Charcoal, Electric, or LP????

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by tbone2k, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. tbone2k

    tbone2k Smoke Blower

    Ok, i'm a man with less time than i did before.

    I had a charcoal smoker. LOVED it. But required me to pay more attention to it and be around more offen. Then i got the electric smoker. Wasn't too bad. But, i just felt it didn't taste as good as the bricks.

    Is LP the answer.??

    I want to be able to walk away from the smoker and not worry about it much after an hour. Sometimes i didn't have to even do that for the charcoal or elec. but, i think it was more of a mental thing. But, i want it to taste good.

    Am i asking for too much?

    I retired my charcoal smoker and my electric (mostly cause i didn't want it) Now with limited time and less room on my deck, due to the kids toys and new AWESOME grill. My space is limited.

    I think i've proven myself to friends, family, myself. that i can smoke it up with the best. So i think i've earned the right to take it easy. and put my feet up. at least thats what i tell myself. :)

    So, Is LP the answer?? something with a very distinct temp gauge?? My electric one sucked, BUT, allowed me to be comfortable longer. Or maybe i just need a BETTER electric or charcoal smoker?? But, i have seen some really nice LP smokers that have a digital temp on them that i heard good things about. But, you all are the pros.

    Guide me wise ones.!!
  2. tbone2k

    tbone2k Smoke Blower

    You know.. maybe i'll just do the charcoal and smoke less offen. And do it when i KNOW i can dedicate the time to it. Is there any good vertical ones out there. Need to save space.

    lookin for the input.!!
  3. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    How about this. Please, never give up on your charcoal, even if you only bring it out and use every so often.
    But I think if you want the ease of smoking, get good flavor and have the ability to somewhat set it and forget it you may want to consider something like an MES.
    I know ronp has great success with his smoker, turns out beautiful product and has been able to let it set and go to bed only to wake up in the morning to nothing less than perfection.
    I'm sure he (as well as others) will be along sooner or later and give you some great advice but I'm thinking that may the answer to your needs.
    But please, whatever you do, do not lessen your amount of smoked goodness if at all possible [​IMG]
  4. rodc

    rodc Smoke Blower

  5. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Charcoal, Electric, LP, and a stick burner sounds about right to me ya need choices [​IMG] I think its actually a matter of what you expect and what your willing to give up in taste for convenience. Many say for true Q ya gotta use straight wood others say charcoal but seems many like the electric or gas just fine
  6. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have them all Charcoal, Electric, LP, Stick Burner. Smoking Meat is kinda like a mechanic, one wrench does not fit all his needs.
  7. morkdach

    morkdach Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i'm a watt burner used with charcoal and wood you get all the flavor without babysitting it. [​IMG]
  8. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Converted my old charcoal GOSM over to propane. Love it for long smokes and I can still add charcoal to my wood can for extra flavoring.
  9. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    No matter which you get, you'll get good results after you get used to it. Especially since you have cooking ability. It seems to me in smoking, as with everything else, you get what you pay for. Cheap charcoal smokers need tending, the WSM less so, and I'm told a Big green egg takes almost no tending. If you want set and forget, I guess you have to be willing to pay. I don't think coal/gas/electric matters much when the cook knows what they're doing.

    OTOH, UDS guys claim they can keep 225* for 14 days on 3 briqs. [​IMG]

    Kidding of course. But UDSes are known for wonderful temperature control.
  10. hoser

    hoser Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I agree with Steve. I've used charwood...regular wood...propane, everything but electric and had great smokes on all of them. But I have to be honest...the older and more impatient I get ....I'll probably go with a Masterbuilt 40 electric next time. They're a little pricy, but almost like a crockpot...plug it in and forget it.

    good luck in making your choice[​IMG]
  11. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I had only used charcoal smokers up until last weekend when I bought a GOSM gasser. I have used a small Brinkman SNG, a Chargriller with the side fire box, and a WSM. Of all those the WSM was the easiest to use, however the capacity, and worrying about how I would fit all the items I wanted to smoke on it(meat, beans, ABT's, garlic, etc.) made me not buy one for myself, that and the price.

    I actually took a nap this past weekend on my hammock the two times I used the GOSM, it held temps really well, and turned out some good bbq.

    good luck with your decision
  12. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    thanks for this bit of info , I was thinking about doing this on my next batch of ribs, but wasnt sure how it would work, now I will try it for sure.
  13. wutang

    wutang Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    If you still want charcoal flavor, consider building a UDS. I have been EXTREMELY happy with mine. Consistent temps over long periods and great flavor.
  14. mgwerks

    mgwerks Smoking Fanatic

    I have a MES, a stickburner and a charcoal smoker, and assorted other charcoal grills and a recently donated giant gasser. More and more I am becoming convinced that some version of a UDS is in my future.

    I am having to balance my cooker expansion with the maintenance of my marital status.
  15. I'm glad this post came up.
    I use a coal burner strictly. I've never even tried a gas or electric but I have a great time razzing my cousin about his "set it and forget it easy bake oven". I once read a post where someone said they were having problems with temps so they "checked the extension cord"! What!? Made my skin crawl. I know its just a matter of personal preference and lots of people use the gas or electric smokers for convenience and I will be the first to say that my horizontal OK Joe requires a lot of attention. But I just try to imagine "old school BBQ" and I don't see any cords or hoses in my vision. Not to mention the fact that I get to spend more quality time b-s'n with the neighbors drinkin beer in the driveway. I'd just say that if you do decide to go gas, DO NOT GET RID OF YOUR COAL BURNER!
    Thanks for letting me rant on this. If you can't tell I have a lot of energy on the topic.


  16. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I look at the need to "tend" my coal burner as a great excuse to get out of "honey do's"... lol. I will admit the ease and convenience of LP or electric can be realy great, but for me personaly I switched from an LP grill to my smoker & a weber kettle grill, simply because I missed the flavor and the whole mystique that comes from charcoal and stick burning.

    Main thing is find what you are happy with and do it! [​IMG]

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