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Smoker Question - Weber vs Bradley

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Post Tue Jul 13, 2004 11:46 pm
david6340 rare
rare

Posts: 11
Location: Highland Park, Illinois
I'm new to smoking and new to this board but after monitoring the forums have found it to be very informative. I'm ready to purchase my first smoker this Thursday. I've heard good things about the Bradley Electric and the Weber Smoky Mountain. Is there a difference in taste between electric / wood and charcoal / wood? Isn't there a type of crust a lot of people seem to like that you can only get using a charcoal. Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Dave
If it ain't broken, smoke it!

Post Wed Jul 14, 2004 12:17 am
Big D well done
well done

Posts: 616
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Well ya just cant beat what you get with charcoal... I have never used an electric smoker myself, but I imagine like LP and Gas grills, Electric would be more convient and still taste great but it doesnt do justice to real thing.... but as I said, I have never used an elctric (for a WSM for that matter)... However I would not hesitate to recommend the Weber based on what I have received from other WEber products.

Weber is a fine company that builds it products to last, has plenty of replacement parts avalible (often even easier to get Weber parts than the stores in-house brand from where you bought the grill).... Plus Weber perhaps has the best customer support/service I have ever come upon... I am in no way affiliated with Weber.. I am just a proud Weber owner (Summit Gold D) and many here will attest to what I have to say..

p.s. Welcome to the board, and you cant go wrong with whatever you choose if you can smoke or grill with it ;)

Post Wed Jul 14, 2004 12:42 am
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3045
Location: Atlanta-GA
I have an electric and gas smokers and they work for me very well. You have to remember that the flavor comes from the seasoned wood and not from the heat source ( gas, electric or charcoal). As long as you maintain the proper temp and keep the wood smoldering, you should not have a problem with producing excellent results. Water smokers are excellent starting point for any beginner to the BBQ world. The water keeps the meat nice and moist and the consistent heat source (gas or electric) will give you a perfect low and slow cooking every time. If you have no experience with charcoal and heat control, electric or gas smokers are the best for starting out.
Good Luck!
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Post Wed Jul 14, 2004 7:53 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Z is absolutely right, remember that regardless what type you use its the smoking wood that cooks the food, your heatsource just keeps the wood smoking in this case. If we're talking grilling not smoking then we'd have a whole different argument but for smoking there is minor differences that for a begined I wouldn't worry about. The only thing I'll add is that I like gas because you can take it anywhere, with electric you restrained by the length of you cord. Smoke will stain your brick, your soffetts, and your siding over long periods. Trust me here. But theory, and I say theory because I've still been able to produce great food with my propane smoker, theory states that as propane burns it produces water molecules and these water molecules form a barrier on the meat that prohibits smoke from entering. Put that in the FYI column.
My advise for a beginer is to go with a gasser and keep her low slow and smokey!
Good luck and enjoy!
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Post Wed Jul 14, 2004 8:33 am
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3045
Location: Atlanta-GA
I agree with Grand, Gas will give you more freedom of location and movement. It also gives out more heat, so the gas smoker can be bigger and hold more food. The only advantage of having an electric smoker would be not having to worry about fuel supplies.
Grand,
I thought that the water vapor theory applies only to smoking with a gas grill and not a smoker?
In gas smokers the burner usually lyes in a condensation chamber (mine does), or it’s too far from the food and shielded with a water pan. The water pan surface acts as a condenser. When smoking in a gas grill, the burner is way too close to the food and the grills are usually very shallow. Of course as you said, it’s just a theory.
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Post Wed Jul 14, 2004 8:54 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
david6340 welcome to the board!

I never understood that 'water vapor' theory. I fill my water pan most of the time which water-vapors all over everything I cook. :wink:

Dave in the past I've come across several folks that have had trouble keeping temperatures in electric smokers in colder climates (I noticed you're in the north). You'd probably have to insulate the unit. I'd choose between gas & charcoal for your area. Ask yourself if you want the convenience of constant temps with gas or the challenge of perfecting your Queing skills over charcoal. I have and benefit from both, (1 gas smoker, 4 charcoal smokers, 1 charcoal grill) (looking for a gas grill too).

Whatever you choose you'll enjoy great smoky foods.
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Post Wed Jul 14, 2004 9:23 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Like I said...theory...I don't buy it myself. I think it was created by the anti-gas guys to gain support for charcoal. Probably Airfoils :wink: But the first I ever heard of it was from Alton Brown so there must be some truth to it right? Bt logic says that a water pan negates an gas water damage anyway so...who cares...good cue is good cue.

I agree with Bob that temp may be a consideration, Many of the verticals I've seen are thin walled and in the cold northern winter could loose lots of heat and would probably need to be wrapped. Not a bad thing, just something to consider.
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Post Wed Jul 14, 2004 9:18 pm
david6340 rare
rare

Posts: 11
Location: Highland Park, Illinois
:? IAnother newbie question. I''ve heard the terminology "bark", apparently a crust that food gets with a charcoal smoker. Can you achieve that, or would I want to with an electric? :?: Thanks for all of the feedback.

Dave
If it ain't broken, smoke it!

Post Thu Jul 15, 2004 7:05 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Now this is putting it in the simplest form and I'm sure some of the pureists will ammend this but "bark" is little more than a burnt crust of fat/rub/meat caused by smoke. So to answer your question YES, you can get that "bark" where ever you've got heat and smoke. Electric and Gas will do fine.
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Post Wed Jul 28, 2004 11:08 pm
cuznvin medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 59
Im a FULL BLOWN newbie from NY.. I have been doing extensive searching for a smoker and have been doing a lot of reading about Q. I thought you shouldnt see much smoke coming out of the stack when smoking. Is this true?
Also, I feel that if I buy a cheaper smoker I will be wanting to upgrade soon and kind of think I wasted my money on the cheaper one. Wouldn't it be better to learn on a quality smoker? I ALMOST bought a Traeger and may still do that, but I'm not sure if I want to deal with the pellet issues and not having a true offset. SO, I am interested in a Pitts and Spitts, Traeger or Brinkmann. I would love to get some input from you guys. I can't even find a place that sells quality smokers here!! HOW SAD! Shipping is going to kill me on these things...Hope to get some feedback soon. THANKS!

Post Thu Jul 29, 2004 2:20 am
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
If it were me, I'd go with Weber in a heartbeat. To me, elecrtric smokers aren't much different from using wood chips on a gas grill. Its a clean-burning heat source with some soaked chips.
A traditional smoker is built on the concept of being very heat-innefficient so you you get all the smoke of a big fire without all the heat of a big fire.
Even charcoal is very clean-burning once all the impurities burn off. For lots of flavor, go straight to wood chunks and logs.

YankeeBill has an electric smoker so he could give you some feedback from experience on it. He seems to like it though.
If you have a wood rack, a chainsaw, a log splitter and some good wood that'll make more of a difference than one brand vs another when it comes to flavor. You get a lot more flavor from your wood than you do your equipment.
THere are guys on the competition barbecue circuit who cook in garbage cans against other teams with high dollar rigs. THe flavor really is in the wood, the meat, and the seasonings.
If you know what your doing, you can turn out great food on an electric smoker.
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:48 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
I know this doesn't truely answer the question you asked, but hopefully this helps.
I'd encourage you to look into the Chargriller Super Pro (appx $99) and the add on of the side fire box (appx $59). For not alot of money this is a great charcoal grill and offset smoker combo. There has been alot of buzz about this arond here lately, and alot of guys (including myself) are owners. I also own a Materbuilt 7-in-1 unit which is very nice but doesn't hold a candle to the "True Q" that the Chargriller puts out. In my opinion this is a quality unit that is extremely versitile and is great for beginers and pros alike.
Check it out.
There are several threads here dedicated to it.

Most of all I agree with Vinsect...its not what you use but how you use it.
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Post Fri Jul 30, 2004 12:42 pm
sacmer well done
well done

Posts: 561
Location: Sacramento, CA
I agree that for a first time buyer/bbqer the versatility of a combo grill/smoker like the chargriller or even a Weber kettle is the way to go. For those of us that already have gear the questions and applications are different. I have a Weber gasser and ketttle.

I have a cheap, Charbroil electric water smoker which works ok but is tedious to generate good long lasting smoke. I do not have access or storage for a lot of hardwood nor the time most of the time to tend a wood fire. No doubt hardwood offset cooking may produce the most traditional flavor but I want convienience and the opportunity to Q more often.

I am enjoying hearing from Bradley or Traeger owners about how they feel their units work with the wood biscuits/pellets and what kind of flavor they get. I am considering adding some type of smoker I can leave less attended for periods of time.


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