Mostro checking in

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by mostro, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. mostro

    mostro Newbie

    Hey y'all,

    Checking in here to say hello. I have only one post thus far which concerns my not so great experience (so far) trying to pick up a Master Forge charcoal smoker from Lowes. It can only get better, that post is here for anyone who is interested reading about it. I still have the damaged smoker on hand so am looking at all the options on the table.

    I've never owned a dedicated smoker, but have been doing indirect heat smoking on a gas grill for quite some time and want to take it up a few notches. Gotta love this hobby, everyone has an opinion ranging from "pretty much anything will work" to "you must control every aspect of what you do, and use only this equipment." LOL. For example, a service tech that works equipment at my current job post also happens to be a judge for the Kansas City Barbecue Society and swears by his offset smoker. I don't really want anything that large or expensive, and I won't be competing so I take it with a grain of salt.

    I am on the fence about buying a Weber WSM, I know they're the Shiznit, but I think it may be better for someone like me who smokes 6-8 times a year to buy a cheaper unit and modify it. I've looked at UDMs as well but don't have the time to spend with TOO much fabrication... and size/storage is also a factor. I live in Iowa and Winter is an issue as well. At the moment I'm leaning toward a cheap unit I can modify to control air intake/output and get some control over temperature.

    Long story short, I probably need to source a new grill before long so am not too keen on dumping a huge amount of capital into this smoker. I am not terribly interested in electric or gas smoking because for me, that defeats the purpose of what I want to do which is a really simply Human/Machine interface. I work with lots of software and production equipment every day, the idea of unplugging is not only romantically appealing but also what I think I'm after in this recreational activity.

    So... Charcoal and Wood + Fire + Meat = Dinner is the equation I'm after.
  2. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    While I have a Lang offset and love it I understand your objectives.  You may want to consider building a UDS .  Ugly drum smoker.

    Cost is negligable and they work great.   Use the search feature and look at some UDS t hreads.  You may find they are your cup of tea.
  3. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Welcome to SMF, Mostro.. I wanted to be able to grill or smoke with charcoal so this is the route I went.. a few mods (charcoal basket and dryer vent on exhuast vent) and I was good to go...




    Whats nice is the fuel consumption is VERY low.. It's a Chargriller Pro from Lowes... You can catch em on sale WITHOUT the sidefire box for $99... I can also get the temps WAY up there with ease for hot smokes... justa thought
  4. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Welcome aboard!

    Any smoker is a compromise.  You will get it figgered out if you do your research before you jump.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  5. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  6. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Welcome and thanks for joining us here at SMF..
  7. mostro

    mostro Newbie

    Thanks for the welcome all. Yep, doing research before buying is why I'm here. I've read a good deal of materials thus far. Including the first few parts of the e-course, have learned quite a bit more already. I know how to search and do not come with questions before reading up on the topic.

    JckDanls07, that is a very cool rig but I think I need to separate the grill and smoker functions into separate boxes, at least from what I've seen so far. That's what led me to look for a stand alone smoker. Thanks for sharing your awesome build, the fuel box is very nicely done.

    It seems to me like there's a big market opportunity for someone to make a vertical water smoker with intake/output vents in the $75 - $300 range. I figure I can buy a ECB for $35 and mod it like crazy (not too inclined to do so) or pick up a WSM and pretty much use it off the shelf. The Mountain Forge unit I bought @$60 also requires mods unless one plans on the leaks in the unit to magically equate to 200-225 degree smoking temps, since there is no way to control air flow to the fuel.

    I hadn't really considered building a UDM from scratch, though it seems a good fit for me. Do I have the time for fabbing at that level with all the other projects I already have in the wings? Not sure I do... I guess I need to decide between three options:

    1. Buying a "premium" off the shelf vertical unit (WSM) and smoking right out of the gate

    2. Buying a cheap Brinkmann or Mountain Forge without air flow controls and then modifying it so I can control temps, or

    3. Building a UDM from the ground up.

    Yeah, I get that no one can answer that question for me, but I would be happy to hear from anyone with a similar budget and how they solved this problem.


  8. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Welcome to SMF glad you can join us.  We are big on Pics and love to help everyone out.  Remember the only question that is dumb is one not asked.  You will not find a friendlier place to talk Que on the web.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Welcome to the SMF Family...I have been here 8 months and still can't decide which Smoker to buy next!...JJ
  10. smokinal

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

    [​IMG]    Glad to have you with us!

    If your budget allows for it, I would go with the WSM. It will last you a lifetime, it's very easy to use & produces great Q.

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