Food & Drink

summer coming up... looking for a smoker

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  • Jul 14th, 2020 12:06 pm
[OP]
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Apr 20, 2018
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Mississauga, ON

summer coming up... looking for a smoker

Hi

I want to get a smoker this summer ... A buddy of mine got a charcoal smoker and said it better than electric and propane on flavour but harder to maintain heat comparing to electric/propane

I think he got a smoky mountain if I remember correctly
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Nov 21, 2001
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I've been looking for a deal on a smokey mountain for a while. Hopefully we will see some deals this spring.
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raptors87 wrote: Hi

I want to get a smoker this summer ... A buddy of mine got a charcoal smoker and said it better than electric and propane on flavour but harder to maintain heat comparing to electric/propane

I think he got a smoky mountain if I remember correctly
Weber smokey mountain is great!
You can even use something like the classic weber kettle for $160 works. You just need to add the $20 charcoal baskets so you can make an indirect heat setup.
Adjusting temperature is a matter of practice. Its easier using a good temperature probe for accuracy.

The trick is to open/close vents early. Using a probe helps
For example if your target temperAture is 225
Start adjusting when its @ 200. If you wait for 225 before dialling down the air dampers it will rocket higher then you are stuck trying to frantically bring down temperatures.
Last edited by UrbanPoet on Apr 15th, 2020 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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We have a Weber Performer and it's great for everyday cooks, as well as does a perfect job as a smoke, at the fraction of a cost. I bought a Vortex and Slow n Sear which more than make up the ability to do slow/long cooks on any type of meet you can do in any other smoker
[OP]
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Apr 20, 2018
776 posts
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Mississauga, ON
groo wrote: I've been looking for a deal on a smokey mountain for a while. Hopefully we will see some deals this spring.
what price are you hoping to get?
UrbanPoet wrote:
Weber smokey mountain is great!
You can even use something like the classic weber kettle for $160 works. You just need to add the $20 charcoal baskets so you can make an indirect heat setup.
Adjusting temperature is a matter of practice. Its easier using a good temperature probe for accuracy.

The trick is to open/close vents early. Using a probe helps
For example if your target temperAture is 225
Start adjusting when its @ 200. If you wait for 225 before dialling down the air dampers it will rocket higher then you are stuck trying to frantically bring down temperatures.
thanks for the tips... i will research on weber classic setup
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The best thing you can get is a Kamado grill. They're expensive, but there's nothing you can't do in them. They'll do low and slow for 12+ hours or they'll hit 1000 degrees if you want. As with all charcoal grills, there's a bit of a learning curve and a bit of babysitting involved. Although once you learn how much charcoal/air is needed for what temperatures, it becomes almost as easy as propane.

If that's too expensive or not what you're looking for, pellet grills are super simple. Costco usually sells Pit Boss pellet grills for about $400. They are mostly used for indirect cooking, but the Pit Boss ones have a sliding plate so you can cook directly too. You can do low and slow or high heat. Pellets do result in a bit of a milder smoke flavour compared to charcoal, but you can always buy mesquite pellets, which do have a stronger smoke flavour. They're as easy and simple as a propane grill.

I have both a Kamado grill and pellet grill. I have no need for anything else
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I started off with a small bullet smoker that I picked up at CT for about $60. Used it for a summer just to get the hang of smoking and then upgraded the next year.

I've had this model since 2016. Paid $199 on sale. It uses propane or charcoal, so you can choose what fuel is best for whatever you're cooking. I agree that charcoal is better but propane allows you to maintain the heat evenly which is very useful when you're smoking over long periods of time.
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psyko514 wrote: I started off with a small bullet smoker that I picked up at CT for about $60. Used it for a summer just to get the hang of smoking and then upgraded the next year.

I've had this model since 2016. Paid $199 on sale. It uses propane or charcoal, so you can choose what fuel is best for whatever you're cooking. I agree that charcoal is better but propane allows you to maintain the heat evenly which is very useful when you're smoking over long periods of time.
I have the propane only one. Got it from my airmiles back when it was supposed to expire. Propane, even if burning wood, definitely doesn't leave as much of a smokey flavour. I'm tempted to throw both lump charcoal and wood into the pan. I haven't used it in a while because 2 kids, but have more time now that they're older this year and more self-sufficient.


Also bought a Weber performer, small one used (unused) for a good price, so practicing on that. I have 2 weber baskets from before and there's a hack to make into one larger one like the slow and sear which I'll do soon too.

Anyone with a kettle, do you use brick or some kind of tile as a heat shield? Problem with bbqing is make so much, but hard to eat for just 1 or 2 ppl.
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I dont know much about smoking meat but don't you have to still "cook" it after you smoke it? I always thought smoking it adds flavors to it but you still gotta cook it, no?
Hi
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GoodFellaz wrote: I dont know much about smoking meat but don't you have to still "cook" it after you smoke it? I always thought smoking it adds flavors to it but you still gotta cook it, no?
Usually, you cook the food as you're smoking it (albeit at low temps like 225F for gentle heating - that's the "low and slow" phrase that BBQ'ers use). This is called "hot smoking". Ribs, pulled pork, brisket, chicken, etc...

There is also "cold smoking" where you apply your smoke but do not apply significant heat in your cooking environment. The most common example of this is the smoked salmon that you find in the supermarket freezers. Cheese can also be cold smoked. Food smoked this way may or may not need to be further cooked with heat.
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Nov 16, 2019
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I have the midsize smokey mountain that I got last year. Smoked and bbq throughout the winter. Colder weather make it harder to keep the temperature consistent but not impossible. Charcoal does require way more babysitting but its immensely satisfying to start a fire at 5am to have a smoked butt for dinner at 6pm. So far Smokey Mountain has been great. I imagine any bullet style smoker would do great AND it can be used for bbqing (fast and hot). Not sure what to do with my propane bbq now. The flavor is just not the same.
[OP]
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Apr 20, 2018
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Mississauga, ON
Shaner wrote: The best thing you can get is a Kamado grill. They're expensive, but there's nothing you can't do in them. They'll do low and slow for 12+ hours or they'll hit 1000 degrees if you want. As with all charcoal grills, there's a bit of a learning curve and a bit of babysitting involved. Although once you learn how much charcoal/air is needed for what temperatures, it becomes almost as easy as propane.

If that's too expensive or not what you're looking for, pellet grills are super simple. Costco usually sells Pit Boss pellet grills for about $400. They are mostly used for indirect cooking, but the Pit Boss ones have a sliding plate so you can cook directly too. You can do low and slow or high heat. Pellets do result in a bit of a milder smoke flavour compared to charcoal, but you can always buy mesquite pellets, which do have a stronger smoke flavour. They're as easy and simple as a propane grill.

I have both a Kamado grill and pellet grill. I have no need for anything else
I have a big propane grill... that why I'm thinking about getting independent smoker... I don't need something that does both smoking and hot grilling

costco doesn't sell that brand anymore... it Louisiana grill brand and it cost $1000 now ... not going to spend that but also I need a space saver because my propane grill take a decent space and there aren't a lot of space left with the 8x8' veggie/fruit garden cage and patio furniture

aren't those pellet puck thing expensive?

I might be leading toward mountain smokey or weber kettle or something tall and skinny
dmitrym879060355 wrote: I have the midsize smokey mountain that I got last year. Smoked and bbq throughout the winter. Colder weather make it harder to keep the temperature consistent but not impossible. Charcoal does require way more babysitting but its immensely satisfying to start a fire at 5am to have a smoked butt for dinner at 6pm. So far Smokey Mountain has been great. I imagine any bullet style smoker would do great AND it can be used for bbqing (fast and hot). Not sure what to do with my propane bbq now. The flavour is just not the same.

yeah I was thinking of the medium size... my buddy got the large/22" but he got a bigger family to feed so I thought medium is a bigger fit for me

oh wow long time to smoke a butt... thats tough to wake up at 5am haha, I'm not a morning person even though i'm a pastry chef, I used to have a bakery job that starts 6 or 7 am... not fun lol... now I'm a head pastry chef at a restaurant in oakville but got laid off because of the virus, i'm thinking of changing it up
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raptors87 wrote: I have a big propane grill... that why I'm thinking about getting independent smoker... I don't need something that does both smoking and hot grilling

costco doesn't sell that brand anymore... it Louisiana grill brand and it cost $1000 now ... not going to spend that but also I need a space saver because my propane grill take a decent space and there aren't a lot of space left with the 8x8' veggie/fruit garden cage and patio furniture

aren't those pellet puck thing expensive?

I might be leading toward mountain smokey or weber kettle or something tall and skinny
Costco still sells the Pit Boss pellet grills. My local Costco currently has several for $399.
They don't use pucks. The Bradley smokers use pucks and yes, they are expensive.
Pellets aren't particularly expensive.

But pellet grills are large, so if you're looking for tall and skinny, then a pellet grill isn't a good option for you.
A bradley would be a good option if you don't want to deal with charcoal, but the pucks are a bit expensive. The convenience and ease of use is hard to beat
Weber smokey mountain would be a good choice if you don't mind using charcoal.

I don't recommend those cheap masterbuilt vertical smokers. I've had one in the past and it leaves a lot to be desired. My guess is you'll want to upgrade after using one for a year, so it just ends up being a waste of money.
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Shaner wrote: Costco still sells the Pit Boss pellet grills. My local Costco currently has several for $399.
They don't use pucks. The Bradley smokers use pucks and yes, they are expensive.
Pellets aren't particularly expensive.

But pellet grills are large, so if you're looking for tall and skinny, then a pellet grill isn't a good option for you.
A bradley would be a good option if you don't want to deal with charcoal, but the pucks are a bit expensive. The convenience and ease of use is hard to beat
Weber smokey mountain would be a good choice if you don't mind using charcoal.

I don't recommend those cheap masterbuilt vertical smokers. I've had one in the past and it leaves a lot to be desired. My guess is you'll want to upgrade after using one for a year, so it just ends up being a waste of money.
There's nothing wrong with a cheap Masterbuilt vertical smoker (similar to and goes by different names like Brinkmann, Cabela's etc), a ton of ppl have them as it was in many cases their first foray into the world of smoking food (especially the "El cheapo Brinkmann"). All vertical smokers which the Weber Smokey Mountain is one of - work the same way and they hold and keep temps the same way and they all perform pretty much the same right out of a box. Differences are things like size/capacity of unit (WSMs come in 14/18/22 inch sizes), size of charcoal baskets and thus running time etc. Ppl get around the cheapo Brinkmann definciencies by modding them...ppl also mod WSM's.

The benefit of a cheap vertical smoker is they are CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP and they just work and they make good smoked food and when you get tired of it, you can probably sell it and get all of your capital cost back. You can buy them new for like less than 25% the price of a new WSM, you can buy them used for 10% of a used WSM. Play/practice for very little money (while you wait and look for a deal and consider if this charcoal things is for you). In the meantime, you get to eat well.

Some pics of my Masterbuilt vertical smoker (FREE as it was given to me), a smoked prime rib and some smoked ribs I smoked in there...I still have it and I still plan to cook with it but right now I'm experimenting with a 22" Weber Kettle.

P1110437.JPG
P1110443.JPG
ribs.JPG
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Nov 16, 2019
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raptors87 wrote:


yeah I was thinking of the medium size... my buddy got the large/22" but he got a bigger family to feed so I thought medium is a bigger fit for me

oh wow long time to smoke a butt... thats tough to wake up at 5am haha, I'm not a morning person even though i'm a pastry chef, I used to have a bakery job that starts 6 or 7 am... not fun lol... now I'm a head pastry chef at a restaurant in oakville but got laid off because of the virus, i'm thinking of changing it up
I have the 18"; it works great. 4 racks of ribs are no problem.
5am is just fun for me. Get up in the dark or at dawn, nobody is up it's my time.

Charcoal is a bit more work to get going:
- 30 minutes to get the chimney started
- 30 minutes for the smoker to come up to temp
- 90 minutes per pound of pork
- 1-2 hours resting time

so you basically get: 1 hour to fire up the smoker fully, 9 hours to smoke the butt (6-8lb), than an hour or two to rest, you're at 12 hours from start to finish. Ribs, brisket, chicken/turkey, all take way less time though.

Also agree with what @gr8dlr is saying. For the most part, all vertical smokers are the same. Not sure why WSM carries such a premium. Maybe durability?

Here's 4 racks of st louis ribs from a couple of weeks ago:
IMG_7680.jpg


wow! baking and pastry is way more complicated I think. I"ve been trying to get a sourdough going like everyone else, and it's not going good. Won't rise. Maybe a different type of flour is needed.
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dmitrym879060355 wrote: I have the 18"; it works great. 4 racks of ribs are no problem.
5am is just fun for me. Get up in the dark or at dawn, nobody is up it's my time.

Charcoal is a bit more work to get going:
- 30 minutes to get the chimney started
- 30 minutes for the smoker to come up to temp
- 90 minutes per pound of pork
- 1-2 hours resting time

so you basically get: 1 hour to fire up the smoker fully, 9 hours to smoke the butt (6-8lb), than an hour or two to rest, you're at 12 hours from start to finish. Ribs, brisket, chicken/turkey, all take way less time though.

Also agree with what @gr8dlr is saying. For the most part, all vertical smokers are the same. Not sure why WSM carries such a premium. Maybe durability?

Here's 4 racks of st louis ribs from a couple of weeks ago:

IMG_7680.jpg



wow! baking and pastry is way more complicated I think. I"ve been trying to get a sourdough going like everyone else, and it's not going good. Won't rise. Maybe a different type of flour is needed.
WSM premium => because they can. Product has pluses but not 4x the pluses.

Re sourdough...see my thread. I use regular AP flour in my starter.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
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raptors87 wrote:
thanks for the tips... i will research on weber classic setup
It works pretty good, you just toss some wood in with / under the hot coals. I am about to do a couple whole chickens.
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kool1 wrote: Grabbed this one on sale for about $270 last year. Works great and easy to use.

https://www.homedepot.ca/product/master ... 1001161928
All electric smokers including pellets are pretty good as there's little to worry about. set it and forget it. The achilles of electric is the electronic parts...they do fail periodically. My friend has the Masterbuilt and he's had to fix it twice now and it's down again right now. If you know electronics, it might be easily fixable...if it's a control board, it's likely garbage time. Electric smoker and pellet grills always introduce smoke, you can't cook food without it.

Ceramic (Komados, BGE, etc),Charcoal are more work (start charcoal and periodically monitor) but there are no electronics to fail and you can grill (hint of smoke) and smoke.

Propane - same as electric except you use propane instead of electricity to smoke.

Weber Kettle can do it all (grill/smoke/sear) for little $. More monitoring required than a vertical smoker if you want to do low and slow/smoking.
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Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
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Does anyone know any stores around Toronto that carry Green Mountain Grills smokers?
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