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Pellet or No Pellet?

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Joined: 05 Jun 2008
Posts: 99
Location: Indianapolis, IN

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28 18 10:23 pm    Post subject: Pellet or No Pellet? Reply with quote

So I'm looking for a new smoker. I have an 18.5" WSM that is about 10 years old and I love it, but I'd like to have more capacity and it is difficult to reload the fire on longer cooks. It's also a pain to access the food grate under the top grate during the cook. So I want to get a horizontal smoker for more capacity and better access to both the cooking chamber and the firebox.

My first thought was a pellet smoker for the obvious convenience of setting a temp and walking away, but it seems that doing any direct grilling (like steaks or burgers) doesn't work too well.

My next thought was a OK Joe's reverse flow smoker. It seems the reverse flow helps to maintain temps throughout the cook chamber and the side firebox can also be used as a small charcoal/wood grill for direct grilling.

I'd like to have as much flexibility as possible as this will likely be the primary grill/smoker I have. (Note, I don't direct grill a lot, but I would like to have the option.)

SO, the question is Pellet or OK Joe's? I want to keep the cost in the $500 to $800 dollar range.

And truth be told, I'm leery of the pellet because it feels like cheating, and I'm not sure I want my smoker dependent on electricity and/or mechanical failure.

Thanks in advance for your advice!
If God didn't want us to eat animals, He wouldn't have made them out of meat!!
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Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 1781
Location: Fl.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29 18 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Offsets & pellet poopers do not just cook different but produce different tasting results IMHO. For the best of grilling & smoking in that size I would save a little more then check out Lang's 36 patio hybrid. It would give you a quality 36" offset & a dedicated 30" grill that will last years longer than the "new" Oklahoma Joes...
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Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 194
Location: In the woods of Sweden

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29 18 8:22 pm    Post subject: Get a grill and a proper smoker Reply with quote

Here is what I would do with $500-$800:

1. Get a plain Weber grill for the times you need grilling. You can find one used for a symbolic amount of money. Within your $500-$800 range, it will be negligible.

2. Get a proper wood-fired smoker for smoking with no constraints from the need to grill. That pellet thing doesn't really do it for me...

If I had $1000 to spend, I would get a kamado style cooker, unless I really needed a lot of capacity.
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Joined: 27 Dec 2009
Posts: 637
Location: Colorado Springs (sometimes)

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30 18 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW, I agree with YardFullOfOak. Weber kettles are great, and they're cheap. I looked on craigslist Indianapolis briefly before I started writing this and there is a 22" one touch for $20. And they're only a hundred bucks new! If you use a chimney you can be grilling in 15 - 20 minutes. And, you can use a kettle as a smoker when you need or want to. I've never tried a kamado style cooker, the price keeps me from buying one.
I have a traditional offset w/ tuning plates to smoke on, and a couple of kettle's when I need to grill.

Hope this helps,
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