I'm new and need a little help!

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Original poster
Jul 5, 2007
I'm getting ready to start the process of purchasing a smoker and cookin' up some ribs, brisket and whatever else I can learn how to do. I have a couple of questions I was hoping some of you vetrens could help me with. I'm looking at starting small and simple. My research says the Weber Smokey Mountain 2820 is a good smoker to start with. Any comments? Also, do most smokers come with an internal thermometer. If not, how do you determine what temp you are cooking at? Also, do you leave the meat thermometer probe in the meat for the duration of the smoking process or do you check it when you think you are getting close. Thanks
welcome to SMF. you can buy all kinds of smokers. you have to pick what is right for you. i prefer the horizontal offset. my brother has a vertical, with a firebox to the side, kinda like an offset. most smokers come with a "temp gauge" that is crap. most people here have taken them out and put in a real thermometer. i have two in mine, on each side of the door. we use probe thermometers to keep track of where our meat is, temp wise, something like these. i bought mine at a local grocery chain. cost me $19.99 for the first one i bought. went grocery shopping one day and they had them marked at $13.99, bought another. also, check your themrometers to see how accurate they are. get a pot of water boiling, place just the probe in the water, not touching the pot any; water boils at 212° (at sea level). adjust according to your elevation. mine are anywhere from 3° off to 5° off. i have them all wrote down in the back of my smoking log. hope i helped some.
I got mine at Walmart. I have had both the charcoal and electric. I am very pleased with the gas. As far as the thermometers go - I have 3 digital ones. 2 wireless and one regular. I use the regular one and attach it to the smoker for internal box temp. The others for the food. Will end up getting another wireless for the box temp in the future. My .02 cents

Plus with the gas one - I found cold smoking fairly easy for chesse and HB eggs

Welcome. A world of knowledge on this site
I agree that you should get one that's comfortable for you, and fits your space. I've got a smaller version of the one pictured above by my handle in the backyard. I think it is a Brinkman. I have had vertical smokers and they've done well for me. Mine have always been wood or charcoal burning, but I am seriously looking at a gas model. I've got a gas jet on the patio that runs that high dollar stainless grill that hardly gets used anymore....cept for a warmer.
Welcome to SMF. Almost any smoker with the proper mods and patience can turn out great Q. Good luck in your decision.
Welcome dsadams

What the hey? Get one of each! You will eventually anyway

If you start with one of the "All-in-Ones" or "7 in One's" you'll be ahead of the game! And they do make great beginers units too, then you have your choice of fuels.
Welcome to SMF!! As far as smokers go, it really is personal prefrence. Some things you should consider is not only cost, but space, heat source, and amount of food you want to be able to smoke at one time!!!

Welcome and smoke on!!!





i got my smoker at w..-...t for $30 and a meat thermo $13.99 and yes leave it in the whole time.. brinksmann comes with a cheap thermo in lid. i checked it in the oven.. set to 212 adjusted for alltitude. and marked it with a perm. marker.. same with meat probe in boiling water .. but like it's been said it cannot touch sides... i have been super happy.. there are some cool mods for the smoke & grill here on the site i'm going to make so it will be easer geting to add coals.. hopes this helps.
Welcome to SMF dsadams, you're gonna love it here!

Good luck on your search for a new smoker... I chose a horizontal with the side fire box. I like the option of using lump charcoal or wood or both. But, as stated by others, any of them will do the job.
Welcome to SMF dsadams!!! Like everyone stated, your smoker choice is alot of personal preference. The problem with that is that until you buy one and get started you don't have a preference.

The WSM you mentioned is a really nice machine. It would offer you a great platform to learn if you don't mind spending a little extra at the starting line. It is very user friendly and simple, but it will also teach you the basics of fire control that all beginners would be better off with learning. If you think the smoking hobby is for you and you can swing it and you're interested in a bullet type smoker I say go w/ the WSM. Buy the best and only cry once.

FYI, if you just absolutely don't get the bug for smoking and lose interest the WSM is a hot item on sites such as craigslist and you won't lose a ton of money.

Just my two pennies, hope you find it helpful and let us know what you decide on.
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