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Best Beginner Charcoal Smoker - Page 3

post #41 of 55

Hello and welcome, I too am new to the site my first smoker was the eco brinkman it has worked well for many years. recently I bought a new Smokin it 3 smoker still learning how to use it, so far my old Brinkman worked better on fish than the new one . sorry for your loss, and good luck in your smoking

post #42 of 55
I started with a cheap char-Broiler off set. It works pretty good to get started with. You can learn the basics with it. Just play with it and have fun. I got it at Wal-Mart. The metal is not very think so it will start to rust pretty quick if you don't take care of it.
post #43 of 55

My first smoker was the Weber 22.5" WSM.  But I would advise anyone wanting to learn the art of smoking to just buy a Weber kettle grill for $130 and get a smokenator kit for it.  It will work great.  Even without buying a smokenator setup, you can smoke on it just fine.  I've used mine to smoke food many times and the food comes out great.  Go to bbqpitboys.com and see how the boys smoke food using their Weber kettle, without the smokenator setup.  They have tons of videos on their website for smoking various types of food and they always prefer using their kettle grill to anything else.  The boys know what they're talking about when it comes to bbq.

post #44 of 55

As said many darned times here on the forum, the ECB is an awesome smoker to learn on if the budget only calls for under 100 bucks. You might need to mod the body with gaskets and mod to the air flow ect, but it can be a great way to learn to smoke.

 

However, being in the same boat and getting BACK into BBQ and smoking, Ive opted for the WSM 22.5"

 

Buying a new house, with a massive deck. The house isn't big, but the deck is. Plenty of summer parties and family gatherings. Set and forget is gonna be my game, for sure. So, out of the box ready to rock? WSM. Easy to use and almost completely "dummy proof"? WSM.

post #45 of 55

I would figure out what you want in a smoker. Do you want to tend a fire or do you want/need something more set and forget?  

 

I picked up an "open box" Masterbuilt Vertical Charcoal Smoker from Amazon for $40 a few months ago(currently on sale for $60) and I have been very happy with it. I switched out the charcoal pan (to a wok topper) and thermostat so I have a total of $60 in it. Once I figured out the vent setting it seems to hold temperature nicely. It is NOT a set it an forget it smoker, about every 45- 60  minutes make some room in the charcoal pan and add about a pound. I have always liked to feed a fire so I wanted this, my plan is to step up to a stick burner in a few years if all goes well.

post #46 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by NCWolf View Post
 

 

 

I picked up an "open box" Masterbuilt Vertical Charcoal Smoker from Amazon for $40 a few months ago(currently on sale for $60) and I have been very happy with it. I switched out the charcoal pan (to a wok topper) and thermostat so I have a total of $60 in it. Once I figured out the vent setting it seems to hold temperature nicely. It is NOT a set it an forget it smoker, about every 45- 60  minutes make some room in the charcoal pan and add about a pound. I have always liked to feed a fire so I wanted this, my plan is to step up to a stick burner in a few years if all goes well.

I would love to see what you did to it. Im currently thinking about the WSM as my main unit, but Id also like a secondary "project" smoker for those 1 or 2 times a year when I gotta cook for the entire family

post #47 of 55

If you can go $300 max, then the 18.5 inch WSM is in your budget.  The smaller one would be $200.  If your time is limited, as well as your budget, the WSM is the way to go.  You don't have to baby sit the WSM when you do long, or over night cooks.  You will be constantly tending the fire, and watching temps on the more cheaply made vertical smokers.  If you enjoy fiddling with the fire, and watching temps, go cheaper.  If you have other things to do, go Weber.

post #48 of 55

well my 2 cents is I'v had good luck with my vertical Trailmaster L \ E going on 2 yrs old no rust or anything falling off did do 3 mod's taller smoke stack  legs on the charcoal baskets to raise it up put 2 added vents on the bass after thought u don't need that last one ... only other thing I did out of the box was to put high temp caulk around the base at the bottom and top and around the stack I'v got about 70.00 in including the base price it was a shame Brinkman went  out of business they should of stayed in Tx. instead  of going  to China .... just my 3 cents zekester

post #49 of 55


Ditto on the 22.5 Weber and the Smokinator. I had very good results without babysitting it too much. Only thing here in Michigan it is tough to maintain a steady 230-250F temp in the winter when the wind starts blowing. You can always put the smoke to the meat for 6 hrs and then finish in the oven (no shame).

 

I successfully did chicken, turkey, pork shoulder, pork loin, pork ribs, and beef brisket.

 

And you have a nice charcoal BBQ grill to boot!

post #50 of 55

I realize this thread is from a 2013 original post.  Heck, I even posted on it when all I had was my Weber Kettle and the Smokenator.  That combination taught me to smoke meat, control temps, manage fuel, etc.  I found the water tray was pretty useless and learned to dry smoke after trying several solutions.  I was perfectly happy with the Kettle/Smokenator set up but didn't realize my wife was unhappy that I'd spend all day Saturday and/or Sunday tending the Kettle.  About 90 minutes was all I could go before temps started dropping or rising beyond 25F of what I wanted. 

 

It was my wife's idea that I upgrade, and count it as my Christmas present for 2013, six months after I started smoking.   As soon as I started using the WSM, and we started going to the movies, shopping, etc while meat was safely slow smoking at home on the WSM, she said "Thanks for giving me my weekends back." 

 

I still use the Kettle several times a week, both to grill, and what I call hot n fast grill smoking.  I can't remember the last time I used the Smokenator, but it does work.  Nowadays I just use one or two charcoal baskets in the Kettle, utilizing both direct and indirect heat, plus a 15" paella pan with a 13.25" round cooling rack inside it. 

 

The WSM gets used for long smokes, low temp smokes, and volume smokes.  The Kettle for grilling, pizza, sides, and low volume (5 -7 lbs or less) hot n fast smokes.

 

I'm a Weber fan for life.     

post #51 of 55

If your'e handy build a UDS. If you need right out of the box save your dollars and buy a WSM. 18.5" will do nicely but you will eventually want more so study hard before you pull the trigger and wait to just get the 22.5".

post #52 of 55

The kettle is a guaranteed investment on my part, I wanna real grill. The inlaws have their house that backup to our property that were buying. They have gas.....Ill stick with fire and flavor, not fire and heat.

post #53 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by kam59 View Post
 

If your'e handy build a UDS. If you need right out of the box save your dollars and buy a WSM. 18.5" will do nicely but you will eventually want more so study hard before you pull the trigger and wait to just get the 22.5".


@kam59 do you have plans or know of plans (oh boy, opening the big box of worms) for a UDS? Also, the 18.5 vs 22.5 WSM. Is it just a better idea to go for gusto on the size? That 100 dollar difference is a big bump on a low budget

post #54 of 55

Consider the Akorn. 

post #55 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by chunkymonkey View Post
 


@kam59 do you have plans or know of plans (oh boy, opening the big box of worms) for a UDS? Also, the 18.5 vs 22.5 WSM. Is it just a better idea to go for gusto on the size? That 100 dollar difference is a big bump on a low budget

I have built plenty of UDS's and while i have never actually made a set of plans I can certainly walk you through the build process. There is not much to a K.I.S.S. UDS. and you can purchase a charcoal basket if you do not want to build one.

I have both the 18.5" and the 22.5" WSM. Once we bought the 22.5" the smaller one sits a lot. It is much easier to cook a full packer on the larger one let alone if you are doing several pork butts. It did not take me long to out grow the smaller one. And while I do prefer my offsets my wife is usually in charge of the cooking when she wants brisket or butts and I am busy.

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