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Beginner here- questions

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am brand new to smoking meat but have decided I am ready to make the commitment to learning and spending a descent amount of money on a smoker. I have watched friends smoke meat for years and I am ready to take the plunge. I am not really sure if I should go with a electric or charcoal smoker. I am willing to spend $200-400 range, I have read the WSM gets great feedback and reviews by almost everyon. I also didn't know if the 18.5 is big enough or if I would need to jump to the 22'. I was also looking at the Traeger JR electric ($400) which might be to small but I am not sure, I have not seen it in person. I will be smoking ribs, briskets, pork shoulders, chicken the normal stuff but I don't know how big of a smoker a guy needs? The other option is just a simple masterbuilt or any brand barrell style smoker/grill combo, they seem less expensive but also sound like they need a lot of work to set them up correctly. Any feedback on a way to go for a beginner would be appreciated!!!

post #2 of 11

The WSM would be a solid choice imo.   If you like the "charcoal" taste  then you only get that from wood and not electric. ..wood/charcoal cookers gives you more complex flavors.  I guess it depends on how much simplicity you want or not. 

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

My only concern on wood compared to electric is I heard the WSM does not have a thermomoter on it, therefore that seems to leave a lot of trial and error and the possibility of wasting a lot of meat. I may be wrong though, like I said I am a beginner. Also is the 18.5 plenty big for someone at my level and not planning on doing huge smokefests with tons of different meats at the same time?

post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dietz777 View Post

My only concern on wood compared to electric is I heard the WSM does not have a thermomoter on it, therefore that seems to leave a lot of trial and error and the possibility of wasting a lot of meat. I may be wrong though, like I said I am a beginner. Also is the 18.5 plenty big for someone at my level and not planning on doing huge smokefests with tons of different meats at the same time?

They have dome thermometers but you'll want to pick up a meat thermometer to monitor your meat internal temps.  You won't wast meat by over cooking if you watch your temp but that's the same for any cooker. 

 

As far as what size to go you'll probably outgrow the 18 soon and wish you'd had gotten the 22...lol.  Smoking meat is lots of tasty fun!

post #5 of 11

The WSM is a great choice for both starting and doing advanced stuff. It is very easy to use, and produces great que. I use the lid therm to keep general track of temp, but also have several probes for more accurate temps at each grate level and internal meat temps. If you look bellow my signature you will see the eyelet mod I came up with for using probes with no issues.

post #6 of 11

dietz, how many people will you typically be cooking for?  I have a family of 5 and don't do much smoking outside of feeding them, so I went with the 18.5" and it has had plenty of room for my needs.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
5 is a good number. I am not married or no kids so just for friends here and there. master build 40 first generation has been recommended to me highly
post #8 of 11
post #9 of 11

I would not go with the traeger it is too small for what you want, I have the lil tex and its just big enough for briskets. They have hot spots around the edges where the drip tray/ deflector ends which makes the grilling area even smaller. I even regret not spending the extra money on getting a bigger grill. Just take your time and think about what you want to cook and make sure it fits your needs other wise you will be looking for another one in a few years, which isn't so bad.

post #10 of 11

I really like my mini-wsm. If I didn't have it, I would get a 18.5 WSM. If you can run a drill a Mini-WSM can be made pretty easily:

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/129771/my-5-00-craigslist-find

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/139346/more-mods-to-the-mini-wsm-double-decker

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dietz777 View Post

5 is a good number. I am not married or no kids so just for friends here and there. master build 40 first generation has been recommended to me highly

LOL    You're dreamin.  Once you get the thing going, friends will be coming out of the woodwork. And then there is the friend of a friend thing. 

BTW, I'm happy with my MES 40 combined with the AMNPS for the smoke. Bang for the buck, a tough combo to beat.  Just my $.02

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