What was your very first smoker?

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by ribwizzard, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. Thought this would be an interesting thread, with some cool stories, good and bad.  I know Ive cooked on and wasted money on many a piece of **** in my days.
  2. My first smoker was an old Weber vertical cylinder (kind of like the Smokey Mountain cooker today, but built back in the 90's).  It had a water pan, charcoal pan under it, and room for a medium size turkey.  It had a small door to get to the charcoal pan, but everything was loaded top down. I mainly did turkeys in it.  Keeping good temp control was difficult (thin walls) and one Thanksgiving, it snowed all day and took twice as long as normal.  I didn't branch out to other cuts of meat until my wife bought me a Pitts & Spitts horizontal pit with offset wood box - that's what I really learned to smoke lots of good stuff on.
  3. My first is the one I'm smoking on now. Got a Brinkman Smoke 'N Grill for Father's day. So far I've done salmon filets, chicken breasts, a Boston butt, 2 fatties, and 2 spatchcocked chickens. The salmon and fatties both could have been better, but it's a learning process and I'm getting better.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 4 Beta
  4. Well my first one was one of those old cast aluminum gas grills ( back when they built them solid )that I aquired with a rusted out burner. I started cooking on it by stacking charcoal to one side and doing the indirect heat.( I was about 18 and had no money) Eventually I found some metal box that was probably 1/4" or 3/16" that I mounted underneath it and moved the fire below the cook chamber. It was just an open top box, and it wasnt even connected to the grill. I just had it sitting on cinder blocks about a few inches below the cook chamber. The top of the box was open and the bottom of the cast grill already had holes in it, so the heat just kind of flowed into it. I would prop the lid of the grill open with a soda can to get more air flow through there. I probably cooked on that well into my early twenty's. I dont know what I'd think of my cooking now, but back then I though it was the bomb..
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Got a Mecco Bullet similar to a Brinkman, in 1990 and a nice heavy New Braunfels in a year later. The Mecco was a PITA, but the NB was awesome and with a few mods had even temps. Very nice. I live in an Apt now and we have an Electric only policy so the MES 40 makes all my Que...JJ
  6. Another thing very popular back in the day was we used to cut open 20lb propane tanks and do nothing more than install a small rack (usually a piece of expanded metal) to hold the meat above the charcoal. You would light a mear handfull of charcoal in the bottom, put the rack in and a chicken on top and put the top back on. The loose fitting top was the beathing holes. Come back four hrs later and it was done
  7. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    A friend at work gave me a brinkmann gourmet smoker that he got as a gift and had no patience for.
    I cooked a lot of stuff on that smoker , but the temp was too hard to control and I sold it and bought my WSM.that was before I discovered this forum. I kind of wish now that I'd kept it because it was real good for doing chicken on. And I liked how it looked too.
  8. timsnewatsmokin

    timsnewatsmokin Fire Starter

    My first smoker was a Brinkman bullet electric smoker, I just did turkeys on it and it was a long process, then I went to the little charbroil offset smoker, now I have a BBQ pro that I got for 50 bucks at a garage sale and I really like it, it does need a few mods though
  9. The little Brink man that I refer to as a R2D2 smoker does make the best Turkey's. I've had several over the years.   Many of Thanksgiving mornings you would see me out on the porch at 3am in my underwear , dropping white hot coals on my bare feet trying to reload that darn thing.....

    Memories huh......
  10. suie

    suie Meat Mopper

    A Chargriller with the SFB. I still have it today, but only use it for grilling. 
  11. biteme7951

    biteme7951 Meat Mopper

    My first smoker was about 40 years ago while I still lived at home. We had a little chief that we did fish and jerky in but quickly outgrew it, so we gutted out an old Kelvinator refrigerator and put a hotplate in the lower compartment and use that baby for years...wish I still had that piece of nostalgia. 

  12. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Mine was an Electric Brinkman....bright lipstick red....like the picture above.  Named her Elvira....she makes the best Brats and Bacon wrapped pork loin today.  Still have her...and not giving her up.

  13. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Ha ha! Well I never thought of it as lipstick red , but I hear ya. I called mine " the smoke bomb"
    I was kind of hasty in selling mine , but space was kind of a factor. :grilling_smilie:
  14. Good Afternoon Everyone,

    I came across this thread looking for a good idea as to what to pick up as my first smoker. I grew up in Chapel Hill, NC so eastern style pork is a weakness of mine. I live out in the mountains of NC now and you can't get any good bbq out here let alone quality pulled pork. No restaurants out here can smoke anything well, the best smoked meats I have had since moving out here have all been from backyard smokers and homemade pits. I love food and I love cooking and I have put off beginning my personal smoking odyssey for far too long. I am a renter so I can't really go all out with a big rig (nor should I as a novice who doesn't really know what he is doing) but I am looking for some advice as to what to start out on. I was looking at some Brinkman and Char-Broil vertical smokers between $80-$150 both the cylinder and cabinet styles. Sorry for rambling on but I would love some advice on what you guys think is a good starting smoker. Thank you for your assistance and sorry for posting this in the wrong place.
  15. Key word you mentioned is "pork" . And I am going to assume you are talking about pork butts.  And you sound picky about it being done properly. With that in mind, your going to want anywhere from a 6hr to a 12hr smoke.  and you have a $80 to $150 price range.

    So here is my advise/opinion, ( and your fixing to get many) about your best two options.

    option A: go with a cheap dept. store offset style smoker, the off set style will allow you to reload easier than a verticle smoker for those long smokes. Take care off it and there are plenty of modifications you can do to make them more efficient, plus more cooking room.

    option b: Go with a propane verticle smoker like a master built. It will be in your price range, you will have to add chips for flavor, but after four hours it really doent need it anymore and the propane will give you consistent heat so you can sleep with out having to worry about the fire going out.  It wont be the same as a real wood fired smoker, but they can still turn out darn good.
  16. glocksrock

    glocksrock Smoking Fanatic

    I had a masterbuilt XL propane smoker, then got a MES 30, got rid of both of those and got a MES 40, and now have a Old Country Wrangler stick burner.
  17. so, would you recommend the masterbuilt to grumbum  considering his requirements?  What did you pay for it?
  18. Thank you very much wizzard. I am very partial to pork but I am a man of many tastes and I do not discriminate when it comes to breaking bread and stuffing my face with delicious meats. I was initially looking at a cheap offset smoker, I have a buddy who has one (he pretty much is a junkyard hoarder) but he has never used it and the inside is fairly rusty. It is not rusted through anywhere and the structural integrity is sound but the inside is certainly pretty rough looking. If the inside is cleaned and I get new grates can I use this one without adverse effect on the flavor (or health implications?) With regards to the vertical smokers and their difficulty in reloading, a few of the vertical ones I was looking at were cabinets with a lower door access to the FB and a top door to the CC (if my abbreviations are incorrect I apologize). Do these cabinet style ones have bigger downsides than the cylinder models?

    Thank you again ribwizzard.
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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  20. I too had the Brinkman electric bullet! Although I preferred to call it fire engine red! It was a convenient lil smoker, and after I modded it a bit and built an enclosure for it (I lived in Pittburgh then), it did a pretty nice job until I desired more smoking real estate, so I got myself a Stainless Grand Hall (Members Mark) propane vertical. I just wasn't in a position to use a stick burner at the time. I should have kept ole Brinky...but a young guy just starting out needed it more than I, so he could smoke his mom a turkey on his first (new place Thanksgiving). I think he still has it.

    Now that I am out in the sticks in Alabama by the water, I may get that stick burner just to play with, but I won't be getting rid of my Grand Hall... It is just too dependable and convenient and easy to keep clean. Not nearly as messy to deal with as a wood burner. Plus my honey says it is way prettier than "those messy old black sideways oil cans"! Hee!

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