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Ready to Get Started in Upstate NY

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

My name is Hollie and I retired last year. :yahoo:I started raising muscovy ducks and chickens and putting them in the freezer.  Duck bacon sounds like a great idea and I found this forum looking for recipes. 

 

I need to decide what kind of smoker to get since I haven't smoked anything in 40 years.  Back in the day I used my grandfather's old ice fishing shack and green apple wood to smoke the pigs I raised.  Best bacon and hams ever!

 

Already checked with the local supermarket and they have porkbellies, and I have some huge duck breasts ready to go.  I'm so excited to try smoked chicken and turkey from my home raised birds after reading some of the threads here.

 

Any thoughts on what smoker to get would be appreciated.  I would like to be able to smoke and cook in cold weather and was leaning toward electric, but charcoal/wood sounds good, too.  Looking for a moderately priced unit for a beginner that is versatile enough to smoke and cook.

post #2 of 4

Welcome Hollie! Congrats on retiring and your new purpose.  Those decades old smoking instincts will come flooding back once you slap a bird on the smoker.

 

What smoker to get?  Oh, that's the million dollar question and everyone has their preference.  Electric, propane, charcoal, wood, pellet, home built, and a mix of the above.  Size matters in smoking, both for capacity and fuel considerations.  My philosophy is get the biggest smoker you'll need even if you only need it once a year.  Other say get a more efficient smaller size that you'll use regularly and then figure out how to cope on that one day you need more.  Figuring it out is more than half the fun!

 

Moderately priced for a beginner?  To me that usually means under $500, but it can mean $1000 to one and $200 to others.  There are lots of options below $500.  I Googled "Best Selling Smokers" and enjoyed reading the results on the different websites.  Some even list them in priority from top to bottom.

 

The easiest to use are electric and a few charcoal/wood smokers, but they all have their quirks.  Each requires a learned technique.  Some require modifications to work more efficiently and effectively. You can read through the smoker section on SMF to narrow down your choices, which it kind of sounds like you've done already.

 

I'm a charcoal/wood guy with my Weber Smoky Mountain and Weber Kettles.  I use them year-round but my environment doesn't offer any weather challenges other than wind and rain.  I'm in NorCal where a low temp is in the 30's and daytime temps in the dead of winter still run 40-55F.  Upstate NY is a whole 'nuther animal, but there are lots of pics of people in MN using their WSMs with snow all around and the smoker wrapped in a welder's blanket for insulation.  The WSM is easy to use, a bit overpriced, but will last a lifetime.  It produces great results but so do all the others.

 

Feel free to ask questions on the smoker threads.  People love sharing their obsession and their equipment. 

 

Hollie, welcome back to the smoker family!          

 

Ray

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the welcome, Ray.  I can see I have a lot of reading to do before I invest in a smoker.  Last year I got back into canning and freezing, showing my daughter how to do it so we could enjoy our garden all winter.  We live right in the middle of farming country and have access to just about anything locally grown.  The raspberry applesauce was the best.  It's enough to make you drool thinking about fresh tomatoes and lettuce with home smoked bacon on fresh baked bread.  With all the fresh eggs I could probably make some mayonnaise from scratch, too.

post #4 of 4

Hello and welcome, Ray gave you some pretty sound advice, I would have said about the same thing. Good luck on your choice, when you do choose are getting close post some questions to help you on you final decision 

 

Gary S

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