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Southern California Newbie

elgk

Newbie
2
10
Joined Feb 6, 2014
Hi All, one of the uninitiated here.  The wife and I are looking at getting into smoking after getting fed up with the complete lack of quality BBQ establishments in the area.  I mean getting food poisoning off of Brisket & Tri-tip from one of the big chains around here or paying near $30 for a rack of Baby Backs.  Seriously.  Any suggestions as to getting started would be most helpful.

My background is engineering, I love to tinker and am thinking of playing around with rubs and sauces as well as various meats.  Gives me a reason to play with my food.

Who knows, maybe I'll do some automation in the future. I can already see developing tools for doing temperature tracking and the like.

Nice to meet you all.
 

mossymo

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
4,925
1,393
Joined May 30, 2007
Glad you joined us ElGK, :welcome1: from North Dakota!
As far as picking out a smoker, don't rush into anything... look around, look at what others here are using, ask questions, research... If you have a gas or charcoal grill you can start smoking with that, in fact a Weber kettle is a great, versatile grill/smoker that isn't outrageously priced that are great to have for life even after picking out a designated smoker.
 

so ms smoker

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Group Lead
1,875
41
Joined Dec 20, 2010
  Welcome EIGK ! You've come to the right place to learn all about smoking meats. Use the search bar to get ideas of what you want to try, then feel free to ask questions. We are all here to help.

   Mike
 

gary s

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
25,949
4,429
Joined Jan 6, 2011
[h1]
Hello and welcome from East Texas. This is a great site, lots of information and great people that are willing to throw in their two cents worth on about anything.   
[/h1][h1]  [/h1][h1]Gary[/h1]
 

elgk

Newbie
2
10
Joined Feb 6, 2014
Thanks all.

I would love to go charcoal but I have a feeling I'm not really up for tending the smoker when I intend to do longer smokes.

I was thinking of going pellet, and found a Traeger dealer in my area, but not entirely sure I want to commit to it.

I'm definitely not interested in gas.

So many choices.
 

noboundaries

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
7,596
1,829
Joined Sep 7, 2013
 
Thanks all.

I would love to go charcoal but I have a feeling I'm not really up for tending the smoker when I intend to do longer smokes.

I was thinking of going pellet, and found a Traeger dealer in my area, but not entirely sure I want to commit to it.

I'm definitely not interested in gas.

So many choices.
Amen brother!  I didn't buy for years and years because my friends who had smokers all had issues with them they didn't like. Whatever type smoker you choose will have a learning curve.

I kind of stumbled into choosing charcoal because I had two old Weber Kettles sitting on the side of the house and wanted to find a use for them as smokers.  They were great learning devices.

Personally I like a bit of tending but not something that requires constant attention.  I also have an engineering background and enjoy the real-time analysis of temp control and internal meat temperatures given ambient conditions.  Smoking on a Weber Kettle required relatively constant attention.  90 minutes was the longest I could leave it unattended before the temps started moving up, down, or out of my desired temp range.  I stepped up to the WSM due to what I learned on the Kettles and the fact people said the WSM is almost a "set it and forget it" type smoker.  The WSM can go hours without any attention.  I've held one temp for four hours on a windless day without a single degree of movement on my Maverick chamber probe.  I've been amazed actually.

Later this Spring I'm probably going to turn my 18.5" Kettle into a WSM with some sheet aluminum, nuts, bolts, handles, and a 16.5" terra cotta saucer.  Project will only cost about $80.

Shopping for a smoker is part of the fun.  Have a ball! 
 

smokeymagoo

Smoke Blower
89
12
Joined Mar 15, 2008
WOW Southern Cali and Central Florida must have the same BBQ restaurants. Do not be scared of Charcoal. a WSM(Weber smoke mountain) as mentioned by Noboundaries  is so easy to learn and takes very little tending for long smokes. If you like to Tinker then by all means build a UDS(Ugly Drum Smoker) you can get very very long (15+ hrs) and never open the lid.

Plus side of a pellet grills is you have a smoker and a grill. Once you get started though it is addicting so beware you will probably end up with more then one.

Welcome to Smoking.
 

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