New Smoker Advice Needed.

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by bigtattoo79, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. bigtattoo79

    bigtattoo79 Fire Starter

    I'm new to smoking and have the ECB while it cooked pretty good it sure was a lot of work to keep going.
    I've been looking at my options and got it down to 3 while all 3 are different I can think of pros on all of them.

    1) Yoder Cheyenne : Looks like a great smoker but deep down I think it's more then I will need for a long time and if it cost a ton to fuel I won't use it as often and that will slow me down on learning.

    2) Weber Smokey Mountain : Seems like a great smoker that should cook great food and looks like the fuel door is big enough to drop coal into pretty easy. Looks like it will also do enough meat for my family.

    3) Weber One Touch w/Smokenator : While I know this won't be a favorite with most people here I like the idea of being able to cook smaller amounts of meat more often. It being a grill I can still do burgers on the weeknights and Smoke on the weekends. I do wonder how much meat can really fit on it while using the Smokenator. If I did go this route I would go with the 26in model.

    I can spend up to $1500.00 but I hate to go off the deep end and have something that I won't use often.

    So just looking for a little advice on what y'all would advise a new guy?

    Thanks BigTat
  2. jeffed76

    jeffed76 Meat Mopper

    If I wasn't going to smoke regularly I would have to go with something electric like a MES. Also, make sure to check Craig's list before you buy something new.

    Cheers, Jeff
  3. bigtattoo79

    bigtattoo79 Fire Starter

    I plan to use this smoker pretty often "4 times a month". The most I ever plan to cook is 2 butts or an equal amount of meat. Latter as in a couple years I may start cooking more at a time and I was thinking that may be the time to step up in size.
  4. richjt92

    richjt92 Fire Starter


    Wecome to the Party!!!

    4 Times a month is actually quite a bit...when you figure that a Butt will take 8-12 hours or more your are looking at some serious smoke time.

    Your choices in your original post range from $200 to $900; and some are vertical and horizontal smokers. So you are looking at big range in both costs and design.

    Another alternative is the OKJ Longhorn versus the Yoder Cheyenne...same basic design but the OKJ is $429 at Lowes. I just purchased one to replace my 16" OKJ (Basically the same as the Yoder Cheyenne). The OKJ Longhorn is very modable and for $100-$300 in mods I think you can get a smoker comparable to the $899 Yoder but a bit larger (350 Sq In+). I found with my 16" OKJ that I ran out of space for 2 14-18 pound briskets and 4 racks of pork spare ribs with the 2 16"x15" racks... but without a diffuser/convection plate the handling the temperature differential was tricky.

    I just added the elbow exhaust/outdoor latch/door seals/fitted cover to my OKJ and ordered the drop-in diffuser/convection plate and charcoal basket from Horizons BBQ, waiting for build and shipment and this added about $290 to my purchase. I am VERY happy with my OKJ. So for approximately $750 I got a larger horizontal offset smoker with mods for $150 + Shipping less than the Yoder....Granted the Yoder looks beefier with the grills and is probably better sealed from the factory...but with 2-3 hours of mod time (sealant and install time) I think is it worth it.

    This will also allow you to budget for a good thermometer which is crucial to good smoking...

    A $1500 budget is quite a bit...and $800 will buy a lot of wood and meat....

    Gig 'Em Aggies!!!

  5. I always answer this question the same way: WSM. I am admittedly bias because they work. Right out of the box. They have a small footprint for a patio or deck, last forever, and have the best Cust Sev in the industry.

    If you don't have a grill for burgers, dogs, steak, pork chops, fajitas, chicken, etc, given your budget you could get both the Kettle and WSM. I have both for the same reason.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  6. bigtattoo79

    bigtattoo79 Fire Starter

    I got it down to the Weber Kettle W/Smokenator or the WSM. The only reason I keep thinking about the Kettle W/Smokenator is because I know in a couple years I will end up with a big Smoker and whatever I buy now will get put off to the side.

    How hard is it to add coal to the WSM?
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  7. bigtattoo79

    bigtattoo79 Fire Starter

    After much reading I'm finding that lots of people are having trouble getting long burns out of the 22.5 WSM and ash build up is also a problem on it.

    Also I'm finding with the Weber Kettle with the Smokenator you have to add coal and water more often but it's very easy to do and it's very easy to clear the ash out of.

    So it seems the Kettle with the Smokenator is easiest to use and holds better temps then the WSM.
  8. rp ribking

    rp ribking Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I have always said that the WSM is like a Ronco, Set it and Forget it. I can get the meat on and check it once thru-out the night and I sleep like a baby with out any worries. I have done this to many times to count. I do have a bit if a problem with maintaining temps 275* and more. Adding more lump is easy.

    Good Luck, RP
  9. bigtattoo79

    bigtattoo79 Fire Starter

    OK I made my mind up I'm gonna get the WSM now how much more can you really fit on the 22.5 over the 18.5?
  10. Send me a PM and I'll send you a link to another site that explains it.

    BTW I've never had an ash buildup issue and have enjoyed over 12 hours cooks many time on one load of lump without water in the pan.
  11. bigtattoo79

    bigtattoo79 Fire Starter

    I don't see a need that we would ever cook more than "4 butts" or "8 rib racks" or "2 butts and 4 rib racks" and it seems that could be put on the 18.5 WSM. Does anyone see a reason those items won't fit?
  12. bigtattoo79

    bigtattoo79 Fire Starter

    Made my mind up: I'm going pick up a 18.5 WSM tonight like the wife said its plenty for us and if we start doing bigger gatherings we can get the Yoder.

    Thanks for the help y'all!!
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  13. bigtattoo79

    bigtattoo79 Fire Starter

    18.5 it is.

  14. You won't be disappointed.
  15. rp ribking

    rp ribking Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I do like seeing a virgin WSM, [​IMG]
  16. bigtattoo79

    bigtattoo79 Fire Starter

    It's all together and even tho it's not needed I'm doing a dry run tonight just to see how it will hold temps. I did the coffee can trick and with all bottom vents open it got to 200 in about 30min then I closed them all half way and after another 30min it stopped at 250. I opened the top for the amount of time it would take to add meat to it and covered and now almost an hr later and it's at about 260.

    Does this sound right to y'all?
  17. I'm no pro but I have an 18.5 wsm and I think you can do much faster than that. When I have a full charcoal ring and use minion method I open all three bottom vents 100%, til I hit 180 or so then close one 100% and never touch it again and move other two about 20% open and start making small adjusts with just those vents, always having top vent at 100% open and never adjusting. Reach and maintain 225-250 easily in probably under 30 min.
  18. bigtattoo79

    bigtattoo79 Fire Starter

    Ok so I got 11hrs @ 250 out of about 12lbs of KB with a full water pan. For the 1st run I'm pretty happy with that.
  19. nomnomnom

    nomnomnom Fire Starter

    Did you modify the ECB and are you using quality coals? I'm a bit new to this but after a month of failure I have my ECB staying steady between 220-250 for hours and hours with no baby sitting needed. I like to mod things so it was sort of fun to create a better product on my own but then again...I hear the Weber smoker is pretty much all you would ever need.
  20. bigtattoo79

    bigtattoo79 Fire Starter

    I will be honest I didn't try very hard on the ECB before I moved on to the WSM.

    I also just got home with a 22.5 One Touch Gold LOL I got bit by the Weber bug.

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