Looking to buy a smoker for someone

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by amnoyes22, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. amnoyes22

    amnoyes22 Newbie

    Hello, I have been looking at smokers on and off for months now. My son's father wants one for Christmas this year and has asked for one the last couple of years. I am having a hard time deciding what one to purchase. I am looking for something that is a good price and a good starter smoker without having to do too many mods. I don't want to spend more than 150 if I don't have to because I'm not sure how into smoking he is going to get. I know that he wants one big enough to smoke a turkey and he prefers to use wood.  I have been looking at charcoal smokers and wondered if you could use wood instead. Please help me! I'm floundering in unknown territory and can use all the help I can get. Thanks in advance!
  2. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A true stick burner (wood only) generally needs to be a quality smoker to work well - which translates to 1/4" thick plate steal and $1000+ price tags.

    There are some cheaper thin metal ones (Char-griller, Smoke-N-Grill, etc.) that fall under the horizontal offset line of smokers. These usually require an additional $50+ of modification to work OK, but even then they do not like cold windy weather in any form. The horizontal offsets can be used with either straight wood, or a charcoal/wood mix. Most folks use a charcoal/wood mix - do a search on this site for "minion method" - the basic idea is you build a charcoal basket that holds a decent amount of charcoal, you fill the basket with unlit charcoal, then put a small pile of lit charcoal on top of that. It will burn slowly over a longer period of time giving you a more consistent temperature during the cook. As the charcoal burns you toss in fist sized or small splits of "flavor" wood to get your "smoke" - hickory, mesquite, cherry, etc.

    There is also the Weber Smokey Mountain smokers, they are a vertical charcoal smoker that works very well right out of the box.... but you are looking at $200-$400 depending on the size you buy: 22.5" - $400, 18.5" - $300, & 14.5" $200. I have the 22.5" and love it! Lots of room for cooking and runs like a champ - I smoke year round in all kinds of weather. For cooking something the size of a turkey you would be looking at the 18.5" or 22.5" WSM, unless it was a small turkey.

    Also there are several gas and electric smokers that a lot of people like and use on this forum as well. I suggest spending some time reading posts and seeing what people say about their smokers - feel free to PM (private message) folks as well. Most of us are happy to offer ideas or answer questions if we can.

  3. I would get the Weber 22.5" One-Touch Gold kettle. You can smoke, grill, sear etc on it. They show up on Craigslist all the time for cheap. If someone isn't sure they're going to want to get into smoking, then this one won't break the bank.
    marauder likes this.
  4. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is a tough one for me.

    I am not a big fan of other people buying smokers or other tools for me?

    I usually have an idea what I want?

    Almost nothing I hate like hurting someone's feelings by returning an item.

    Have you considered a gift card with a generic picture of a smoker?

    Good luck and good smoking.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
  5. superdave

    superdave Smoking Fanatic

    I think Venture has nailed this.  A smoker is an intimate purchase like buying Victoria Secret sleep ware.  Get the gift card and a couple of smoker accessories so that it is abundantly clear what the card is for.
  6. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    A gift card, a picture, something from Victoria's Secret for you?

    Add a few candles.

    You will have a happy smoker!  [​IMG]

    Good luck and good smoking.
  7. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's the best answer on the block. A person that wants to smoke , may not know the intricacies in the making of BBQ and even how to do it... best bet is a set and forget Electric. Give him a Gift certificate and tools and let him make - up the

    difference in price , you're looking at about $200. to get a fair smoker...

    Look on Craigs List ( or mention it to him) and you can get a Smoker for $100 or less.

    Convince him to start slow and then get brave... not trying to chase you away , and Smoking is not that hard , but just has a need to now how to do things , and start small.

    Yes, do this and you'll reap some of the rewards of his 'Queing.

    Have a great Holiday and as always . . .
  8. amnoyes22

    amnoyes22 Newbie

    I would agree with you normally, but we have talked about what he wants in a smoker and he is just as clueless as I am.  We don't like to do gift cards if we don't have to and this is going to be his bigger part of xmas this year so I would rather have him unwrap it. I have done some research, but most reviews are mixed between good and bad and it's a hard choice for me to make.
  9. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If it has to be that way?

    I would choose a store with a generous return policy.

    And try not to feel hurt if it gets returned?  [​IMG]

    Good luck and good smoking

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