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

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  • IaCraig
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    You have to start somewhere so I suggest try it. A long time ago I had a brinkman version of the 7 in 1 Cabelas link, I disliked it as a gas grill and a charcoal grill but I never really tried it as a smoker. (I wish I still had it, because I suspect it would have been a good smoker).

    Personally I currently own 3 smokers. 1 Big Chief electric smoker which served me well and I still use for many things.. The con was low capacity and having to finish cooking sausage & brisket or pork in the oven. So I went to a tall propane gas smoker as my primary smoker for almost 10 years, loved the temp range and the large capacity for sticks but the cons are the temp was affected by wind and would sometimes even blow out and in the summer I couldn’t generate smoke without getting it hotter than I wanted. My most recent is a real heavy Off-Set smoker, which for me is by far the hardest to master and takes the most baby sitting. (I am stuborn, I will get it)

    No idea what my next one will be, but they all have advantages and disadvantages. Heck, by using Amazing smoker tubes and trays, I’ve had good smoked success just using a gas grill.

    frmboybuck
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    I started with a gas smoker, then went to charcoal, then I bought a Yoder pellet smoker. Best money I ever spent. They aren’t cheap, but they aren’t cheaply made either

    jnrbronc
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    I used my Weber charcoal grill as a smoker from time to time, then got a Brinkman Smoke’N Grill set up for charcoal. That worked pretty good for the most part, but I got tired of charcoal temp fluctuation, so I bought the electric element for it. Still have it, but don’t use it as much since getting a LP fired Char-Broil Big Easy 18,000 BTU infrared smoker, roaster and grill. It’s not a “low and slow” cooker, a turkey can be done in a 2-3 hours during which time you might burn two hoppers of wood chips. I’m not known for patience, so for me it’s a good fit. 😉 People have raved about the BBQ it’s cranked out. I like the basket, bought more half-racks so that I can get more layers in it if I’m drying jerky or have other thin meat like pork chops to smoke. Reminds me I should plan a session sometime soon.

    Harrison
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    my first smoker was a masterbuilt gas, still have it. I also have a Oklahoma joes longhorn offset smoker that I love. the gasser is a lot easier to control the heat but wont fit a whole rack of ribs without cutting them in half and depending where you keep it they tend to rust out fairly fast. The longhorn is a lot more work. I’m running a bbq guru with it that controls your charcoal temp but that’s about a 250 $$ add , but definitely worth it. so much more room and in my opinion a overall better taste to the meat. if you don’t mind the prep work and sitting out babysitting I would go charcoal, but if your just starting and want to stay under 200 I wouldn’t hesitate to get a gas smoker. it still puts out a great bbq, I’m sure everyone will still eat it no matter what you use 😀

    dart383
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    Wow. Everyone has a great opioions. BBQ is almost a religion! I ended up getting the gas Cabela’s smoker. Cheap starter and I will at least get my feet wet and go from there. It has a charcoal smoking option. So I can dabble in that too. Can wait to try it. Do I dare ask for good rub or pork recipe? Or is that like asking for a food spot on public ground???? If so I’ll pass and figure it out myself 😯

    LONESUMGUS
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    I have a green mountain and it works really well, wish I had the ys640. am currently building a pit barrel.
    check out malcom reed on you tube.

    hellrzr
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    Quote by: dart383

    Wow. Everyone has a great opioions. BBQ is almost a religion! I ended up getting the gas Cabela’s smoker. Cheap starter and I will at least get my feet wet and go from there. It has a charcoal smoking option. So I can dabble in that too. Can wait to try it. Do I dare ask for good rub or pork recipe? Or is that like asking for a food spot on public ground???? If so I’ll pass and figure it out myself 😯

    Congratulations! Now you have something to get started with and see how you like it. You’ll also get a good idea of what features you want in your next smoker. BBQ is like a religion and people take it seriously and personally.

    Now ask everyone about their favorite rub or if you should use BBQ sauce or not!

    moose07
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    What kinda pork? Spares ribs, baby back ribs, pork butt, pork belly, loin? You can use the same rub on all of them BUT they are prepared differently. You figure out what you want to smoke and watch some youtube videos. Pork butt would be a good first cook and is more forgiving. There’s so many rubs out there to buy or even recipes, you will just have to see what you like. Check out smoking meat fourms. Let us know what you decide to use and smoke. Post some pictures if you can.

    iowavf
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    Quote by: dart383

    Wow. Everyone has a great opioions. BBQ is almost a religion! I ended up getting the gas Cabela’s smoker. Cheap starter and I will at least get my feet wet and go from there. It has a charcoal smoking option. So I can dabble in that too. Can wait to try it. Do I dare ask for good rub or pork recipe? Or is that like asking for a food spot on public ground???? If so I’ll pass and figure it out myself 😯

    Just google the type of meat you’re wanting to smoke and there will be plenty of youtube help from preparing it to smoking it. Some might even be using the same type smoker you have if you ask for pork loin on gas smoker.

    walleye jim
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    Well i wud first suggest that you evaluate if you are an event griller/smoker..4th of july.. birthdays..etc.. if so then you would want a larger smoker to accommodate the number of guests .. then if you decide on a bigger smoker you then must decide if you are an actiive tenderer of the grill or a set it and forget it type of person..large jobs like brisket or bacon do not need much tendering.. if you like to drink beer or whatever during the process then you might want a different type…one that is not so automatic..

    maxx
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    I am on my second propane smoker. The one I have is the two chamber masterbuilt. It does the job but it likes to run a higher temps and as the food cooks and temps change you have to manually adjust the temp. I like how it is vertical because I can do sausage in it.

    When my current gas grill finally gives out I am going to get a pellet grill. I haven’t decided which one yet, Green Mountain, Traeger, Rek tek. The Green Mountain and Traeger are medium grade and the Rek Tek is a notch up. I would like to get something that I can set and forget about. Specially when I want to do over night cooks.

    I will keep the vertical for sausage.

    IaCraig
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    Quote by: dart383

    Wow. Everyone has a great opioions. BBQ is almost a religion! I ended up getting the gas Cabela’s smoker. Cheap starter and I will at least get my feet wet and go from there. It has a charcoal smoking option. So I can dabble in that too. Can wait to try it. Do I dare ask for good rub or pork recipe? Or is that like asking for a food spot on public ground???? If so I’ll pass and figure it out myself 😯

    I advise you join this forum and learn to navigate it. Tons of good advice and recipes. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com

    mj1966
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    I started out with gas, then went to a chargriller with off set box (sorta cheap but worked) wanted to be sure this is something I would enjoy doing.
    I now have 2, XL Green Egg and a Horizon Marshall RD, 24″. love them both. I know the pellet grills and the high end electric smokers (cook shacks) are very easy to use and set temps and such, but for some reason I enjoy usung lump charcoal and messing with the vents and such. Nothing beats the smell of a smoker no matter what your set up is.

    dart383
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    Can’t wait until this thing arrives in the mail. What’s a good choice on a meat thermometer? Not sure on the proper name but I want one that I can stick into the meat and view the temp without opening the smoker., any advice on what kind or brand?

    IaCraig
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    Quote by: dart383

    Can’t wait until this thing arrives in the mail. What’s a good choice on a meat thermometer? Not sure on the proper name but I want one that I can stick into the meat and view the temp without opening the smoker., any advice on what kind or brand?

    One of my best investments was a digital dual probe thermometer with alarms. One probe in the meat, the other keeping track of the temp in the smoker. I think the brand of mine is Maverick or something like that.

    moose07
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    I would highly highly recommend the thermoworks smoke. It should be around 100 bucks but you will be glad you have it. I have the maverick 733 I believe and it’s great but a pain to program. The smoke wasn’t out yet or I would have got that one. I do have the thermopen and love it but you can save some money and get the thermopop or even weber has a decent one. To make it easy you could go to Walmart and pick up a pork shoulder, ribs or even chicken thighs for something real cheap. Figure out what you would like to try or what sounds good then watch some videos. There’s so many different youtube videos out there, it’s a great place to learn and get ideas.

    BBQ_Mayor
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    My 2 cents. I have tried damn near every smoker out there. In my opinion, electric is a summer smoker only. Can’t get the temp up when its cold and rainy. A gas smoker doesn’t get the smoke and temps can easily spike.
    Smokers I own or used to own. Weber Smokey Mountain, Louisanna Grills Whole Hog Pellet smoker, Traeger table top smoker, Green Mountain Pellet smoker, Gateway Drum, Hunsaker Drum, and Good One Marshall Charcoal Smoker. Used to have a Backwoods Gator, Trailer mounted Offset Stick burner and IPT Pellet smoker.

    Of those, for a beginner a WSM, Hunsaker, or a Green Mountain is what I would recommend.
    WSM’s are your simple bullet smokers using charcoal and a water pan. These run a great all year and can cook 8 plus hours on a load of charcoal. Easily cooking over night for big chunks of meat. I would take the Hunsaker over the Gateway. Basically the same price and cook identical but the hunsaker comes with some nice features like a hinged lid, the vortex charcoal basket, and big wheels. If you want a pellet, the Green Mountain is a great sturdy pellet smoker. Has added wifi features if you like that stuff.

    If you serious about BBQ. Think about joining the Iowa BBQ Society. http://www.iabbq.org
    They even have a BBQ Judging class coming up this March. Heres a link to the sign up pdf. http://www.iabbq.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/2017BBQ-JUDGES-CLASS-APP-1.pdf

    I’d be glad to answer any questions you may have.

    CRIA1576
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    Re-visiting this thread… I want to get a smoker this fall for smoking deer hindquarters. IMO, this is the best way to prepare venison for the masses, even those that “dont eat deer meat”. Moreover, I just hate grinding so much into bologna and sausage when the meat can stand on its own. Dried/smoked deer is nearly identical to dried beef, and absolutely delicious.

    My BIL uses a Bradley smoker with the self-feeding fuel biscuits. A lot of guys in this thread recommended pellet grills. Focusing on smoking venison first and the occassional pork butt second, what is the forum’s recommendation for a guy with a $300 budget that doesn’t want to babysit the smoker?

    maxx
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    Quote by: frmboybuck

    I started with a gas smoker, then went to charcoal, then I bought a Yoder pellet smoker. Best money I ever spent. They aren’t cheap, but they aren’t cheaply made either

    Yup just got a Yoder YS640. So far so good. They are so easy to use I feel like anyone could be good at it.

    With that there is still some tweaking and a little bit of a learning curve. What I am finding is I am so used to over smoked meat which is find but with the Yoder to get more flavor like I like I bought a smoke tube that I have going at the same time.

    rericsson
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    WOW

    Lots of replies. Hope you have a big notebook. I own a cook shack. It is electric. Cabelas used to carry, but now they have gone to Bradley’s cuz they are cheaper.

    My cookshack has insulation all the way around. Anotherwords I can smoke when it is minus 10 degrees and it will hold the temp at what I set on the dial.
    However, it has three racks and will do plenty of meat, chicken or whatever you want to smoke.

    I will be getting a Traeger in the fuutre. Why? They are idiot proof. You load the pellets in the hopper, Turn the dial to your desired temp and it holds true to the temp. All the pellets are easily purchased nationwide. With the traeger there is no flame to burn your food IT IS INDIRECT HEAT. You can not burn it. I suppose it could dry out.
    00 to 800
    So, you need to look at cost, what type you want. and how much you want to spend. Oh, if you get the traeger it will run about 800.00 dollars if you get the elite series that has the probe. The probe is inserted into your meat- pork loin, boston butt or whatever your cooking You then can gauge when the food is done.
    So, good luck and hope you enjoy the smoker you choose

    NOte: Pit Boss is a knock off of the traeger and will be about 200.00 dollars cheaper. Traeger is good, but the marketing is why they are on the mapl Like I mentioned the Pit Boss is identical without the price tag hike. robert

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