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Newbie question, sorry that it has most likely been asked before


Joined Sep 22, 2010
I do not yet have a smoker.  I really have no idea what to look for either.

I won't be doing a lot of meat for a lot pf people, or so I think, but I do think I want a wood smoker.  Not sure why, I think it's an aroma thing so feel free to correct me here.

What should I consider and where should I look?

I live in Canada so my choices may be limited here, but I do visit the US often, mostly in the Buffalo or Pittsburgh area.

Any and all help greatly appreciated.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jun 5, 2009
I would get a 18.5" Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM), they run around $275-$300. The WSM's are considered one the best under $500 dollar smokers on the market. They set up in 30 minutes, are super easy to use, can run 18+ hrs. on one load of charcoal, do well in bad weather, turn out great Que!, and will occasionaly get up tap dance or change the oil on your car for you!

They really are considered almost "smoking for dummies" easy. I have the 22.5" WSM and loooove it!


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Feb 3, 2009
I'd recommend starting with a Brinkmann, they work well, easy to use and relatively cheep to buy. It looks like the one below.

Oh , and welcome to the forums.



Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Group Lead
Joined Mar 6, 2009
That's the neat thing about this hobby.  You can decide to start small, learn what you like and dislike, how often you smoke, etc.  If you want to start out for around 60 bucks then Dan's suggestion is great.  You can use charcoal, briquettes, lump, small chunks of wood and you have a water pan between the fire and the wood to help a bit with temp regulation and to add some humidity to your smoking chamber.  

If you know you want to be serious, but not spend a bunch of time tending fires you can look at any of the vertical propane or electric smokers.  On the electric smokers you can kind of set it and forget it because the thermostat controls the chamber temp, you add smoke chips to a pan to get the "smoke flavor".  You can also decide to be a "wood" guy and purchase an offset smoker, where the firebox is to the side of the cooking chamber instead of directly beneath it.  You will spend between 300 and 400 dollars for a decent one made of heavier metal.   Look at some of the larger offsets/reverse flows and you will see that the sky is the limit when it comes to size and expense.

I suggest you read some of the reviews available on this site and take a look at what you want to do in the hobby.  No shame starting small and working up to a bigger piece of equipment.


old school

Fire Starter
Joined Dec 18, 2007
I bought one on Craigslist very cheap.  Learned about it as I used it.  Made adjustments as needed most of which I found on this site!!  Nothing crazy just little things.   This helped out so much when I decided I want bigger and better.  I already knew what I wanted and what to look for all because of a cheap used smoker.  Get one, ask allot of questions and HAVE FUN


Fire Starter
Joined Sep 12, 2010
A lot depends on what you want to smoke. If you are just going to do, chicken, beef, pork etc a charcoal or wood smoker will work fine as most times you will be smoking around 250F. Now if you want to smoke sausage or fish you need very good control and a much lower temperature. Most sausage start out around 120-130f then increase to about 160-170 in the smoker and hold this temp until you get the meat to your target temp usually 140-160 depending on the type and size of what you are smoking. This could take anywhere from 3-15 or more hours.If you exceed say 175 f you can render the fat out of your sausage and it will be like sawdust. Another problem smoking in the north can be the ambient temp. If its -15 you need to put a lot of heat into your smoker to get it to work. Wind will be a big problem too. I find the electric smokers just can;t cut it in our colder months. I would suggest a propane fired smoker. I have a Great Outdoors Smokey Mountain and love it. You aren't going to find much in Canada, I would check out Cabela's ,Gander Mountain or Bass pro shops when you are in the USA.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Jun 20, 2010
I used to have a little smoker like the Brinkman picture above.  It was called "Cajun smoker", but really the same thing.  Mine cost about $30, so that says how long ago it was:-}}  I called it the R2D2, after the Star Wars little robot.

It did a good job.  There is a bottom pan where you put the charcoal, and then you can put just about any sort of wood.  I often used apple wood trimmings from the crabapple trees I had.  Above the fire pan there is a water pan, which is important to help regulate / moderate the temperature and keep some moisture inside.  There were two circular racks for food.  It took a bit of trial and error to manage -- biggest problem was getting too hot a fire and/or too much smoke.  If you loaded it up, the meat on the outside tended to cook hotter than the meat in the center, especially the meat directly over the water pan.  That means that you do need to rotate every now and then.

As someone above said, it is a good way to enter the smoking world for not too much money.  Search for the Brinkman to look for a good price.  One name for it is Smoke'N Grill Charcoal Smoker & Grill.  You can also use it as a straight grill.


Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
Joined Jul 26, 2009
I also started with a Brinkman and now have a SmokinTex.  I got it cause I did not want to spend the day tending to the smoker.  Just set it a forget it until the temp alarm goes off. Well not really but close to it

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