Time to Graduate to a New Smoker, suggestions...

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by tolarius, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. tolarius

    tolarius Fire Starter

    Hi Everyone,

    So I have been smoking meat for a little over 2 years now.  Still use the first smoker I ever bought, Master Forge propane two-door vertical smoker (with a gasket mod for insulation).  

    The good news:  My smoked meat has become incredibly popular in my social world and neighborhood. 

    The bad news:  My smoker is no where near the capacity to meet demand. 

    So what am I looking for:

    - If you have owned a Master Forge, you know insulation seems to be your greatest enemy with that smoker.  Obviously something that came out of the box with a bit more insulation and less worry about smoke loss, would be golden (from what I read on reviews, it seems everything needs some modifications for insulation)

    - Fuel type?  I love using propane, its a lot less "head-achy" as using charcoal/wood, however I want to step up to competitive BBQ at some point, so I need to get off the propane bandwagon at some point....

    - Smoker build?  I'm use to vertical, but obviously you get more space with horizontal so that is what I am looking for

    - How much space?  I'd like to do 6 to 8 butts at the same time.  It would be nice finally to have a smoker big enough to start doing brisket...

    - Price range?  Anything under 500 bucks would be great.  If not let me know anyway. 

    I appreciate any suggestions you guys can throw out there.  It would be great to hear from former Master Forge owners to see what they moved onto....
  2. rob989_69

    rob989_69 Meat Mopper

    That's a tall order. I looked really hard at the brinkman trailmaster LE at my local HD before deciding I wanted a real rig and am in process of building one. 

    From what I have found, and I"m talking strickly brand new units here, anything under $500 is going to be made of very thin metal. That doesn't mean it's not good. But frankly, I'd recommend either spending less than 300 for the brinkman I mentioned, or a charbroil SFB or something similar. OR, spend $1000 + and go for a Lang or similar style. 

    Again, I'm not saying everything else stinks, but that's what I would do if it were me. Especially considering you're talking about doing competitions. You can get fantastic results from just about anything if you have the patience to learn it.

    Basically you're going to spend $300-$500, then more time, money, and effort modifying it to work well. Or, spend $1000 or so off the bat and get something that is ready to go. Least that's how I looked at it.

    Good luck!
  3. Take a look at SmokinTex smokers, well insulated electric for just over $500 for the1400 model. Mine does a great job, all stainless construction including the grills.
  4. beerbelley

    beerbelley Newbie

    Hey tolarius

         Have u thought of a pellet smoker. Will hold your requirement for butts and brisket. Will be great for ur competion if u decide to go that route. Just a suggestion, what ever u choose i hope u have great success.
  5. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well there is a great smoker that will meat all your requests for $400: Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5"
    • It's a vertical!
    • Charcoal fired, but as close to set-it-and-forget-it as you can get with charcoal. I can run 18-20 hrs. without reloading.... and still have a couple hours in reserve!
    • The racks are big enough to put 4 or 5 10 lb. pork butts on each one! That's a lot of pork!
    • A lot of folks do use them for competitions and have great results!
    Come to the dark side! (you know coal dust all over your hands! LOL)

  6. tolarius

    tolarius Fire Starter

    LOL come to the dark side, I love it!

    How is it with doing brisket?  That's something I will be a complete newbie too.....
  7. tolarius

    tolarius Fire Starter

    Dumb question, so with this, you get a fire going with the charcoal, and then throw the wood on top of it? 
  8. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I usually burry 4 or 5 fist sized chunks in the charcoal, and then toss another 3 to 5 on top, then dump 1/2 a chimney of lit charcoal on top.
  9. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Look at the uds on here. I think it will fit your needs.
  10. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Brisket is great! I never had the confidence to do brisket on my old cheap-o horizontal smoker from Lowe's, but the WSM runs so steady and so long that brisket is really easy. I usually get mine running between 210-225 toss on the brisket at midnight and go to bed to 6 or 7 AM, get up and foil it (if it's ready), then let it do it's thing while I have breakfast and get on with my day. [​IMG]

    Course the first time I did an overnight brisket I got up every two hours to check it... lol. But by my 4th one I was very confident in my WSM's ablility to just chug along and do it's thing.

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