First smoker buy questions

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Original poster
Nov 28, 2016
Westminster, South Carolina USA
I'm new to this site and to smoking (by new, I mean having never done it before EVER). That said, I have an important decision to make and have no idea what to do.

My wife is going to get me a smoker for Christmas and asked me today if I wanted an electric, gas or wood/charcoal? I looked at her like she had 3 heads and could only muster an obviously confused sounding "I haven't decided yet" as an answer. Having the vastly superior intellect of the two of us, she obviously saw right through my attempt to sound like I was still on the fence about which one I wanted. Truth is, I hadn't really thought about it at all.

So I've been doing research all day today and decided to eliminate the gas option, but I still don't know what to choose. My wife is looking at the Masterbuilt 30in Digital Electric Smoker but I'm more partial to the Brinkmann Smoke'N Pit style wood/charcoal smoker. I'm looking for something in the $150-$200 range to get started with and then maybe upgrade later if I enjoy it enough to warrant the investment.
Can anyone help me with this quandary that I'm in. Reviews or suggestions for comparable models since Brinkmann is out of business would be great. Thanks for the help and sorry for the long winded post.
Hi Butch!  

That price range will definitely have your choices limited.  I would go electric if I had to stay in that range.  A cheap offset will will work, but you may get frustrated and decide it's too much trouble.  A Weber Smokey Mountain would be my choice, but they may be out of your price range.  FWIW, I LOVE mine!

Butch, Home Depot had the Masterbilt 30" gas dual fuel smoker on sale for $99 this week...I don't know if it still is or free shipping
You can get the WSM 14.5 for $200, but I would pay the extra $100 & get the 18.5.

It is well built, easy to use & puts out some amazing Q.

I have several smokers. I really have been enjoying my char griller kamado cart smoker! I paid 12.51 from a local auction. But I am really digging it. I use lump charcoal and I can do a smoke for 24 hours if need be with out using anymore coals. It hold heat and temp perfectly when dialed in! I rarely have to adjust! I seriously think if I had to buy one at cost from hd at 289 I would all day plus it makes some awesome ribeye stakes! Good luck on your choice.
Look at the Char-Griller grills that's entry level and very simple to operate. Can use them for indirect or direct grilling, whichever fits your needs. I started off with the Old Smokey & I still use it to this day. Can fit about 3 slab of ribs and sausages/hot dogs at one time. Easy to control the temperatures and very light weight but durable. Not one electric smoker can replicate the flavor of using charcoal/wood. But electric smokers gets rid of the tasks of babysitting your fire but to me that's the fun of smoking.
I agree with Al too. My only regret with my WSM is that I didn't buy the 18 inch. It's user friendly and makes great smoked food. Definitely worth looking into.
 and then maybe upgrade later if I enjoy it enough to warrant the investment.
My advice would be to buy the best you can afford....even if that means putting off the purchase to increase available funds. I have never met a BBQer that said....boy I wish I had purchased a cheaper unit.....cheaper being inferior construction in this case, not price.
Well, we have decided to put off the purchase for a little while and I am really leaning more and more towards the offset style grill/smoker but I have an opportunity to buy a 1 yr old 22 inch WSM for $200. Since I have never used a smoker before, which type would be easier for a first time smoker and can you use the WSM as a grill as well? I just don't want to buy something and then regret it. Thank you all for your support and help.
Butch, here is my experience. 2006, purchased an off-set smoker. Smoked a lot of meat on that thing, including close to 100#'s of brisket for a wedding rehearsal dinner (daughter's) but I have much more important things to do then baby sit a smoker. I kept it but purchased a Masterbuilt propane smoker, the baby sitting was cut down but still had to keep checking the temp and re-lighting when the 30mph winds blew out the flame. Again tired of baby sitting, neither one of those smokers cost more then $200.00 each so now have $400.00 invested. Just purchased A 22 inch Treager pellet grill/smoker. I did a packer brisket last weekend,started the smoke @ 10:00pm, made sure every thing was good and went to bed. 8:00am Sunday, got up, added pellets, went in the house had coffee and breakfast. Watched the "wildcard" games, took a nap and @ 5:00pm I removed the Brisket, put it in a cooler in foil and a security blanket cause it was tired and then had the best brisket I've ever made @ 7:30. Paid $650.00 for the Traeger but when you add the other $400.00 I spent that $600 smoker cost me over a $1000.00.

You see Butch, once you start "smoking" you won't stop and those old smokers are worthless after a couple of years. I gave the off-set one away and probably will be lucky to get $50 for the gas smoker. If I were you, I would get a "pellet" smoker/grill now and by pass the others. So far I've done burgers, chops, steaks, pizza au gratin potatoes, lobster and swordfish, pulled pork, chicken, and 2 prime ribs and that is just the first 6 weeks. Get the pellet grill and sell everything else, you won't need it again. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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