THE PERFECT SMOKER ??

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gary s

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The Perfect Smoker ?

I read all the time about members and newbies asking “Which smoker should I get” or “What is the best type of smoker” That’s the Million Dollar Question.

I see some want a set and forget, electric, gas, charcoal & wood, combination smoker & grill, brick and mortar, wood, patio type, trailer mounted, etc.

Some are apologizing because they have a cheap smoker and want a better, high dollar one. Some think these smokers are what make the great BBQ they are looking for. This is a very difficult question. This day and time there are so many choices out there and information available, I can see why it is hard to choose.

First you have to evaluate several things. Where you live, “an apartment, a house, a neighborhood, in the country, close to neighbors, gripy neighbors, so on and so on”.

Most apartments will not allow grills or smokers that have an open flame within so many feet of the building if at all. Some cities have an ordinance on smoke or an open flame. Neighbors who complain, all this must be considered.

How much time do you want to spend tending your smoker?  Convenience? Weather?  these things also need to be considered.

I think everybody wants a good smoker and to be able to turn out great smoked food. And you can with just about any type smoker. Remember it’s the person doing the smoking not the smoker that turns out great food.

 I have a Reverse Flow that I use all the time, I also have an ECB that I paid $69 bucks for and did a few mods on. I can turn out the same quality of BBQ on the ECB that I can with my RF. The difference is my RF holds more and is easier to control the temp and smoke. The ECB just needs more attention. There are people that will tell you that “This is what you need”.   What you need is what works best for you and is in your budget.

The key is “GET TO KNOW YOUR SMOKER” whatever kind you have. Once you get proficient and are turning out great Q every time, then decide if you want to upgrade, go bigger or a different style.

As I have said before,  I have been to many BBQ cook- offs  and seen Cheap-O smokers and $20,000 + smokers . I tasted food that was cooked on a cheap smoker that would knock your socks off and food from a high dollar smoker that I didn’t like at all. 

Since the BBQ shows on TV and so many more competitions, smoking has really taken off. There are so many choices out there and information available I can see where it gets confusing.

I was reading the other day where someone wanted to build the perfect smoker. Pretty much a set and forget.  They have them; Look at the Chain BBQ restaurants, big wood fired units on timers. I’m sure not knocking these units because they do a great job consistently. I also see where a lot of people like to eat BBQ and smoked meat but don’t want to have to mess with their smoker at all. A set and forget is great for these folks.

I’m a hand’s on guy, love tending my smoker and watching it. Now in saying that I don’t want to spend every minute doing that, but I like to smell the smoke, check my fire and peak in on what I’m smoking.

So really think about what fits your style, Buy it make it, but enjoy it.

Also another consideration is how much you will use it. I see lots of people jump in and spend a lot of money then hardly ever fire it up.

So whatever you get, learn to use it, make it fun and enjoy the heck out of it.

And BTW there is no perfect smoker. I’ve been looking, buying and building for over 40 years and I always see something new and different.

Gary
 

tropics

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You nailed it learn to use what you have. Nice article!
points.gif
 

BandCollector

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Gary,

Great advice and information!

I started out with a used El Chepo Brinkman that I bought at a flea market.   It made great smoked food.  All I wanted it for was to smoke the trout that I caught. The more I read and asked questions of those more experienced than me the better I got with it.

It is all a matter of familiarizing yourself with your smoker regardless of what you have.

Thanks for a great article!

John
 
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bbqbrett

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Agree 100%. I am not even using a real smoker right now. Just an old gas grill with the guts taken out. Put in a pan for charcoal and wood and use indirect heat. I still get a lot of compliments on my cooks though. Currently deciding on what I want to get for a smoker but taking my time and weighing my options.
 

gary s

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Thanks guys for the nice comments and point

I still get my ECB out every once in a while I think I posted some chicken I did on it a while back 

Gary
 
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joe black

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Gary,

That is the very best advice that I have seen for a noob. Your thoughts should be taken to heart by everyone who is considering a new purchase.

Thanks for the words of wisdom. This is certainly what this forum is supposed to be all about.

Joe
 

gary s

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Thank you Joe  I really appreciate That

gary
 

Bearcarver

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Thanks Gary!!
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Excellent Thread!!-------------------
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You just saved me a lot of one finger typing.

When people ask that question again & again & again, I'll give them a link to this thread.

Bear
 

pc farmer

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You nailed it Gary.

Thou I think my mini is very close to the perfect smoker. :biggrin:
 

gary s

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Thank you Bear and C Farmer  

Gary
 

Rafter H BBQ

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Hey Gary, this is such a spot on thread & should be a mandatory read for all smokers.... But especially newbies, it again is beneficial to all but newbies are usually the ones asking bout the perfect smoker to get ! Whenever I see a thread asking bout the best or perfect smoker, they are getting this link ! Very nice, informative & a great read my friend.... Enjoyed it very much !

Oh yeah,

:points1:
 

gary s

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Thanks WaterinHole  for the comment and Point

gary
 

boykjo

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I have all the perfect smokers........ They're mine....................
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bonzbbq

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I like that boyko, me too

Gary, you could not have said it any better, the perfect smoker IS the one you have, if you like it and can could good q on it, I too have been to many comps and have been around Q for 40 yrs and can say from personal experience money CAN buy the perfect smoker, from salvage to many thousands,  Bonz
 

gary s

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Thanks  Guy's   I appreciate the complement 

Gary
 

chef jimmyj

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Great info on what to consider during the search for a new toy...JJ
 

gary s

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Nothing worse than getting a new toy home and having one of those Uh Oh  moments

Gary
 

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