I'm want a "good" smoker. Pay once, cry once, no regrets on money wasted on the wrong inferior smoker. I have looked at the Lowes, Home Depot, Bass Pro, etc options and I'm not going to throw good money away on one. I'm considering an Electric Smokin-It #3 but, it's ~$1K when its all said and done so, I'm reconsidering a stick burner smoker.
Right now, I use straight charcoal on a Lodge Sportsman grill/hibachi for straight grilling and a Weber kettle which I start with charcoal and stuff to the gunnels with dry Pecan from downed limbs to grill-smoke meat.
I want to cold smoke fish and cheese so, the Weber method is out. I also want more then the smoke "perfume" I get with the Weber kettle. I'm thinking I want to keep the price in the $1K~$2K range but, a small trailer rig is an option too.
Bell Fabrications seems to be a better entry level starting point at about twice what the big box starter units cost. Then you move into Horizon, Lang, and Yoder smokers from the references here along with others like Gator Pits to further complicate the choices and decisions.
What I think I want/need is a 1/2 firebox and 1/4 (or thicker) main body. For cold smoking, I need the upright "box" but, I also wonder if it is too hot for cold smoking. I don't want something so large I won't use it to cook for 3 or 4 people but, it also needs to be big enough for ~12 (or more). I don't see any whole hog in my future but, 4 or 6 big pork butts, 2 large turkeys, 2 big briskets, etc. are all expected in my future. I have had a 36" diameter 36" long or 24" diameter 48" long main chamber recommended to me.
Where do I go from here? At what point does the small trailer option come into play? I must admit being able to move it easily for family reunions and similar functions makes a trailer attractive but, that is sort like buying a station wagon for the once a year family vacation.
Help please! I'm on forum thread overload .....