As the title states im in the market for a new smoker. I want a vertical smoker but I need it to be of some size. if possible I need to do 2 brisket and 6 racks of ribs at one time. My budget is $700< . I'm looking at the meat locker from Big Hat BBQ. Just wanted to ask if anyone has a vertical smoker they have used and liked. there is no reviews or and info other than the manufactures info. any help or suggestion would be Great. tahnks
Need Advice Looking For a New Vertical Smoker!
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I guess the first critical question is a religious one. Which of the three faiths do you conform to?
1. The Gods of lightning (Electric smokers).
2. The Coals of Hephaestus (Charcoal/Lump smokers).
3. Druidic Acolytes of the Oak (Stick burners).
It is important to consider your heat source as part of your selection process. Each has it's benefits, all can make excellent product.
Consider two smaller smokers, instead of one big smoker. Ribs require more intervention than brisket. Flapping the door to deal with ribs would drop the temperature on the brisket. I am assuming you are wanting to cook everything on your list at once. Also, would it bother you to cook your ribs as half-racks, or do you want them whole. One 22.5 and One 18.0 Weber smokey mountain would work. The bigger one for the brisket, the smaller one for the ribs. Their combined price is at your price-point. You can smoke at two different temperatures this way as well. They are frugal on fuel use, and require few adjustments (mid-smoke) once you add a gasket kit. Their combined footprint is small.
I always take a tape measure with me when I am purchasing large hunks of meat. Admittedly, it is because I am frequently cooking on a WSM 14.5 or possibly a mini-WSM (home built smoker), which only accommodates meat 13.5 inches long. My Masterbuilt 40, and my modified Kingsford will work with much bigger cuts of meat. Even the small WSM-14.5 will do four racks of ribs, which are cut in half (using a rib-rack).
I can suggest the next time you go to the store, measure the lengths of meat cuts you wish to smoke. This way, you will know how small of a smoker will work for you. On both my small smokers I have done two 8 pound Boston Butts (pork shoulder) at the same time on one smoker. I have also done two 5 pound brisket flats at the same time on one unit. Small units burn less fuel, and also allows you to play with small scale stuff to get your recipe right. Four Cornish game hens are on the board for this weekend.
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What you want is the 22.5" WSM, hands down the best charcoal smoker straight out of the box! No mods and it works great! I call mine the set-it-and-forget-it of charcoal smokers. As for how much you can fit on it:
When I do ribs I can lay 3 racks of St. Louis cut spares flat on one rack, leaving the other rack open for sides and what not. Or if you buy rib racks you can do 12 racks at one time!