Like others, I need some advice.....

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by deserttoad, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. deserttoad

    deserttoad Smoke Blower

    Greetings and Happy New Year all!

    I have read and read and read these posts, and still would like a little personal advice on picking out a new smoker.

    I have been using my old offset firebox model for years and years with good results, but frankly I'm getting a bit tired of all the work involved. I'd really love to smoke more briskets and whole pork shoulders, but checking the fire hour after hour just isn't as fun as it once was. So I've decided to pick gas over electric due to the facts that I live where it gets cold and the recovery time of an electric element isn't so great.

    I'll still keep my charcoal grill, and of course I absolutely LOVE my Jenn-Air gas grill.

    So I come to you for advice. It seems a person can't go wrong with a GOSM model, but which one? There are a few different models, and now I see the new one with the drawers.

    Perhaps there is a different smoker I haven't been looking at. Let's just say I'd like to be able to smoke turkeys, briskets, ribs, shoulders, fish, jerky, and keep the price under say $500. I want the best unit I can get so I don't ever look back and think "If only I'd bought the....."

    thanks a ton!
  2. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    The GOSM's and Smoke Vaults seem to be very popular and most people seem to really like them. I know I like my GOSM the only thing I would suggest is to get the largest one you can. I bought the wide body and wish I had gotten the big block. Seems many of us figure well I'd never run out of room only to run out of room at some point. Of course I have run out of room in a Lang 84 too [​IMG]
  3. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    went from a SFB chargriller to a GOSM for reasons similar to those you list, however after a few months I missed the taste of charcoal smoked food so much, I had to get a WSM. Dont really see me using the GOSM again, unless I have a large party and need to do some ABT's.

    A WSM is what I would recommend to anyone, its as easy to operate as a gasser, but with the taste of charcoal.

    Im glad I tried a gasser(cant learn to much about bbq, or try too many styles of smoker imho), but I am glad I switched back to charcoal.

    good luck with your purchase decision.
  4. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What Jerry said is solid advise, and i also have a big block.
  5. deserttoad

    deserttoad Smoke Blower

    Good to know I'm on the right track.

    But about the WSM - If I want to smoke a whole brisket or shoulder, how often do I need to tend to the fire? I certainly like the charcoal flavor, but an all night smoke for me right now means no sleep...

    thanks again.
  6. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    I'm not going to answer for Jim or comment on the WSM but since you asked about propane I will say if you find you want to you could add a briquette or two to the chip pan
  7. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    of course depends on weather, etc, this past weekend in below zero temps I had to add charcoal & a lit chimney full once during an 11.5 hour smoke, held 230 the whole time.

    I have been told under good weather conditions(above freezing) 10-12 hours off one load of lump isnt unheard of. I believe it, seems like the WSM gets in a zone, and just puffs away.

    Remember with a gasser you will have to add wood chunks from time to time(every few hours).

    Also if you ever think of competing, the WSM is allowed at competitions, while most competitions do not allow gassers or electrics.

    sorry if I am diverting the discussion off a gas only alternative, just wanting to help out.

    hope that info helps, I just wanted to share me experience as someone who made the change to gas, and then switched back.
  8. elde

    elde Smoke Blower

    AFAIK even a gasser is going to need attention now and again. (At least my Smoke Vault does.)

    My BGE on the other hand can go for hours once tweaked. (But a BGE is going to blow your budget to hell and back.)
  9. deserttoad

    deserttoad Smoke Blower

    Well boys, I've spent the better of the day searching the depths of the internet. Here is what I have learned: I could go electric with a bradley, gas with a GOSM, charcoal with a WSM, or charcoal in a ceramic with an egg.

    But most importantly, I have really gotten the bug to go smoke something!

    It does seem that the WSM will fit what I want the best. Jim - you said you filled it once and got 11.5 hours from it. How often do you check it during that time?

    Elde - is there a benefit of a BGE over the WSM? I see the egg for $700 and the new 22" WSM for $400. Is there that much benefit? Over the span of a summer, I probably cook way more than $300 dollars worth of meat on the patio....
  10. wutang

    wutang Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Save some cash & stick with charcoal. Build a UDS. It won't take long, it is simpler than it looks. And you won't regret it for a second. It can handle long burn times without reloading the charcoal basket. I have smoked a 12 lb brisket..then put chicken quarters on while the brisket rested in the cooler and still had charcoal leftover after I shut things down.
  11. oneshot

    oneshot Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

  12. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    to clarify, I filled the WSM, and a lit chimney starter of fuel to start the smoke, then at about the 8 hour point I topped off the lit charcoal with some lump, and a lit chimney starter to finish off the last 3.5 hours(probably could have made it with what was in there or pretty close, but didnt want to chance it, and I am still learining the WSM with only about 20-25 smokes with it under my belt). I was smoking in near zero or below zero temps, I dont I think I wouldnt have needed to top it off in warmer weather.

    I didnt really check on it much, I can see it from my couch. I guess I checked it when I tossed some ribs and tips on 3 hours later , when I took the tips off 3 hours after that, and then the ribs off a few hours later when I topped it off to finish the shoulder. Thats it.

    good luck with your purchase, looks like you are doing your due dilligence, and will make a good choice for what works for you.

    I have heard great things about the BGE from some buddies that have them(smoking, grilling, pizza making, etc.), but they are a little too expensive for me.

    I can get 18.5" WSM's for about $250, and the bigger WSM for about $300. The 2009 models.
  13. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    anyone have any experience with the pro-Q? i've seen these at a couple of events.

  14. Man, I bet Deserttoad is REALLY confused now [​IMG] So many good opinions and options out there, haha.

    As a GOSM user who's new to smoking, all I gotta say is that I do truly love this thing. Easy to use, great results thus far.

    Once you start smoking, you're gonna want to share the goodness with all your family and friends, which means MORE FOOD to put in the thing. So I also agree with others, that you should get the biggest possible based on your budget.
  15. elde

    elde Smoke Blower

    Versatility as well as precision temperate control over a wide range (from 180 to 700 typically), the BGE can grill as well as smoke and produces one hell of a pizza. I'm looking forward to trying to bake some bread on it this summer.

    But, as you point out, the price is a big downside. Even worse, if you want the full range of (culinary) options, figure on another $300 odd in optional equipment. A less obvious downside is that the capacity of a BGE is fairly limited without spending even more on aftermarket equipment.

    If all you want to do is smoke (which sounds disparaging but isn't meant that way), then the WSM is the way to go. If you want to keep your options open, then a BGE is worthy of serious consideration. The optional and aftermarket equipment can be purchased over time to reduce the stress on the wallet and marriage.
  16. ecodork

    ecodork Fire Starter

    I recently went through this train of thought too as I was tired of wrestling with the ECB and electricity (can't use extension cord, no heat control, kept tripping breaker, wouldn't get hot even with new element, etc).

    I ended up with the King Kooker 38" low-pressure smoker (I keep promising a review and will post it right after this note). It's similar to the GOSM only I couldn't get out to BSP to check the GOSM in person and my dad has had a KK since the spring. It's a little taller but a little narrower (18" shelves), otherwise real similar. Having not seen the GOSM I can't comment on overall build quality, but the KK is a solid unit. Heavy gauge steel, well built, easy to use, works well. It's spacious, sturdy so you can load it up, and versatile with all the rack positions and hangers. I recently looked at the smokers at Gander Mountain and saw the big Smoke Vault and a Smokehouse? or something. I also saw Bradley's and another electric but I've sworn those off for now. Granted the KK was $100 more than the Smoke Vault, but from what I could tell on the floor model, it wasn't as solid as mine. I understand the floor models are often put together half-a$$, so it could have been that. If you do end up with the GOSM, from what I could tell, the one to get is the "Big Block" or the 24" wide one from Bass Pro Shop (not sure if anyone else sells that model).

    Which ever you end up with, I think you'd like the cabinet style smoker for ease of use. I have an ACTIVE one year old son, so ease of use was really high on my list. I did have to tend to it to add water and wood chunks/chips every couple hours, but keeping temps steady was cake and a nice smoke flavor present.

    On the other hand, a good buddy recently got a WSM and has easily produced some fine meat with it. Looooong smokes with minimal tinkering. I almost went that route on his experience alone. I think if you're going to stick with wood/charcoal the WSM would be great choice. I don't have a great place to safely setup and run charcoal that wouldn't be out in the elements, so that edged me back over to propane.
  17. deserttoad

    deserttoad Smoke Blower

    I've decided on the WSM 22" model. If you're gonna get one, get a big one right? I can't wait to try it out! I'll be picking it up monday, so now I have to decide on what to cook first (probably chicken or baby back ribs, the long smokes will be down the road a bit). Also I see quite a bit of information about setup and initial seasoning, so it appears my learning has just begun! After years learning about heat control with my NB, I don't think it will a steep learning curve to kicking out great food with the WSM.

    Thanks to all for their input, and hopefully this thread has helped others as well. If there are anymore suggestions to get me off on the right foot, my all means!
  18. elde

    elde Smoke Blower

    Why can't you use an extension cord? The big power tools in my woodshop are on extenstion cords - and they draw a helluva lot more than any smoker.
  19. ecodork

    ecodork Fire Starter

    Well the instructions said not too, but for years I ignored that without any probs.[​IMG]
    But what really did it was that using a cord seemed to affect the amount of power (=heat) I was able to get, especially in cooler weather. I thought the same thing about tools and heck, I have a fridge on the same circuit. But either way, the ECB just couldn't keep up if it was less than ~60*ish out and or remotely windy. Plus it kept tripping the breaker which didn't help my heat issue.
  20. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    good call, the 22" is a great choice, also they WSM requires no seasoning, it is redy to go right out of the box once assembled.


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