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Charcoal or Gas smoker? Tryin' to decide

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm in the market for my first smoker. I actually don't like the 'bullet' style smokers (I hat having to virtually 'take them apart' to get at whats' inside), so I'm looking at vertical smokers.

I've narrowed my selection down to two:

The Brinkmann Veritcal Charcoal Smoker:
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=3342509

Or the Great Oudoors Smoky Mountain Gas Smoker:
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=3342513

For a 'beginner', what are your opinions on each of these?


Also, I'm in the market (VERY soon) for a new gas BBQ. I'm looking to spend no more than about $600 (+ Tax). Suggestions? I'd like the largest cooking surface available (i.e. Most grill space).

Thanks in advane! :)
post #2 of 13

Re: Charcoal or Gas smoker? Tryin' to decide

I'm in the market for my first smoker. I actually don't like the 'bullet' style smokers (I hat having to virtually 'take them apart' to get at whats' inside), so I'm looking at vertical smokers.

I've narrowed my selection down to two:

The Brinkmann Veritcal Charcoal Smoker:
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=3342509

Or the Great Oudoors Smoky Mountain Gas Smoker:
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=3342513

For a 'beginner', what are your opinions on each of these?

First of all Frag, welcome to Smoking Meat Forums. If you want a smoker with the least amount of fire tending then go with the GOSM, if you like playing with fire :P then go with charcoal.

Also, I'm in the market (VERY soon) for a new gas BBQ. I'm looking to spend no more than about $600 (+ Tax). Suggestions? I'd like the largest cooking surface available (i.e. Most grill space).

I have a Stainless steel Brinkmann ProSeries propane grill that has a lot of grill surface-I can't recall at the moment I'll have to check and will post back later.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the welcome, Earl. :)

The convenience of gas intrigues me, but I'm not afraid of a little work/fire tending either. I want the best smoked flavor I can possibly get. Some people I talk to say that gas if fine, but others swear off anything but a charcoal (or wood) smoker.

I know the gas smoker works by heating wood chips/chuks with propane. Does the charcoal one use charcoal only or is the charcoal just the heat source to also heat the wood chips/chunks? I believe (and hope) it's the latter. Otherwise my choices of what to smoke with are greatly limited (to basically mesquite).

I want to be able to experiment w/ as many different types of smoking woods as I can (hickory, mesquite, alder, cherry, etc.)

Is the charcoal smoker (if it works like I think it does - and the charcoal is just the 'fuel' to heat whatever wood I want to use), the better choice for the best flavor, or will I likely be unable to distinguish the flavor of the gas smoker from charcoal smoker?

Thanks a lot! :)
post #4 of 13

Re: Charcoal or Gas smoker? Tryin' to decide

My grill has about 630 square inches of surface area and when you add in the warming rack and the sideburner it's 870 s.i. total area

I use the GOSM Widebody but I also have a charcoal ECB water smoker.
The charcoal is the heat source and I use wood chunks of hickory for flavor.

Some folks claim that they can taste the difference between charcoal vs. propane. But then the amount of smoke used will play into how foods tastes also.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm glad to hear you're enjoying your Brinkmann. I'm considering a Brinkmann 4400 gas grill as my next barbeque, but I've seen both good and bad reviews for Brinkmann grills. I'm not sure who to believe (but I'll certainly listen to someone who has one/has used one!)

My old gas grill is over 10 years old and about on it's last legs! LOL

How much propane do you go through with the GOSM? Is the charcoal smoker slightly/considerably more economical to run? Also, with the charcoal smoker, how often do you have to tend to the fire/make adjustments to maintain the temperature?

Thanks agian for all the replies & info. :)
post #6 of 13

Re: Charcoal or Gas smoker? Tryin' to decide

On a 20 pound tank I get roughly 23-24 hours use before refilling. When I use my ECB I load it up with about 10 pounds of charcoal for about a 5-6 hour smoke-

Hopefully someone that uses a charcoal smoker will drop by and add to this discussion.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Re: Charcoal or Gas smoker? Tryin' to decide

OK, well....I want to smoke a lot and that sounds like a fairly significant amount of propane. Not that what you said is a 'small' amount of charcoal, but I think that would be more economical than the propane for me.

Is it best to use just standard Kingsford for heat in the charcoal smoker, or would it be better to use mesquite 'Chef's Wood' type coals?
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
OK. Thanks again Earl. I see why you're the 'Welcome Guy'. :D
post #9 of 13

Re: Charcoal or Gas smoker? Tryin' to decide

Kingsford has changed the way they make their briquettes. There is a thread about the change posted in the Forum. I still have four 25 pound bags of the regular stuff so I'm good for awhile. :D
Some have found that the Royal Oak brand of briquettes work well.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Re: Charcoal or Gas smoker? Tryin' to decide

I found a pic of the grill I'm considering. Any opinions? It's a Brinkmann 4400 (60,000 BTU w/ 12,000 BTU side burner).
post #11 of 13

Re: Charcoal or Gas smoker? Tryin' to decide

Well imagine that with two more burners and in stainless steel/heavy gauge aluminum and you have an idea what mine looks like. I love my grill and now that the weather has warmed up I'm grilling 3-4 times a week and sometimes I'll even have my GOSM going.
post #12 of 13
I use a Brinkman Pitmaster Deluxe which is a Horizontal and I have had no problems with it. I know that gas is alot more consistant in temps and can smoke for a long time, But I really enjoy going outside and Tending the fire. It gives me something to do. I like the challange of Charcoal, but I always have to be there and can not just leave it to smoke, which sometimes would be handy. There is my two cents!!!!
post #13 of 13

Re: Charcoal or Gas smoker? Tryin' to decide

Welcome.

I have a Brinkman ProSeries 3 burner myself. I have had it now for abt 8 yrs. I love it. It isn't the stainless, but it has held up great.

I use the CharGriller Super Pro with side fire box for a smoker. It is a horizontal model. http://www.chargriller.com/shop/grills/smokin-pro.html

If you go to Lowe's, you will have to buy the SuperPro and the side fire box separate. http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...tt=chargriller

I use charcoal for fuel, and then wood chunks or chips for the smoke flavor. I have used hickory, oak, and maple so far. All have been great.

Bill
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