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Vertical Charcoal Smokers item created by bmudd14474, May 24, 2010
Pros - Inexpensive, easy to use, easy to transport
Cons - Thin material and temp gauge usually not accurate
I started with one of these years ago, smoked just about everything on it. You have to pay more attention, it's not a set and forget. But you can turn out some great BBQ.
The last one I bought I made these mods, and improved the ease of use tremendously. This unit has gotten a bad wrap for a long time. I you learn to do a good job smoking on this everything else should be pretty easy.
Pros - Price, easy to mod.
Cons - Have to mod it.
Picked this up at Lowe's on clearance in March for $48. After another $30 in materials and an hour in the shop, I had it modded out using a combination of ideas I found online (bottom damper, raised charcoal grill, added thermometer, added damper on top). I can smoke 4-5 hours at a time at 225 with little fluctuation. Heat-ups are controlled by closing bottom damper, opening the door, and/or adding ice to the water pan. Cool downs are controlled by opening bottom damper and adding more coals when needed. Turned out some awesome ribs, both traditional style and 3-2-1, then a pulled pork that was to die for. Great intro to smoking for me. I'll use it for a year or two, then move on to something with greater capacity.
Unfortunately, the manufacturer discontinued it and replaced it with a smaller model that eliminates the space between the water pan and lower cooking grate, and also uses some cheaper hardware on the door. I lucked out and got this before they were gone. For the price, I can't complain.
Pros - Affordable, Compact, 2 Shelves
Cons - Cheap Materials,Temp Gauge
I've had this smoker for 2 years now, Some of the grill grate welds have popped, the paint has peeled and it has started to rust along the bottom, but it has always and still does a great job. I use the door to control the temps as best as I can. I will also be replacing the temp gauge with one that is more accurate. All in all this is a great little smoker. But be prepared to have to split a rack of ribs to be able to cook it in this smoker.
Pros - steady heat
Cons - bad temp gauge
for a first timer an not to expensive its perfect. really helped me grasp the basics!
Pros - cheap, good beginner
Cons - temp gauge,
After some modifications to the smoker, it works great. Put new temp gauge in the lid and put one in the door. Plus, because it uses a lot of charcoal, also modified the charcoal pan by installing 4 bolts about an inch up and setting a 13" grate on top. That way ashes did not smother the coals and you can use less. Although you have to monitor this smoker the end result is fantastic BBQ! Have smoked chicken quaters, ribs, sausage, beer can chicken, pork shoulder...all turned out great!
Pros - Easy to set up
Cons - heat control
Good first smoker. Hard to control temp. Piece of crap temp gauge.
Have smoked chicken, ribs and boston butts. Does what it says,but can't wait to move up...
Pros - Easy to learn on, Cheap, Easy to use
Cons - Small, No Control Vents, Rusted
I bought this a few years ago and it sat in my garage until this last spring(2010) and I decided to learn how to use it. It worked great to learn how to start fires, monitor temps, and cook smaller food. I got the point by mid summer I wanted more room to cook on and better heat control. So I have just upgraded to a Brinkmann SNP Off Set smoker. The other problem I had was the bottom started to rust out. I have done a lot more reading on taking care of a smoker with the new one I just got so I think some of that could have been prevented if I had the knowledge then that I have now. Over all a great started but if you really get into smoking it is only going to last you for so long before you want something bigger.