The choices! Seeking advice from others more seasoned than myself

  • 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.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Baconyoulikeapig

Fire Starter
Original poster
Oct 31, 2018
66
63
Time for a new smoker and would like to bounce some thoughts around.

I have been smoking on a GMG for the last 4 years and a Weber Kettle here and there. I believe it is time for me to move up to a better unit and would like to have more control over managing temps and not rely on electronics to do the work for me.

That being said, I am looking for a new cooker to get more creative and ‘in tune’ with smoking. However, I don’t want to go as far as getting an offset because let’s face it, I like to sleep through the night when doing a brisket and have a young daughter that takes much of my attention. Ideally, I would like to have a gravity fed insulated cabinet smoker, and while there are many beautifully crafted cabinet smokers out there, I cannot justify the price of roughly 2k at a minimum with shipping included on a small unit that’s good at one thing only. I have looked at pretty much every smoker option available and would be surprised if someone recommended one I have not yet looked into (but maybe I overlooked something on one of them)?? I know there are cheaper routes I could go such as the WSM, but I live in Oregon and I smoke all year long and don’t want to deal with temperature fluctuations from the blustery winds we get fairly often. And I don’t want to deal with blanketing the WSM to assist is fighting the temperature swings from said wind.

I have narrowed my options down to two, and while they are very different units, they both seem to indirect smoke and grill well while staying at about $1500 all in, which is what I am comfortable spending.


Kamado Big Joe, $1500 through Costco road show

Pros:
-Very fuel efficient
-Extremely stable temperatures for long a period of time (longer than I would ever need)
-Can make Pizza’s with super high heat and has option of using the Rotisserie (although both not a huge draw for me)

Cons:
-Fragile, could crack diffuser plates or firebox panels over time, also would be risky transporting it to events
-Relatively small grate space even with second tier shelf 452 sq in main grate plus 271 second totaling 723 sq in
-Made in China. I am all about buying made in America, especially when our economy needs it the most.


Assassin 36” Charcoal Grill, $1450 with custom changes and delivery - http://www.assassin-smokers.com/charcoal-grills/

Pros:
-Sturdy - would have no issues loading onto a trailer and tying down to transport to events
-Lots of grate space – 1165.5 sq in in total with both racks
-Can pull out charcoal tray during cook to add more wood if needed
-Can customize a few things on it when I order to make it very close to where I would want it
-Made in the USA

Cons:
-Not geared towards being an exceptional smoker but looks like it can do a pretty good job at it
-Doesn’t appear to be very fuel efficient but sounds like a person can maintain a fairly stable temp for 10-12 hours without adjustments (from what I understand based off of reading the few reviews out there)
-Paying $500 for shipping

Can anyone offer their experience with the Assassin charcoal grill or point out any obvious pros or cons I may have missed?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Inkbirdbbq
I already had a kamado and was looking for something else. I looked into the Assassin, but I wanted more of a dedicated smoker. I ended up going with a Hunsaker drum. Check them out if you haven't already. I've had mine for over a year and I don't regret the purchase one bit.
 
Take a look at the 560 charcoal burner, depending on the temps you want to run at it may fit for $500 . I am thinking about 1 my self,
 
  • Like
Reactions: SecondHandSmoker
If you are willing to spend in the $1500 range then why not consider the Weber Summit charcoal grill. It's metal and has the air insulation that makes it effective like the ceramic that you are considering without being fragile. American made as far as I know. I've seen a second tier grate that you can put on it to cook up to two packer briskets at once. It's certainly want I would choose if I had that kind of budget to spend. There are no electronics to deal with plus you can grill with it as well. 24" diameter gives you more room than a standard kettle. If you did want some kind of automation it is pre drilled for a blower unit. Just my two cents but your $1500 lol.

G
 
  • Like
Reactions: SecondHandSmoker
I went from GMG to Rec Tec 700 Bull it’s night m day better than the GMG. I have been very impressed with quality and with the operation of the unit. I do not have any experience with the units your looking at. Good luck with your decision
 
I am surprised based on your criteria and focus on it being a dedicated smoker you haven’t considered the Backwoods or Humphreys cabinets. A good insulated cabinet is about as set it and forget it as you can get. You cook with lump charcoal and wood chunks and get a beautiful product. They both have a smoker in your range.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SecondHandSmoker
I am surprised based on your criteria and focus on it being a dedicated smoker you haven’t considered the Backwoods or Humphreys cabinets. A good insulated cabinet is about as set it and forget it as you can get. You cook with lump charcoal and wood chunks and get a beautiful product. They both have a smoker in your range.

Thanks, yes I have considered both of those fervently. Even a weekender or chubby G2 with stand and shipping would be at or above $2000 (the price just jumped up on the weekender by a couple hundred within the last couple weeks). So as I mentioned a GF is ideal but I can't bring myself to spend 2k on a single purpose cooker, even though they work so well at that intended purpose.

With the two options I listed, I am staying at the top of my price point while getting a cooker that can do two types of cooking well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jcam222
If you are willing to spend in the $1500 range then why not consider the Weber Summit charcoal grill. It's metal and has the air insulation that makes it effective like the ceramic that you are considering without being fragile. American made as far as I know. I've seen a second tier grate that you can put on it to cook up to two packer briskets at once. It's certainly want I would choose if I had that kind of budget to spend. There are no electronics to deal with plus you can grill with it as well. 24" diameter gives you more room than a standard kettle. If you did want some kind of automation it is pre drilled for a blower unit. Just my two cents but your $1500 lol.

G
I briefly looked into the Summit awhile back, but maybe I should read up on the specs again and toss it into the consideration.
 
I briefly looked into the Summit awhile back, but maybe I should read up on the specs again and toss it into the consideration.
I have watched multiple videos from varied sources with people using the Summit and I am very impressed. The baby back maniac has the most negative experience that I’ve seen but he is still highly impressed in spite of the defect and negative customer service. Definitely give it a look if the size is sufficient for your needs. If I could afford one I would have one even though I live in a trailer park lol. I’m shocked by people saying that they have been able to get 20 hours of burn time from a single load of charcoal. Someday when I figure out how to actually make money I have promised myself that I will buy one for myself.
G
 
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts

Clicky