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New guy from CA here

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey folks, I was looking for a smoker and came across this site. The girlfriend and I visited a BBQ joint and it was better than...well you know. icon_wink.gif

So we decided that we need to try making our own delicious smoked meats, so I'm here for some guidance. I'm looking for some advice on a decent smoker for a beginner like me, techniques maybe some secret recipes if ya'lls willing to oblige icon_mrgreen.gif

One question I have is, which type is better, the "bullet" or cabinet type with the firebox on the bottom, or the grille type with the remote firebox on the side? If I have one of the type with the firebox on the bottom, should I be worried about the heat damaging my concrete?

Any help you meat-masters can give a beginner would be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 20
Welcome to the SMF John! Let me first dispel this statement...smoked meat is not better than..."well you know." It is a close second however! icon_wink.gif

The kind of smoker you get will be determined by the kind of smoking you do. For many, the bullet style is just fine for a small family and even for entertaining a small group. Larger units with side fire boxes are fine for anything but are probably better suited to larger smokes for more people. I personally have both a bullet style (the ECB) and a vertical gas smoker feeding a family of four but works fine for having guests.

Hope that helps to get things rolling.

post #3 of 20
Welcome to the SMF, We are glad to have you onboard
post #4 of 20
Welcome to SMF,,,, its da place for smokin da meat.

CA as in Canada or Calif?

I'm guessing Canada...

You have to give some more parameters..

How much are you willing to spend?
Do you have any bbq grill experience with charcoal or gas, and own a bbq grill?
If you don't own a BBQ grill do you want something to do double duty?
Do you plan on smoking meat in the snow during winter?
Are you a busy fella and just want a set n forget, or do you want to tinker and play with smoker, and don't mind baby sitting for 12 hour smokes or longer?

Another factor is availability, what is available in your area?
post #5 of 20
Welcome to SMF, John. Glad you joined us.
post #6 of 20
Welcome to the forum. You might want to consider either gas or electric for ease of use. You've come to the right place for all your smoking information.
post #7 of 20
Welcome to the SMF. Take your time on selecting your new smoker, as there are sveral good types available. Try to get one that is bigger than what you might need, as it always pays off in the long run. It's all good my friend.
post #8 of 20
Howdy, welcome to the SMF!!
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the warm welcome folks. Okay well, I'm from California, Sacramento to be precise. I already have a grille, I bought a nice stainless steel job from lowes at the end of last season on sale for $299. So I have the BBQ grille covered.

I'm looking to spend in the $150-$200 range. I know in this price range I won't be getting the best, but I'm looking for a good starter smoker. We don't get snow here so no smoking in the snow. I run a small paving company and in the summer I'm usually gone by 6 am and home around 7 pm, so not a lot of time to babysit.
post #10 of 20
Get the MES> its great for newbies. Very easy to smoke. Just set the temp and the time, throw some wood chips in there and you will be doing great. I had one and loved it. I purchased a wood smoker because i wanted more of a challenge. I would recommend the MES, and see if you like it. BTW i live in Turlock about an hour south of Sac town.
post #11 of 20

Welcome to SMF, Glad to have you with us. This is the place to learn, lots of good info and helpful friendly Members.

For those of you new to Smoking, be sure to check out Jeff's 5 Day Smoking Basics eCourse.
Click Here it's "FREE" ... 5 Day eCourse

I Would Highly Suggest Reading these posts on Food Safety by bbally.

This thread will tell you basically everything you need to know and the man explaining it is
both a ServSafe Instructor and a HACCP Instructor.


Here you can get the 2009 USDA Food Safety Guide from his site.

How to post Qview to Forum:

When you uploading to Photobucket I always use the Large IMG setting, 640 x 480 it is a nice size...

Everyone here enjoys seeing the Qview so be sure to post plenty of pics...

Large ones that us old people with bad eyes can see.

For Step By Step Instructions On Posting Qview Check Out This Tutorial

post #12 of 20
Welcome to the SMF forum, You came to the right place. Good people and good info.
post #13 of 20
Welcome to the SMF. Glad to have you here. Lots of good folks here and knowledge. Looking forward to your first qview. icon_smile.gif
post #14 of 20
Here are 3 to choose from:

MES 30" would fit your price range and want to keep it simple. Electric is cheap to operate, has digital control, double wall insulated cabinet. You can get them at Lowes and Home Depot. So far I haven't seen the newer version with the glass viewing window in the door in Sacramento yet.
Huge MES owner support community here on SMF...

Char Broil Double Chef smoker. $70, This smoker is a WSM knockoff and and delivers WSM type performance. The give away price is a close out, this smoker normally sells for $180. There are several threads on this smoker
You will have to order via internet.... Personally i would buy a couple and give them away as gifts at this price.

The original r2d2 bullet smoker WSM 181/2". $240-290.
You just can't go wrong with this smoker, it is one of the best charcoal smokers made for the money. Big Money BBQ competitions are won by Pitmaster's using this smoker each year. the 2009 KCBS Team of the year was won by a team that uses several WSMs, that team won multiple KCBS events in 2009 with the WSM.

Ok, please tell me the name of the BBQ joint in Sacramento you went to that had pretty good BBQ. I'm out around Folsom and there isn't a good BBQ place within 10 miles.
post #15 of 20
First off welcome John to SMF. It sounds like you are well on your way to be an outstanding new member of this fine site. You'll like it here cause there are abunch of good folks here that would just love to help you out with just about anything to do with smoking. We really like to have newbies here because they can bring in a new propective to how things are done. There's nothing like a new set of eyes to give and new way to make things that little differant to make things alittle better. So I hope you know about the Qview here.
Here's a link to photobucket it's free and easy to download pictures. Then if your really new to smoking Look up the E-course.
It's also free and it will give you the basics of smoking. So after all of that you just need to go grab something to smoke and if you have any question just post them here and we will answer it quickly so you don't have any mishaps with your smoke.
Welcome To Your New Addiction
post #16 of 20
First off Welcome to SMF! Great peolple here and lots of good knowledge. I just got the 40" MES and it is pretty easy to use the cost was $299 @ Sams. I have seen some 30" MES for about $199 here in California. I also have SNP this one is a little more challanging. Not too bad once you install all the mods. The WSM is also a good smoker I have never owned on but my Dad has and he liked it. Which ever one you choose there is a lot of support here to get all your questions answered. Good Luck!
post #17 of 20
Welcome aboard. I am also from Sacramento, Elk Grove specifically. There seems to be getting a fair amount of us on here from the Sacramento area.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
We ended up buying a brinkman vertical smoker. It's not the kettle type, kinda squarish with double doors. I'm in the process of curing it right now, I've got some ribs and tri tips ready to go on tomorrow morning/early afternoon. So we'll see how I fare. I only spent $69 for the smoker from Home Depot.

DeltaDude, the place we went to is Lucille's in roseville. A little pricey, but to me, well worth it. I'm not too far from folsom, I live in Anatolia in Rancho over near Jackson Hwy.

I'll take pics and let you guys know how it turns out.

post #19 of 20
Hello I am in Oroville not too far away. We are getting enough Sacramento area people to get together and have a BBQ crawl.
I have been around a while and have been smoking and grilling large quanities for over 20 years. We just did a big cook in Marysville last Saturday. I will keep you posted of any events that I know of.
Leonard Sanders Chuck Wagon BBQ Co.
post #20 of 20
John...I know I am late but welcome to the forum. Good luck with your purchase & enjoy the information SMF has to offer. Jump in with your questions at any time.
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