Looking for a new smoker

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ron50

Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
May 14, 2007
2,357
145
FL
Greetings,

I'm moving into a new place soon and in the market for a new smoker. I haven't really done much in the past 10 years but looking forward to getting back into it. I use to own a Camp Chef Smoke Vault and a 18" Weber Smokey Mountain. Both produced excellent results.

The new place already has a nice built in grill, so I'm looking for mainly a smoker. I've always had a curiosity about kamado style smokers and I'm seriously considering either BGE or a Kamado Joe. Probably looking at an 18" (large) size.

In the Kamado Joe I'm considering the Classic 1 because of the lower price point and the included stand.

Would love to hear opinions about these smokers.

Thanks for the help.

Ron
 
thirdeye thirdeye or KimberlyO KimberlyO would be good resources for kamado style cookers. I believe they both use them.

Have you ruled out a Weber 26" kettle. It has tons of real estate and doubles as an excellent smoker.

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Chris
 
I have had my large BGE for 15 years and really love using it as a smoker and grill. I understand it is good at baking and pizza making, though I have not used for those methods. Given the chance to buy again at that time, I would definitely make the same choice!

For relatively short smokes, the egg keeps a steady temp (approximately 225* - 240*) just by sneaking up on the vent settings to the desired temp and leaving them be. For longer smokes, briskets, pork butts, etc. I use a blower attachment (FireBoard 2) to manage the egg temp and set egg and meat alarms so I can get some sleep without worrying!

There is an early learning curve. But, if you take some time to run your egg and play with the temp without cooking anything for a few times it becomes clear how your particular egg likes to be set and how long for it to adjust to any changes you make to your settings. Worth the time to spend experimenting. There are good instructions on best way to approach this. Happy to point you in the right direction if you decide to go this route.

I use hardwood chunks for smoke and it works very well. My meat gets a good smoke flavor, more or less intense depending on the variety and quantity I put in. I get a nice smoke ring, though of course not as thick as you would get from a stick burner.

I can't think of anything else. Probably more than you wanted to know! Let me know if you have any other questions! - Kim
 
If occurs to me, I did not tell you the things I do not like about the egg!

I wish it was bigger. The biggest brisket I can fit on the large egg is about 14lb. That may not be a big deal for you, just wanted to mention it. The XL may be better depending on what you want.

The egg does not come with the Conveggtor. You cannot smoke on the egg without it, so I am disappointed you have to purchase it separately. I believe the Kamado Joe comes with it. Something to consider it pricing these out.

This is probably true of all Kamados, steady temperatures during cooks come at a price. When you want to adjust the temp, it takes a while. You change the vent settings and then need to wait a while for the change to take affect. Patience is required. Something I sometimes lack! This only applies to small adjustments while smoking, though. If you are going from smoking to high heat for searing, that does not take long at all.

That's all I can think of at the moment. - Kim
 
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A ceramic cooker is something I would always have in my arsenal. They are truly a 4-season cooker, and you can grill, smoke, barbecue, bake, roast and even cold smoke. I've gone as long as 18 or 20 hours on one load of charcoal in my Egg. Anything you can cook in your oven can be cooked in a ceramic cooker from casseroles, enchiladas, pizza, cornbread, or biscuits. I even have a wok ring for my large Egg. These pit shots should give you an idea of how universal ceramic cookers can be.... Starting with an egg, and ending with a couple of slabs of bacon.
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I’ve owned just about every type of grill/smoker available, except for a pellet grill. The KJ Classic 3 is by far the best I’ve ever owned. I had assumed that I would get some type of blower temp controller, but I’ve never needed one. I can dial in my temp and it won’t move for hours and hours. No tending the fire every hour of a 15+ hour long brisket cook on an offset and no wild temp swings. Almost feels like cheating. I don’t know if it’s a byproduct of ceramics keeping more moisture in the air or just lower airflow, but I’ve yet to have anything dry out on the KJ. A ruined Thanksgiving turkey on the Kettle with SnS was what prompted my KJ purchase.

I used to think the Kettle was the most versatile grill available, but my opinion has changed. The KJ’s versatility is off the charts. The only accessory I’ve added is the Joetisserie, which is great for wings (using the Napoleon basket.) Want to reverse sear some steaks? Go from 225° to 800° while the steaks rest - about 10 minutes.

As someone else mentioned above, the only negative I’ve found is the 18” grate. But like you, I have a built-in natural gasser, along with my Kettle and PBC if I ever need extra space.

Highly recommend the Kamado Joe!

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I really like my Oklahoma Joe Bronco drum smoker. Paid $300 retail at Lowes but I think it's more now. Holds temp real nice spring, summer, fall, or winter. No leaks, holds moisture, easy to adjust temp with minor changes in the intake and/or exhaust dampers. Holds steady temp for hours. Rated Platinum 5 stars on the AR site. Easy to hook up a fan for long overnight cooks if you wish, but many have cooked overnight as is without a fan and without problems. Will cook as long as 32 hours straight with an oversized aftermarket charcoal basket. Good luck.
 
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All good suggestions so far. I don't think you could go wrong with any of them. I got my Kamado Joe Classic II last fall on clearance and have really enjoyed it. Before that I had an 18" WSM and at times I really miss it. It cooked some awesome food.
So, just my opinion Ron, go with a ceramic or WSM. Oh, and welcome back! :emoji_thumbsup:
 
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Appreciate all he information and suggestions. I think I am going to give the KJ a try. Most of what I will be doing will be for a small group so a pork but, a couple rack of ribs, some ABTs should be sufficient. I think the large size KJ will work for that. I've done my share of overnight smokes, watching the temps, sitting there with my remote therms and adjusted the temps. Really looking forward to getting back into this.
 
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Ron I just got a Masterbuilt Gravity feed and it came with the Pizza Oven attachment it was used a few times during the Gathering and seemed to run very good and didn't use a lot of charcoal. I'll get around to the Pizza attachment eventually lol
 
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Hey Ron,
If you need some more help spending your money, the Joetissory is a must have item. :emoji_laughing:
 
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