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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ncangler83, Jun 10, 2015.
Whats the best smoker to start out with for a beginner?
I'm right there too. Wife has been wanting me to take up meat smoking as a new hobby. We bought a Masterbuilt 30" digital, no window. It's economical to get into, and a nice entry level machine IMO. It probably all depends on your budget too. I shopped around. Asked a few friends for advice. Read the forums here for weeks. My smoker arrives tomorrow. The wife already has a pack of ribs to smoke on Friday. My initial investment is about $335. I bought the smoker for $179, a Maverick ET733 digital thermometer for $69, silicone gloves for $15, a canvas cover for $22 since my unit will sit outside on my covered deck, an Amazen Pellet smoke tray for $35, and a propane torch for $15. If I like it, I can upgrade to a better unit later on. If I don't like it, or suck at making BBQ, it's not a huge investment.
There are a lot of options out there. Do some research. Set a budget. Decide if you want to go charcoal, propane, or electric. Read the forums. Buy a book if it helps.
Well I might not be the best person to give advise but here goes nothing..
I would shop around. First take a few notes of how often do you want smoke food. What types of food are you gonna be smoking. Do you want tend to a flame. Would you rather go for electric. There's a lot of variables that can come into play..
I personally own an electric smoker but that's mainly due to living in an apartment. I own a MES 30 that I use weekly and I've smoked everything from veggies to full packer briskets. It's got its not so good qualities about the smoker itself but I've learned it and like it.
Lots of information available here in the forum. I've been smoking for two years(still a newbie) and really enjoy my WSM. It smokes some great food without much tending to.
I started smoking about 2 years ago with the Brinkman Smoke N Grill. You will see that referred to as ECB (El Cheapo Brinkman). You can use it right out of the box but I as well as many people here will recommend you do a few mods to get yourself a decent smoker. The good thing is you can pick it up for about $50 at Wal-Mart and also tend to find them on Craig's List even cheaper. So if you want the cheapest option out there, that is probably it.
I used the ECB for about 2 years and then recently upgraded to the WSM (Weber Smoky Mountain) as I found a great deal for one on Craig's List. It is a charcoal smoker but a really great product and once you get the hang of it, which isn't very hard at all, it will be a lot easier to tend than the ECB and is a higher quality product.
Personally, I've not used electric or gas smokers before but the MES is one I've seen a lot of people recommend before.
With all that said, figure out your budget, and whether or not you want to tend a fire or just set it and forget it and that will help you immensely in your search.
I'm using the Masterbuilt 30" electric (model 20070910- Gen 1) & really like it.
I've only done ribs a few times, pork butt & beans, but it hasn't disappointed me yet.
There is a lot of good advice on this thread but there seems to be a key item missing..... What is your price range?
I could recommend a ton of smokers but without knowing how much you are willing to spend those recommendations don't mean much.
Ncangler , You can get smokers from around $150 (Brinkman Smoke n Grill) , however the cheaper you go , the more modifications you will need to
do to enjoy a nice smoke. The Masterbuilts are nicer than a lot of smokers , but there are restrictions with them also...they can't get the high
temps.needed for some things like Chicken , (heating element) , a full rack of ribs will have to be cut to fit , as well as a large Brisket.
For my money , as a beginner , would be a Weber 22.5" . Versatile , easy to manage without mods., and has been a top line smoker/grill for years.
I went the other way and started with this :
now have this . . .Please don't ask the price , I still don't get B-day ,Father's day , Christmas or any other gifts .
Study well and choose your weapon , and good luck on your decision.
Have fun and . . .
" Do you want tend to a flame. Would you rather go for electric. There's a lot of variables that can come into play.."
That right there is a HUGE thing to think about when deciding what to get.
For just getting started, an inexpensive electric like an MES and an Amazen pellet smoker will get you started and do most anything you want. Then you can decide if you want to upgrade when your budget allows. My .02.
Find the size that fits your needs, and the type you prefer, whatever you decide on, get familiar with it and you will be turning out great Q in no time
Once again, Three Words are what I start with.
Buy. A. Weber.
Not knowing if you want charcoal, or gas, or pellet, or a electric that is the only advice I can give.
I'm a beginner as well, I just bought a Brinkman limited, heavy gauge smoker and grill. I'm going to add tuning plates, and add a removable gas burner to the firebox when I don't want to mess with charcoal. This may be a totally stupid experiment, I guess I'll see.
I started with a Charbroil Silver Smoker ($150-200) way back when and I'd recommend it to any beginner. It wasn't heavy duty and didn't hold heat, but it taught me patience, problem solving and how to really work a pit. Hopefully it won't frustrate you to the point of quitting BBQ altogether!
Well currently I have a char griller and not sure if I just want to add on the fire box to the side of it or go an entirely different route and get a vertical or electric.