Originally Posted by ElGK
I would love to go charcoal but I have a feeling I'm not really up for tending the smoker when I intend to do longer smokes.
I was thinking of going pellet, and found a Traeger dealer in my area, but not entirely sure I want to commit to it.
I'm definitely not interested in gas.
So many choices.
Amen brother! I didn't buy for years and years because my friends who had smokers all had issues with them they didn't like. Whatever type smoker you choose will have a learning curve.
I kind of stumbled into choosing charcoal because I had two old Weber Kettles sitting on the side of the house and wanted to find a use for them as smokers. They were great learning devices.
Personally I like a bit of tending but not something that requires constant attention. I also have an engineering background and enjoy the real-time analysis of temp control and internal meat temperatures given ambient conditions. Smoking on a Weber Kettle required relatively constant attention. 90 minutes was the longest I could leave it unattended before the temps started moving up, down, or out of my desired temp range. I stepped up to the WSM due to what I learned on the Kettles and the fact people said the WSM is almost a "set it and forget it" type smoker. The WSM can go hours without any attention. I've held one temp for four hours on a windless day without a single degree of movement on my Maverick chamber probe. I've been amazed actually.
Later this Spring I'm probably going to turn my 18.5" Kettle into a WSM with some sheet aluminum, nuts, bolts, handles, and a 16.5" terra cotta saucer. Project will only cost about $80.
Shopping for a smoker is part of the fun. Have a ball!