Home Forums Miscellaneous Iowa Outdoors Cookbook — Recipes Smoker. Gas or electric or charcoal

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  • Avatardart383
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    Post count: 244

    I’ve never smoked a thing. Not even a cig. But I sure love some good barbecue. I’ve been looking online and Cabela’s has what looks to be a good deal

    http://www.cabelas.com/product/Cabelas-7-in-1-Cooker-Smoker/732401.uts?searchPath=%2Fbrowse.cmd%3FcategoryId%3D734095080%26CQ_search%3Dsmokers%26CQ_st%3Db

    Reviews don’t look terrible and even a few YouTube videos. Any comments if this would be a decent starter? Was thinking propane over electric. ( both are on sale). Seems to be a favored way just from googling it

    Avatarmoose07
    Participant
    Post count: 81

    I’ve been smoking meat for probably 5 yrs now on almost a weekly basis. I have never used a propane smoker so I can’t give much advice on that. But it really depends on what your wanting to smoke and how often you will use it. I will say with smokers you do get what you pay for, if your serious about getting into it then you may want a dedicated smoker and spend the money on that. I would recommend the weber smokey mountain there 3 to 400 depending on size. Smoking meat is very addictive and can get expensive. Let me know what your wanting to smoke and how often. I’d be glad to give you any advice.

    Avatarhellrzr
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    Post count: 155

    You are going to get a ton of opinions. For me charcoal, or pellets, are the only way to go. If it matters to you, in BBQ competition you have to use charcoal or pellets because gas and electric aren’t even allowed.

    The Bullet, or otherwise known as the WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain) is a great smoker from the beginner to the veteran!
    http://www.weber.com/grills/series/smokers

    I have the 18″ but now they have a 22″. These are great smokers and incredibly popular. There are many competition teams that just use a few of these smokers and nothing else for contests.

    If you would also really like the smoker to also be a grill you can look at ceramic smoker/grills like the Big Green Eggs, Akorn, or Kamodo. I don’t have one of these but they are also very popular, and get expense. These are neat because you can get them really hot, like 700 degrees or more, to sear steaks with or cook pizza.

    Like I said, everyone who replies will have different advice for you. Even getting a cheap one, like you are looking at, will give you something to start with the see if you even like it or not. That will give you an idea of what you will want your next one to be!

    The BBQ forum is a great place to go to look at awesome BBQ pictures and to ask advice.
    http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=5

    Good luck on your quest for BBQ bliss!

    CedarStorm1975CedarStorm1975
    Participant
    Post count: 2006

    It kinda depends on what you want to smoke. If you are wanting to do BBQ, my personal preference is my Weber Kettle….but if I really wanted to up my game, I would go with a Pellet grill like a Green Mountain grill, or a Traeger Grill. If I wanted a pure smoker, I like the Bradley’s, and the nicer model Masterbuilts they sell at Menard’s. But more often than not, I just like the challenge of doing a long cook on my Weber grill- you have to babysit the temperatures a bit more and keep it fed with charcoal/wood chip/chunks/water pan, etc., but it’s worth the effort. I got mine as a Christmas gift a few years ago along with a Weber Smoking book. I have done jerky on my Weber, but if you want to make a lot…you’ll need an actual multi-rack smoker. I know one guy who makes summer sausage in small batches and has a rig he made for his Weber to smoke them. Weber also makes the Smokey Mountain Grill, which is basically a Weber Grill with an much taller body with a door on the side to add chunks of wood or wood chips for smoking. If done right, you can easily get 12 hours of cooking time on one of these- kinda like the pit barrel cookers or (UDS aka Ugly Drum Smokers) out there on the internet. You could actually make a pit barrel smoker out of an old food-grade 55 gallon drum, plenty of videos on youtube on how to do this. 5-6 years ago I was exactly right where you are now…and also might I suggest The BBQ Pit Boys channel on youtube…they are the true experts on Weber grilling.

    Avatarmoose07
    Participant
    Post count: 81

    I love my pellet smoker but that was 2grand. I’d like an offset now to play around with.

    AvatarMengo
    Participant
    Post count: 136

    Take a look at Smoke Shack electric smokers. They are not cheap, but they are top notch smokers and will last a lifetime. They are also very well insulated and it only takes a small chink of wood to smoke. And you can load it, turn it on the temp you want and walk away until it is done……no upkeep or reloading wood, charcoal, et al. I’ve had one for around 15 years and it still works like new. I had tried several charcoal smokers (did not try propane) prior to buying mine from Cabela’s, and it was a lot of work keeping it stoked. These smokers are about as easy as it gets. And they claim to have won a lot of awards with them.
    Good luck with whatever you get. I’ll warn you……it’s addictive. Cheers

    Avatarfowl_attitude
    Participant
    Post count: 602

    I have used several electric smokers for about 6 years. I have smoked just about every type of meet I can think of. We have a big 4th of July barbecue out at our farm pond and I smoke about 28lbs of pork. Electric is nice. It is easy. You set the temp, wait for it to come up to temp, make sure it has water and wood chips etc. I have had two masterbuilts. One is insulated and one is not. Got them from mills. Good starting smokers. My only complaint, is it can take a while to get the smoke rolling. And unless you have a wood chip door, every time you open the door to add wood chips, you let smoke and heat out. And they take a long time to cook.

    Last year I heard about the pit barrell cooker. I spent several weeks reading reviews and watched some videos. It is a charcoal smoker. I purchased a smoker, cover, ash trey for aroun $340. It is amazing. It is a 30 gallon drum. They experimented with different sizes and found 30 allowed for the right convection currents to cook the meet quicker. You hang the meet instead of laying it flat on a grate. This allows the heat to cook all sides of the meet at the same time. Cook time is around half the amount of time. For example, for my 4th of July party, I would put about 14 lbs of pork butt in each smoker and start them at 9:00 the night before. I baby sat them until about 1:00 before I went to bed. They cooked until about 4:30. With the pit barrell, I don’t start them until 8:00 am. The juices drip right into the charcoals creating steam and smoke. I did a brisket for a family birthday last year that people are still talking about. The amount of smoke they produce is amazing. I have cooked 4 chickens in a barrel in 3 hours. With most electric smokers, the more meat you add the longer it takes. That isn’t the case with the pit barrel because of the convection. The charcoal will cook for about 6 hours before it runs out and they predetermine what the vent on the bottom should be set at based on your elevation. I highly recommend looking into it. It is very well built, great customer service, and their website is full of information. They have recipes with cook times on them, and so far they have been very accurate. I was afraid of charcoal until I ran across this.

    https://www.pitbarrelcooker.com/

    AvatarTin Roof
    Participant
    Post count: 526

    I have one gas and two charcoal smokers. My advice for just starting out, buy whatever is within your budget and start smoking. Make sure you like it and have time to do it. Plus, it takes some trial and error to get fairly good at it, and in my mind that’s best done with equipment that doesn’t break the bank.
    If you decide you want to stick with it, then I’d recommend getting a good pellet smoker with controls that allows you to set it and walk away.
    My gas smoker is made out of an upright freezer and only gets used if I’m smoking a large quantity of deer meat. One of the charcoal smokers is a drum smoker I made at home out of a 55 gallon metal drum. The other charcoal smoker is one that I bought that also has a gas grill. My favorite is the drum smoker, but a pellet smoker is in my future plans.

    AvatarTin Roof
    Participant
    Post count: 526

    Quote by: fowl_attitude

    Last year I heard about the pit barrell cooker. I spent several weeks reading reviews and watched some videos. It is a charcoal smoker. I purchased a smoker, cover, ash trey for aroun $340. It is amazing. It is a 30 gallon drum. They experimented with different sizes and found 30 allowed for the right convection currents to cook the meet quicker. You hang the meet instead of laying it flat on a grate. This allows the heat to cook all sides of the meet at the same time. Cook time is around half the amount of time. For example, for my 4th of July party, I would put about 14 lbs of pork butt in each smoker and start them at 9:00 the night before. I baby sat them until about 1:00 before I went to bed. They cooked until about 4:30. With the pit barrell, I don’t start them until 8:00 am. The juices drip right into the charcoals creating steam and smoke. I did a brisket for a family birthday last year that people are still talking about. The amount of smoke they produce is amazing. I have cooked 4 chickens in a barrel in 3 hours. With most electric smokers, the more meat you add the longer it takes. That isn’t the case with the pit barrel because of the convection. The charcoal will cook for about 6 hours before it runs out and they predetermine what the vent on the bottom should be set at based on your elevation. I highly recommend looking into it. It is very well built, great customer service, and their website is full of information. They have recipes with cook times on them, and so far they have been very accurate. I was afraid of charcoal until I ran across this.

    https://www.pitbarrelcooker.com/

    I made my own drum smoker and have about $100-125 in it. The 22 1/2″ round weber grill grates fit perfect in a 55 gallon metal drum, and the lid for that size weber grill fits perfect for a lit on the drum. I used stainless bolts for rack supports, and have two racks in it. My charcoal/wood basket is make out of metal mesh and has a handle on it for lifting in and out. A couple valves cut in to allow air flow, and boom, you’re smoking.

    Avatarmskursh
    Participant
    Post count: 1173

    i stick burn in my charcoal and think it makes the best food of all of them. My father in law has a louisiana pellet smoker and its pretty nice. super easy to operate. fool proof really.

    i prefer louisiana and Green mountain over the traeger brand though. get your pellets from cabelas. dirt cheap. our family buys them on pallets to get them cheaper. my fIL and his 3 brothers all have pellet smokers.

    Avatarfowl_attitude
    Participant
    Post count: 602

    Quote by: Tin+Roof

    Quote by: fowl_attitude

    Last year I heard about the pit barrell cooker. I spent several weeks reading reviews and watched some videos. It is a charcoal smoker. I purchased a smoker, cover, ash trey for aroun $340. It is amazing. It is a 30 gallon drum. They experimented with different sizes and found 30 allowed for the right convection currents to cook the meet quicker. You hang the meet instead of laying it flat on a grate. This allows the heat to cook all sides of the meet at the same time. Cook time is around half the amount of time. For example, for my 4th of July party, I would put about 14 lbs of pork butt in each smoker and start them at 9:00 the night before. I baby sat them until about 1:00 before I went to bed. They cooked until about 4:30. With the pit barrell, I don’t start them until 8:00 am. The juices drip right into the charcoals creating steam and smoke. I did a brisket for a family birthday last year that people are still talking about. The amount of smoke they produce is amazing. I have cooked 4 chickens in a barrel in 3 hours. With most electric smokers, the more meat you add the longer it takes. That isn’t the case with the pit barrel because of the convection. The charcoal will cook for about 6 hours before it runs out and they predetermine what the vent on the bottom should be set at based on your elevation. I highly recommend looking into it. It is very well built, great customer service, and their website is full of information. They have recipes with cook times on them, and so far they have been very accurate. I was afraid of charcoal until I ran across this.

    https://www.pitbarrelcooker.com/

    I made my own drum smoker and have about $100-125 in it. The 22 1/2″ round weber grill grates fit perfect in a 55 gallon metal drum, and the lid for that size weber grill fits perfect for a lit on the drum. I used stainless bolts for rack supports, and have two racks in it. My charcoal/wood basket is make out of metal mesh and has a handle on it for lifting in and out. A couple valves cut in to allow air flow, and boom, you’re smoking.

    Yes I know the construction is pretty simple. But for someone who is starting out i thought I would suggest this. I am actually making a second one to keep out at our farm pond so I don’t have to haul mine back and forth. I like the 30 gallon drums as they are very portable. We took mine last year tailgating just as we would have taken a grill. Do you hang the meet or cook it on racks? The concept here is to hang the meet instead of laying it flat on a rack.

    AvatarTin Roof
    Participant
    Post count: 526

    Quote by: fowl_attitude

    Yes I know the construction is pretty simple. But for someone who is starting out i thought I would suggest this. I am actually making a second one to keep out at our farm pond so I don’t have to haul mine back and forth. I like the 30 gallon drums as they are very portable. We took mine last year tailgating just as we would have taken a grill. Do you hang the meet or cook it on racks? The concept here is to hang the meet instead of laying it flat on a rack.

    It depends on what I’m making. It’s set up to either hang or set the meat on the racks.

    AvatarCoonsqualler
    Participant
    Post count: 182

    I have that same smoker and home and have used it for everything from salmon to turkeys to briskets and most things in between. It’s a decent smoker, relatively easy to control the heat once everything gets up to temp and creates a nice smoke flavor. My biggest complaint would be the clean up. Everything ends up kinda sticky and the with the water pan, you really need to clean it up right away after smoking. Left mine for a couple days once and ended up with moldy water/meat juice in the pan. For that price, hard to go wrong since you can also use the gas tripod for crawfish boils and boiling deer skulls n’ such.

    Avatarfowl_attitude
    Participant
    Post count: 602

    Quote by: Tin+Roof

    Quote by: fowl_attitude

    Yes I know the construction is pretty simple. But for someone who is starting out i thought I would suggest this. I am actually making a second one to keep out at our farm pond so I don’t have to haul mine back and forth. I like the 30 gallon drums as they are very portable. We took mine last year tailgating just as we would have taken a grill. Do you hang the meet or cook it on racks? The concept here is to hang the meet instead of laying it flat on a rack.

    It depends on what I’m making. It’s set up to either hang or set the meat on the racks.

    Pretty much the same thing then. Just larger. I really like the smoke flavor that comes from them. A lot more smoke than my electrics ever made.

    Avatarstevenoak
    Participant
    Post count: 1172

    I just got a 22” Traeger. I love that I can set it and forget it, at this point in my life. Once I retire I think it would be cool to build a masonry one. Charcoal or wood take a lot of attention. If you want to spend the day throwing back a few and watching the smoke roll all day. It probably gives the best taste. One thing I have found with the Traeger is. You almost can’t overcook or dry out meat. We also have a Masterbuilt electric. After pellet/ electric, I would never go back to electric.

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