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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: 1849
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: 205
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: 666
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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Joined: 18 Oct 2008
Posts: 23
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Jan 07 19 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had a pellet grill now for 6 months, short reply. don't buy one.
I had a Stumps smoker for almost 15 years and it was the best. It was as easy as a pellet grill with great results. Meat cooked in my pellet grill barely tastes different from just using an oven inside.
After the Stumps smoker I had a Big Green Egg. The obvious advantage is that it also grills. Also is easy to use if you are careful about slowly bringing it up to temp. Food turned out great, not quite as good as the Stumps.
If I wasn't retired on a limited income I would purchase a new Stump or Ceramic cooker. Even though it is a lot more work, I would even take an inexpensive offset cooker over the pellet grill.
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Joined: 03 Feb 2019
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat Feb 09 19 4:50 am    Post subject: Look at this one Reply with quote

I am also looking for something horizontal that I ca grill/smoke on. I am really looking at the assassin 48 grill that can also smoke if you want to.
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Joined: 07 Feb 2019
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19 19 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, smoking with pellets just isn't the same; I've tasted it at a friend's place, he did his job right, but it will never develop the taste of meat that's been smoked with some "natural" wood, especially when you keep the bark on it.
You can even play on what wood you're using as to develop different notes in your meat: the same cut from the same animal cooked for the same time over, let's say, apple tree or olive tree wood will taste differently and that's one of my favorite things in grilling meat.
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