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New to smoking...a little help?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi, thought id introduce myself,I'm Craig,28 years old and from Leicestershire and hoping for a little advice. I've been wanting to start smoking for a while and have been doing a lot of research recently,mostly on what smoker to purchase. I'm thinking the brinkmann smoke n grill seems like a good entry level smoker? But what is the difference between this and the brinkmann gourmet? What shall I go for?
post #2 of 7
Hi Raucher, welcome.

I'm pretty new to this myself so I'm sure someone with a lot more experience and knowledge will come along soon, but in the meantime...

I use a TecTake 3in1 smoker at the moment which I understand is similar to the Brinkmann and very cheap. It needs a few mods in order to get the best out of it but I have used it sucessfully for a few smokes (including one today).

Personally, I decided to start out cheap and if I can get results on that I know I can upgrade later.

Welcome to the addiction ;)
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raucher View Post

Hi, thought id introduce myself,I'm Craig,28 years old and from Leicestershire and hoping for a little advice. I've been wanting to start smoking for a while and have been doing a lot of research recently,mostly on what smoker to purchase. I'm thinking the brinkmann smoke n grill seems like a good entry level smoker? But what is the difference between this and the brinkmann gourmet? What shall I go for?

Welcome to the site from across the pond. I started out with that smoker and it works but you have to do quite a bit of tinkering right when you get it to make it perform half way decent. If I were you I would save your money and get something a little more substantial or build yourself something like this.

*

Those Brinkmans are a pain in the you know what to use. You would be fiddling with it constantly no matter how many modifications you do to it. I know they are cheap but you get what you pay for. If you are cooking for just a few people most of the time you can get away with a Weber Kettle like this one.

I use this one most of all of my outdoor cooking devices. I just love it. The drum smoker in the top picture can be built for pretty cheap and is really easy to do. Check out the UDS section of this website for some ideas. If you get the brinkman you will be doing just as much work to get it to work as building the Barrel smoker. I hope this helps you out. I used the Brinkman for years before I graduated to better equipment. It is like night and day the difference a good piece of gear makes to your enjoyment and satisfaction. Happy smoking. Timber.

post #4 of 7

Hello and Welcome to our addiction.  Many good folks here with a load of experience that they are more than willing to share.  If you have specific questions pictures help a bunch.  Spend some time doing some research on the forums, tons of advice and recipes already available there.  Check out Jeff’s 5 day smoking E-Course ( link below ) that will help you get started.  Couple other good threads to help you get started included.  We look forward to your contributions.  Have fun.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

Danny

 

http://www.smoking-meat.com/smoking-basics-ecourse

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/177452/new-to-smoking-or-have-a-new-smoker

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/178240/smoke-color-chart

 

As to your question:  It is one we have all battled with.  The barrel smoker ( UDS ) works really well, but if you don't have anywhere to work or own any tools then that is out.  I know money can be an issue but I wish I had back all the money I spent on "cheap" smokers over the years.  I now own 2 Webers and I wish I had bought them years ago.  Others are cheaper for a reason.  My advice is the same as timberjet.  Build the UDS or go with the Weber.  Yes the Webers are expensive but they have an enamel coating so don't rust.  Go to B&Q, lift the lid on the Weber and then lift the lid on the cheaper knockoff.  You will see immediately why they cost more.  Check out the link below before buying from B&Q.  NEVER buy any charcoal that says instant or insta anything unless you like the taste of petrol with your steak!  Use quality briquettes or lump wood.  YES, it costs more but lasts longer so you use less and no NASTY after taste.  Buy the correct size charcoal chimney.  Throw out your starting fluid/gel.  Buy a good dual probe therm and USE it.  Start out properly and you will have success quicker and easier.  Some folks use heart when they struggle so much at the beginning.  Sorry for the novel.  Just want to see you get off on the right foot.  Keep Smokin!

Danny

post #5 of 7

Hi Craig - and I would like to add my welcome to the guys above.

 

When you start thinking about getting your first smoker most people don't realise that the temperature control is one of the most important things. It is not like using a grill BBQ where you simply light the charcoal and move it around a bit - what you are trying to achieve is something similar to your kitchen oven with a fairly good temperature control that will enable you to maintain a constant temperature of around 110 C over a period of 4-6 hours. In order to do this effectively you need your smoker to have a good balance of coal basket design, air intake control, exhaust control and the placing of the meat inside. What has been alluded to above is that with some models, out of the box, this can be quite difficult to do and they need to have some fairly serious modifications to rectify some basic design limitations. Many people do buy them and make the mods but others just think that they must be doing something wrong and end up giving up smoking before they have given it a chance.

 

I don't know your circumstances - you may be an engineer who would be able to make the necessary mods in your sleep or knock up a UDS in an afternoon. It would be great if you were - but most most people who want to start smoking are not.

 

When you first start it can be tempting to go for the cheapest model thinking that you will upgrade later, however in my opinion this is a false economy. It would be better to spend a little more up front and then enjoy your hobby right from the start. You are talking of a Brinkmann so it looks like you are leaning towards a bullet type smoker rather than an offset. To begin with this is a good choice. I would recommend that before you buy that you take a look at either the Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) (~£375) or the ProQ Frontier (~£250). Yes the WSM is very expensive but you will be buying the top of the range. The Frontier is very similar in design but is less expensive. The build quality of the Fronties is not as good as the WSM however a lot of people do use them successfully here in competitions.

 

Another option would be so start with a standard Weber kettle grill (~£130). I do a lot of my smoking in these and they are very versatile and the temperature is easy to control. You should go for the 57cm though in order to give you the cooking space that you need. The Weber Original Kettle is fine - the Premium versions do not really add anything that is useful.

 

Charcoal is another topic altogether and Danny has given some good advice there. The important thing at this stage though is you get you the right hardware and then we can discuss what you burn in it.

 

Budget for a good digital thermometer though (Maverick ET-732 or 733) as these will be your best friend when smoking (~£50).

post #6 of 7

Hello Raucher,

 

I'm Matt and from Lincolnshire. I too am very much a newbie to smoking and had to make a similar decision that you are making now. 

After research on the web and here on this forum I went for the WSM. I am looking at doing my first smoke this weekend (Excited). There are some great people on the forum that will help you in any way they can.

 

What I can say is that I received my WSM this week and the build quality is fantastic. Love the enamel coating and the set up was very easy. Yes you may pay more for a WSM but you can certainly see why. Also purchased the Maverick ET-732 after some great reviews and advise from these here forums

 

Ultimately the decision will be yours but with the advise from these guys you wont go far wrong :)

 

M

post #7 of 7
Hi Raucher, welcome to the "family"

Danny got you pretty much covered on the Smoker advice.

Ask plenty of questions and you'll get ten times as many answers!

Smokin Monkey 🇬🇧
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