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Advice needed! New to smoking!

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by mkooser, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. mkooser

    mkooser Newbie

    Im interested in starting to smoke some different things like briskets,  ribs, and things.  Ive never owned a smoker before so Im not sure what to buy and what to stay away from.  Im hoping to buy one for maybe around $200.  Are there any out there that you suggest.  Thanks a head of time!
  2. I have that same one. Plenty of capacity! Here it is, loaded up with two brisket flats, two fatties, and two trays of ABTs.

    We have a thread here devoted to this model as well: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/...using-the-masterbuilt-vertical-propane-smoker

    I'm enough of a novice that I can't exactly tell you how this compares to all the other options out there. But I like it. I use simple foil pans for my water pan, and use the supplied water tray as my tray for wood chunks. I tried the cast iron pan for wood chunks, but actually like the tray better. And being a propane smoker, it's dead simple to use.

    Make sure you spend a bit of extra money and buy yourself a Maverick ET-732. The built-in thermometer is useless, and you'll want it anyway for meat temp.
  3. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Many people on the forum have a Masterbuilt so you'll definitely not go wrong there and there will plenty of help and advice around that one if you need it. For under $200 that is probably your best bet. 

    My first smoker was a $70 Electric Brinkmann vertical smoker with no temperature control, so your doing better then me for a starter :)
  4. gary s

    gary s SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    [​IMG]Hello and welcome from East Texas. This is a great site, lots of information and great people that are willing to throw in their two cents worth on about anything.   



  5. I have the Masterbuilt Electric 30 inch model and love it.  Mostly a set and for get smoker, easier to use than propane or wood.
  6. mkooser

    mkooser Newbie

    Thanks for the welcoming and the advice guys!   Do you see a major difference between propane smokers vs electric smokers?  Im just wondering if I set something into smoke for a few hours I dont want to come back and the propane tank has ran out
  7. I haven't tried anything off an electric smoker. My brother-in-law recently got the MES30 mentioned above, but I haven't had a chance to see it in action or taste its wares just yet.

    But yeah, the propane running out is a risk. That's one advantage of the Maverick ET-732 remote thermometer I mentioned. If the temp is rising, you're getting a flare-up. If it's falling, you might be out of propane. It's a good way to keep an "eye" on what's going on.

    I'm a homebrewer, so I just happen to have three propane tanks. So if one runs out, there's always another around. I'd highly recommend if you use a propane smoker or grill (or both) to have multiple tanks so there's always a spare.
    demosthenes9 likes this.
  8. bigr314

    bigr314 Meat Mopper

    Welcome to the forum. Looking forward to your posts.
  9. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Along with a spare tank, find a local place that will actually refill your propane tanks instead of swapping them out.  Once you've done a few smokes, you'll learn how much propane your smoker uses for a given time period.  For example, say a 12 hour smoke session uses 1/2 of a tank and a 6 hour session uses 1/4 tank.  If you are about to smoke a brisket for 12+ hours and your tank is only 1/4 full, go ahead and swap it out with your full backup tank.  After the smoke, take both tanks in and get them topped off.
  10. gary s

    gary s SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I agree with Demo -   on tank refilling,  you really need to  pay attention to how much propane you are really getting. At our local grocery store, hardware store and a couple of others who do the tank swapping, They charge 18 - 19 bucks  I take mine to the propane place up the road and get more propane in the tank for 15 - 16 bucks. I asked him one day while he was filling my tank why the exchange tanks didn't seem to last as long and were not quite as heavy. He told me that they (Tank exchange people)  do fill their tanks to capacity. He does and for less money No Brainer. And I always have a spare, use to have 3 spares but between the kids borrowing and not returning down to one spare.

  11. w00dbutcher

    w00dbutcher Newbie

     Definitely find a refill station. I have two 100 gallon tanks and refill our bottles for our branding irons all the time. When they rust out or make me nervous I swap them out and the new swap never has as much gas in them as ours do. Let us know how the smoker does if you get it. I am also new and am currently using a Brinkman and looking to upgrade.
  12. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hey Mkooser

    Welcome to the forum.  As you can see, if you ask a question, you'll get answers

  13. riverrat48

    riverrat48 Newbie

    I have a cheap propane model that I bought at Walmart and it works fine, I've learned how to use it through trial & error but would certainly consider an electric model because the heat is easier to control and the heating is more even.  Mine has hot spots so I'm constantly rotating shelves during the smoking process.  I've eliminated the switching tanks problem by installing an adaptor that allows me to connect to my house gas.  I have one for my gas grill, as well.  The only drawback with an electric smoker is they don't get real hot, in case you'd need higher heat for some reason.  You really can't go wrong with any model.... they all take some getting used to and you'll probably ruin a batch or 2 before you figure it out so start with small batches!  Welcome to the Forum.
  14. gary s

    gary s SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member

    RiverRat is right on the money, it takes a little time to get to know your smoker, no doubt some are easier and less work than others. But you can make great BBQ on what you have, just takes a little practice. I have seen and tasted some pretty awesome Q from cheep o pits, and some pretty bad Q from some really expensive pits. I cooked on an ECB for years because that was all I had and I figured it out.