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upgrading to charcoal

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Consider it an upgrade or a downgrade as i dont have TOO much money to throw at a new smoker. As of right now i have the brinkman electric(red bullet) and i really do like it. It still works great but i would like to try my simple skills at charcoal, most likely an offset smoker.

Needs to be local
Under 300.00
I dont mind basic and having to do simple mods ive already read about.
Limited to the following -

In stock at walmart.

Is this also called the Brinkman Smoke 'n pit??

sears might have this one in stock

If the above is the smoke 'n pit then its my only three choices from the criteria i posted. target, home depot, or lowes are either out of stock or just dont carry them in stock. I found the vertical char grill(sp??) and it was FLIMSY.

Should i upgrade from my Electric to charcoal?, or just keep the electric.

Of the three which would you choose(most likely the two since sears probably doesnt stock it)?

Lastly, i know i know, walmart sucks but it sadly is the only choice since no one else stocks anything affordable for a beginner charcoal guy.


ps. i didnt see anything online at bass pro shop. correct me if im wrong.
post #2 of 22
i'd say get the smoke'n pit or if you really want to keep it simple and get your feet wet, simply get an ECB. 30 dollars and you can make some very good charcoal Q with it.

either way, research the mods and be sure to implement them.
post #3 of 22
Personally, I'd see what I could find on Craigslist. You just might luck out and find a nice pre-owned smoker.
post #4 of 22
Don't waste your money on the first one from wal-mart. I had one and took it back real quick. The biggest problem you will have is that it won't hold any decent sized wood in the fire box. I an "ok I guess" smoke using the minion method with briquettes and a little wood on top, but seriously, don't bother. I bought mine thinking it would get me started, but it just was so lame. The lid doesn't even close all the way unless you force it, which is rather hard when it is hot.

A lot of people seem to like the smoke 'n pit, that may be a good option in that price range.

How about a propane GOSM? They are so easy to use, I love mine! Few simple mods and it rocks.

Just bite the bullet and get a Lang.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
checked craigslist before i made this post thinking i could be sneaky.
Thanks though.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Looks like the smoke n pit might be the choice for me. Thank you.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
I do a lot of smoking with my electric, but find that i run out of room. I think the ECB is the same as my red one, just no electric coil.
I read again and again about the mods and i will be doing them all. I just wanted a platform to start from. If i start doing a lot of smoking i will be doing a UDS(i think this is the drum right?)

Thanks to all again, and glad the forum is up and running once again.
post #8 of 22
if space is an issue, i don't think you can go wrong with the smoke'n pit - just bought one this weekend myself!
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
space is no longer an issue. I had the electric when i lived in an apt and didnt want to burn the unit down(8 ft balcony). Smoke n pit will be my next investment. I still think im going to use the electric as a back up(or when the party grows larger). Maybe i can do some electric vs charcoal cook offs and post results.
post #10 of 22
The listings change on a daily basis on Craigslist. You just might luck out.
post #11 of 22
LOL - i meant, space on the grill as in needing more space!PDT_Armataz_01_36.gif
post #12 of 22
You are right, the center one (40" Brinkmann) is the Smoke N' Pit. As a biased contributor to your post (I own an SnP PDT_Armataz_01_28.gif ) I'd say get it because-

1) Lower priced units are exponentially flimsier.

2) For a commercial, big-box-store, large sized (smoked four 12-14 LB turkeys at one time prior to my exhaust mod) smoker, you can't beat the price.

3) It's fun! Is it the best? No. But then, you don't learn how to drive in a stick shift Lamborghini. You learn in a beat up 1972 MG Midget that's great to drive and lets you feel like you are in a race car. Same with the SnP. It's forgiving, gives ya room to experiment, and encourages you to get better.

Once you get the hang of it, you will probably want to modify it. Here's my link to the mods I've made over the past 18 months: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/showthread.php?t=75087

Good luck to you and your search. No matter what you choose, you'll still be smokin' and that's what counts! PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #13 of 22
Build a drum smoker (UDS)
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Actually, i might be building a drum smoker after i buy the SnP. Why you ask, WHY NOT. i have a welder, i have tools, i just dont have much time. It will be a slow process.

I actually saw your mods and planned to do three right off the back.
2)extend chute
3)thermometers on both sides..

the rest of the mods will come in due time. Thanks again for the biased and unbiased help:)
post #15 of 22
I recently switched back from gas (20 years) to charcoal. Wish I had never switched to gas at all. Charcoal is it for me. Good luck on whatever you get.
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
just picked up the SnP from wally world last night. I will assemble it and see how it goes. I dont mind the cheap one to start with as it will give me a basic idea of charcoal smokers. Im on the look out for a 55 gallon drum as i will be converting one in the future(but it will be a long future, as i work full time and im a full time student)
post #17 of 22
be sure to stop at a hardware store and pick up some good wheels and the mounting hardware for them. this is my ownly complaint so far.

also, when you season/cure the smoker, the heat will most likely take some paint off. rub some pam or sookoing oil into the spot where the paint used to be and it will evenutally cure.
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Its all assembled and i can see everything everyone is talking about. In the end, its not that bad but does need work.

The wheels are a joke.
The chute on top doesnt even want to fit right.
i need a diverter or everything on the left of the grill will burn.

1) Now that it is all together, how do i season the grill. I read the manual, but it only told me to wipe it with vegetable oil. It didnt specify how long i should season it for and about what temps. Any guestimates on this?

2) Do i need the adjustable racking to stay in if i use this as a smoker 100% of the time. The racking appears to be a charcoal adjustment racking if i wanted to do hot dogs and burgers, etc...

3)Unit i get around to moddying it, if i cook everything to the far right do you think this will be fine?

Thanks in advance to all. Rivet, ill be using your mods as great guidelines.
Tasunka thanks again for all the input.
post #19 of 22
seasoning is one of them things everyone and their brother has an opinion on, I personally like to hand rub the entire thing with peanut oil on the inside, get a small fire going and then rub the entire outside with crisco before it gets hot enough to burn your paint off and continue to apply to any areas that look dry inside or out through the process, I try to run 200 for two hours, then increase to 300 or 350 for another couple hours. I perrsonally leave the stack all the way open use all wood for the initial fire and lump for heat with chunks now and again just like cooking, some guys will damp it half way and claim this helps season it faster but I never tried it as four or six hours is an investment in my opinion.
post #20 of 22
Good for you! Couple things...as you noted, the warming rack is pointless if you just smoke and in the way if you want to have an exhaust extension. I took mine off right off the bat.

My deflector at 5/16 inch steel plate worked great for heat stabilization. Just keep in mind something that thick will take some time to come up to temp. It took 15 min to come up to 100 F, 25 min to hit 150, 30 min to hit 200 and 37 min to hit 250F. It stabilized better than I could have planned at 250 and kept humming at that temp no matter how much wood I added. That's fine, for barbecuing just either take it out, or slide it away from the left side of the box about an inch to let more heat in. One modification to it I do plan on making are to the first set of 1/4 inch vents on the canted portion of the deflector. I'm going to increase them slightly, maybe even go to 1/2 inch, but no more.

Good luck to you!PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
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