Looming for a charcoal smoker - $200 range

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by bigjoec, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. bigjoec

    bigjoec Newbie

    Greatly debating between gas and charcoal. Hearing a lot of pros and cons for each. I'm a big time newbie here.

    If you could recommend a charcoal smoker around the $200 range, what would it be?
  2. I would go with an electric. The first generation MES 30 for about 150.00 Then add a AMNPS to it and your setup for about anything from cold smoking to briskets and Pulled pork. The only draw back to it is the 275° upper temp. But you can finish poultry in the oven or on a grill.

    I know that is not the question you ask.

    Happy smoken.

  3. catch-22

    catch-22 Newbie

    You could build a mini-wsm for around $100 all in.

    I have a MES Gen2 electric with amnps and it's awesome to set and forget. I also have the 18" WSM, but my mini is my go to smoker.

    Plus I had a lot of fun researching and building it!
  4. If your looking for an offset there's the chargriller outlaw (which I own and love) and the brinkman trailmaster limited edition. Both require mods but when done right you get excellent results. I think they're around $300 plus any mods you do. They're are not set an forget.

  5. If you don't want to fabricate something and don't want to worry about modifications, consider the Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) 14.5.  It is priced at $199.00, and available at Walmart and other retailers.  It is easy to master and produces solid results. 

    The Fabricated mini-WSM (Made with a Smoky Joe kettle and a 32 quart pot) has similar dimensions and cooks about the same quantity of meat. 

    Check out Craig's list in your area; you may have other inexpensive options available.
  6. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes, I'd chime in for a Char Griller SFB....I hate Wal-Mart but they had them here for $179 recently. Good time to pick one up as well...sales galore on them. I'd avoid a MES like ebola.....unless it's for sure a Gen 1
  7. bigjoec

    bigjoec Newbie

    What's MES?
  8. Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
  9. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
  10. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Save yourself a lot of heartache and agravation and get a Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). They perform great straight out of the box and make awesome Que.
  11. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    I'd say get a cheap offset to start. After you have smoked some of your own meat you will want another and another. Soon you'll have one of each because each one is great for different things.
  12. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Build an UDS! "Ugly Drum Smoker". Easy to make, cooks like a champ.
  13. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    This question has been asked so many times... and every response will be different... everybody has their own preference.... some questions need to be answered..

    How many people are you cooking for ??
    Will you be cooking often ??
    Are you willing to tend to the fire (charcoal) and drink a beer while doing it for possibly long periods (all day) at a time ??

    There are other questions as well.. but those a re a few...

    I will suggest that you plan on getting a reliable dual probe thermometer (many of us here are fond of the Maverick 732 or 733) no matter what smoker you get... especially true for a beginner...

    Myself.. I will suggest a charcoal smoker... any of the WSM's or as previously mentioned a Mini WSM build ...

    A 22" Weber kettle grill (silver) for $99 would be a great first time choice as well ... just keep searching and asking questions....
  14. cyclonefan

    cyclonefan Fire Starter

  15. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That is how I started.... spent about $180-$200 buying and modding a Char-griller, got sick of having to baby sit it all the time, sold it for $80, bought a 22.5" WSM for $365 and never looked back. My 22.5" holds more meat, and I can actually fire it up at midnight, get it to temp, and go to bed for 6 hrs., check it in the AM with my first cup of coffee, and leave it alone till the meat is done! That is stock out of the box with the exception of adding eyelet holes for my probe therms.
  16. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    I feel that you should have to tend your fire and watch the smoker do what it does. I don't mind the work that goes into every piece of meat I cook. That's the reason I never would've gotten an electric. The only reason I built the EUDS is for low temp stuff like bacon and cheese. Everyone feels differently but to me these set and forget smokers take away from what cooking meat on the grill/smoker is all about. Hanging out with family and friends drinking beers talking crap and making damn good food!
  17. Wow,   totally confused now ?   Whatever you decide on, Practice Practice and you Will be cranking out great Q in no time. I started with an ECB, used one for years, Still have one I get out every once in a while..  Which ever one you get look up some post and threads on mods. It will help it be a lot more efficient 

  18. fastback

    fastback Fire Starter

    I owned a Traeger for many years and it did a great job until I wanted to dial in the temp to a specific setting...

    That's when I moved on to an offset cooker. The OK Joes units in my area were being closed out and after some work it turned out to be a great cooker.

    I love tending the fire and relaxing on the patio during long cooks, but it's not always good weather here in OR, so now I'm looking at a set it & forget it type of cooker.

    The Pit Barrel Cookers get great reviews and come in at $289 delivered to your door...

    There are a lot of options out there for all of us which makes deciding on which cooker to buy a fun little project. Enjoy -
  19. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yup - that's why I got the 22.5" WSM. I did OK on short cooks when I had my Char-griller, but doing pork butts and brisket was a pain. Now I can light the smoker at midnight toss on the meat and go to bed. In the winter I wrap my smoker in a welding blanket and it can run at 250° with little to no input from me.


  20. :yeahthat: Best advice!!! We all have our favorite styles, that's what makes the group so interesting. And from the thread it's easy to see MORE than willing to share some GREAT advice, opinions, and experience!!! :2thumbs:

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