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Best Smoker to Start

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I have a question to pose to the seasoned veterans here. I'm looking to purchase my first smoker and am still unsure of the best way to go. I first thought about getting the AMPS and using it in conjunction with my gas grill. I'm just unsure how well the temperature can be regulated with the grill. I considered a propane smoker but have the same concern about regulating the temperature. I am seriously considering the 1st generation MES 30. So I thougt I would turn to the experts here. I have already gotten answers to several questions I've posted and everyone has been so helpful and I appreciate a forum such as this where I can find answers. So what's the best way to start out?
post #2 of 28

Your first smoker would depend on your budget.  I would not use my gas grill with AMPS as temp control it vital and would be tough with a grill.  If your budget is $1000 I'd buy a Rec Tec and be done with it.



post #3 of 28

It depends on weather you prefer gas, electric, charcoal, or wood. What is your budget like"

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
My budget is a couple to few hundred dollars. As for preference I don't know that I have one at this point.
post #5 of 28

Weber Smoky Mountain. Works perfect right out of the box. Best customer support in the business. Bulletproof and bombproof. Great warranty like you would ever need it.

post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
I guess my biggest question/concern is how easy is it to regulate the temperature as well as being able to hit and maintain specific temperatures.
post #7 of 28

About as easy as it gets for a charcoal smoker. they are pretty much set it and forget it. A lot of people also like the Masterbuilt electric smokers. You will get many opinions I am sure but for that money those are your two best options in my opinion.

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
I am kind of leaning toward the WSM. I here very good things about it and very few negatives whereas I have heard of issues with the MES. There is just two of us so I am thinking the WSM 14.5.
post #9 of 28

1. you've mentioned a budget




2. how many will you normally cook for? just you? A family of 4?

3  Home? Apt? back seat of the car?

4. work schedule? Weekdays? Hourly? Out of town?

5. normal smoke? Chicken ribs? Full packer? Butts?

post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
There is just two of us and we are homeowners. I work Mon- Fri. As for what type of smoke or what I'll be smoking, I'm just starting out some I'm looking to start will basics to build a foundation on.
post #11 of 28

So you don't have to go with a electric, you can use a firebreather. I think firebreathers are the best to learn on. Electrics are nice (I have three), but they are pretty much set and forget (Iknow lots will argue that). But a firebreather really teaches you about whats happening. You apprecaite the things you learn instead of just blaming the remote control.


I would suggest looking in the ads in theclassified, craigs list, thrifty nickel, etc...... There is nearly always folks wanting to divest themselves of pits. Ok, I learned to drive in a used car, meant I had to learn to take care of it and work on it. learned alot. The same holds true of a firebreather.


Electrics are inexpensive, but its is eletric who knows where that stuff goes and does. They are sometimes prone to problems because you have to rely upon the electronics.


A pit and a fire and its all on you.


Just my humble opinion. Electrics have a place most definately. But a firebreather is where to start IMHO.

post #12 of 28

I'm a stick burner from way back, Today there are so many choices, and just starting out it has to be a little confusing. Like Foam said think about all the things that will or might come into play. Do plenty of research and go and talk to as many people you can with different smokers. see what best fits your needs



post #13 of 28
I started with an electric and didn't care for it due to the inability to control temps. I went to propane and turned out years of great food on a cheap unit. I've recently been lured back to a high end electric and a little frustrated at this point. I love my propane.
post #14 of 28
Originally Posted by Foamheart View Post


I would suggest looking in the ads in theclassified, craigs list, thrifty nickel, etc...... 

I think this is the best place to start. There is nothing worse than making your mind up, purchasing an expensive item, then regretting the purchase. If you pick up a used smoker for dirt cheap and decide you want something different it is not the end of the world.


I started on a brinkmann electric that was given to me by my FIL. It took $20 in parts to fix and I was up and running. This allowed me to get my feet wet and start the learning experience without dropping $200 or more. Now I have an MES 30 and love it.

post #15 of 28

Have you looked at the Masterbuilt Pro Dual-Fuel. It uses charcoal or propane and you can buy it at almost any big box store. Less than $200. I don't have one, but there are a lot of people here that do.

post #16 of 28

Whichever you decide, the man thing is spend some time and really get to know your smoker. Do several smokes with inexpensive meats. That way you can make sure it is working properly, needs any tweaks, decide on wood flavors and timing. The more you smoke the easier and better it gets. Be sure and check the temp gauge that comes with the unit, most are very accurate.


Let us know when you decide



post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
I'm strongly leaning towards the WSM 18.5 and am pretty sure that's the way I'm going to go.
post #18 of 28

What do you plan on smoking?

Full racks are tight in the MES 30, but I have 2 of them.  You can get a couple of good PRs in there or a couple small turkeys.  For ease of use and temp regulation, the 1st gen MES 30 and 40 are both good.  I also have the 40, which IMHO is the way to go.  


Regulating the temp is key and no electric smoker is going to be right on.  Invest in a Maverick 732 remote probe.  Check out our sponsor, AMazeN Smoker.  He has the best price and excellent customer service.


Just another guy's 2 cents.

post #19 of 28

You know, these seem to have a pretty loyal following around here. They are compact and can be easily transported, they are inexpensive to build, it would be a new unit. They are expandable...LOL I think Case stacks up three of four...... but ya gotta watch out for him. LOL




I have started to buy parts a couple a times, and just got sidetracked. Charcoal burner, those who have them seem extremely satified. you might check that forum and ask their opinions.

post #20 of 28
Hello to all, just joined forum. Do all my smokin on my Weber kettle but am collecting parts for a mini WSM.
Here is a question to all, have you ever used a dry container of fresh herbs to infuse flavor during a cook?
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