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Best Charcoal Smoker for a Small Family (1-4 people)

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by jaybird1103, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. jaybird1103

    jaybird1103 Fire Starter

    I live in a house with my father and brother in law (my mom passing away in 2010 and my sister Tammy in 2006[​IMG]  ). I have a sister and another brother in law that lives a block away, plus three nephews, two nieces in law, and my dad's two great-great grandboys (2 and 1 year olds).

    I would like to ask what would be the best charcoal smoker for a small family (Preferably, a small smoker would do but if I am recommended a large one, It's OK).
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  2. Hello Jaybird.  I see you have asked this question in as many ways as you can think of and not had many replies.  It's a tough question.  Also, I don't know your experience with smoking.  We all have different smokers and are happy with what we have but I think you might just have to do some shopping and see what looks good to you.  Good luck.

  3. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sorry for your losses.

    I am a little confused to your question. The title asks for charcoal smoker and then you ask for electric smoker suggestions.

    Which one are you preferring?


    And as Danny said. What is your comfort level?

  4. I am as confused as Jeramy. Not sure you're looking for Charcoal or elec.

    At any rate, I believe in the "cry once" rule. Get the best your budget allows and don't settle for a less capable pit because of a low price tag.

    It sounds like a regular crowd of 12 or more will be the beneficiaries of the pit so you'll need to be able to output at least enough for them.

    When faced with this kind of issue I like to lay out pros and cons of the models I am interested in.
  5. jaybird1103

    jaybird1103 Fire Starter

    Corrected the post. It says charcoal instead of electric.
  6. dewetha

    dewetha Smoking Fanatic

    the best? what price range? do you have budget? because when you say the best your are in a whole new arena of 1k to 3k range. there are many manufacturers Backwoods,stumps,pitmaker, Jambo, Lang, Big Green egg,Promo etc etc.

    most would say a weber smoky mountain here. there are 2 sizes from 300 to 400 dollars. basically a great machine, easy to use, lot of help in youtibe and websites.

    Bass proshop has offsets Horizon and smoke canyon offsets that would work just fine. 400-1800 range

    under a 100 every big box store carries some kind of cheap smoker from bullet type smokers, vertical cabinet smokers . they all work and they all needs tweaks to be better cooking machines.

    some offsets are under 200.

    i personally love my vision komodo that i picked up at Costco for 400. normally 800ish. more ceramic grill choices are between this 400 and 1400.

    it doesn't matter what you buy because you want another one in a year :)
  7. In that case I answer this question the way I always do: Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker. I freely admit I am completely bias. The WSM has a 10 yr warranty and best Cust Service in the business. It may cost a bit more than it's competitors but I believe it's value justifies the price. For that size crowd I recommend the 22.5" model. An 18.5" would do but the larger cooker gives more capability. HTH

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  8. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You want a 22.5" Weber Smokey Mountain, it is hands down the best charcoal smoker you can buy for under $500. Super easy to set up and use, only takes up as much deck space as a Weber 22.5" Kettle, can be used for a dinner for 3 or 4 or a feast for 30 people. I have used mine for many years and have never once regreted it!
  9. reasoning

    reasoning Smoke Blower

    I have to agree, I have the 22.5 weber and love it. Only gripe I have is for me who only cooks typically for myself and wife it's a bit much. I plan on either building a mini wsm OR buying the new 14.5 wsm. But sounds like you will have a largish group to cook for at times so i'd definitely go with the 22.5
  10. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I find the best way to use a 22.5" WSM for family cooking is to load it full with a variety of meats, then vacuum seal the meats into smaller packets. Then you can pull out a packet and thaw it out for making whatever you want - enchiladas, soup, casserole, sandwiches, salads, ect. By doing it that way you only have to really fire up the smoker once or twice a month, or for special occasions. I can tell you having the 22.5" is a must when it comes to things like big holiday dinners or having friends over for a big BBQ.
  11. magslam

    magslam Smoke Blower

    Weber has a new small smoker, 14.5".

  12. flyweed

    flyweed Smoking Fanatic

    OR....you can make yourself a new MINI WSM for under $100 and in less than about 5-6 hours. And they work great...just look on here, or google Mini WSM and you will get more info than you can shake a stick at.  I just built one and LOVE it.

  13. rdwhahb

    rdwhahb Meat Mopper

    I have the WSM 18.5 and feed my family of 5 very easily. If its only for 1-4 people as the op posted the18.5 is more than enough and still have extra space for a small gathering IMHO. Keep the extra money for meat [​IMG]
  14. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    You could start out with A Weber Kettle and add the smoker ring down the road. Or just go with the WSM. Sounds like you have enough family close by that you might need some extra room on occasion. I have A UDS and A couple Weber Kettles. One is way old and still works like A champ, the other is brand new and is the Performer model. Not to mention the 30 year old Weber Genesis gas grill with all new stainless parts. If I was looking for an additional dedicated unit it would be the WSM. I would probably get the 18.5 inch for me as the uds is my goto big meal machine. I might consider the 14 inch new one too. Pretty neat for tailgating and stuff.
  15. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Boy, I want one of those.
  16. magslam

    magslam Smoke Blower

    After reading your "hardware" list, I though you were "loaded"....LOL!!!