For the past year or so, I have become obsesessed with the art of wood smoking. I have both a gas grill and my trusty Weber kettle grill, and have used wood chips on my charcoal for a while now. I am ready to take it up a notch and move toward serious smoking. I have researched various smokers on the internet, but there is no substitute for real life experience and know-how. If anyone could offer me any advice they have, such as offset or vertical smoker, brands, tips, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Tue Jun 08, 2004 12:05 pm
I bought a brinkman deluxe about 2 monthes ago, horizantal with the offset fire box, and i love it.
There are differences between a verticle smoker and the horizontal w/ the offset firebox. The verticle smokers are typically water smokers. I know there are a bunch of guys here that use this type of smoker nad can offer better advice on them than I can.
I have an horizontal offset from Charbroil. It is the Silver Smoker and most Home Depots or Lowes carry them. I have been very happy with mine. It gives you a large cooking space that you can also use to grill if you are grilling for a large party. Ther are a few modifications that need to be made to make it a little more efficient and easier to use. It doesn't have a water pan, but there are ways to get moisture to the food. It takes a little practice to get used to adjusting the vents and controlling the heat. I went with this becuase it is the style I prefer.
My best advice is to get the best smoker you can within your budget. You may also want to look into the Chargriller w/ the offset firebox. I know some of the guys have this unit and I here nothing but good reviews about it.
My two cents!
Favre it would help to know what your budget is for a smoker.
The Weber Smoky Mountain is a vertical water smoker that runs $180-$200 and does a great job of maintaining steady temperatures. Great Outdoor Smoky Mountain Series makes both gas and charcoal vertical water smokers for $100-$200.
When you venture into horizontal smokers they normally cost more, but the larger ones have more cooking area. They can run from typically $200 to thousands depending on what your needs and budget are. Some of the best smokers are made from 1/4" steel, but cheaper models made from heavy gauge sheet metals will still offer many years of service. The Chargriller has gained popularity around here lately.
Have you seen anything in particular that has caught your eye?
I bought a Brinkman charcoel smoker this past winter and have had great success with it. I have a verticle water pan smoker. One of the key things is to keep the water pan full for big jobs like turkeys and roasts. I make venison/beef jerky, squaw candy, and ribs on a regular basis with good results. The marinades are fun to play around with. The only trouble I have had so far is temp variations on windy days.
The Sliver Smoker (a horizontal offset) goes for $169 at Home Depot. Not bad if this is the way you want to go. Like I said though, there are some modifications you will want to make to make it more efficient.
It really depends on your budget and personal preferences.
I cut my teeth on a vertical charcoal Brinkman with water pan. I think having the water pan is a good option for the beginner because it allows you to focus on other things that you need to learn when you are beginning, mainly temperature control and amount of wood. Once you have those things down, then you can begin experimenting without the pan and how to keep the meat moist. Then, move up to one of the large horizontal smokers with offset fire box because at least then you will have the basics down pat. As an added bonus, the vertical "egg" smokers are pretty cheap so you don't have to empty the wallet to get one - which is especially nice when you're just starting. There's nothing my wife hates more than me starting yet another new, and expensive, hobby.
Costco has a stainless steel Smokey Mountain propane unit for an amazing $199.
For a charcoal unit I'd go Weber's smokey mountain.
I have a New Braunfels Hondo offset fire box. It's a little tough to control the temps. I've got it pretty well figured out but went thru a lot of mediocre meat.
Last edited by YardBurner on Tue Jun 08, 2004 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kenmore Elite Six Burner
Weber 22" MasterTouch
New Braunfels Hondo
Weber Smokey Joe Silver
Tue Jun 08, 2004 6:01 pm
I appreciate all the great feedback, It's nice to have tips from someone in the know.
I guess I would say my budget to start with would be under $300. My wife is still complaining about the $$ I spent on my Genesis Gold.( early birthday present).
I just looked at a Char-broil offset horizontal smoker at Home Depot. I want to say it was the Silver series or something. It was about $175, but I wasn't crazy about the material it was built out of. It seemed kind of cheap. That may not matter, I don't know. I noticed on another post someone said something about modifying the smoker to perform better, I didn't catch the name of the smoker he was talking about.
I do know that I want to do a good job researching what I want to buy before I take the plunge. Thanks for the help!
What you were looking at in Home Depot is the Silver Smoker. While it isn't 1/4" steel it is a nice unit. This is what I have and do very weel with. Like I said previosly there are modifications you can make that will make it more efficient and easier to use.
I chose this because the main body can double as a grill with a large cooking surface.
If this is the type of smoker you are looking to start with this is a nice one. Similar units start over the $200 mark and go way up from there. The Brinkman Deluxe Smokin Pit is similar to the Silver Smoker, but when I was looking I couldn't find it with the offset firebox for lees than $279.
I chimed in on the post above when I bought my Char Griller. Its a great unit. I paid less than $200 for the Smoker, the firebox, and a cover at Lowes.
Its a lot of grill for the $$. Very versatile and its a step beyond a beginer smoker. It will give you some growing room.
You can beat it in the proformance for the price category.