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Buying a new smoker

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
with a max price of approx. $300 I would like to eventually get a new smoker for bigger jobs and am wondering which way to go:

1. Water Smoker
2. Offset Smoker
3. Ceramic
4. Drum

x- i'd like it to also be a grill if possible.
x- wheels would be nice.
x- not too messy

a. bigger h20 smoker (i don't really like messing with water)
b. offset (don't know anything about those)
c. ceramic (effecient, small grill space and expensive)
d. drum - I don't know anything about it. doesn't seem like it's grill-able.

Your opinions are wanted :)
post #2 of 18
Where are you located?
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm in Sacramento-ish California.
post #4 of 18
nevermind then. If you want bigger, you need to go horizontal for sure. Drums are a great alternative though too. 22.5" grates can hold a lot of food, they don't require near as much attention as a horizontal, use less fuel, etc.
post #5 of 18
I went from a uds to a horizontal offset for the same reason. You can get quite a bit of product cooked in a drum but not as much as a decent size offset. You can indeed grill on a drum and it does a wonderful job at that.
post #6 of 18
At the price you are looking at a side fire box is going to need some modifications to work its best. A UDS (drum) is simple and easy to build from what I have seen. Forget the ceramics IMO the prices are high for what they are. For the money I think you can get a pretty good vertical smoker and many guys use sand in the water pan as a heat sink. They claim it evens the heat out some and seems to be no difference in their Q without water.
post #7 of 18
If I don't have liquid in an evaporate-pan, I have to mop frequently. This of course means opening the smoker more often than I'd like.
Has anyone tried combining sand and water?
post #8 of 18
If'n it was my money....I'd go with the 18in WSM (weber smoky mountain) or the drum. If you use the drum my advice would be to get a weber grill top. You can load it a little better with that. Good luck with whatever you choose and happy smoking!!
post #9 of 18
Horizontal offset, tending the fire gives you a chance to socialize
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
I did see a used ceramic for $300 with an 18" grill.
Ceramics don't seem popular on this board at all.
You all seem to appreciate them but not for the price they fetch.
post #11 of 18
I like ceramics alot and intend to have a Big green egg or imperial someday, If I saw a $300 one, espeically if it was a large or x large I would buy it in a minute, just like 6 foot blondes and jaguar convertables the ceramics are probably a little more common in california than in the middle o the midwest. \
The WSM is a good little cooker also and has a following all its own, I know guys that have offsets for cooking piles and a little wsm cooker for family meals and small gatherings and love them just the same.
post #12 of 18
Just a suggestion, for the money you are talking you have different ways to go, but you want to grill also... I am suggesting go to lowes and check out the horizontal offsets by Char-Grill, smokin pro. You get the firebox seperately and you do the mods, you can do that for under your 300 limit.
I have the new braunsfel offset and like it very much. I also have a MES electric 40" from Sam's, but you can't grill on it.

If you need more help, give me a holler, not sure if I am a Sacramento-ish person, but do work there, and live in the hills.
aka Rocky
post #13 of 18
I would check out the royal oak smoker at lowes. Its $300 plus you need to get the side firebox.

post #14 of 18
I have that same smoker. And it works great. the only mod I did was put a loaf pan full of water on the cooking grate next to the fire box to block the radiant heat from the fire.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
That one looks darn good. Is it easy to attach the firebox to the grill? I don't need to break out a welder do I?
post #16 of 18
Not at all. The instructions said complete Assembly should take 45 min. I was done in closer to 30 min. Having a friend around to hold the firebox steady while you get to first couple of bolts started would help though.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
And the last question about it is:
Can it also be used just to grill a bunch of steaks and burgers?
post #18 of 18
Yes it can, there are charcoal and cooking grates for both the cooking chamber and the fire box. My only concern would be that if the coals in the cooking chamber would get enough air with the firebox installed. I imagine if you keep the fire box vent open wide it would.
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