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New to this forum, but not to smoking meat......

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello Team!


About me:

My name is James and I live just outside Orlando, Florida.

I'm a computer nut and have been in the IT arena for about 21 years now.
I design and support computer networks, large and small as well as build and

repair desktop/laptop systems and servers.


My smoking experience:

I have a small electric Brinkmann smoker that I've had for about 7 years now.

My dad had one and it was easy to work with and the final results were usually pretty

decent, so I thought that it was the easiest place to start for me....


I didn't start seriously dabbling with the smoker until I found the Smoking Meat newsletter

about a year ago....I mainly smoked pork tenderloins, chicken & fish because decent results

was easy.  I fought with ribs a couple times and just about gave up because they were usually

tough.  Since finding the site and newsletter, my ribs have come full circle.  From semi-tough and

somewhat tasty to truly fall-off-the-bone tender and flavor full!  My wife liked the tenderloin

roasts I have made but she never really raved about my ribs, until now!  I had always

struggled with my ribs till finding Jeff's site....


A recent event that may change my smoking habits:

Up until a recent vacation, the electric smoker was very reliable.  I prepped 3 sides of St. Louis style

ribs for the smoker and had everything ready to go, until I plugged in the smoker.  When I plugged

in the element, it started up like always.....the element warms up and the soaked chips started to

sizzle & smoke....then BLAM!  The element exploded and twisted up like a pretzel.  So here I was,

ready to try a new rib method, miles from anywhere another element could be obtained easily.  :o(

I walked over to a neighbor across the street, (our kids had been playing together all week).....and I

humbly mustered up the courage to talk to him and see if he would let me use his big trailer smoker.

He happily said "go for it", I then proceeded to tell him I was an electric smoker owner and needed a

little coaching on how to get everything going, heat control, etc.  He told me to go grab two bags of

charcoal from the neighborhood store and come back for some training.  So I picked up some charcoal

and a 12-pack of beer and brought him some liquid appreciation. About 5 hours later and a few more

12-packs,drool.gif our two families were eating the best ribs either of us have ever had.  Between my favorite

rib rub, the neighbor's smoker and the tricks I learned on Jeff's website, my wife now raves about my ribs. 

Now that I have set the bar higher, I need to accomplish two more things - To replace or repair my dead

smoker, and to perfect my rib cooking skills while she's addicted!


The real reason why I'm here:

I plan to use this forum to make the decision to either:  replace the element and resurrect the electric smoker

or buy a charcoal smoker of some sort.  My dilemma is this - cost.  How much should I spend on a side-by-side

smoker if I make the switch (plus incidentals like the chimney starter, etc), plus I know every time I fire that baby up,

it will cost me a bag or two of charcoal, plus having to keep charcoal on hand, etc.  -OR- just stick with the old

tried, true and very reliable/stable cooking temp of the electric smoker.  The only thing I have issues with on the

electric smoker is cooking space.  I bought rib racks for the electric smoker in an attempt to figure out a way

to cook more ribs at once and the plan was to loop the meat into the racks and see if I could cook 3 sides at

once.  Once I got a hold of the big trailer smoker and all abundance of smoking space, I was spoiled rotten!


.....so the dilemma is about to come to a head - - - spend the money to go charcoal or rebuild the existing.......

(opinions welcome!)


I look forward to seeing the lessons learned by others and I appreciate the recipe sharing I have seen in just

a few short hours of poking around here.  I looks like a great place to hang out, share ideas and get treated to

some tasty BBQ!



Smoke's on.....LET'S GET COOKING!


post #2 of 6

Hi James! welcome1.gif to SMF!!! We're happy you found us! You've come to the right place, there's lot's of great people here who love to share and help each other out!

Would you do us a favor and update your profile to include your location, Thanks!

That was pretty cool of your neighbor letting you use his smoker!

You can always keep an eye on Craigslist and you might find something nice for what you would pay for an element, or at least a good enough deal that it would be worth making the switch!

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the warm welcome.  I was in the middle of typing in the info when you composed your message.   Profile completed.  :o)

post #4 of 6

Hello James and welcome1.gif to SMF - glad to have you here 

post #5 of 6

Hello James and welcome to SMF! Outstanding neighbor you have there and gave you a quick how to as well. 


I'm an MES40 owner, so not much help when it comes to advice on charcoal smokers. 

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

@Husker - What do you think about the MES40?  I saw one on Craigslist for $175 today.

I looked at these a while back and liked them but I was turned off by using hockey pucks for smoking generation.

I like smoke flavor choices and I can buy a lot of wood mesquite for $15 locally, more than I can smoke in 6 months. LOL


Bottom line, I simply need more room than my Brinkmann "tin can" currently offers if I'm doing several racks of ribs.

About 2 weeks ago, my brother in law donated a 120gallon propane tank & trailer for our Boy Scout Troop to be able

to make a smoker for fund raising, but that project is going to take some money to get off the ground, as none of us

have a welder or the extra steel stock to complete the project....YET!  I'm looking forward to that project.   :o)


Appreciate the feedback and insight. 




Edited by PCJack - 7/25/12 at 6:09am
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