swing the price, give it a look.
 
jeroldharter
distinguished member(1530)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/03/2015 10:14PM  
Big Green Egg, no contest.

If you just want to smoke, you could buy a cheap electric or gas smoker and be satisfied. But if you want to do everything from long low-temp smokes to high temp pizzas the Big Green Egg is hard to beat.
 
neutroner
distinguished member (420)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/04/2015 07:34AM  
Hi,

I have used a BBQ with a wood pan, and thermometer; it was OK. Still use it at times.

I used a round style electric smoker, I liked it, it fit a turkey and every thing else just fine. But, Temperature control was by opening and closing a door.

I presently use a "master Built electric smoker. It is electric with digital temperature control. I also like it because it can use wood chips, chunks, branches, or any small wood item. Lots of racks for loading smoker.

The above cost went up with each choice. But I am happy with my present smoker.
 
CrookedPaddler1
distinguished member(1363)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/04/2015 09:09AM  
quote dblwhiskey: "
quote CrookedPaddler1: "I recently purchased an old refrigerator that was converted into a smoker. Can't wait to try it out!"

Look it over closely before you use it and check the insulation. Did they leave the foam insulation in it or did they pull it out and replace it with something better suited for heat. I've done some reading on how to convert a refrigerator to a smoker and that is one of the issues that comes up. "


all of the insulation has been pulled out, it is basically down to the outside walls. Looks ready to use.
 
mc2mens
distinguished member(3311)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/04/2015 07:50PM  
quote plainspaddler: "Look at a Big Green Egg. I have a large and after having it for a year and a half I can't eat BBQ anywhere else but at home or my neighbors (he has one too). You can cold smoke in them too if you want to do cheese,salt, nuts and things like that. They are spendy but I looked at all the grills I have bought and figured I'd be ahead of the game in the long run. They have a lifetime warranty on the ceramics. They are a lump charcoal only grill/smoker. Be careful though...they become cult like just like CCS gear in the paddling world!


Mike"


The Big Green Egg looks awesome, but so spendy $$$$
 
jeroldharter
distinguished member(1530)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/04/2015 08:18PM  
The Big Green Egg is expensive, but it lasts forever and the company backs it up. Plus it takes the place of multiple other devices. It is one of those things that is worth the money, especially if you like meat and consider the expense of ingredients for cooks.
 
mc2mens
distinguished member(3311)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/08/2015 10:30PM  
Thanks for all of your input. My girlfriend bought me a new smoker this weekend. She got me a Smoke Hollow Electric Smoker. I'm really jazzed. Smoked some ribs, chicken and salmon today with hickory and apple wood chips. So good, and easy to use. I'm looking forward to smoking more.
 
MNDan
distinguished member (214)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/12/2015 02:58PM  
A better alternative to the BGE is the Broil King Keg - it's also cheaper while being more durable and efficient. It shares the same dimensions as the large BGE, though comes with a nice additional raised grate which doubles the cooking area.

I use mine to cover anything from smoked salmon at 180F to pizzas at 700F - it does it all! A keg plus a IQ110 and some good lump (Rockwood or Ozark Oak are among the best - get it from FireCraft.com) will give you one of the most versatile setups around.

And as an extra bonus - you can transport it anywhere you like on your trailer hitch!

http://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/15029-taking-the-big-steel-keg-on-the-road/

Here is mine smoking some pork shoulder at a friend's cabin - love the portability!

 photo 8479307256_1081afb327_b.jpg

 
riverrunner
distinguished member(1732)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
02/12/2015 06:08PM  
always made ours out of an old refrigerator and a hot plate
 
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