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New Smoker

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Post Wed Jan 28, 2004 1:33 pm
Grillzilla rare

Posts: 37
Location: Virgina
I'm new to the whole smoke thing and am looking for my first. I am looking at the different types of smokers both horizontal with a side box or a vertical square box type with the water pan and charcoal in the bottom. It would seem the horizontal would be more versitile since you could in theory direct grill. Thoughts?

Post Wed Jan 28, 2004 2:56 pm
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
You can grill with a vertical smoker also. I have a vertical water smoker because it takes up less room and I think it maintains temperature better. Arguably the best vertical smoker for the backyard cook would be the Weber Smokey Mountain aka Weber bullet. If you decide on one of those this site is indispensable:

The guy that runs this site is nuts for his bullet. I'm just waiting for him to mount a turret on his and try to sell it to the Army!

That said, there are a lot of quality horizontal smokers that are available and I'm sure someone will be happy to stear you toward a good one if a vertical doesn't fit your needs.

Post Wed Jan 28, 2004 3:15 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 13157
Location: Texas
Being new to the smoking scene you may want to start off with an inexpensive smoker until you find out if it's something you'd like to do. Generally the vertical smokers are less expensive that their larger horizontal offset cousins. They also use less fuel. The Weber bullet is an excellent model. I also like the GrandMAC by Masterbuilt. Once you get hooked on barbecue then you can make an investment in a larger unit if you need to. The web site that Airfoils mentioned is loaded with good information.

Post Wed Jan 28, 2004 3:33 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3209
Location: Atlanta-GA
If you want to take an advice from a self-taught grill/smoke hobbyist, then here are my hints:

1-Get a smoker that maintains a low and steady temperature. This is very important for any beginner. If you can’t maintain the proper temp, and you have to constantly mess with the smoker, then you will get frustrated and give up on the whole idea.
2-Remember that smoky flavor comes from the seasoned wood not from the heat source. So no matter what type you get (charcoal, gas or electric), as long as you use wood for smoking, you’ll end up with good results.
3-Start small (don’t invest so much in the beginning), experiment and learn, then upgrade.
4-I started with an electric vertical water smoker. This smoker keeps the temp (most of the time) constant and the water keeps the food moist. Until you learn the art of mopping, this is a good option. Of course, gas smokers do the same thing, but electric is cheaper and more convenient.
5-Charcoal is great and gives food a unique flavor, but marinating the temp in these smokers takes a lot of practice. And remember as long as you use wood, you will get the flavor.
6-Upgrade once you’ve discovered the world of smoked food and mastered all the techniques. Most of the pros use horizontal wood or charcoal smokers. These smokers run from $100 to $1000’s.
7-One final advice, do the research, buy a book that would help learn and experiment.
I hope these hints will help you make a decision.
Good luck.

Post Wed Jan 28, 2004 8:57 pm
spfranz well done
well done

Posts: 615
Location: Minnesota

What a great post BBcue-Z! Great advice for anyone starting out. The only thing I would add is to keep a log book (which has been discussed in detail already in another topic).

I like vegetarians. Some of my favorite foods are vegetarians.

Post Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:44 pm
Rick rare

Posts: 47
Location: Oregon
BBcue-Z gives great advice. Although, you had asked for some specific advice on either a horizontal or vertical. I do know that the Brinkman Smoke-n-Pit sells for a fairly low price (I have seen it for $120-$140 at Wal-Mart) and produces some great BBQ. As Z said, maintaining the temp can be an issue. But, with some practice the rewards are worth it. Your friends will love you.

I use a variety of BBQ's and smokers, and would be glad to talk in more detail about them if anyone would like to hear my experience. From Weber kettles and Gas Grills, to the Japanese earthenware Kamado, the Brinkman Cimmaron horizontal pit smoker, and a Traeger SMK 150 commercial pellet smoker. Also, because I love to cook with wood so much, I have purchased and assmbled a wood fired pizza-bread oven which I built into a 14x12 foot building in my backyard.

My Brinkman has never failed to produce great smoked food. Of course, I use Steven's books to guide me through my experiments. I even went to BBQ Boot Camp a couple of years ago. I am now using my expertise to smoke and sell food on the side, as a hobby.

I don't mean to sound like this is about me, but you need to talk with people who have been through the trials of getting that first succesful smoked food to the table. And, just keep experimenting.

I personally like the Brinkman horizontal, or an equivalent brand, there are many out there, and from there you need to decide what to use for a heat source.
--Lump Charcoal
--Dry wood

Then you need to experiment with different kinds of wood to smoke and flavor the food.
--Fruit woods such as apple and cherry
--and many others
I personally like to use apple for pork shoulder and baby back ribs, it gives a great flavor to pork.

Good luck in whatever you buy, and give me a shout if you would like to discuss anything!


Post Thu Jan 29, 2004 11:21 pm
hickory pete well done
well done

Posts: 403
Rick, I'm sure if you would share your experiences, there's a lot of people here that would benefit. That' what this is all about.


Post Thu Jan 29, 2004 11:27 pm
hickory pete well done
well done

Posts: 403
BBcue-Z..There's a lot of good information in what you said. All of your points are very logical, and really make sense, especially #3. I know that it is difficult to resist "jumping in" and going overboard, and then you have a lot of regrets. Your step by step is very helpful.


Post Fri Jan 30, 2004 4:08 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3209
Location: Atlanta-GA
Thanks Pete.
I hope the info will help anyone interested in smoked food. It’s the true American Barbecue.

Post Fri Jan 30, 2004 4:56 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3209
Location: Atlanta-GA
It’s my dream to have an outdoor pizza-bread oven. Can you tell me how much the oven costs and how you put it together? Did you buy it locally??

Post Fri Jan 30, 2004 5:15 pm
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
Do you have any pictures of your outdoor pizza/bread oven?
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Sat Jan 31, 2004 7:08 pm
CubFanPete medium

Posts: 103
Location: Mobile, Alabama
Just came back form various stores and it raised a question for me. Are the water smokers big enough for a rack of ribs some look rather small as far as cooking space goes.

Post Sat Jan 31, 2004 7:35 pm
YardBurner BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5469
Location: Damascus, Maryland
Try rolling up the racks kind of losely and securing them with metal skewers (no plastic handles)

Your baste will run down and get everything wet and they will lay back out flat when done.
The heat and smoke will reach all of the meat as long as you haven't rolled them up to tight

You should be able to get 3 racks of spares or back ribs on each level.

I've done this with sides of salmon as well.

Makes it easier to turn if needed, just use 2 skewers in stead of 1

Post Sat Jan 31, 2004 9:50 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3209
Location: Atlanta-GA
If you want to invest in a rib rack, it also fits very well. The smoker has two levels, it may seem small, but it holds a lot of food.

Post Sun Feb 01, 2004 10:53 pm
Rick rare

Posts: 47
Location: Oregon
Hey all, sorry but I have tried to post here a couple of times I guess I have to much smoke in my eyes!!!!

I tried sending some pictures of my pizza oven. I think Vinsect might have got them.

Z--do you have an e:mail address that I can send some pictures to? My oven is a Mugnaini. My wife and I drove to Watsonville, California to sell a race bike and while we were there we purchased our oven and tokk a 2 hour class on how to cook in it. We cooked a 16 pound turkey in 45 minutes at 600 degrees!

Since getting it, we have cooked many turkeys, bread and of course pizza. It takes less than 3 minutes to cook the best pizza you will ever taste.

Is it possible to attach pictures here?

Z--try looking up the ovens at


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