I want to buy a smoker

liftapint

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So, I'm stuck here at home, bored AF, and don't want to work on the things that I am *supposed* to be working on.
My mind turns to distractions :)

I have been wanting to learn how to be queen of the smoker -- smoked ribs, smoked brisket, smoked everything.
I think I'm going to need a lot of practice, since I don't even really cook.

First step, I need to buy a smoker. What do you think I should get? And why?
Fuel- Propane? Pellet? What?
Any particular brand or features to look for?

Let's talk smokers!!
 

liftapint

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BruceWayne

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I use and recommend the Weber Smokey Mountain.

Pretty straightforward setup (which is most important), using hardwood lump charcoal, features two cooking levels (for when you want multiple meats), and easy adjustments for during the cook.

They’re on sale from time to time, you should be able to get one for under $350.

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BSteck

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I have one of these - basically a dorm fridge with an electric heating element in the bottom.
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https://www.lowes.com/pd/Masterbuil...sq-in-Silver-Smart-Electric-Smoker/1000715610

I used to do the whole charcoal smoker thing - fiddling with temps and wood blends and spice mixes. I even built one of those Alton Brown flower pot contraptions for S&G's. But now I'm lazy and just want to set it and forget it which is what these electric smokers are great at. I'm not going to win any competitions with it, but I definitely find myself smoking stuff more often with how easy it is to use.
 

Ronoh

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I have one of these - basically a dorm fridge with an electric heating element in the bottom.
View attachment 446894
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Masterbuil...sq-in-Silver-Smart-Electric-Smoker/1000715610

I used to do the whole charcoal smoker thing - fiddling with temps and wood blends and spice mixes. I even built one of those Alton Brown flower pot contraptions for S&G's. But now I'm lazy and just want to set it and forget it which is what these electric smokers are great at. I'm not going to win any competitions with it, but I definitely find myself smoking stuff more often with how easy it is to use.
So much this. I have a very similar one... if not smoking for a massive gathering it’s all you need. No fiddling, no headaches. Four butts at once without breaking a sweat, Bluetooth sends all four thermometers straight to my phone, don’t even have to go check anything except to add chips occasionally.
 

BruceWayne

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other items you should also factor in with the purchase (from my experience) include: an oversized baking tray (for prep and meat transport), heat resistant gloves, a bluetooth thermometer, a chimney starter, and nice knife (personal preference).
 

RainmanTrail

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OMG Mel! You NEED to get yourself a Kamado Joe "Big Joe". It's like a Big Green Egg, but better built and with more accessories. I researched the hell out of smoker options for months, obsessing about it. I must have watched 100 youtube videos and read every page of every smoker forum I could find lol. Because I'm an idiot like that. I was trying to decide between a pellet smoker like Traeger or Green Mountain Grills, or a kamado grill like Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe, etc, or a stacked professional style unit with a separate smoker box like a Yoder. I ended up going with the Kamado Joe 'Big Joe' and I couldn't be happier. I've had so much fun smoking ribs, briskets, pork butts, steaks, lobsters, salmon, and everything between for the past 2 years or so. YOU NEED ONE! These things are AMAZING! And you're going to want the biggest size if you want to smoke briskets. I almost went with the smaller grill size, but I'm glad I went with the big one.

Costco sells these at their "road show" events. It's the best option price-wise. Here's a link to the schedule below. Looks like they'll be in Tukwila 4/10-4/19. The only problem is that these things are INSANELY heavy. It's about 400+ lbs. I had to leave mine in the back of my SUV for a week before I could get someone to help me set it up. It's super heavy and the weight distribution is very awkward to deal with.

https://www.costco.com/kamado-joe-schedule.html

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Marhault

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I have one of these - basically a dorm fridge with an electric heating element in the bottom.
View attachment 446894
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Masterbuil...sq-in-Silver-Smart-Electric-Smoker/1000715610

I used to do the whole charcoal smoker thing - fiddling with temps and wood blends and spice mixes. I even built one of those Alton Brown flower pot contraptions for S&G's. But now I'm lazy and just want to set it and forget it which is what these electric smokers are great at. I'm not going to win any competitions with it, but I definitely find myself smoking stuff more often with how easy it is to use.
This for sure. I have a MBE and its fantastic. No regulating temps. I retrofitted mine to use pellets. I use an A-MAZE-N smoker tray to do that in the bottom of the cabinet. Best easy smoking you'll ever do.
 

markleteenie

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Mel - It depends what your goal is. Electric will be good enough and some of the setups are reasonably priced. Some of these ceramic egg types can get pricey - and if this is a fleeting hobby, it becomes a most expensive paperweight.

I use a super cheap charcoal smoker, I have to constantly watch the temp when adding more fuel - I used pre charred wood instead of briquettes.

I've had amazing results with briskets and ribs. I'm from Texas and lots of my family and friends are from as well. I've had many compliments that it's the best brisket that people have had. The spendier the equipment - can make it easier to produce good results. But attention to detail is the biggest factor of all.
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David O

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Yes, you will get so many choices for a great smoker. The one thing you need to ask yourself, how much attention do you want to put into smoking. Many people smoke because thats when they drink a beer with their buddies and swear by an old wood smoker. Others love the food and want it done as quick as possible. That would be the first question to ask yourself, do I want to experience the smoking of meats or do I want smoked meat in an easy and convenient way? Once you answer that question then it will be easier to see which type of smoker you should get.
 

Tommy

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If anyone makes their own beef jerky and needs a taste tester, PM me. :)
 

David O

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I’m in the same boat Mel. Now I am more confused than ever.
Still it basically boils down to how much you really want to put into smoking meats. You can spend hours or you can use different equipment to get good results quickly. Hobby and want to be a smoke master or you just want to occasionally enjoy smoked meats and other types of food.
 

CantSpellPoker

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Same as others have said. How much effort do you want to put into each cook? I have a Weber Smokey Mountain and enjoy it - it’s a great value, but it requires some vent/temperature control and monitoring. Go with the larger size.

Ceramics like BGE/KJ are great, can be used as smokers and grills, but are more pricey.

Also pricey but less hassle are the good electric pellet cookers. Yoder makes good ones, like the YS480 and YS640, depending on how much surface area you require.
 

markleteenie

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Still it basically boils down to how much you really want to put into smoking meats. You can spend hours or you can use different equipment to get good results quickly. Hobby and want to be a smoke master or you just want to occasionally enjoy smoked meats and other types of food.
Exactly- do you want to actually craft and cook or have the equipment do it for you?

It's like a bread machine. You can just dump all the ingredients in and it makes "home made" bread. Or you can actually mix and kneed it yourself. Or go to the store and get it.
 

allforcharity

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I do some like smoking for my charity fundraisers, and I have Bradley smoker. They are made in Canada (in fact, their facility is in Delta, BC) so support and parts would never be a problem, especially for us West Coasters.
It's a fire-and-forget system. They have a proprietary wood-puck system with automatic feeding, so you can literally set the time and temperature, load the hopper with enough pucks, and walk away. You just need AC power.
I usually smoke seafood (prawns and trout) using this system, though you can really do any type of food. There's quite a thriving on-line community through the Bradley website where customers share their recipes and techniques.
I'm not sure which stores carry the Bradley in WA. Up here the Canadian Tire stores usually price them at about CAD$400 for the 4-rack unit (plenty of space).
 

Lemonzest

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I bought a WSM a year ago and I love it! Amazing briskets!

I recommend buying the largest size.

IMO BGE are overpriced.
 

ChipEnvy

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Still it basically boils down to how much you really want to put into smoking meats. You can spend hours or you can use different equipment to get good results quickly. Hobby and want to be a smoke master or you just want to occasionally enjoy smoked meats and other types of food.

I would be in the latter category. Ideally would like to prep it, set it and forget it.

I was thinking a Traeger because I also want to use it as a grill for things like burgers, chicken, veggies and the other less involved dinner BBQ stuff,

If I really enjoy it, I could see myself getting into it as a hobby down the line, but right now to put it in terms that we all understand, a nice 500 piece single table tournament set of casino used RHC Paulsons is what I’m after.
 
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k9dr

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So much this. I have a very similar one... if not smoking for a massive gathering it’s all you need. No fiddling, no headaches. Four butts at once without breaking a sweat, Bluetooth sends all four thermometers straight to my phone, don’t even have to go check anything except to add chips occasionally.

I agree - set and forget is the way to go. I did all the BBQ for SQM in an electric smoker while still playing poker. The only downside is cleanup but an extra large drip tray helps.

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