I've been grilling for many years on a Kingsford egg-shaped grill, which was retired just last night with a ceremonial last batch of ribs. The fire grate had turned to dust and the unit is no longer made. Gave us a good run for 20 years, though.
After far too many recent evenings and late nights reading 'Meathead' Goldwyn's excellent Amazing Ribs website, I am replacing the 'egg' with the perhaps-not-too-highly-respected Masterbuilt 7 in 1 gas/charcoal smoker. I have not truly settled on gas or charcoal, and I hope this 'starter' unit will let me experience both. I also have hopes of starting large pieces of meat on the charcoal, with lots of smoke, and finishing the long run with gas (did I mention that I am way too tired of feeding briquettes into a cooker, trying to chase a moving temperature?).
Though the cooker isn't a high end piece of hardware, I have ordered the Maverick 733 dual-probe temp gauge, and their quick-read handheld. Finishing off the list of hopefully cool stuff is the Pitmaster IQ fan unit, to hold the charcoal at a steady temp. It gets ordered in two days when the smoker arrives and I can determine which connection will work best.
I figure if the smoker is a bust, I'll still have good tools for the next one. About the only consistent complaint I have read about the 7 in 1, is that it is made with thin metal and doesn't last. Cabela's sells the unit in stainless steel, so if I love it, I can upgrade and have it forever.
I am looking forward to learning tons about smoking, and making real BBQ.
And, if all the stuff I have ordered is totally wrong, please let me down easy. I'm still kind of dopey from the late nights.
About my moniker: Goatbiking. "It's not the size of the hills you climb, it's what you smell like when you're done". So sez my wife.