1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Looking for recommendations for entry level smoker

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by Crispy Bacon, May 14, 2019.

  1. Hello,
    I have always loved cooking food on the grill, and recently decided that I wanted to get into the smoking game. Looking for suggestions on a smoker in the 3-400$ range. All suggestions are welcome. I’ve looked at a couple of off set smokers, and drum smokers, but decided to ask on here for suggestions from people who have been doing this way longer than I have before I make a decision to buy one.
  2. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Lowes and Home Depot carry a fairly good stock of smokers.

  3. mike243

    mike243 Smoking Fanatic

    You need to decide how much work you want to put into a cook, all of the smokers can make good grub but some of it takes a lot of baby sitting to get there.
    JC in GB and fullborebbq like this.
  4. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    JC in GB, phatbac and chef jimmyj like this.
  5. mike243

    mike243 Smoking Fanatic

    A Weber is a great place to start but they are a little pricey , noticed another smoker made a lot like it for $200 vs $350 or what ever it was for the Weber,look at Lowes and home depot and maybe academy if there's 1 near you. good luck as its a habit to keep buying different ones lol
  6. I don’t mind having one to tend too periodically. Kinda don’t want one that you set and leave
    JC in GB likes this.

    5GRILLZNTN Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    There are going to be a lot of great recommendations on this one from the folks here, and I would suggest you do a lot of research before you pull the trigger. Having said that, my vote would be a 22" WSM. Good grill real estate with an upper and lower grate, great build quality (except for the side door), and with a little modding, makes a great grill for burgers, steaks, etc. mike243 is right about the cost though. If you already have a charcoal grill, then you only need one fuel source for it, and a WSM. Good luck!
    JC in GB likes this.
  8. hawtsauc3

    hawtsauc3 Smoke Blower

    My vote is WSM 18.5” after finally getting one. I started on an ECB for $35 after brinkmann folded and while I got to tend to it more it also was miserable. Don’t get the 22.5” unless you really bbq a ton. A lot of ppl here say get the 22.5 then you’ll also read a ton on ppl who don’t use it much because it was too large for small cooks. There’s nothing you can’t make on a 18.5. I made 2 racks of ribs I trimmed last week on one
    JC in GB likes this.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When I joined and was looking for a new smoker, I got one answer regarding Size....
    Figure out what size you need...Then buy the next Bigger One. The 22 WSM will let you use all the 22 Kettle accessories...JJ
    JC in GB and fullborebbq like this.
  10. fullborebbq

    fullborebbq Fire Starter

    Lol.... Only one size bigger???? Baby sitting the smoker gets old fast (JMO) thin materials will cause fits in colder windy conditions. Just food for thought.

    Smoke on and enjoy your new hobby!
  11. Nole4L

    Nole4L Smoke Blower

    First thing to try and determine is if you want to use wood, charcoal or electric. It doesn't sound like you're interested in electric. I personally have a stick burner and even though I have to look after it and feed it wood every 45 minutes or so, that's part of the whole process that I like. I went through 2 "big box" offset smokers over a period of about 20 years before I finally wore my wife down and she agreed to let me get a Lang. You can get a nice "big box" smoker in the range you're talking about. A guy who works in my group bought an Oklahoma Joe reverse flow for around $300 on sale and he's very happy with it. You may also be able to find a little bit better quality if you start looking at used. I've seen some nice used smokers in the $800-$900 range. For me the benefit of the more expensive smokers are that they're made out of thicker steel which holds heat....which equates to a much more steady temp and less time dealing with temperature spikes and drops. Having said that my 2 inexpensive smokers lasted around 10 years each and made some really good BBQ which in the end is what matters.

    I can't tell you anything about charcoal burners but I know people make some great bbq on them.

    Good luck with your search and welcome!
    JC in GB likes this.
  12. Inscrutable

    Inscrutable Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Now have a kamado, gas, and electric ... yet still intrigued/tempted to try a pellet ... very addictive :emoji_sunglasses:
    JC in GB and fullborebbq like this.
  13. fullborebbq

    fullborebbq Fire Starter

  14. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    22 WSM, or if you can afford it a Lang 36" patio model.
    JC in GB and phatbac like this.
  15. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    22" WSM get my vote. You won't be disappointed.

    JC in GB likes this.
  16. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Think about what you want to cook some of the smaller models you will have to cut you meat in half like a rack of ribs.

    JC in GB likes this.
  17. Don’t forget the used market once you decide what you are looking for.
    JC in GB likes this.
  18. krj

    krj Meat Mopper

    The 22" WSM in my opinion is a great place to start for newbies, and is pretty forgiving. But it will also allow you options for modding it to suit your needs as you become more experienced. A brand new one is a touch above your budget, but if you look on Facebook Marketplace and your local Craigslist you can generally find a good quality used one that'll fit.
    JC in GB likes this.
  19. JC in GB

    JC in GB Smoking Fanatic

    If I had to start over and had a $300 - $400 budget, I would start looking for a used WSM 22 and then start saving for a PID unit or build my own.

    The WSM units are solid performers and are used by many BBQ chefs even in Master competitions.

    One thing that I have found is that grills/smokers get expensive really fast as you start adding features.

    I may still get a WSM in the future as a back-up smoker.

    They are simple and they work.
    chef jimmyj and 5GRILLZNTN like this.
  20. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    JC in GB Thanks for the like it is greatly appreciated.