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

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LGHT, Yeah I have been searching everywhere for a very long time. There really are not many people in my area that smoke and most of them that do I know and they have giant trailers, etc. or wouldn't part with their. I went with the WSM for now and when I get a house I will do a build that way I can have exactly what I want.
 
Purchasing a WSM, new or used, is always a good choice. It';s all good my friend.
 
Well. It finally came (a day late but still happy).

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And I have to say that was the easiest thing to put together, it took me longer to get it out of the box.

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Now I just have to take it to my grandmothers house, season it and start smoking. I would do it today but my awesome cousin surprised me with Caps tickets for tonight's game
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(my b day is coming up). Of course it is raining all day tomorrow so I have to wait until Sunday.
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I did notice the side door is not flush (I have heard that from several people). What is the best way to get it to sit flush? A hammer and some luck? Also any good tips on seasoning it would be appreciated along with how long it takes because I am hoping to season and cook in the same day. I was smart and ordered the ET-732 from Todd before I ordered this so I am set!
 
You done great!

I always recommend the MES for smoking, but you can't grill with an MES, so I would say you made a great choice!

It's also a good one to get, because there are a lot of guys here who have that same 22 1/2" Weber, and they can help you out a lot!

Have Fun,

Bear
 
Not really a need to season them.  Seasoning is not really needed since the interior is finished and not raw steel. :-)

I just went over the interior of mine with some some soapy water and rinsed well (just in case there were any manufacturing oils/chemicals present and fired it up.
 
Like stealth said.... no need to season the WSM because it is enamel coated. As far as the side door, place it lengthwise along your thigh and use your hands and leg to gently form the bend as needed for a tighter fit. The fit wont be perfect, but once it is close and you have done 10 or so smokes in it the residue from the smoke will seal up all the little cracks and crevicess.
 
OH YEAH!! Just ordered the 22.5 WSM and it will be here tomorrow. ...
I guess I'm too late to offer advice. I was going to recommend the WSM as well. I have the small one and have never regretted the purchase. My only thought was to caution you about the size. the small one is big enough for us, but it is just me and SWMBO these days. I've fit up to a 27 lb turkey in mine, though it took some ingenuity. I regularly smoke 15-20 lb boneless pork rib trimmings for pulled pork and have to freeze most of it.

If you like the way your WSM works but do not want to make big batches every time, Get a Smoky Joe off CL for $10 and a 24 qt tamale pot and make a mini-WSM. I use mine regularly. It's perfect for warming up a ham or smoking a couple chickens or some salmon. At the moment I'm doing smoking wood tests where I smoke a little tilapia, salmon, pork, chicken and beef using a single wood from my collection. We eat half and I'm packaging and freezing the other half so I can do a later side by side comparison. So far I've tested lilac and cherry and I can tell you that fish is terrific with cherry.

Here's my mini:

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The only mod I've done to my WSM is to run a bead of high temperature silicone rubber around the bottom edge of the cylinder to provide a better seal. On windy days I was having trouble keeping temps down due to air infiltration.

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I hope you enjoy your WSM as much as I enjoy mine!
 
Thanks again everyone!

I might have to do the mod walter is talking about to help seal up the lid and maybe in the future a way to run my ET-732 probes through the body instead of the lid. Also thanks for the smokey joe and tamale pot idea. I would have never thought about that. I normally do very large cooks but I sure could add that to the arsenal for not much $$.
 
That is a good idea you have there with the tamale pot.How do you have the inside set up?Just the same as you would to use as a grill?I have a smoky I have never even used yet.I might try this out.Looks pretty basic what you did,if you have any tips I would appreciate it.Thanks       Josh
 
Thanks again everyone!

I might have to do the mod walter is talking about to help seal up the lid and maybe in the future a way to run my ET-732 probes through the body instead of the lid. Also thanks for the smokey joe and tamale pot idea. I would have never thought about that. I normally do very large cooks but I sure could add that to the arsenal for not much $$.
Oops! Two mods. I put an ordinary hardware store style eyelet in the barrel just below the top grill for temperature probes.


That is a good idea you have there with the tamale pot.How do you have the inside set up?Just the same as you would to use as a grill?I have a smoky I have never even used yet.I might try this out.Looks pretty basic what you did,if you have any tips I would appreciate it.Thanks       Josh
It's pretty simple. The SJ grills fit snugly inside the pot so three small screws at the right height support two grills. Near the bottom I've mounted three angles (the tops of which actually support the bottom grill) which holds the largest stainless dog bowl I could find for the water bowl. I also made a charcoal ring out of some expanded metal. The finishing touch is an upside down can just big enough to cover the bottom holes with holes punched in the side to keep ash out of the bottom vent. Otherwise the vent holes plug and slow the smoke.

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If you have a Smokey Joe with the vents on the side this is probably not necessary. There's a huge thread about this on that other site dedicated to Weber grills.
 
Hey thanks for taking the time to explain how you built this.I may have to look for a tamale pot the next time I am at target.
 
The 22.5" Weber Smokey Mountain cooker is the way to go.  No mods necessary and great results right off the bat.  One bit of advice, don't use the owner manual technique for firing up the smoker.  Use the Minion method or some version of it and you will be thrilled.
 
Just bend it gently.  If you go too far just put a thin towel on the inside of the door and just press the door against the side of the cooker and you will get the right shape.
 
It took me a long time and research to find a decent smoker grill. I recently bought the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 18-1/2-Inch Smoker 721001

It beats all of those that I have owned before by a mile. It is within your budget.

It is easy to use and also works well for newbies
 
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