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.

Need some advice on a new smoker for xmas.

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by midwestpatsfan, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. Hello all,

    Well, I think I will start out this thread with a little back story first.  I was given the "el chipo" torpedo smoker from a little old women from down the street, she gave it to my dad who also didn't want it.  Do not ask me why she had it, but it had never been used and I thought I would at least give it a shot.  Shortly after that, I found this website and I was on my way, and needless to say I have been hooked on smoking meat ever since. Over the coarse of this past summer I have done several smokes and for the most part, the meat has turned out great.

    I have learned that I am limited on what can be done on this little guy and was thinking about upgrading to something a little better for christmas.  That is where you all come in.  What would be a nice upgrade that keeps the process simple but gives me more freedom to do some larger cuts of meat and might give me a little better results?  Don't get me wrong, the little torpedo has served me well, but each smoke has been different from the others, sometimes I cannot get the heat up enough, sometimes I cant get the heat down, things like that. I would love to get something that is a little more consistent so I can really take this to the next level.

  2. Big-Steel-Keg

    My neighbor has one, and everything that has come off of it has been delish.

    But with that being said, I still beat him at the neighborhood rib cook-off with my Brinkman charcoal smoker...

    If I were to up-grade I might swing towards the Keg.
  3. bamaboy

    bamaboy Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    If your handy with tools you could build a uds...aka drum smoker.cheap and very efficient,i have the drums to convert myself.
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A lot will depend on the heat source you want to use. If you want to stick with charcoal then I would look at either making a UDS if you are handy with tools, or if you can swing $300-$400 you could look at the Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). Both are great smokers that run very efficiently for a long time. The WSM comes in two sizes 18.5" ($299) and 22.5" ($399) - those are full retail prices a lot of times you can find them online for $40-$60 cheaper w/ free shipping.

    As for gas and electric smokers I can't offer much advice there since I have never used or owned either type.
  5. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My vote is to build a UDS as well.
  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    ..... of course seeing a GIGANTIC box with a WSM in it next to your Christmas tree would be kinda cool... lol. The WSM comes in a really, really, really, BIG box! I almost couldn't fit my 22.5" into the back of my mini-van.
  7. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    You need to give us more info as to what you want.  Want to go electric?  How about reverse flow?  How much you want to spend?  UDS can be pretty cheap, so can an ECB.  Do you want a smoker that will last the rest of your life or just one to get you by untill you have the space and resources to get something real nice?

    I'm trying to decide between a new Lang 36 or Lang 48 so I feel your pain.

  8. tom37

    tom37 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yup, more info would help alot.

    At least get us in the ballpark on if you want charcoal, electric, gas, or wood.

    A UDS will fit the bill if you are wanting to go electric or charcoal, and maybe even gas but I have never seen one on propane yet.

    Never had a MES but they sound like they work pretty slick.

    Where abouts do ya live as far as temps goes?
  9. Sorry,

    Looks like more advice is needed. I was thinking I would stay with charcoal since that is what I have experience with.  As far as price, I am not sure, I guess I am trying to stay away from really expensive. As my first one was free, the next step up is probably a couple hundred dollars? I have no idea about reverse flow or what that is, so prbably just a straightforward smoker that is a little more convienent and easy to use that the el cheapo torpedo I am using now.
  10. coacher72

    coacher72 Smoking Fanatic

    I would go with the WSM 22.5". It will be a little more than you want to spend, but from what I've read here it will be well worth it. If you decide to go electric than the new MES 40" would be my choice. Good luck with the decision.
  11. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

  12. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Beer-B-Q  has it right if you want a set it and forget it "ronco" smoker, the MES will work great. I myself love charcoal and love my UDS but had to convert to a watt burner so I built a UDS "ronco" electric. Long story is they all are great, just take the time to learn your smoker and the TBS will flow. [​IMG]
  13. There are many very nice smokers out there. And types. Some of it might depend on location if you're looking into one of the larger models, associated with shipping costs. What you want to do, your personal preferences and how much you want to invest. My personal fav's are Peoria Cookers, Pitmaker and The Good One barbecue smoker grills. 

    I've heard a lot of good things about Stumps, Lang, Traeger, Spice Wine, Backwoods and of coarse Klose. Guy here in town I know now sells Green Mountain. Lots of people like the pellet models.  It's well worth your while to look around a fair bit. You've come to the right place for a wide variety of recommendations. You could also construct one yourself.

    Whatever you decide to get, my advice is "a little more" than you might initially be considering that way you won't grow out of it too soon. But by no means is it necessary that you have a big unit either.  You're gonna have great fun many happy smokes!
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  14. fluffybunny

    fluffybunny Newbie

    Another vote for Weber Smokey Mountain.  I have the 18.5 and love it.  It is a very efficient cooker and can cook some great ribs.  I can fit 6 racks of baby backs on mine with a little work, and some rib racks.  One drawback is that I have trouble getting a full rack of ribs laying flat on the smoker so I normally cut them in half to cook and it works fine that way.  The thing I love the most about this smoker is it is pretty much set it and forget it, it will keep temps steady for HOURS once you get the vents set right.  Also the build quality is fantastic on it.  You would be very happy with a Weber Smokey Mountain.  Also check out http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/ it is a great resource with tips and guides for the weber smokey mountain.
  15. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Ok I'm gonna be the odd ball here and say that you need to go with a gasser. It's easy as turning a knob and you can have heat that's really high and then turn it the other way and it goes down. Now I have a couple of them myself and I really like them too. So you could go with a cheaper model and get the GOSM from Bass Pro Shop (they have the big block) or you could go with the Smoke Vault 24". I have both of them and I have been tring to wear them out for years. The good thing about theses smokers are you can load them with alot of meat to. They are even big enough to lay a full slab of ribs down flat. So thats my pennies on the subject.
  16. I'll second the vote for the Smoke Vault, for the reasons given!
  17. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I guess I'm an oddball as well.

    If the OP want something fairly inexpensive and extremely easy to operate I would suggest something like a GOSM or a Camp Chef 24" Smoke Vault

    If you want to use charcoal and were comfortable with your "Torpedo" I would say the Weber Smokey Mountain.

    But I also noticed in midwestpatsfan, he said TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL, with that statement, I would suggest looking into a small offset that you could use charcoal and/or splits.

    But with this statement, so prbably just a straightforward smoker that is a little more convienent and easy to use that the el cheapo torpedo I am using now.

    With this statement I would go back to the GOSM suggestion

    But still can't come up with one for all the requirements you specify, such as  Price, convenient and easy to use, consistency, Charcoal

    If using charcoal did not matter I would say the GOSM or Smoke Vault both these meet all your requirements Price, convenient and easy to use, consistency with the exception of charcoal.

    However the Great Outdoors Smokey Mountain smoker does have a charcoal model, but I am guessing the gasser is better for Consistency

    Of course, most here will answer with what they are comfortable using, that doesn't mean they have used all others out there.

    So before making your decision read reviews, check out modifications, possibly look into building a UDS.

    Other things to consider, do you want it portable for tailgating and things of that nature.
    • Do you need it to have a small footprint.
    • Do you have access to a lot of wood.
    • How often will it be used.
    • Do you want a set it and forget it type of smoker.
    I have no first hand experience with the WSM other than watching them being used

    I do not have any experience with the Smoke Vault.

    I have no experience with the GOSM Charcoal models

    I however do have a bit of experience on the GOSM gasser models and a Reverse flow offset.