Best smoker for the money

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by camg, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. camg

    camg Fire Starter

    I'm looking into getting a new smoker. What's the best smoker for the money. Looking around 300 or less.
  2. WSM or a UDS.
  3. shoebe

    shoebe Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I have a WSM and love it
  4. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I looked at both the WSM and the Pit Barrel Cooker I went with the WSM as I was a little worried about hanging meat which is most likely unfounded.
  5. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Once had WSM and it worked really well. It held heat very steady after I got a good handle on it. It was user friendly and really easy to use. I think it's an awesome way to start and a very good unit for the money.
  6. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have a wsm and a pit barrel because I am a degenerate outdoor cooker buyer haha. Both are worth the money and produce great results. I think the WSM is a bit more versatile but the pit barrel can cook a lot more food because of the hanging thing. All depends what you're looking for.
  7. I have an electric, a Trager 075 and a UDS 30. If I could keep only one it would be the UDS. Admittedly I'm still learning, but the cost benefit of the UDS beats everything I've used or seen. Just finished a 21 hour smoke on the UDS, I slept through the night and it held temp nicely. I did need to add fuel at 19 hours to get the temp up enough to finish in the time frame I wanted. 
  8. m00se

    m00se Fire Starter

    Hello, this is my first post here on this forum. I have been researching smokers and the Pit Barrel comes highly recommended at the $300 price point (which is really all I want to spend here). Of course I've looked at the Weber too but I can't seem to make a decision between the two. I read that the Weber construction quality is questionable and that the grates and water bowl are easily able to slip off the tabs that hold them, and that the PBC doesn't come with a water bowl and that you should only use Kingsford briquettes in it. If you could indulge me I was hoping that you could elaborate on why you would pick the Weber over the PBC.

    Thank you in advance and I hope this topic hasn't been beaten to death already. If so I apologize.
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Can't beat a Weber!

  10. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Sure, the reason I say the Weber is more versatile is because cooking temps can be adjusted much more easily. The pbc requires an initial set up that determines the cooking temp. Once you set it, There is really no way to tinker much with the cooking temp. The WSM on the other hand has three vents on the bottom and one on the top which allows you to raise or drop the cooking temp. Another advantage it has over the pit barrel is that you can remove the water bowl all together and produce the same kind of food you could on the pit barrel. As far as the grates falling on the WSM, I have never had that issue.

    As far as charcoal use in the PIt Barrel, you can use other charcoal or lump. They just recommend kingsford because that's what they probably used for all their research and testing and what they used to come up with approximate cooking times. Better to cook by temp anyway.

    Hope this helps. If you have any other specific questions let me know!
    m00se likes this.
  11. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    The consensus seems to be the Weber Smokey Mountain and I have to agree.  Depending on what fuel source you are interested in the WSM is probably the best choice if you are using charcoal.

    I have tried them all...Charcoal, propane, electric, stick burners, and external smoke generators.  For my money the WSM is the bee's knees when it comes to charcoal!

    Keep on Smoking,

  12. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I never had any grates or water bowl slip off my WSM...Am I missing something?

  13. bauchjw

    bauchjw Master of the Pit

    I agree with you John. I've never heard of WSM quality coming into question. The only complaint I've ever personally had or heard about WSM is the size of the cooking surface. When I was cooking for a big crowd I couldn't do it all in one shot. However, that gave me the excuse to buy more!
  14. m00se

    m00se Fire Starter

    Thank you all for taking the time to reply, especially you worktgthr! That was exactly what I was looking for. To explain, I have been on a few forums lurking, trying to decide on which smoker would be the best fit for me and my lifestyle. The PBC stood out because according to lore it could keep good heat in cold weather (I live in Syracuse NY - golden snowball award winner 12 out of the past 13 seasons!) and the length of the cook - 7-8 hours per load. I was concerned about the temperature control with it, and if there was better adjustability it would be a slam dunk. I also questioned the fact that it didn't need any source of moisture. I definitely like the hook idea and having that increased capacity is highly desirable. I have never seen the inside of the barrel and don't know how you load the fuel or remove the ash. I see they make an "ash collector" now which leads me to speculate on where the ash and red hot coals sit in there and if they fall out onto the floor underneath.

    I am now leaning heavily towards the WSM. I wonder if anyone has macgyver'd a hook arrangement for it and if so how it worked?

    Also if anyone has an alternative in the $300 range please let me know...

    Thanks again for the input!
  15. m00se

    m00se Fire Starter

    No sir, I don't think that you are. As I lurk the forums I encounter posts from people who have various and sundry opinions on all of these contraptions and one or two of these folks complained that the tabs on their WSM's were either too short or the walls of the unit were not perfectly round and that led to the grates and/or water bowls falling. I was marginally concerned about that in my checklist of data points leading to the purchase of a new smoker. Even if that was the case it seems like it would be trivial fix if the rest of the smoker was ideal.

  16. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    No problem at all. That's what this forum is for. The pit barrel ash simply just falls into the bottom of the barrel. The contraption they sell just makes it easier to clean after a cook. Not really needed in my opinion because you can line the bottom with heavy duty foil and just lift the ashes and throw away. If you don't like using up foil, you can get a pizza pan like I did on the advice from someone on a BBQ forum. There are hooks and a kit available for the WSM so you can hang the meat but I read many places that they are not good quality and I would be better off using the hooks from PBC in your WSM. Hhaha im probably making your decision tougher now but I have to say the customer service from both companies is awesome.
  17. m00se

    m00se Fire Starter

    No actually!!! That's what I was thinking too - get the hooks from the PBC and DIY them onto the WSM. Yea that Weber hook contraption could have be better executed. Lots of negative comments on Amazon. So I'm edging ever closer to Home Depot tonight ;-)

    (assuming it stops snowing long enough - looking at 18-24" tonight through tomorrow ugh)

  18. drewed

    drewed Meat Mopper

    I have a WSM, the big one in fact.  What exactly do you think that you will need to hang that can't be cooked on a grate?  

    As for gates and water bowls falling, I have never head of this.  I wouldn't worry about that.

    The only downsides to the WSM are that they are slightly harder to load ribs onto vs a horizontal smoker ( I use rib racks ) and it can be harder to maintain temps in the colder/ windier/ wetter time.  I have seen some guys built blankets and wind breaks and that seams to solve that problem.  

    As for quality? Dude, its a weber.....
  19. bandcollector

    bandcollector Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  20. m00se

    m00se Fire Starter

    Hahaha that's to be discovered. But, I have to tell you: I have 13 nieces and nephews, 3 kids of my own, and 3 siblings and their balls and chains. Occasionally, we get together! Oh and the straggling GF and BF. I'm pretty sure this machine will see some use!

    Thanks for the advice, kind sir.

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