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New to smoking

Joined Oct 20, 2013
Brand new to smoking.  I started smoking some hot peppers this year on the grill and then drying them and grinding into a powder.  Made a world of difference in the flavor of the hot pepper powder.  I would put wood in one side of the charcoal grill and the peppers on the other side.  A bit tough controlling the temp, but I was finishing them in the dehydrator so it wasn't a problem.

Now I want to do meats.  I make my own sausage and would love to smoke these along with chicken breasts/halves fish, and other small things.  Nothing bigger than a chicken really.  My thoughts of doing this on a charcoal grill is that it would take forever to do with indirect heat like I did with the peppers.  It would get dry.  IMO  

I have been looking around and reading and it would seem to me, for a newbie, and for not doing a lot of stuff or even sure I want to continue along this path that I should start cheap ($200) and I should go easy (Electric).  Seems that with an electric I can set the temp to where I want it and keep it there.  I can still get the smoke and not dry out my food.  

What I have come up with so far, a few hours research, is a Masterbuilt electric with 3-4 shelves with a built in water and wood pan.  

Any thoughts or ideas on how I should proceed?  Where I made mistakes in the thought process?  A different smoker all together?

Many thanks,

HB Jeff


Smoking Fanatic
Joined May 23, 2013
I started, after much research and watching my friend try smoking in his charcoal BBQ, went out and bought a Masterbuilt 30 inch Electric model. It is mostly set and forget, comes with a remote.  This allows you to set time and temp and monitor the built in probe temp.   I have  done many ribs, both St Louis and Baby Backs and Meat candy (cheese, stuffed into a Jalapeno pepper, wrapped in bacon) to yesterdays Jerky, 40 pounds of it.  The only thing you do after setting the cooking temp and time is add wood chips.  I as well as most other folks who own this and other electric smokers, all own the AMNPS or similar device, so as to be able to do cold smoking or to have a continuous  smoke, versus with an electric smoker, it only smokes when the element is on.

In end, all I can say, I love my MES and glad that is what I purchased.


Meat Mopper
Joined Aug 5, 2013
Hello Jeff

It's funny how some threads get traction and others don't.  I'm new here, too, and I've started a couple of threads that have had very little response.  It just works that way some time, don't take it personally.

As for your smoker, I would recommend you get a smoker that fits you, your personality type, and your lifestyle.  I'm more of a tinkerer, and get as much satisfaction from learning how to get something to work right as I do from the end results.  I got a Brinkmann vertical smoker with a side fire box, and I'm still figuring out how to get it to work for me.  I know it's going to take considerable trial and error (a lot of error right now) to get it down, and that's just fine with me.  I know in the end that I'll get good results from it, and am happy to work through the process.

From what you've written it looks like an electric smoker would fit you well.   I wouldn't be happy with a 'set it and forget it' smoker, but I know that's what fits a lot of people really well.  There is no right or wrong smoker, just what's right or wrong for you personally.

Having said all of that, I can't help you with the MES, but from what I read here MES owners are passionate and loyal to their smokers.  You wouldn't see that if they didn't perform well.  A warning though, as there are apparently considerable problems with the Generation 2 MES smokers, and people are being warned away from those.  Not really sure which models, but you're going to want to check into that closely before you make your purchase.

Good luck, and let us know what you decide on!
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Meat Mopper
Joined Aug 5, 2013
Oh, I second what Palladini said on the AMNPS.  They don't usually allow for links to external sites, but because Todd is a sponsor I think it's ok, go to www.amazenproducts.com  and look for the A-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER.  I have one, they really do work well.  I've used it in my grill to add some smoke to grilled food, and for cold smoking in my smoker (did some cheese last week and going to do some Canadian (back) bacon this weekend).

From what I've read the only downside with some of the electric smokers is that it can be tough to get the amount of smoke you want.  The AMNPS creates a smoke source that is independent of the heating element, which gives you better control over the smoke.

Good luck!

hillbilly jeff

Thread starter
Joined Oct 20, 2013
On the pepper web site I belong to there has been a lot of talk about a Weber Smokey Mountain.  Any thoughts on this smoker?

I don't really need a set it and forget it type of smoker, but being my first I don't want to fight with too hot, too cold, too.....  Using direct heat on a charcoal grill is simple with the temps moving like that, but I don't think I want to be going over 300 and having to fight it back down and getting it too low and yo yo like that.  

Not too sure on the pellets as I cut my own wood and have access to a lot of different kinds of  wood to smoke with.


Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 20, 2013
Welcome Hillbilly Jeff

It would be great if you could go to Roll Call and tell us a bit about yourself.  Makes it just a tad more personal.


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