New To Everything! Moving from PA to Colorado looking to purchase my FIRST smoker

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by bdubs, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. bdubs

    bdubs Newbie

    Hi Everyone!

    This is the first forum I have ever joined, so please forgive me in advance. 

    I am new to smoking. Over the last summer, my buddy smoked meat at his camper every weekend. I would give a hand, and eventually would prepare my own meats, but bring them to the camper for him to smoke. I did not have the ability to own a smoker where I lived, so I relied on him and another friend. I feel I'm a good cook, and love to grill and want to be able to smoke really bad. I'm moving to Colorado in two weeks, and have been looking into smokers. I know I will love it, no question about it. BUT... I don't know what to buy. A few friends that smoke say they would get a Traeger pellet smoker ( It's expensive, but I know it can do a charcoal grill as well. I thought about a bullet style, but then I feel I'll need three cooking devices on my back porch. A smoker, charcoal grill, and propane so my fiance can cook outside once in a while. She is not as patient as i am when it comes to deliciousness. Also, with a bullet, I am very confident i will not be able to fit everything i'm going to want to put in there. From the experience I had with my friend, it was hard to cook a few rack of ribs, brisket, and a pork butt. It was impossible with two racks. He had a smoker that reminds me of a bullet, except it was more like a box with a door. more rectangle. A squared off bullet if you will. 

    I'm torn. Unless I am mistaken, the Traeger grill is electric with pellets. I kind of like the idea of tending the charcoal/wood heat source. Is an electric pellet smoker cheating? I care more about flavor than ease of use for the most part. But at the same time, if I have to smoke something for 16 hrs, is it the way to go? Is $900 too much to spend on my first smoker? I like quality in my life, and do not mind buying it, if it's really worth it. I like the look of it, more than a bullet, thats for sure. 

    Please Help Me Pick My First Smoker!!

    Thanks from someone who dreams about smoking his own meat in his own smoker!

  2. I'm a
    newbie too. Take your time to decide on a smoker. Look on the net to see what different builders offer. You seem to be looking at a vertical smoker. Lots of em out there. Electric, gas, charcoal, wood , and pellet burners. a good named insulated one would be needed in CO. Check out the different builders of smokers on the net. Look for quality and features. If you go cheap and small, you'll wish you didn't later.
    For my first smoker I decided on a offset pipe smoker. I can grill or smoke with this one. Fire box has grilling grate for that. Also I ordered a charcoal grate for the main chamber for large grilling occasions. I went with Almost went with Academy Sports. Glad I didn't. Went custom built. I will be much happier with one I don't have to modify to use. So do good research before you pull the trigger. I spent more than I thought I would. But I have something that will last and has resale value if I'd want to sell later. I'm sure my son would want I after I'm gone.
    Good luck and have fun smoking.
  3. Welcome to the forum and Colorado. where in Colorado, I'm in Colorado Springs have many diff smokers we could get together PM me.

  4. Welcome to the site.  

    I started off with a Chargriller offset smoker.  Though it gave a great smokey flavor, that one in particular did not retain heat very well and I found myself having to add fuel every 45 mins to an hour.  This got to be very frustrating after awhile

    When it came to upgrade, I looked at the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (called MES around here and looks like a small fridge), pellet smokers, higher end stick/charcoal burners, Weber Bullet and the Big Green Egg.  

    After looking around and at personal preferences I decided on a pellet smoker.  Pellet smokers are electric to get the fire started and once the fire is started, electricity is only used for the auger to feed the pellets into the fire chamber.  I looked at Traeger, Green Mountain, RecTec and Yoder.  Being in California, shipping a Yoder or RecTec would have killed me.  The Traegers are nice but they had an issue of the fire back flowing into the hopper (not sure if this has been resolved).  I decided on the Green Mountain Jim Bowie.  Though I have had a few issues at the beginning, Green Mountain has been very responsive and helpful.

    I have had 3 racks of ribs and a brisket in there all at once.  It has been cranked up to 350 to grill, as well as 450 to sear, bake a pizza and baked bread.

    P.S. Some people will say to stay away from Traeger and Green Mountain because they are "cheap chinese crap", however myself any many other have never had a problem with ours.
  5. [​IMG]   Good morning and welcome to the forum, from a sunny and warm day here in East Texas. Lots of great people with tons of information on just about  everything.

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  6. sota d

    sota d Smoking Fanatic

    Welcome to the forum! This is the place to research smokers before you buy one. Take your time and figure out what will work best for the amount and type of smoking you think you will be doing. Have fun shopping, David.
  7. Welcome to the forum!  You have some work ahead of you to make an informed decision but you will learn so much along the way.  I know because I've been there several times.  First for a gas vertical smoker, then the gas grill replacement, then the kettle, then the pellet rig, then Sous Vide ....... it never ends!  Still looking at other things to add to the collection.  [​IMG]

    That said, best advice I can give is to do your research, figure out what is important to you and make your decision accordingly. You'll find great info here and has great info on pellet cookers of all brands.  There is a wealth of information on  There are a ton of sites with good info to help with your search plus the manufacturer's web sites.  

    Very few people will recommend anything other than what they have themselves, it's just the nature of humans.  I like the cooking tools I use very much. Are they the best? Maybe for me but maybe not for you. Ask questions, do your research, you'll figure it out in a very short time.
  8. bdubs

    bdubs Newbie

    Thanks EVERYONE for the info in such a short time. I have a feeling this will be a good place to come for advice. Since I posted this, I don't think the Traeger is right for me. It's pellet only, and I hear the quality is lacking. Unfortunately for my wallet, after all day researching, I now want a MAK or a Memphis lol. I think I may go with an offset smoker/grill combo to start with hopefully in the $300-$500 range, and plan on the more expensive one in the future. I'd hate to get a $900 traeger and be disappointed. I want more than an electric pellet only. My buddy used a charcoal grill (barrel looking one) and added a smoke box to it. Best pork butt I've had. I guess it truly does come down to personal preference and knowing the right woods and spices to use. I will update everyone on my choice. Thanks again!Brian
  9. rmmurray

    rmmurray Master of the Pit

    Welcome Brian!
  10. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Welcome aboard!

    Congrats on the move!  I understand you can smoke about anything you want in Colorado?  If that is your thing?

    Seriously, your first smoker will not be your last, so do your research and keep the cost down on the first shot.

    Especially be careful if your smoker also has to be your grill.

    If you keep hanging around this forum, being down to three cooking devices on your patio might make you nervous?

    Also be aware that the longer you hang out here, the greater the jeopardy your toy budget will be in.

    Good luck and good smoking.

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