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35 years of BBQing

gary s

Gone but not forgotten. RIP
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I have been BBQing for over 35 years. In all those years I have cooked on just about every kind of smoker you can imagine. My conclusion is ....... There is no best smoker. What I use now and very comfortable with is a RF which my son and I built. I think you need to spend the time to really get to know your smoker and you can have great Q every time. I am not saying that there aren't bad smokers out there, there are. Some are poorly made, big gaps, too thin so on and so forth. But if you buy or make the best you can afford, you can turn out good food. I have bought the el-cheap oos  and made modifications and tweaks and turned out really good BBQ without working myself to death. There are different types of smokers  for different types of smoking, that is why I have several.

Find what is comfortable and works for you. I am always looking at new smokers and designs and can't wait to build the next one. But the one I have now is the one I really enjoy cooking on. When I first built it and my first few cooks I watched and checked it constantly, now I just glance ate it occasionally, I know how it cooks. I have cooked on it enough to know how it acts when the weather changes.

My thoughts

Gary
 

kathrynn

Legendary Pitmaster
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Well Said!  I started with an Electric Brinkman...and got great foods off of her.  Love my Smoke Vault now.  It's not the Smoker...it's the cook that makes the best of what ever they have....and produces a good/great product!

Kat
 

gary s

Gone but not forgotten. RIP
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I have been to BBQ competitions and seen people compete with smokers from $69.00 to $20-$30 K or who knows what. And sometimes,some of the best BBQ I tasted came from the regular everyday backyard pits. I am not saying always, but I am saying the pit doesn't make good Q it's the person doing the cooking. I have seen people go out and buy an expensive custom smoker and turn out terrible BBQ simply because they didn't take the time to learn their smoker. Another problem is, everybody is in a hurry. You cant rush good BBQ. Like I tell my #2 son "It's ready when it's ready" just allow plenty of time and you want be sorry. I suggest to people just starting out go simple, chicken, sausage, pork shoulder that way after a few cooks you should have your smoker figured out and getting comfortable. To me brisket and ribs are a little harder, especially brisket, because you have the point and the flat, one thick and one thin and trying to get it done and tender without drying it out,

To me smoking is fun, every time I try to do better than the last. I will experiment from time to time but over my many years I have figured out what I like and my family and friends like.  Some more thoughts

Gary
 

mossymo

Master of the Pit
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Great post that is honest with experience; as far as grills and smokers go, right tool for the right job, each tool has a specialty.
 

gary s

Gone but not forgotten. RIP
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I do get asked quite a bit on which smoker would I recommend or is the best. I always say look for the best quality you can afford. WE have several places that sell smokers. Look at the way they are put together, gaps, loose, thickness of the metal etc. All these things will effect you cooking. Now you can fix all of the above and you want have to work as hard to keep things going like they should. I am just saying a better made pit allows you to focus on what is really important THE Q. These things have really popular over the last several years. The real thin ones will cook BBQ but they don't hold heat as well and over time they will rust out kind of like the old cheap-o grills you would only get a couple of seasons out of. Look around, ask questions and if you can cook on some different types to see what you like. Again I say it's not the pit it's the cook who turns out great BBQ.

Gary
 

bbqbrett

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So true Gary.  At home I am smoking but not using a smoker exactly.  I am using an old gas grill that I pulled out the burner plates on and use a pan for charcoal and wood.  No fire box, no stack, no problem. It has some air flow from a few small holes in the side.   I just adapted and learned how to cook on it.  Everybody enjoys what I smoke\que on it.

I hope people that are new to smoking read these posts of yours and learn from them.
 

gary s

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Thanks,   I started out with a little makeshift smoker and learned to cook on that, best I can remember turned out some respectable Q.

Gary
 

gary s

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Cooking Brisket and Ribs tomorrow

Gary
 

asfastasitgets

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Joined Jun 27, 2013
I cook on an ECO (El Cheapo Offset) (can we add that to the acronyms???) and I wholeheartedly agree. The only mod I have done is to practice and learn my 'tool'. I know it; it knows what I want the final outcome to be.

I imagine if I had a cooker that was in a price range higher than what I have, I'd probably turn into that little snot from 'Jack's New South' (BBQ Pitmasters). If I wanted 'set it and forget it' I'd cook my meat in the oven, buy something from Popeil, or buy a pellet-fed smoker (no offense, pellet-feeders...I've seen what ya'll produce, but your method sounds like expensive fuel). lol Personally, I like the challenge of burning sticks (and the fire...I <3 fire almost as much as bacon). :)

The best barbecue I've ever had at the comps I've attended has been from the underdogs. And it probably would have been better if they had just cooked what they loved instead of attempting to compete, so I also agree with you there, wholeheartedly. 
 

gary s

Gone but not forgotten. RIP
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I agree 100 percent   The last cook-off we to, the better BBQ came from the competitors with jus regular pits.

Gary
 

dummy que

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Joined Aug 1, 2013
i halve been bbqing since around 1979 my  mom bought me a gas grill when the guts woreout i started useing charcoal and wood chunks in it  then i  bought a chargriller horizonal and got a side firebox for it well five chargriller offsets later i bought a lang60 what shock how wonderfull it is to cook on a sweet peice of equipment like it the chargrillers are not as bad as some folks would like to make them out to be i`ve made some grate tasteing food on them
 

mandible

Newbie
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Joined Oct 6, 2013
My conclusion is ....... There is no best smoker.
I'm pretty new to smoking but have already came to the same conclusion. It seems to me that the heat source doesn't matter too much as long as you have wood smoke rolling. Though, I could see charcoal imparting its own flavor as well.
 
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gary s

Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
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Joined Jan 6, 2011
Cooking 2 briskets and a rack of ribs. Pictures of cook are posted on RF smoker build and Beef  threads Started at 5:00 AM

Gary
 

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