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[OP]
Sr. Member
Apr 8, 2010
786 posts
434 upvotes
toronto

smokers

So i'm in the market for a smoker.

I know the reputation of traegers and it's pretty much the go to but any other brands i should be looking at or you've had decent experience with?

want to stay away from charcoal as i don't want to be nursing/ looking after it for hours on end. would like to "set it and forget it"
10 replies
Jr. Member
User avatar
Dec 13, 2014
186 posts
68 upvotes
Oshawa, ON
Weber Smoky Mountain. That is the go to. Charcoal is THE way to smoke and with the WSM, there is no nursing.

I have done a Brisket for 10 hours and looked at the smoker once after putting the brisket on.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Oct 6, 2010
14932 posts
9340 upvotes
Toronto
I had a cheap electric one that worked out really well. I don't recall the name, but I think it was from Costco or Lowes, it was under $400. I think it was broil king.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Apr 8, 2010
786 posts
434 upvotes
toronto
boblazaar71 wrote: Weber Smoky Mountain. That is the go to. Charcoal is THE way to smoke and with the WSM, there is no nursing.

I have done a Brisket for 10 hours and looked at the smoker once after putting the brisket on.
how do you control the temperature? don't you need to keep adding charcoal to maintain a constant temperature?

that's why i'm thinking pellet with a hoper
Jr. Member
User avatar
Dec 13, 2014
186 posts
68 upvotes
Oshawa, ON
No, the WSM holds a great amount of charcoal in the basket. Fill it with unlit, add some lit on top, set your dampers and away you go. Takes maybe 20 - 30 minutes to setup but after that Roberts your fathers brother.

http://virtualweberbullet.com/fireup2.html


I had an electric (Bradley) but pucks and pellets have nothing on good old wood.
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
2885 posts
1348 upvotes
Mississauga
denti72 wrote: how do you control the temperature? don't you need to keep adding charcoal to maintain a constant temperature?

that's why i'm thinking pellet with a hoper
You control the temperature using the vents at the bottom. All three vents 100% open moves more air which increases the smoking temperature.

When I first started using my Weber Smoky Mountain, I was worried about maintaining temperature and running out to check it way too often. Once I got my Ivation Wireless Thermometer, all my smoking is now done from the couch. It can go over 5hrs without having to add more charcoal. The Charcoal tray is huge. Even when I do my thanksgiving turkey at higher temperature (3 hours @ 325-350°F), it still does not need top up.

I run the smoker empty for 1 hr, top up the charcoal and add my meat. Once the meat is on, I play around with the vents 2-3 time (every 15mins) till the temperature settles down and it's on auto pilot till the meal is ready.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 1, 2004
12862 posts
1475 upvotes
Pickering
This is how I rank 'em

Number one for flavour is a stick burner. This is a stick burner:

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Number two for flavour is a Ole Hickory / Southern Pride. Like this:

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Number three, a Traeger

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Number four, any charcoal powered smoker.

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Why in that order? Because the ones that burn wood logs burn sap and moisture out of the wood and that can lead to some sweet BBQ, and those are the top two.

Why did I choose a Traeger over a charcoal powered unit. I have a charcoal one already. The difference to me is the meat always comes out of the charcoal one "dirty". Some charcoal dust lands on the meat. Not an issue with the Traeger. Also the flavour. As much as I like charcoal, I don't want to taste it in every dish. I can totally burn different woods and blends of woods to deliver unique flavour profiles consisting of only the woods unique characteristics...without charcoal adding its own taste. 100% cherry is sweet. Apple is a light fruity smoky flavour and they are delicate and get beaten up by charcoal. I have hickory, alder, and mesquite woods for my charcoal bullet smoker. Also, if I dial the Traeger up close to 300 degrees, the smoke smell is almost completely gone, leaving just the scent of the wood, which will not happen on a charcoal unit. I did a lot of charcoal last year and while people liked the taste, they all said they couldn't eat it everyday, because of the consistent charcoal profile.

Finally, time.

Drop the ribs, turn the knob and leave the house. I operate the unit all winter with some blankets over it. Fill it up with wood, put on a pork blade roast and go to bed. In the morning, take it off, wrap it and store it in a cooler. Pull it at lunch time for pulled pork. I also use my home automation to trigger it or turn it off. I can smoke a roast and then turn it up to brown the outside. No ash on my meat and exact flavour driven in.

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This prime rib was medium rare all the way through due to consistent temps from the Traeger managing itself. I didn't turn it up to brown it, that's what it does at 225 degrees. Smoky prime rib...

Opinions and recipes differ.
Deal Addict
Mar 22, 2004
3468 posts
868 upvotes
bubuski wrote: You control the temperature using the vents at the bottom. All three vents 100% open moves more air which increases the smoking temperature.

When I first started using my Weber Smoky Mountain, I was worried about maintaining temperature and running out to check it way too often. Once I got my Ivation Wireless Thermometer, all my smoking is now done from the couch. It can go over 5hrs without having to add more charcoal. The Charcoal tray is huge. Even when I do my thanksgiving turkey at higher temperature (3 hours @ 325-350°F), it still does not need top up.

I run the smoker empty for 1 hr, top up the charcoal and add my meat. Once the meat is on, I play around with the vents 2-3 time (every 15mins) till the temperature settles down and it's on auto pilot till the meal is ready.
Why do you run it emty??
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
17561 posts
10327 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
I've been using an Egg knock off - CT had a clearance on the mid-sized Vision grill a few years ago and it's been great. I had to replace the stand (which Vision covered under warranty) due to the poor design of the casters and how they mounted. I replaced the casters with larger 4" ones from Lowes and added washers to better distribute the weight of the BBQ on the frame.

The largest issue I have with charcoal is the need to monitor and adjust to keep the temperature just right. I'm thinking about making a temperature controller with a fan to reduce the need to monitor it.
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
2885 posts
1348 upvotes
Mississauga
romsan04 wrote: Why do you run it emty??
I use it as kind of a burn out to clean it since it does not get a daily or weekly use. 30-40 mins as hot as it can go which is around 350F, then I add the water pan adjust the vents to bring it down the temperature and settle (takes another 20 minutes or so)

On my other grilling BBQs that can achieve higher temperate easily, I do burn out of 550F+ for 15mins.
Deal Addict
Mar 22, 2004
3468 posts
868 upvotes
bubuski wrote: I use it as kind of a burn out to clean it since it does not get a daily or weekly use. 30-40 mins as hot as it can go which is around 350F, then I add the water pan adjust the vents to bring it down the temperature and settle (takes another 20 minutes or so)

On my other grilling BBQs that can achieve higher temperate easily, I do burn out of 550F+ for 15mins.
I clean my WSM with warm water after each use.

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