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Want to get into the smoking game!!!

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by Littlesexy, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. Littlesexy

    Littlesexy Newbie

    So I'm looking to start smoking meats and have no idea where to start. I hope some of you can lead me in the right direction.

    So normally when I BBQ it would be for about 5 people but could also be up to 15ish so I'm not sure which size I would need. Also I live in California so wheather isn't that much of a problem. Not sure if that affects the type of smoker I need but I would like to go with the traditional wood/charcoal. I'm not trying to spend a whole lot on my first smoker so preferably around 150 or less would be an I deal price.
    If you have any recommendations I would really appreciate it.
    Thank you!!!
  2. Welcome! I am by no means an expert, but I love my Weber Smokey Mountain. It uses charcoal, is easy to use, and cost me about $200 for the 14.5 inch model. I read a ton of reviews and talked to a lot of people, and the WSM is the way to go for me. Good luck on your search and let us know what you pick. The people here are awesome for help and insight.
  3. I just got my first one off Facebook marketplace. Its a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker and i love it. They take a bit to get the hang of but if i can do it anyone can
  4. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Welcome Aboard! I only run Electric now my self, but there is alot of members who adhere to the traditional methods and I hope they can help you out!

    Must be nice not needing a hair dryer to trick your electronics into working in winter :p
  5. My advice for your price range buying new, would be a Weber 22" kettle grill. You can grill and smoke with one. Otherwise I would suggest stepping up to something in the $300 range, as a lot of the super cheap smokers are that for a reason. They don't run well and are very thin. I bought my Oklahoma Joe's reverse Highland model at BJ's for like $279. I had a Char-griller offset before that I bought used. Used is always an option and you can find some nice used stuff if your diligent about looking.
  6. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Okay, first thing, you're in California, like me. Forget about a wood burner unless you have access to wood. Buying wood from the local suppliers requires a second mortgage for a cord of smoking wood.

    You've put the numbers, 5 to 15, that you BBQ for. What are you using? A gas grill? Or charcoal? If charcoal, what are you using?

    A new charcoal and wood chunks Weber Smokey Mountain runs $200 (14.5"), $300 (18.5"), or $400 (22.5"), depending on the size you get. They last for decades and turn out competition level, smoked meats. The 22.5", $400 model is most popular and versatile. They almost never go on sale, except floor models, and RARELY show up on CL, although I saw a never used 14.5" model for $100 just this week. I had to handcuff myself to my desk to avoid buying it (I have the 22.5", don't need the 14.5", but they are just that addictive).

    A 22.5" Weber Kettle can be had for as little as $150, even less on CL. With help here, you can pretty much smoke anything on it, although the longer smokes might have you wishing you bought a WSM. Kettles required a bit of baby sitting. WSMs, none to very little babysitting.
  7. saltysandman

    saltysandman Fire Starter

    as a relative newbie, i've become quite fond of my Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES) now with an A-Maz-N pellet smoker (AMNPS). the MES regulates temps great while the AMNPS gives the right thin blue smoke (TBS). probably run you around $250 altogther. The AMPNS works great inside a regular charcoal or gas grill which you probably already have.
  8. Winterrider

    Winterrider Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Tom, don't know if you have any interest or not but my PID ($150) installed on my junk Gen 2 has made this a set it and forget it.
    14° out yesterday when I did ribs, and it stayed within 4° either way. Never touched it the whole smoke. Set at 35° today for air draw , doing cheese @ 11° today.
  9. HalfSmoked

    HalfSmoked Master of the Pit Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Propane smokers are also a option I used a 40" Master Built for years now with little problems.


    5GRILLZNTN Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    If you are strict on how much you want to spend, I give another vote for a Weber kettle. If you go that route buy a Vortex while you're at it. Best chicken wings you will ever have. I would get on CL first. Lots of people that initially want to get into grilling/smoking find out it's not for them, and sell their stuff pretty cheap.
  11. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Littlesex-so many options out there. Like others have stated, your budget (how much do you have to spend), your fuel source (wood, charcoal, pellets, electric & propane), portability (do you want to be able to move it around the yard or do you want to set it up in a permanent location), number of people you plan to feed (you have that figured out) will play a big part in your final selection. I use all the fuel sources I mentioned and if I were a newby knowing what I know now, I would to go with one of the Masterbuilt Electric Smokers and from there, you can always branch out as you gain experience.
  12. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I've read about them, but I'm not very mechanically inclined. One of you guys will have to come over and do it for me ;)
  13. Winterrider

    Winterrider Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Tallbm is the "go-to" guy. Took photos of wiring and he all but did it for me with which wires to splice. He has many posts already on here for different models. Just plug unit into PID controller and done deal.
    TomKnollRFV likes this.
  14. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Guru

    If 150 is your rock bottom budget then I'd suggest the Kettle/Vortex combo as 5Grillzntn suggested. 99.00 for a new 22" kettle and about 40.00 for the vortex. That combo will open up a whole new world of smoking and grilling.