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#6198821 - 02/25/16 12:54 PM If you were going to buy a smoker?
blazin Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 10/25/11
Posts: 1885
Loc: Texas
Gas,charcoal,wood burner,electric? Which one and why? What are your experiences?
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#6198881 - 02/25/16 01:50 PM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: blazin]
PMK Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 09/10/12
Posts: 4959
Loc: Central TX (Gtown/Austin)
charcoal and/or wood burner ... I am old school in this regard plus it can be fun/relaxing to fire it up for a 8-12 hour burn.

I love my LyfeTyme, double-lid with vertical smoker. 24" diamter x 40" horizontal pit, 24" diameter vertical smoker with 3 racks plus firebox. They make a slightly smaller version that is 16" and another that is 20" diameter ... just depends on how much you will be attempting to cook. LyfeTyme ... These come out of Uvalde.

another one I would look closely at also would be from Schmoker's Custom Pits out of Early, TX. Schmoker's Custom Pits ... he can custom build whatever you want. I follow a lot of his builds on his Facebook page. Schmoker's Facebook page
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#6198973 - 02/25/16 02:58 PM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: blazin]
garrett Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 01/19/06
Posts: 10287
wood/charcoal...look into a UDS, they are great smokers and almost idiot proof
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#6199075 - 02/25/16 04:03 PM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: blazin]
Gumbeaux Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 09/11/09
Posts: 2737
Loc: Georgetown
I've owned all but electric. All work, and it kind of depends on your situation and what's important to you.

Gas is set it and forget it, electric should be too. If you want to put a brisket on in the morning, take kids to ball games, run errands, and leave it unattended for a while, this is a good way to go.

If you want to play with it, and are around the house all day, stick burners are the way to go and they're more of an "event". Gotta add wood and tweak it every so often. Not fool proof and not something you can walk away from for an extended period. I think you get better results with this than you do with gas or electric.

I currently have a Big Green Egg which I think brings the best of both of the above. They are pretty much set and forget. I've done 18 hour cooks (including overnight) and still had charcoal left over and the temp doesn't budge once you lock it in. I also think the meat comes out better than either of the above two options and it also functions as an outstanding grill that is capable of cooking anywhere from 225* to 900*. Downside to the Egg is capacity. Even the biggest Egg holds a lot less than the others. I can put a good size brisket or pork butt on mine, but am limited to about 4 racks of ribs if I use a rib rack.
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#6199221 - 02/25/16 05:30 PM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: blazin]
MacDaddy21 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/19/11
Posts: 1629
Loc: CO
Wood fired is the only way to go. Look into Lang for some top notch professional built smokers. Also could check into local custom builders in your area. Mine is custom built out of a 350 gallon propane tank with tuning plates. Cooks some awesome BBQ. I also built a PID controller for my pit. Basically it powers 2 fans mounted on either side of my firebox and I put a temp probe in the cooking chamber. I had to mess with the settings to get it right, but now it holds my pit within 5 degrees of the set temp throughout long cooks. I've tested it up to 14 hours and it held steady the whole time. The whole controller cost me about $100 to build, which is significantly cheaper than some of the other professional temperature controllers on the market. Once it gets up to temp, I just have to check on it every few hours and add a split when needed. No messing with smoke dampers or adjusting anything. The controller and the fans take care of that for you.

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#6199334 - 02/25/16 06:38 PM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: blazin]
SnakeWrangler Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 01/22/11
Posts: 20814
Loc: Fairfield, TX
I have a gas grill for quick stuff....burgers, hotdogs, chicken breasts/thighs, sausage, shrimp, etc....

Large meats.....pork shoulder, brisket, ribs, whole pigs.....wood ONLY!

I also have a small round (14" wide and 10" diameter) charcoal/wood pit I keep in my work pickup in case we get stuck out on location....very flexible to cook a wide variety of meats/vegetables...but for the home see the two above.....

cheers
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#6199520 - 02/25/16 08:22 PM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: blazin]
blazin Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 10/25/11
Posts: 1885
Loc: Texas
With wood I know temp is critical so you can't skimp on price. I was looking at the propane smokers but I never even use a gas grill. I always grill on charcoal and oak. Grill I have now will smoke just because of the way its made. Heavy thick walled pipe that seals really well. Thought about building my own. I've seen those electric ones with the wood chip pucks or whatever. Just not really sure. I used to use an "Ole Smoky" and I could cook on it but man it was a pain maintaining temp.
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#6199537 - 02/25/16 08:33 PM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: blazin]
MacDaddy21 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/19/11
Posts: 1629
Loc: CO
Originally Posted By: blazin
With wood I know temp is critical so you can't skimp on price. I was looking at the propane smokers but I never even use a gas grill. I always grill on charcoal and oak. Grill I have now will smoke just because of the way its made. Heavy thick walled pipe that seals really well. Thought about building my own. I've seen those electric ones with the wood chip pucks or whatever. Just not really sure. I used to use an "Ole Smoky" and I could cook on it but man it was a pain maintaining temp.


Buy or build a temp controller like I did to help maintain temps. I do nothing other than add a split every few hours as the fire needs it. My temps stay within 5 degrees of the set temp and no constant tending. Cheap parts and easy to assemble, or you can buy one online.

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#6199678 - 02/25/16 10:04 PM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: blazin]
cb66 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 09/15/07
Posts: 715
Loc: McKinney, TX
Originally Posted By: blazin
Gas,charcoal,wood burner,electric? Which one and why? What are your experiences?


Stick burner. Mike Gunter(Ramball36) built this for me last year






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#6199783 - 02/26/16 05:42 AM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: blazin]
bigbob_ftw Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 07/26/08
Posts: 13956
Loc: White Settlement, TX.
Electric. It's just too easy.
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#6199823 - 02/26/16 06:52 AM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: Gumbeaux]
Chris42 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 886
I
Originally Posted By: Gumbeaux
I've owned all but electric. All work, and it kind of depends on your situation and what's important to you.

Gas is set it and forget it, electric should be too. If you want to put a brisket on in the morning, take kids to ball games, run errands, and leave it unattended for a while, this is a good way to go.

If you want to play with it, and are around the house all day, stick burners are the way to go and they're more of an "event". Gotta add wood and tweak it every so often. Not fool proof and not something you can walk away from for an extended period. I think you get better results with this than you do with gas or electric.

I currently have a Big Green Egg which I think brings the best of both of the above. They are pretty much set and forget. I've done 18 hour cooks (including overnight) and still had charcoal left over and the temp doesn't budge once you lock it in. I also think the meat comes out better than either of the above two options and it also functions as an outstanding grill that is capable of cooking anywhere from 225* to 900*. Downside to the Egg is capacity. Even the biggest Egg holds a lot less than the others. I can put a good size brisket or pork butt on mine, but am limited to about 4 racks of ribs if I use a rib rack.


I'm not an expert smoker, but I really like my Kamado Joe.

I was at a friends house and they fit 7-9 racks of ribs in the background big egg.

Good luck.

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#6199908 - 02/26/16 08:00 AM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: Chris42]
Gumbeaux Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 09/11/09
Posts: 2737
Loc: Georgetown
Originally Posted By: Chris42
I
Originally Posted By: Gumbeaux
I've owned all but electric. All work, and it kind of depends on your situation and what's important to you.

Gas is set it and forget it, electric should be too. If you want to put a brisket on in the morning, take kids to ball games, run errands, and leave it unattended for a while, this is a good way to go.

If you want to play with it, and are around the house all day, stick burners are the way to go and they're more of an "event". Gotta add wood and tweak it every so often. Not fool proof and not something you can walk away from for an extended period. I think you get better results with this than you do with gas or electric.

I currently have a Big Green Egg which I think brings the best of both of the above. They are pretty much set and forget. I've done 18 hour cooks (including overnight) and still had charcoal left over and the temp doesn't budge once you lock it in. I also think the meat comes out better than either of the above two options and it also functions as an outstanding grill that is capable of cooking anywhere from 225* to 900*. Downside to the Egg is capacity. Even the biggest Egg holds a lot less than the others. I can put a good size brisket or pork butt on mine, but am limited to about 4 racks of ribs if I use a rib rack.


I'm not an expert smoker, but I really like my Kamado Joe.

I was at a friends house and they fit 7-9 racks of ribs in the background big egg.

Good luck.


With aftermarket racks and/or cutting them in half before cooking you can squeeze an extra 2 or 3 on there.
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#6200060 - 02/26/16 09:43 AM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: blazin]
StretchR Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 05/14/14
Posts: 309
Loc: Hutto, TX (Williamson Co)
I may be the lone voice, but I like electric smokers. I use a Masterbuilt 40" electric. I like the ability to precisely control the temperature and the relatively hands-off operation. I smoke meat to eat it, not for a religious experience. I use mine for both hot smoking and cold smoking with an A-Maze-N Pellet smoker.

The electric produces great brisket, pork shoulder, ribs, loin, tenderloin and chicken. I've used it for smoked sausage, summer sausage, cured & smoked bacon, and even ham. It will hold enough meat for a pretty large family gathering, but isn't a commercial product.

The ONLY issue that I see is that because there is very little combustion (and the resulting nitric oxide) there is no smoke ring. Here's an interesting article about NO and smoke rings.

http://www.genuineideas.com/ArticlesIndex/sranoxring.html   (it appears to be original research)

Also shows that trimming fat will improve the smoke ring on non-electric smokers. If you absolutely have to have a ring for home-cooked in an electric smoker, use a tiny bit of Morton Tender-Quick in your rub.

I've used chunk smokers,charcoal smokers with chunk, propane smokers with chunk, and I'm still very happy with electric smokers. I smoke to eat, not eat because I smoke.

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#6200068 - 02/26/16 09:50 AM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: blazin]
wacorusty Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 06/09/10
Posts: 7828
Loc: Six Shooter Junction
Do you want to just cook stuff for family and friends or do you want to be a bbq man? Anybody can plug in a smoker from Wally World and go back to knitting while watching The Pioneer Woman, but if you want to walk around with some swagger while you drink a beer and poke fun at the neighbors you need real coals.

Love my green egg, but it's limited in size and it is a bit of a pain to clean and start. Gas grills with a smoker box are good if you like wine coolers. Pellet smokers are the easiest, but have little versatility. My big pit with a firebox and smokestack is my favorite to cook on. It eats wood like fat kid eats cookies, but it's the best at setting up heat zones and flavoring anything I put on it.
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#6200103 - 02/26/16 10:02 AM Re: If you were going to buy a smoker? [Re: blazin]
MacDaddy21 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/19/11
Posts: 1629
Loc: CO
I've smoked briskets and pork butts side by side on a Masterbuilt with an A-Maze-N pellet smoker tray and in my large wood fired pit, and there is absolutely no comparison in flavor. The brisket off the Masterbuilt doesn't compare. Just like most brisket cooked on Southern Pride and Ole Hickory LP/Electric smokers does not compare to meat cooked on straight wood fired pits. Old school is the only way to go if you want the real bbq flavor. Now, I only use the Masterbuilt to smoke small batches of summer sausage and other sausages.

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