First smoker questions

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Original poster
May 11, 2007
Denton, TX
Greetings everyone,
I am looking to buy my first smoker and am still deciding on a coal burner or a gas. I am just getting started and will probably be a weekend smoker for the family. On the coal side, I am leaning towards the Smoking Pro, but have only seen the non-smoking version.
However, this is a propane forum. So, my propane list includes the GOSM and the BBQ grillware. I have only seen the grillware on display mounted 5 ft above the ground at Lowes (note to Lowes, jumping up to open the door is not a good way to evaluate a smoker ).

OK, on to the questions:

1) Is wind a problem? I live in Denton Texas, and it is often very windy. Will this be a problem with gas? At least more so then coal?

2) Will propane provide more sleep for the nighters? I have heard that it will, however, I have also heard that you need to change the wood every 30 min. (I know, the nighters are half the fun, but I will get to do more of them if it does not take me away from the family as much.)

3) Is the GOSM big block (24") available at HD? I would prefer that unit, but not at $299 from Amazon. I will get that unit if I can find it < $200.

4) Any experience with a GOSM (the < $200 version) vs the Grillware?

5) Is there a problem with temperature differences between racks in the vertical units?

Thanks everyone.
hay my friend and welcom, some pros and cons are, if youve never smoked a pice of meat in your life, charcoal ones will probly end up on your bad side untill you get alot of foods done wrong, charcoal takes a skill that you will learn over time but starting out id go with gas as with the GOSM or other kinds out there, they can be a set up and forget about smoker for 2 hrs, i love my 2 GOSM to me i cant beat them on what i want them to do and do a good job every time, if your a weekend smoker i would sugest the 36 inch wide big block on sales now and get it now before there all gone,, you can bake a potatoe to a pizza in it,

it all depends on your skill level to smoking meats stay in your league so to say and you will be happy as hell with the foods youll make.
Thanks for the advice. I am leaning towards the gas for just that reason.

There is a 36" wide version and it's on sale? Please tell me where!??!?!? I had thought the 24" was the "big block" vs the 16". 36" sounds much better.
I am quite happy with my 24" wide Big Block that is about one year old now. The real name of the infamous 36" wide model must be Loch Ness. I cannot comment on the BBQ Grillware. Here are my viewpoints on your questions.

1. Wind has not been a problem for me since I have only smoked in winds up to 20MPH. I would suspect that propane would have more problems with wind than charcoal but propane smokers are so much easier to control.

2. With my Big Block I am able to sleep 1 to 1-1/2 hours at a time. I worked for over 20 years at a job where I went to work at odd hours and stayed up usually from 24 to 48 hours straight. After a while the adventure wore off, I wised up, and now I try to never lose any sleep. Maybe try putting your smoker downwind of some large object.

3. You also have the option. Many have said that the ordering experience from HD was a good one. I got mine at Amazon.

4. Nope.

5. On my Big Block, I have found the upper cooking grate to be the warmest shelf. Also, along the outside edges of all of the cooking grates are always a little hotter than the center part. Rotating your meat once or twice during the smoke will compensate for this. I have found the difference in temperatures to be about 10-15F which isn't much to worry about. The oven in your home is not perfect either and still great food comes out of it.
Hi BT -

I have both charcoal and propane. I loved learning on the charcoal ECB but size became an issue. I don't see charcoal as difficult but you will spend more time fiddling with it, adding coals and that sort of thing.

Propane on the other hand is so easy it feels like your cheating! I have a smoker similar to the GOSM - The Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24. It's a little heavier and a little more expensive than the Wal Mart and Lowes GOSMs but I didn't have to do any mods and the thing is right on with temperatures. one sheet of 1/4 plywodd and piano hidge and wind, rain and snow is not an issue!

If wind is an issue just build a little wind block with plywood or something. Three sides is really all you need. Mine has a lid for collecting snow or rain also.

I do think the propane is the easiest to use - just keep two bottles around in case you run out - just like a grill.
if you are smoking for your family, why not just get an "all in one" smoker. there is enough room to do racks of ribs, butts or even whole turkeys.

i can use propane,charcoal, use it as a grill, deep fryer. i would recommend this for someone who is just starting out and wants to try charcoal and propane without having to buy different smokers.

as for wind, it can be difficult to control sometimes but you just have to build a wind break of sorts and then is controlled very easily.
The all-in ones are nice options for small smokers.

Gas, coal, or electric ...

Grill, smoke, steam or fry ...

(they should have added brew to that list but I guess they forgot!)
i know with my family which is small... two of, there is plenty of room to smoke and have lots of leftovers... i guess it all depends on what size family you have as well..

i am going to find a cheap ECB at a yard sale this year and expand my all in one so that i can mod it to get a couple of more racks of cooking space..

and i also forgot to add brew to my list as
My Smoke Vault is 24.5" W x 17" D x 31" H
as oppossesd to 20" W x 14" D x 34" H
or 16" W x 14" D x 34" H

The wood pan is heavy cast iron 10" x 12"

The Temperature Control works from 90 degrees to about 400 degrees very accurately and the thermometer is right on the money.

No Mods or additional equipment is neccessary except a gas tank and tarp cover. It does cost about $100 more than the Wal Mart versions of the GOSM but it's built heavier, more accuate, has a 25,000 BTU/hr. propane burner and is hassle free. From the reports I've been hearing it may even use less fuel. So far I've smoked 7 times averaging 6 hours per smoke on the same 20 lbs. tank of propane and I've not run out yet.

I'm wondering why all the fuss about the GOSM?
Not much good to me then ... they won't ship here! I have heard too many damaged goods stories here to take a chance on a US address and have it delayed or damaged
I started with an offset, then bought an all in one Brink propane, and thought it was the bee's knees. Now I have a Masterbuilt electric, that's shaped like a small fridge, has 4 racks, and one can program it for 225*F and go to sleep. It burns chips but I put chunks in it instead, they go at least 3 hours with good smoke. Heat is heat. Electric, you don't have to go out to the store when you're low.
Hey darlin' ... do me a favor and visit the Canadian site and check for BBQs or anything for that matter that is'nt books, CDs, or DVDs and share with all our friends here how hard it is to buy in Canada.
I'd really appreciate it!

I'm starting to think there should be another Forum for Canadians ... so that we can share info especially as a help for us, where ever the info comes from. Sometimes we do find a good way to procure certain items and it would be so cool to be able share it.
Just me dreaming again ...
He's not kidding there's nothing even at Amazon.CA but books, records and DVDs. Very strange. Sorry Paul I thought Amazon was like WalMart or something.

Well at least we have lots of Canadians here hon! My Mère was from Montreal does that help?

Hi all
just read all your forms and want to say I have GSM that i got from wally world for $ 98.00 and it was a Gas one did very good for me did a pork butt last week was a windy day had no problems with it got an old Charcoal one and was doing ribs in it had some problems with it had to build a wind barrier for it hope this helps in your choice
Happy Smoking
Greetings all and thanks for the great advice. I think I have decided to go with the GOSM. I looked at the camp chef and it looks good, but I was only able to find it for $299 at Amazon. This is the same price as the GOSM there. However, I did find the 24" GOSM at HD for $179 and as far as I can see, it's the exact same. The HD website also has the Store SKU # so I am going to try to order for in-store pickup, thus avoiding delivery.

I appreciate all the information and will keep you all informed.

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