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I want to get started right - choosing the right equipment for the job

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have never smoked before and want to start. I'm researching equipment, but there are so many opinions out there it is hard for me to narrow it down. In fact, I'm even a little more confused as I was unaware of the vast number of alternatives. So, I'd appreciate any and all advice that folks are generous enough to offer. Below are my smoking ambitions. Did I leave anything out? What is the best type of smoker (UDS, pellet, propane...) and then which would you recommend?

Q: How often am I going to use it?
A: Surely not often enough, but probably a lot at first and then about a dozen times a year. Hopefully more, but that is realistic.


Q: What do I want to smoke?
A: Brisket, chicken, jerky, salmon, ribs and maybe a turkey

Q: How much am I going to smoke at a time?
A: often just for 5, but sometimes enough enough for 15 people

Q: How good is good enough?
A: while I won't be entering competitions anytime soon (joke), I'd like the chance to make pretty darn good food. I want something that gives enough/ plenty of good, tasty smoke.

Q: How much do I want to babysit?
A: Not at all. I'd like to let it go all night or be free to leave the house for hours at a time.

Q: How much do I want to spend?
A: Preferably under $1,000, but would spend a few hundred more if it made sense
post #2 of 7
welcome1.gif

You are gonna want to make sausage also.... #12 Grinder and 5# vertical stuffer.... Price depends on your wallet.... I use a Kitchener #12 grinder and a Grizzly 5# vertical stuffer... both together under $200.... watch for sales...

Sounds like you want an electric smoker.... Good electronic controls.... and then the smoke generator.... Look at Amazen Products pellet smoke generator...... http://www.amazenproducts.com/ ..... The guy that designed, built and sells them is a very good member here.... Todd Johnson.... and he's a good guy...

Smokers by SausageMaker... I don't own one, and I don't know anyone that does.... BUT..... Made in America and Sausage Maker has some excellent support and reputation.... I have a Chinese MES 30 and it works well, after several modifications....

http://www.sausagemaker.com/smokehouses_meatsmokers.aspx


Now, how good is good enough.... Once you get into this "Nightmare of a hobby"... you won't quit... you will expand your skills and push on to test yourself and taste buds... and the families taste buds... and neighbors.... you will be hounded to make more Q, or more Bratwurst, or Kielbasa, or Summer sausage... pulled pork, brisket... the list is never ending... Then there is the fermented meats that we will leave for a later discussion....

Glad you stopped in.... Dave
post #3 of 7

Hello.  Welcome.  I see this is your first post.  Please take some time and swing over to Roll Call and introduce yourself so that we may give you a proper "Hello".  All info you can provide us with such as smoker type, location and so on will help us answer any questions you may have, and pictures help a bunch.  As for your question:   Your questions and answers raise even more questions and answers.  Reading between the lines I surmise you want to spend ZERO time learning fire building and heat control.  Question 4 says to me you want to quickly turn it on, let it heat up, throw the meat in and come back X # of hours later and eat.  Which is not a problem.  Many folks don't want to "mess" with the smoker.  In that case you are mostly limited to electric or propane.  Each have their pros and cons.  When you start down the set and forget line you SOMETIMES ( but not always ) lose some versatility.  With many gas and electric smokers you will not have the option to grill a nice ribeye or T-bone.  Many different smokers have SOME drawbacks, I guess that's why many of us have 2,3 or 6 different ones.  So now that I have muddied the waters even more for you; GOOD LUCK!  Have fun.  Keep Smokin!

Danny

post #4 of 7

Sounds to me like you want a bradley smoker.  Fill the sucker up with hockey pucks, set the temp and forget about it.  There you go... your perfect smoker.  lol  http://www.bradleysmoker.com/

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
I just posted in the roll call, but will need to add more once I get a smoker. I don't need a grill, as I have one already. What about pellet smokers - great or poor smoke?
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Oh - and i dont mind learning the art/craft of fire building and heat control. I just dont want to have to tweak it a lot while smoking, add chips every 90 minutes, etc. I thought from reading the reviews there simply were easier set ups.
post #7 of 7

Welcome to SMF.  Good answers above.

 

My 22.5" Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) with the BBQ Guru DigiQ DX2 temp controller is a truly set and forget type smoker.  Practically like setting the oven.  Minimal adjustments during a long smoke.  Easily goes all night (Once did 17 hours with only two adjustments).  $400 for the smoker.  $265-300 for the complete everything you could ever need DigiQ DX2 installation kit.  Simple to install. 

 

Learning temp control without the DigiQ is easy on the WSM. 

 

Ready supply of fuel (charcoal) and wood chunks at Home Depot.

 

Feeding 2 people or 40 or more is easy with the WSM.  Teams are winning competitions with it too it produces Q that good.

 

Okay, putting my soapbox away.          

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