Buying First Smoker

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Feb 27, 2011
Denver, CO
I plan on buying a smoker in a few weeks here while I am home for R&R. I was thinking about getting a horizontal with the offset box like a Brinkmann smoke n grill or smoke n pit (they are the same thing it seems). Some of the reviews on it worry me though, it seemed like a bunch of modifications are necessary to make it work well. I want to put it together, cure it, and get smoking while I am home.

I would prefer to get a grill/smoker as my current grill isn't all the good and I'd rather have just one unit instead of two. However if the Brinkmanns are really that much of a pain, I'd just as soon go for a stand alone smoker. It depends though on what they have available in-store at Home Depot and Lowes.

Any advice on the Brinkmanns or what else I should look for would be much appreciated! I'd like to keep the price below $300.
In my opinion any smoker under $500 eventually there will be modifications you will want to make; I almost dare say $1000 but I am sure I could be proven wrong. I am not being snobby, as I believe around $600 is the most I have in any one smoker (homemade). Been smoking since about 1999 and am hoping in the next year or two to get a $1500 to $2000 smoker, but I bet I will modify things on it.

If you want one with a side fire box a CharGriller Smoking Pro is a descent place to start. I have never owned one but looking at others reviews I would also consider a Weber 22.5" or 18" WSM. But I think best bang for the buck would be to build a UDS. All of these you will make modifications, again just my opinion.
Can't go wrong with a WSM the are easy to work and great on temp control
Most of the cheaper thin metal walled smokers do need some mods because the factory doesn't really have great high quality, like big

 gaps around doors,no air vents to help control heat things of this nature. That being said you can still produce some fine Q on these units. Try doing a search and look over the wikis i'm sure there is some great info to help with your decision. Good luck.
Maybe I will go with the WSM... I have a few weeks to research though, so I'll keep looking.
Some of the best advice I've ever gotten went something along the lines of "so many people get aggravated and give up on smoking because they are simply not Q'ing on a quality smoker". Had I realized that years ago, I wouldn't have wasted the money I did at Lowes and Home Depot on cheap thin gauge junk that still isn't worth a hoot after two dozen mods. Heck, I could have probably bought three or four 22.5" WSM's with the money I blew at those stores. In my opinion, for $300 I'd go with an 18" WSM in a heartbeat. Good luck!   
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We do this hobby to have fun and to enjoy the results, personally I cremated meat for the majority of my adult life before I bought my first smoker and then learned how to use it.  I think you need to ask the question what is the most important, firing off the smoker and smoking or learning to smoke and at the same time learning how to diagnose the problem and modify the smoker (which from what I have read here can be frustrating when your hungry).

My first smoker was a 18 1/2" WSM, after the first few smokes I had it dialed in, but being someone that doesn't heed the sage advice of, "if it ain't broke don't mess with it," I started to tinker, my point being, I was producing excellent food and then messin' with the smoker after the fact.

So, do you like to tinker or do you mainly want to produce good smoked meals?

The WSM is an excellent medium priced smoker and you can grill on it like a Weber Kettle, you just have to be more careful about flame ups.



These are some of my first attempts, since then I have learned to use less lump and have a cool zone.

I hope this helps.

WSM 18.5 is $299 at Home Depot. Runs great right out of the box. No mods needed! I have a WSM 22.5 and wouldn't trade it for the world. They hold their temps very well, are well built, and easy to clean.
i recommend a bradley electric digital with auto feed. set it and forget it. it doesnt get any easier. with the help of these guys you will be a pro in a little over a month.
I been smoking for 25 year (+)  now and I used a lot of different models , and sizes,

but i found a brady for a home use the best, until you get

use too and  comfortable smoking and

then you will start to build you own.

The question you need to ask yourself is do you want a digital (electical) , gas, or wood and charcoal smoker and how big of a smoker do you

want and are you going to smoke all year round? Sometimes you  can build a bigger and better smoker for what you

can buy one for. Their are threads here that can help you figure one out.. good luck and if i can help you

just ask or like anyone here on this web they  will  answer any question you may have,,this is a great site for information and sharing.
First off, I guess I should have specified that I am only looking for wood and charcoal smokers. Any other way seems to be a sin to me. I remember I made a pledge to myself that I would stop buying junk because it was cheap and convenient and start buying quality, so that pushes me more toward that wsm. I keep forgetting about that pledge every time I look at a price tag... it's a hard one to remember. Of course, I can always look at my particle board computer desk that is crumbling as a reminder.
Absolutely some great answers here, hope you read them all because there's a ton of knowledge on this site. I never used a WSM but I'll tell ya, someday I will get the 22.5 because I never heard a bad thing about them. I just saw the 18.5 today at HomeDepot and they are nice also. After knowing what you're looking for, I think I'd go with the 18.5 for $299.00, I just don't see how you could go wrong.
yeah the 18.5 WSM seems like the right answer. The website says they don't have it in stock at my home depot so I guess I will just order it this paycheck so it will be waiting at my door for me when I get home. I've been thinking about nothing but food for weeks now haha. I think first I will do some pork spare ribs, then I might try to do pulled pork. I will be sure to take pictures of my whole learning process to share!
I can tell you I just made my choice with the same price range! I went with what I like which is a horizontal from home depot. It is a large brinkmann trailmaster, bot moosymo is right. Even though it's a much heavier gauge there is nothing but leaks everywhere!! Only tried it twice now with winds, but so far I'm wishing I went with the WSM. It was on sale on the sears website for 320 for the 22.5 might az well go the extra 20 right! Good luck & let us know what you decide
Well, I bought a New Braunsfel from acadedmy for about $140.00. I have had good luck with it so far. I am adding a WSM 22.5 to my collection. Main think to think about is that if it feels like a cheap smoker, it probably is. You could always make your own, look under UDS for tips and how to's is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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