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Medina River Patio Small Charcoal Smoker Grill

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

First time post, looks like a forum I'll spend hours in!!!

 

I haven't bought a smoker yet, and really need a combo grill/smoker.  I looked at Brinkman's comparable model (to the subject item) and some of the reviews said the newer model (metal trays) had inferior steel/paint, and they had issues with the overall quality.  So, much as I  hate to, I'm considering spending the extra coin on this one.   Can anyone comment on it?  Pros, cons, recommendations?  Link below will take you to what I'm looking at:

 

http://www.charcoalgrilldepot.com/item_name_Medina-River-Patio-Small-Charcoal-Smoker-Grill_path_7247_item_2545011.html 

 

I'd originally looked at Treager pellet smokers but their recent move to Chinese manufacturing (and the associated quality control issues) drove me away from those.  Unfortunately, I can't foot the bill for a Louisiana Grill or comparable brand name.

 

Appreciate any insights or advice.  Again, I look forward to learning a lot here.  My current experience with "meat" is using a crockpot (which I do quite well) and my original Forman electric grill.  But let's face it, that doesn't have the "wood" quality.

 

Thanks,
Larry

post #2 of 6

Welcome aboard, Larry!

 

I haven't smoked with either but I've been going over during my lunch time looking at the Medina River Jumbo model, just waiting for them to put it on clearance.  Not sure where you're located but if you're near NC I can pick up the Jumbo model for $399.  

 

It looks like a well built smoker and they used a lot heavier material compared to the char-broil they have near by.  The only thing I wasn't real crazy about were the cooking grates, I'd have thought they'd have been a little more heavy than they are.  Overall though the quality seems very good. 

 

From what I've been reading up on the horizontal style smokers, this one would probably need some of the mod's done on other horizontals, example a baffle, tuning plates etc.

 

I'm sure many others who either have the Medina River or other horizontals will be by shortly with some help.  Good luck and hurry up and get ya a smoker! 

 

post #3 of 6

Welcome to the SMF!  Heavy gauge is the key (thermal mass); get as much as you can afford (makes for stable temps that are easier to maintain).  It'll be fun!!!

post #4 of 6

Welcome to SMF. Glad to have you here. Check out the 5 day ecourse. It has lots of great information in there. 

post #5 of 6

Hey, Larry! Welcome to the forums!

 

 

After looking at the pictures and specifications, here's my humble opinion:

 

Neutral: listed dimensions must have a typo: 17" x 13" smoke chamber (probably is 27 x 13),
as the fire box is 13 x 13...this should be adequate width and depth for smoking a medium size
full packer brisket (approx 10-11lbs), or 2 pork butts in the 8lb range, or 3 whole medium weight
(3.5lb) chickens (2 if spatch-cocked)...OK, this with good mods to the smoke chamber...
I'd estimate it at 351 square inches of main/smoke chamber cooking space, which is just under
the size of a 22" kettle grill @ 363 sq in;

 

Pro: 14 gauge sheet metal construction...heavy enough to hold heat for a reasonable amount of time...
76lbs weight for a smaller horizontal is relatively heavy...my SNP 40" is 100lbs, and I'm not sure
on metal thickness, but could be 18 gauge fire box and 20 gauge smoke chamber;

 

Neutral: Combustion draft vent control is very large, allowing for a roaring fire if desired...
upper opening may need a cover to reduce air flow over the top of the fire grate...
this may prevent airborne ash being carried into the smoke chamber;

 

Con: Low and narrow fire grate...will need a wider grate installed if low chamber temps cannot be overcome...
wider grate will sit higher off the bottom of the fire box allow for ash removal on long smokes;

 

Pro: Cooking grates are very similar to the stock grates found in my model of the brinkmann SNP 40"...
porcelain coated, which is easy to clean, rust-free durable finish, unlike chrome plating...
they should work out fine, as mine have;

 

Neutral: Huge throat opening between the side fire box and smoke chamber...
with mods, this can be lowered to allow for baffle/tuning plates;

 

Pro: A thermometer you can actually use!!!!!!!!! I love it! The only problem is that it is mounted too high,
but it can still be used for a baseline chamber temp if you use a probe at grate level and compare to
this stock thermometer...then, you'll be able to use it solo with reference to previous comparisons;


Pro: Solid built wheels, door handle mounts, door hinges and other hardware...very heavy duty...
built for a lifetime of great cooking, IMO.

 

Pro: Exhaust vent control is a simple, sturdy design which is easy to use...similar to SNP 40 also;

 

Pro: Grease can hanger/hook...good design, instead of a clamp or rest to set a can in,
which always seem to dump inadvertently...use a wire hoop handle on the can top an you're good to go;


I gave this a bit of planning ahead as if I were wanting to see what it could do for me in my own outdoor kitchen,
so you could think about what you might want to smoke in it right out of the box. It's a small smoker, even for
most back-yard Bbq applications, but the smaller rigs have some benefits over the larger smokers. Reduced fuel/smoke-wood use,
initial purchase price, modification costs and maintenance, to name just a few. You would still have a large enough
smoker to cook for far more than stated in the sales info (4-6). I'd say closer to 10-15, depending on what you're smoking.
If grilling only (not smoking) on the main grate, then, yeah, you'll likely only feed 6-8 adults, I think.

 

I'd give it an overall review score of 4.5 out of 5. Nice little smoker/grill combo, IMO. Price is a bit high, but this seems
to be in-line with the quality. It's not built in the states, but, not much else is anymore either...what can you do? 

 

Welcome to your (soon-to-be) addiction!!! Trust me...once you start, it'll stay with you for life...it's that good!

 

Eric


Edited by forluvofsmoke - 10/30/10 at 11:39pm
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Everyone, thanks for all the inputs.  I'm gonna go with the Medina River Small Smoker (especially after reading Eric's comments).  Seems like I'll be happy with that choice, and if it's anything like guitars, kayaks, shotguns, fly-rods, etc., I'll be getting another one in the future anyway!

 

Men and their toys....

 

Larry

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