Looking for advice

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ghost_smoker

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Oct 1, 2022
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I have had back luck with two different brands. Temps way off (example, set at 225 running at 350, even though the controller showed it was running way hot, didn't fix it. On the first it was a cheapo, and it was a definitely quality in general lacking. The second I thought it would work better being a more reputable brand, but...no luck. So, I'd rather go the charcoal route.

Electric would be an option though.
 

bill1

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Apr 25, 2015
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Good luck G_S. A lot of good charcoal options offered already. And MCOKevin had sound advice about getting your kids involved in the cooking process. Sure, after a few of these they may be bored but you'll have your rig "dialed in" by then and can afford to leave it and do totally childish things with them!
 

yankee2bbq

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I have had back luck with two different brands. Temps way off (example, set at 225 running at 350, even though the controller showed it was running way hot, didn't fix it. On the first it was a cheapo, and it was a definitely quality in general lacking. The second I thought it would work better being a more reputable brand, but...no luck. So, I'd rather go the charcoal route.

Electric would be an option though.
Back when I was a kid I remember helping my Dad on starting a fire on the Weber kettle. He showed me how to build a pyramid of charcoal and then spraying it down with lighter fluid, and lighting it with a match. Something I will never forget. You will make the right choice choosing charcoal.
 

chp

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Sep 30, 2020
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Lots of good options. Based on what you outlined, I would add a vote for the BGE. It has a lot of advantages you would appreciate like the long, consistent, temperature control, as well as a wide range of cook temperatures attainable (200-500). It’s also insulated, so you can cook in more conditions. The limitations are the cooking area and access to the fire once you get rolling. Price is typically higher, so look for used. Flavor is great.

I have a kettle as well, and they are a great option and provide great flavor. Doesn’t do as well as a BGE in regards to temp control, but price is lower.

I like a stick burner offset and enjoy tinkering with the fire, so that is my go-to, but my kids are grown and you are looking for different things. What is the ‘biggest’ factor you are looking for in a smoker?
 

ghost_smoker

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Oct 1, 2022
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Lots of good options. Based on what you outlined, I would add a vote for the BGE. It has a lot of advantages you would appreciate like the long, consistent, temperature control, as well as a wide range of cook temperatures attainable (200-500). It’s also insulated, so you can cook in more conditions. The limitations are the cooking area and access to the fire once you get rolling. Price is typically higher, so look for used. Flavor is great.

I have a kettle as well, and they are a great option and provide great flavor. Doesn’t do as well as a BGE in regards to temp control, but price is lower.

I like a stick burner offset and enjoy tinkering with the fire, so that is my go-to, but my kids are grown and you are looking for different things. What is the ‘biggest’ factor you are looking for in a smoker?
 

ghost_smoker

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Oct 1, 2022
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Something fairly hands off and with decent capacity is what I'm looking for. Below is a smoker near me for $250.
 

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bill1

Master of the Pit
Apr 25, 2015
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Something fairly hands off and with decent capacity is what I'm looking for. Below is a smoker near me for $250.
That's a UDS or ugly drum smoker. Search around here for posts and see what you think. These take some skill to use well. Everything goes in...fire, smoke source, food...and gets sealed up. You somewhat control temp by air flow control but everything else is ballistic. A bullet smoker like a Weber Smoky Mountain is similar, but there's a door to access fire and smoke. I'd say a UDS has a medium-difficult learning curve. But it might be for you! I'm not sure your smoking or general cooking experience?
 

ghost_smoker

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Oct 1, 2022
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That's a UDS or ugly drum smoker. Search around here for posts and see what you think. These take some skill to use well. Everything goes in...fire, smoke source, food...and gets sealed up. You somewhat control temp by air flow control but everything else is ballistic. A bullet smoker like a Weber Smoky Mountain is similar, but there's a door to access fire and smoke. I'd say a UDS has a medium-difficult learning curve. But it might be for you! I'm not sure your smoking or general cooking experience?
I've smoked with charcoal before. Never used a UDS Luke this. Once it's set, does it hold steady?

Guessing I'd fill up the basket and use minion method or just use a starter cube and get it to temp. I just don't want to be busy fussing with Temps when I'm doing other things.

A kamado Joe Classic is near me, but an hour drive, around the same price.
 

ghost_smoker

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Oct 1, 2022
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I've smoked with charcoal before. Never used a UDS Luke this. Once it's set, does it hold steady?

Guessing I'd fill up the basket and use minion method or just use a starter cube and get it to temp. I just don't want to be busy fussing with Temps when I'm doing other things.

A kamado Joe Classic is near me, but an hour drive, around the same price.
The bigger grates on this is appealing, and I could eventually get a hanging system.
 

babydoc

Smoke Blower
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Aug 13, 2022
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Kettles are okay but can only run half as long as a WSM and the smoke flavor isn't as good as the WSM. PBC is a close second. Kamados do run for many hours but the smoke is even milder than a kettle. I firmly believe you need to decide between WSM and PBC. The other recommendations aren't comparable.
I've never used either the of those. I looked into the general "ugly barrel" smoker in the past. What is it about the WSM that makes it better. You said flavor...but what improves the flavor? They way its built? Airflow?
 

bill1

Master of the Pit
Apr 25, 2015
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A Kamado Joe for $250 is a great buy...unless its cracked...you can never really move them after that.
If you have access to a drum, you can build a UDS for ~$100 so $250 is a meh buy.
Again, a WSM has a door at fire level so you can tend the fire once you've added the meat and closed the top lid. A UDS has only those air tubes to throttle. If your fire goes out, you have to tear it all apart and start over. If you get some practice with them, and get a good over/under thermometer to use with it, you can maybe go play with the kids, but it's kinda' high maintenance. You can add a thermostatically driven fan to them (as well as to a WSM) but you say you don't like electronics and that would not just be the vendor's electronics but a 3rd party's.
 

JWFokker

Smoking Fanatic
Mar 5, 2019
513
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I've never used either the of those. I looked into the general "ugly barrel" smoker in the past. What is it about the WSM that makes it better. You said flavor...but what improves the flavor? They way its built? Airflow?

A Kamado Joe for $250 is a great buy...unless its cracked...you can never really move them after that.
If you have access to a drum, you can build a UDS for ~$100 so $250 is a meh buy.
Again, a WSM has a door at fire level so you can tend the fire once you've added the meat and closed the top lid. A UDS has only those air tubes to throttle. If your fire goes out, you have to tear it all apart and start over. If you get some practice with them, and get a good over/under thermometer to use with it, you can maybe go play with the kids, but it's kinda' high maintenance. You can add a thermostatically driven fan to them (as well as to a WSM) but you say you don't like electronics and that would not just be the vendor's electronics but a 3rd party's.
I'd happily pick up a KJ for that price. The basic Akorn is $350.
 

Brokenhandle

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Nov 9, 2019
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I'd vote for a kettle! You can buy one in your price range and get great flavor along with some long cook times for pork butts. But keep in mind, this is just our opinions, what I like is maybe not what you like...you know how it goes. I bought a cheap no name kettle for $20 on a garage sale, it puts out some mighty fine tasting food. Do I get good temp control like a Weber...No. But I let it run where it likes, usually hot and fast. Good luck!

Ryan