Looking to Purchase a Charcoal Smoker

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bcaruthers

Fire Starter
Original poster
Feb 14, 2022
41
65
Nampa, Idaho
Hello everyone!

I am currently looking to purchase a charcoal smoker and I am looking to get advice for the best bang for my buck. I have been looking at the 22" WSM and the Pit Barrel Cooker. I owned a Traeger in the past and wasn't very impressed with the smoke flavor, so I am shying away from the pellet smokers. I have never used a charcoal smoker, so I know there is going to be a huge learning curve compared to a pellet smoker. Thanks for any advice you can give!
 
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I started with a standard Weber kettle smoking, grilling it does it all. Best bang for your buck IMHO. However, it has limited space so you can only do 1 brisket, one pork butt and stuff at a time. That's plenty for me and my lady and 2 year old. However, I own both sized WSM and do love them both. They don't get used nearly as much TBH, but they work amazing and produce awesome BBQ
 
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I think you would be happy with either the WSM or PBC as both are really great easy to learn cookers. Unless you're looking at the PBX, the WSM will give you much more space than the original PBC. And you can get a hanger for the WSM to turn it into a PBC like cooker. But I think there are some questions to ask yourself too. What's the budget? What do you plan on doing with the cooker- just smoking or do you want something that can easily grill too?
 
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Just my opinion here, and I will admit to being a Weber fan boy. The best bang for your buck is the WSM. It produces fantastic bbq. Plus, there is a ton of support. Not only here but more especially TVWB.
 
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I think you would be happy with either the WSM or PBC as both are really great easy to learn cookers. Unless you're looking at the PBX, the WSM will give you much more space than the original PBC. And you can get a hanger for the WSM to turn it into a PBC like cooker. But I think there are some questions to ask yourself too. What's the budget? What do you plan on doing with the cooker- just smoking or do you want something that can easily grill too?
My budget is around $500 to $600. I plan on just using it to smoke. One thing that I would like to have the capacity to smoke is a 15 to 20 lbs turkey that is spatchcocked. So, I have been trying to figure out if I really need a 22 WSM or if the 18.5 WSM will work. I will mainly be cooking for four adults. I am also open to other smokers. The WSM and PBX were just the two that I had done some research on.
 
have you looked at the two brands of gravity feeds? Lot more versatile than the pellets. great smoke on em and you can grill hot as piss. Learning to use a raw charcoal or split is gonna be a really big learning curve. the Gravity feeds are still pretty much set it and forget its
 

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have you looked at the two brands of gravity feeds? Lot more versatile than the pellets. great smoke on em and you can grill hot as piss. Learning to use a raw charcoal or split is gonna be a really big learning curve. the Gravity feeds are still pretty much set it and forget its
I have not looked at the gravity fed smokers. It is something that I would be interested in learning more about. How easy are they to maintain?
 
I have the WSM 22 and a 26" kettle. I use the kettle 99% of the time with the Slow N sear for smoking. And then the vortex for grilling. Out of everything I have to cook on the kettle is by far the most versatile. The WSM imo is a pain in the butt. Once you get the kettle dialed in it'll run pretty consistent for the cook. I could easily go without the WSM. But there's no way I'd ever be without the 26" kettle. The extra room compared to the 22" makes a big difference
 
22in WSM would be my recommendation for a few reasons.
1.Easy to learn.
2.Versatile. Can be used as a 22in Kettle if you like.
3.Easy to modify if wanted or needed.
4. Capacity. Plenty wide enough for spatchcock turkeys and full packer briskets. Tall enough for hanging ribs and other foods if want or need arises.
5. Plenty of support.
6. Decent build quality. Easy to assemble.
Hard to go wrong with the 22.5 in WSM for the type cooking you mentioned that you’re interested in.
 
My budget is around $500 to $600. I plan on just using it to smoke. One thing that I would like to have the capacity to smoke is a 15 to 20 lbs turkey that is spatchcocked. So, I have been trying to figure out if I really need a 22 WSM or if the 18.5 WSM will work. I will mainly be cooking for four adults. I am also open to other smokers. The WSM and PBX were just the two that I had done some research on.

Gotcha. So I had a 22in WSM and I bought it for the extra space just in case. Turns out I never used it and it ended up just collecting dust (I know, a sin). I ended up selling it. But it is a really great smoker and you'll likely love it. I have a severe case of gear acquisition syndrome, so I cycle through things sometimes! I also had the classic PBC and that was fantastic too. But if I could only have one of those, I would probably go WSM. The temp control is way better.
 
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I own a Treager, MB Gravity, and an Akorn. I first learned to smoke on a propane cylinder smoker. IMO I get the best smoke flavor on a long smoke from the Treager, NOTE using an amazn tube which makes a world of difference. I make an overnight Brisket on the treager that gets rave reviews, I've had offers to pay me to cater parties and events with it. The MB Gravity works great, and I now will only eat steak if its cooked on that. I know a lot of people love the smoke flavor from the Gravity grills but under inspection most have modified theirs. The akorn works well and can cover a wide range of cooks but since I got the MB I no longer have a need for the Akorn. For the price you're looking at, I would reccomend looking at something with a controller (treager, masterbuilt, char-griller, rec-tec, etc.) because plenty of cooks require overnight and if you have a normal life you need your sleep. Even if not overnight, smoking is generally about low and slow, so the time/effort savigns is huge for me.
 
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I have not looked at the gravity fed smokers. It is something that I would be interested in learning more about. How easy are they to maintain?

They are the same as pellet as far as set it and forget it. Set the temp fill the hopper every 5 or 6 hours. Easier to maintain the rig though no vacuuming out your dust and stuff LOL. You can use lump or charcoal with splits up the middle if you want super smoke or just charcoal. Can go low as like 160 and as high as 700. Youn can even get one with a griddle if you're a black stone fan.

 
They are the same as pellet as far as set it and forget it. Set the temp fill the hopper every 5 or 6 hours. Easier to maintain the rig though no vacuuming out your dust and stuff LOL. You can use lump or charcoal with splits up the middle if you want super smoke or just charcoal. Can go low as like 160 and as high as 700. Youn can even get one with a griddle if you're a black stone fan.


Is the 560 big enough for a 15 to 20 lbs turkey? I'm looking at the Masterbuilts right now and trying to figure out what size I would need. I'm still undecided about going with the Masterbuilt or a WSM. I do like the ease that the Masterbuilt would bring and not having to babysit a smoker all night would be awesome. My main concern is that it is mechanical and could break over time.
 
Hello everyone!

I am currently looking to purchase a charcoal smoker and I am looking to get advice for the best bang for my buck. I have been looking at the 22" WSM and the Pit Barrel Cooker. I owned a Traeger in the past and wasn't very impressed with the smoke flavor, so I am shying away from the pellet smokers. I have never used a charcoal smoker, so I know there is going to be a huge learning curve compared to a pellet smoker. Thanks for any advice you can give!
I'm going to have to agree with Negoloan here. I've owned or own a mess of them already. charcoal and wood will give you the taste you want, but varies in work and babysitting. I thought my prayers were answered when i got my "egg" (kamado). I now have the MAsterbuilt 560 gravity and absolutely love it, and the results. So far only smoked on it, but relish the thoughts of some tomahawks reverse seared.
I just di dtwo points for burnt ends for super bowl. loaded the charcoal and wood and set it at 235. when all the wrapping and saucing were done it was a sight to behold and taste. simple and good. That's all from me. IMHO IMG-3244.jpg
 
Is the 560 big enough for a 15 to 20 lbs turkey? I'm looking at the Masterbuilts right now and trying to figure out what size I would need. I'm still undecided about going with the Masterbuilt or a WSM. I do like the ease that the Masterbuilt would bring and not having to babysit a smoker all night would be awesome. My main concern is that it is mechanical and could break over time.
the bottom grate is 23" x 13" (just measured. I would say you have to use that versus the higher grate due to height of turkey. I have no clue how big a 18lb turkey is. it sounds big. we ar only two so i usually only do a 12lb.
 
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Another thing to throw in the ring is charcoal consumption if that matters. Can't speak for the 22" but the 18" WSM is extremely efficient. Have heard the gravity feeds go through charcoal. I don't have one so can't say but something to look into.
 
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the bottom grate is 23" x 13" (just measured. I would say you have to use that versus the higher grate due to height of turkey. I have no clue how big a 18lb turkey is. it sounds big. we ar only two so i usually only do a 12lb.
Those burnt ends look amazing! Thanks for checking the size of the 560! BrianGSDTexoma brought up a good point about charcoal consumption, how is the 560 with that? I am still on the fence about going with a gravity feed or a WSM. You guys are starting to sway me toward the gravity feed side LOL. My biggest hesitation is the Masterbuilt being mechanical and there being issues with that.
 
I have the WSM 22 and a 26" kettle. I use the kettle 99% of the time with the Slow N sear for smoking. And then the vortex for grilling. Out of everything I have to cook on the kettle is by far the most versatile. The WSM imo is a pain in the butt. Once you get the kettle dialed in it'll run pretty consistent for the cook. I could easily go without the WSM. But there's no way I'd ever be without the 26" kettle. The extra room compared to the 22" makes a big difference
This or a gravity feed one. The 26" will always work if you do your part, with a Slow N sear and vortex you have a mean cooking machine!
 
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Is the 560 big enough for a 15 to 20 lbs turkey? I'm looking at the Masterbuilts right now and trying to figure out what size I would need. I'm still undecided about going with the Masterbuilt or a WSM. I do like the ease that the Masterbuilt would bring and not having to babysit a smoker all night would be awesome. My main concern is that it is mechanical and could break over time.

Yeah there pretty big the 1050 is just that 1050 sqin. the 560 is half that. I got two full sized racks for the middle and top of my 560. It came with two half racks. As for life span. Like you said it's mechanical so it will not last as long as say a weber charcoal. Question become can you keep the weber at 250 for 12 hours for a butt or a brisket as easily. The fan on the gravity are basically computer fans lol. The Masterbuilt CS is pretty top notch if u contact em thru facbook.
 
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