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Central Virginia, hello!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hey folks, I'm Tom

I live in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Tech support pays the bills, but it isnt my thing really.  I prefer beer studies, keep about 50 snakes, and play guitar.  Enough jibber jabber

I've been on the site, poking around for a bit today (and other big smokin' sites studying UDS builds) and figured I might as well register.  I'm here in search of some advice and ideas.  I'll try to make this brief....  ( I say this all the time and fail miserably)


I have two 55 gal drums.  One food grade (no lid) and one not-food grade (with lid (I understand I should probably abandon this one)).  I'm CRAVING some smoked foods, and I cant decide which direction I want to go with the project...

I no longer have access to a welder unfortunately, so I'm already anticipating with more steps than I would like.  I do have a pretty decent garage and lots of other tools at my disposal however and Im fairly handy.

Im trying to focus on the smoking aspect of this project.  I'm not interested in really dealing with high temps in my barrel or building a grill/smoker. 

I plan on doing lots of jerky, and maybe some larger cuts of pig and beef.  I can probably live with reducing the portion size of the meats if it means I dont have to pay as much attention to the heat part of the equation.  Dont get me wrong, Im not AGAINST heat, it just seems like it's a factor I can potentially push to the side as long as the smoke does its thing well, which is to preserve (and flavor of course).  I guess I picture old school native american/early pioneer style smoking since the fridge wasnt around  :)

I've been considering going electric for a long time, but after some research today I see that electric has its own drawbacks too (the on/off heating coil issue), so now I'm taking a few steps back

I have a banjo burner I acquired as part of my home brew equipment, but I havent researched one bit of propane smokers so i dont even know if this is ok or flat out overkill


So, I want to dig into a project thats easy on the wallet and is a no frills kind of thing.  I'm willing to add a few steps in to ensure that I dont have to babysit the rig all the time too.  For now I just want to smoke and eat, so function over form is fine with me.  I'll deal with the form part later.


Or.... should I just buy an off-the-shelf product since Im itchy to get going?  Grill with a side smoker?


So, given that info, do any of you'z guys out dere have any pointers on which direction I might want to go?  I guess Im asking to help me decide if I want to go electric, fire, propane, or just buy one ready to go.


Thanks in advance!


See, I failed to keep it brief again.  Self awareness is the first step, right?

post #2 of 8

Most of us started out with something simple then got hooked on a bigger/better rig. Just all depends on time and funds. At any rate, welcome aboard and say "hey" to my brother, he's in Charlottesville also.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 


I'll say hey if I see him around  :D


More surfing on the site has shown me the "cold smoking" side of things.  This isnt quite what I was referring to earlier, so I guess I am looking at dealing with a bit of heat. 


I also see there's a whole section for New Users.  I guess this was just the Intro thread, and I could have saved my question for that thread.  Oh well.  I wont double post.

post #4 of 8


welcome1.gif   Glad to have you with us!


post #5 of 8

Welcome aboard Tom. Glad to have you with us.


I am still new to smoking (just a couple months in). My first smoke was with a CharBroil side box smoker/grill. I smoked a brisket (of all things). I had nothing but some oak wood and a meat therm. Lucky for me it turned out edible. I decided I needed something I could smoke

on that wasn't going to have me feeding wood constantly and trying to keep temps at a regular pace. Was at Sam's Club and seen the MES 40. Decided right then I had to have this thing. 


It has been happy smokin' ever since. Easy to use, hot or cold smoke. Set and forget. Love this thing and the food is excellent. JMO though.

Whatever you decide, just make sure you are having fun doing it.


Happy Smokin'



post #6 of 8


This site has tons of info.

I would suggest you spend some time reading all the different forums and the WIKIs.

Ask questions and use the handy dandy search tool for specific interests!!

Take the awesome free E-Course!!!

Have a great day!!!



      Make bacon the easy way!!


post #7 of 8

Welcome !  I''m in Richmond  smokin away ......

post #8 of 8


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