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Best smoker/grill to buy in the $200-$400 range

big twig

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Mar 24, 2011
I grew up using my dads custom offset smoker so I have experience smoking and grilling. Problem is we don't live close anymore so I want to get something that I can grill and smoke with. I hear people talking about Char Grillers, Brinkmann SNP's, etc. I know they are not made like a tank which is what I'm used to and they need mods to perform they way they should. I saw a Masterbuilt barrel smoker at sears which looked like it didn't need any mods (stack at grill height, gauge at grill height, ash trays is main chamber and firebox, etc.) I was wondering if anyone has ever used one, since I think they are new I havnt seen any reviews. It is made of the same style of thin steel as Char Griller and Brinkmann snp. I just cant decide which one I should start with. If I had 1k this wouldn't be an issue. I like the size of the Brinkmann but I like not having to do mods (as far as I know) of the Masterbuilt. Please help me make a decision, my B-day is next month and I plan on throwing myself a party like I always do. I grill just about every weekend on a Weber but I need a lot more space so I am looking for something that does both. Sorry I just rambled on. Here are my choices unless someone knows of something better.

Brinkmann - http://www.homedepot.com/buy/outdoo.../smoke-n-pit-charcoal-grill-smoker-77293.html

Char Griller - http://www.walmart.com/ip/Char-Griller-Smokin-Pro-Grill-Smoker/10583514

Masterbuilt - http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07116303000P
 

realtorterry

Master of the Pit
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Joined Jun 5, 2009
I just recently purchased the Brinkmann Trailmaster Limited from Home Depot for 399 & so far I'm wsihing I had got the Weber Smokey Mountain. It just seems you can't get a good horizontial for less than 1000 without having to do somekinda mod. Just my two cents! Good luck & let us know
 

coacher72

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Mar 16, 2010
In that price rang a 22.5 Weber Smoking Mountain grill would be my choice.
 

fife

Master of the Pit
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Joined Mar 14, 2011
I got the Masterbuilt 40 with glass door for $299.00 at Sam's last week and it cooks some awsome grub. Easy to use also.
 

oldschoolbbq

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
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200
Joined Jul 16, 2008
Twig,are there any Bass Pro Shops in your area
? They have SFB's at the one here,Horizon I think;well build(heavy)@ about 300# maybe more
,but will  as they say,'Be Willed to the kids
' ! They look good,and are an eyecatcher when you see them. Probably about 720sq.in. of cooking area on the horizontal , some are them have the verticle cooker on them. If I did not have my Tejas, I try snagging one of them. IMHO the BrinkmanSnP and the Chargriller are both of light metal and have too many leaks to mess with,(haven't seen a Trailmaster ) ,but I'll leave with a hint I followed and am glad I did;when you choose the Smoker you want,go one(1) bigger.You'll be glad you did.


Have fun ,hope you get one you like,and when you smoke,do it... 
 

porked

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Apr 2, 2009
I never owned or used a WSM, but from what I hear and what I see, that would be the way I would go if I were you.
 

michael ark

Master of the Pit
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Joined Feb 11, 2011
For quality and price masterbuilt sound really good. I  want the one from sams for ease of use when i don't want to(dance around) tend a fire all night
.1 grill or smoker will never do all things good just some.That why you see the list of grills and smokers on more than ones persons avitar good luck on your search
 

jirodriguez

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Jun 5, 2009
Get the 22.5" WSM, I had a Char-griller Smokin' Pro to start with and then got the 22.5" WSM and it was hands down the best thing I have done for my smoking career. I have at least as much room on the grates as I did with the Char-griller, use about half the amount of fuel, and don't have to babysit it all the time like I did with the Char-griller. A lot of folks here have bought them from Aimtofind.com for about $365 with free shipping. It really is considered one of the best smokers you can buy for under $400.
 

big twig

Smoking Fanatic
541
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Joined Mar 24, 2011
There is a Bass Pro Shop somewhat near me but the cheapest Horizon they have is $700+. It also seems like my budget might get smaller due to more financial issues (closer to the $200 mark)
. I want a WSM but I need a large grilling surface since I grill A LOT and the Webber Kettle doesn't cut it at all (have to cook in several batches and keep warm in the oven). I think I might try the Masterbuilt since it looks like the least amount of mods needed (going to look at it again today). Then hopefully in a couple of months grab a WSM also. Thanks for all of the input everyone. I will keep you updated on my decision.
 

ecto1

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Joined Feb 22, 2010
If you are on a budget build a UDS!!
 

jirodriguez

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
4,653
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Joined Jun 5, 2009
There is a Bass Pro Shop somewhat near me but the cheapest Horizon they have is $700+. It also seems like my budget might get smaller due to more financial issues (closer to the $200 mark)
. I want a WSM but I need a large grilling surface since I grill A LOT and the Webber Kettle doesn't cut it at all (have to cook in several batches and keep warm in the oven). I think I might try the Masterbuilt since it looks like the least amount of mods needed (going to look at it again today). Then hopefully in a couple of months grab a WSM also. Thanks for all of the input everyone. I will keep you updated on my decision.
Remember the 22.5" WSM has TWO 22.5" grates, so you can fit a LOT of food in there at one go. Here is a recent smoke of mine: (2) family packs of chicken, (2) corned beef getting turned into pastrami, (1) pan of baked beans, and (1) pan with a mix of sausage in it. I have also had 60 lbs. of pork butts in it at one time as well.
 
 

big twig

Smoking Fanatic
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Joined Mar 24, 2011
So I went to look at the El' Cheapo horizontal offset smokers and they are just made so poorly I just can't get myself to buy one. Thin metal and gaps everywhere. I have decided to go with the 22.5 WSM and just buy another 22.5 Weber Kettle for my grilling pleasures then later down the line find someone to help me make the horizontal offset I really want. Noticed that someone else here saw the craigslist add for a store in Northern Virginia selling 22.5 WSM's for $299 so I hope to go get one next week after I pay the bills. They better still have them. Thanks again for all of the input, it really helped in my decision. I will have plenty of pictures when I get my hands on it.
 

SmokinAl

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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You won't be disappointed Twig! The WSM rocks!
 

fliphyzer

Fire Starter
64
11
Joined Aug 8, 2010
Yep, I use the Chargriller DUO and have had to mod the heck out of it to get it anywhere near usable.  That pic of the duo above is not in a working condition, especially with the temp being what it is out there.

Mine has an oven seal installed, propane burner in the large chamber for preheat, a layer of soapstone slab to manage heat dissipation, tecate tall boy can in the stack to lower the stack entrance, water heater blanket wrap, home built charcoal basket for the firebox.  And I use dual wireless digital thermometers, the blanket covers the thermo face (fine by me). 

And most of this was figured out under severe stress and a year of unhappy smoking. 

I do have a fair amount of space though.

I think you will be happy.  Someobody made a flyer talking about how they will make good bbq for cheap for the neighbors family and friends, maybe you could make a little cash on the side while learning your skills and start a new bbq fund.  You'll be sporting a Dave Klose before you know it!
 

big twig

Smoking Fanatic
541
16
Joined Mar 24, 2011
OH YEAH!! Just ordered the 22.5 WSM and it will be here tomorrow. I Hope Friday I can put it together and start seasoning it but probably won't be able to cook anything till next weekend due to rain, prior engagements and the fact I have to do all of my fire cooking at my grandmothers house since I live in a apartment. Thanks for all of the great advise and very soon you will be seeing some Q VIEW!!
 

lght

Meat Mopper
255
14
Joined May 26, 2008
Are you open to getting a used smoker??  I like the WSM, but wanted an offset and something a little bigger so I searched ebay, craigslist, etc and found an amazing deal on a $1600 smoker for $400 on a local BBQ forum in my area.  The setup had only been used about a dozen times and was in great shape.  Since smokers are built to last buying a used one isn't that big of a deal. 

If I was going to get a new one a WSM would be my choice.
 

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