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smoker choices

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

hello- just joined. I'm researching smokers & found this site & it looked like a good place to ask around. as far as my experience goes I've been using weber kettles for years for direct & offset grilling. I bought a brinkman dome smoker 2 years ago & have had reasonably good results with it. I do not see my smoker on brinkman's site. it's bigger than the ECB model that's on their site ( 17"" round by 3' tall ). I did a web search & found the brinkman gourmet model domed smoker that looks like mine, there are no legs & has a vented base that the charcoal pan sits in. while it is doing a decent job it has a few issues. the door is flimsy & even after some mods it's not a good fit. the domed lid is not a good fit in regards to the main body, the temp. gauge is useless, & the paint burned off pretty early on. repainting with high heat paint & replacing the temp. gauge would help but I'm leaning towards an upgrade & I'm weighing my options. I want a good quality charcoal only smoker. with a general web search for brinkman a list of 'images' comes up & it looks like there were quite a few made over the years but most have been dropped. all I'm finding now are the dome ( ECB), a vertical model on wheels, & the trailmaster. looking at reviews of other brands there's a lot of negative feedback out there. the one that's caught my eye is the weber smoky mtn.. it's a weber so the quality is there, it has good reviews, & it's within my budget. the choice is between the 18" & the 22". I've been reading some threads on this site & found I'm not the only one on this same fence. there's only 2 of us & so far the 17" brinkman has been adequate so the 18" weber might do the trick. if I'd ever need more capacity I could use the brinkman along side the weber. are there any other brands in the same price range that would produce similar or better results than the weber. maybe something with a door instead of access via a lid? this could fit the bill but I'm not finding it offered anywhere. 


post #2 of 17
The WSM is a great smoker. It's very user friendly and well built. It would give you nice cooks and very good results. I had a 22" and loved it. I would recommend the 22 over the 18". If you need any extra room this will suffice. The actual surface area of the 18" is smaller than the Brinkmann. If you have the 22" and want to do a smaller cook, buy an 18" charcoal ring and it works great for a smaller fire.

Good luck and good smoking, Joe
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

I've yet to see any of these smokers 'in the flesh'. in the photos the 22" WSM looks huge. so far the best prices on these have been on amazon. you have to watch some sellers as they post a really good price & then charge some preposterous price for shipping.

  am I correct that it looks like brinkman has shrunk their line of smokers?? the gourmet & the one in the photo I posted  are not shown on the site. I've seen a couple of smokers similar to the one in the photo in the $140.00 - $250.00 price range but they got really bad reviews. I like the idea of having doors over having to open the dome.

  my son-in-law has a nice heavy steel ( 1/8") not sheet metal cylindrical smoker with heavy grills & solid doors. I've never seen another like it & there's no name on it. he never uses it & said I could have it. I procrastinated picking it up as they're 70 miles away. well the daughter filed for divorce so that deal is off the table. you snooze you lose eh??

post #4 of 17
You can see WSM smokers at Lowes
post #5 of 17
Originally Posted by Joe Black View Post

You can see WSM smokers at Lowes
Depending on his area not every store carries a complete smoker product group. They definitely are available but might need to look online first before going to one if its a little drive.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'm within a mile of a lowes & there's never been a WSM there. i'll check around there are some specialty shops around that may carry them.

post #7 of 17
When I bought mine, Lowes did not stock them at that time. However, they were a Weber dealer and would order you one and have it shipped to the store for free. Now my lowes stocks the WSM. Check them out.
post #8 of 17
Originally Posted by rober49 View Post

I'm within a mile of a lowes & there's never been a WSM there. i'll check around there are some specialty shops around that may carry them.
Your lowes can definitely order them. I brought then into my store and they sold very well when people can actually see the product. I know my cabelas carries them also.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

I found an 18" WSM lurking being some boxes under some shelves at my local lowes. I like it!. I was told that they cannot order the 22" & they do not show the 22" on their website. there's a n.i.b. for $150.00 for sale at the local thrift shop. too bad it's a 14.5" model.

Edited by rober49 - 12/7/15 at 5:21pm
post #10 of 17
Originally Posted by rober49 View Post

I found an 18" WSM lurking being some boxes under some shelves at my local lowes. I like it!. I was told that they cannot order the 22" & they do not show the 22" on their website. there's a n.i.b. for $150.00 for sale at the local thrift shop. too bad it's a 14.5" model.
can make a mini for alot less than that! I only see a 18 now available. We do sell alot of weber so I wouldn't say we can't get it but the 18 for 299 is a good deal and nice smoker. Someday I'll own a smoker from weber but now I smoke on my kettle grill.
post #11 of 17

I'd shy away from any Brinkmann, at this time. They recently filed bankruptcy. The lack of selection on their site may be the result of selling down the inventory. I am also looking at up gradeing from an ECB. There are lots of cabinet type charcoal smokers out there. Many below the WSM price point. Almost all seem to need mods. Many of those mods are really a matter of personal preferance, others are performance based.

 Open the dome or open a door will have the same result, lost heat. It will take time to recover and that adds time to the smoke. Digital controled electric units make up for this because it will sense the drop and run the element harder. Just saying, you gain little by switching from a dome to a door. What the door really does for you is give you easier access to all the racks at once instead of having to unstack the whole smoker.

 In your research and selection process, keep in mind a slab of ribs is roughly 20-22 inches long. Smaller smokers will require you to cut them in half, not the end of the world but worth noting.

post #12 of 17

My two cents on these damn charcoal smokers. Once you smoke on a WSM , you will wonder why you even bothered with any other vertical charcoal smoker. Honestly if you can save enough to buy one of the cheaper ones, save a bit longer and buy the WSM. I am going on 5 years now since I built my first Mini-WSM. Last year I finally found a 18" on Craigslist that I scooped up for $100. It was brand new, only used twice and the gal that had it washed it after every use. When she told me that I knew she had no clue what a smoker was.


I have used my Mini's and my 18 in all outdoor conditions. Rain, snow , sun , hail ,sleet, wind from single digit to triple digit out door temps. They are rock solid and will out perform many other smokers.


If you can't wait to save then I'd suggest taking the money you have and build either a mini-WSM or if that's not big enough a UDS. For the prices of the cheap units you mention I could build a mini and an UDS.


I wouldn't waste my time on the others. Why because I did that already long ago and it took me a long time to try charcoal again. Which is unfortunate, cause charcoal adds so much flavor.

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

I already have a brinkman gourmet model but  i'm looking to upgrade. from reading here & online reviews it does appear all the less expensive cabinet smokers need mods.  there's a Humphrey dealer here in town but those are way out of my budget so I'm pretty sure i'm going to get the WSM. as mentioned I finally got a look at a WSM & like it. I'm not pulling the trigger yet because I have a feeling I might be getting one for Christmas. also I've checked craigslist & figure that I can bide my time I can find a deal. I did find a 18.5 inch in like new condition for $75.00 but it's 80 miles away. the seller might be headed this way in the next week or so, so if she can bring it here i'll buy it & keep an eye out for a 22.5" model. in the mean time I have the brinkman to keep my addiction going. I have pork chops & salmon steaks in the brinkman as I write this. i'll keep the brinkman in reserve no matter what else I buy so if I see any really cheap brinkmans offered i'll buy them for parts. the drip pan is about to give up the ghost on mine. also someone just gave me a new ECB model so I have it for parts.

dirt sailor- i'm a diehard charcoal fan!! I've been using weber kettles for 35 years & have done some decent smoking on those. I plan to search this website for the ins & outs of smoking & one of the things I want to learn how to do is smoke chicken without ending up with rubbery skin. i'm sure the answer is on this website.


post #14 of 17
post #15 of 17
Case, I really liked my WSM as you probably know. It always gave me excellent cooks and excellent service. I would probably still have it, except for being 70 years old with a bad back. It eventually was a problem for me to take it apart to load fuel, back together to cook, take apart to clean and back together to cover for next time. That really hurt my back. But, what really hurt the most was selling it to my barber. At least, he loves it.

The 14" was not made when I had my 22" and I never thought about building a mini. But, I woud never talk down a WSM. In fact, I promote them when it's appropriate.

Thanks, Joe
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

so how many different smokers did brinkman make over the years? just found this one. I'm till watching out for a wsm but these things keep turning up

image 1

post #17 of 17

WSM for sure. I had a cheap offset (thin metal) that drove me batty even after all the mods - I couldn't trust it for long smokes. So after about 8-9 months of that I sold it and bought the 22.5" WSM and have never regretted it once. They work incredibly well, and the only thing you may have to replace ever is the cooking and fire grates - I have had mine for 6+ years and have not replaced anything.

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