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help me chose an entry level smoker
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jebby



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 7:30 pm    Post subject: help me chose an entry level smoker Reply with quote

looking for my first smoker. nothing fancy. cheap and dirty. We are talking Canadian prices here so options are limited looking for feedback on the following: havnt made up my mind on fuel. thinking most likely gas of charcoal not likely electric. open to suggestions.

http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/deluxe-charcoal-grill-smoker-0851019p.html#.VGx94Wd0yAg

http://www.homedepot.ca/product/dyna-glo-liquid-propane-gas-smoker/859143

http://www.homedepot.ca/product/dual-fuel-smoker/825657

http://www.homedepot.ca/product/dyna-glo-charcoal-offset-vertical-smoker/859149

http://www.homedepot.ca/product/gas-vertical-smoker/813415

http://www.lowes.ca/smokers/master-forge-15000-btu-propane-vertical-smoker_g1361739.html

http://www.lowes.ca/smokers/master-forge-15400-btu-manual-ignition-liquid-propane-vertical-smoker_g1779610.html
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of the ones you listed I would choose the charcoal one.
http://www.homedepot.ca/product/dyna-glo-charcoal-offset-vertical-smoker/859149
I do not care for propane or electric smokers.
Just my opinion though.
I hope this helps. Very Happy
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Smokin Mike
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Joined: 02 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jebby, I understand the need to keep things on the cheap / less expensive side but you're giving up something in return. That Charbroil offset is a good example. If you have the opportunity go look at it in the store, lift the cooker door and note how much it flexes. It's made out of pretty thin sheet metal and you would be fighting it the whole way trying to keep it sealed and your temperatures even & stable. Now there's a bunch of guys that own this cooker but I'm willing to bet they've had to modify the crap out of them to get them workable. Just search for "Char Broil offset smoker modifications" and you'll see what I'm talking about. Anyway, my point is... you get what you pay for.

There's some other options to get you in the arena where you don't fight your equipment. Some might be a little more money but highly worth it IMO;

(1) UDS - Ugly Drum Smoker: This is a DIY build it yourself cooker using a food grade barrel. There's lots of instructions here and on the internet on how to construct one.

(2) Pitt barrel cooker - A smaller version of a UDS but an out of the box ready to go cooker. http://pitbarrelcooker.com/

(3) Weber Smoky Mountain: This cooker has a HUGE following and with tons of info on the web on how to cook with them. http://www.weber.com/grills/series/smokers

(4) Weber kettle: Yes a regular kettle can be used as an indirect cooker using a few coal burning techniques + you've got a hell-of-a good grill. These guys, the BBQ Pitt Boys, have made a career out of using a kettle as a smoker; http://bbqpitboys.com/

You'll note that all of my suggestions are for charcoal cookers. I'm with k.a.m. on this, if you're looking for good authentic wood smoked barbecue then IMO this is the way to go. Yeah, you can use chips and whatnot in electric smokers and set the things and walk off... and that's ok if that's what makes you happy. That's what one of my neighbors uses and it makes him happy... but he also boils his ribs. Rolling Eyes

I hope this helps. Good luck in your cooker search. Very Happy
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Tony
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Joined: 06 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Done, Smokin' Mike-Well Done! Cool Wink

Best Regards,

Tony Very Happy
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Smokin Mike
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank ya brother Tony. Smile I'd rather see jebby, or anyone else looking at this, spend a few $$$ more and walk away with a better chance for BBQ success than standing there scratching their heads wondering what went wrong.
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jebby



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys I appreciate the input. I know im super green with smoking meat. (typically I griller but im learning) with a charcoal smoker do you add lump wood or wood chips to the charcoal for smoke or is it like with propane/electric where you put them in a smoke box to be heated?
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jebby



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is about the cheapest I can find a smokey mountain. I understand the advantage of proper materials not Chinese crap but this is a bit out of my budget.

http://www.lowes.ca/smokers/weber-smokey-mountain-porcelain-enameled-charcoal-vertical-smoker_g1692657.html

thinking http://www.homedepot.ca/product/dyna-glo-charcoal-offset-vertical-smoker/859149 is the best bet. looks simple enough so I could beef it up if need be. also noticed a little cheapo that looks like a similar design to a smokey mountain not sure I like it though. seems too small to use

http://www.lowes.ca/smokers/master-forge-vertical-smokercharcoal-grill_g1429437.html?ProductSlot=6

also found this? more money than I wanted to spend but looks interesting

http://www.lowes.ca/smokers/napoleon-products-as300k-portable-series-apollo-3-in-1-smoker_g875880.html?ProductSlot=21

keep in mind im new to smoking and will only be using this maybe a couple times a month. my grill is my go to at 4-6 nights a week with the wife and I both working and a little one at home.

also any thoughs on using these in the Canadian winter? still able to get hot enough?
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N8DCJ
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Joined: 20 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jebby

While the WSM costs a little more than the cheaper ones my recommendation is to get an 18.5" WSM and you will never look back , and it should last you years. They are very easy to use , hold temps very well and crank out good food...

Good Luck

Dan
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k.a.m.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jebby wrote:
this is about the cheapest I can find a smokey mountain. I understand the advantage of proper materials not Chinese crap but this is a bit out of my budget.
http://www.lowes.ca/smokers/weber-smokey-mountain-porcelain-enameled-charcoal-vertical-smoker_g1692657.html

The dyna glo is 219.00 The 22.5" WSM is 314.00 and well worth the money.
If you had posted it the others would not even been considered by me.
My advice is save up for the WSM and sleep good at night knowing you bought the best charcoal upright smoker on the market. Wink
We have two and love them. Very Happy
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jebby



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys. not sure where you are seeing a 22.5" for 314? I see a 18.5" for 340 but I get the point I think that's the way im gunna go.

no love for the napoleon eh http://www.lowes.ca/smokers/napoleon-products-as300k-portable-series-apollo-3-in-1-smoker_g875880.html
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jebby wrote:
Thanks guys. not sure where you are seeing a 22.5" for 314? I see a 18.5" for 340 but I get the point I think that's the way im gunna go.

no love for the napoleon eh http://www.lowes.ca/smokers/napoleon-products-as300k-portable-series-apollo-3-in-1-smoker_g875880.html

My mistake jebby I apologize.
I pulled up the link and saw the bullet and price.
The Napoleon reminds me of another brand that I cannot recall the name of, it was built in the UK. I believe they went under they may have resurfaced with that model.
I still say save your money for the 22.5" at 400.00 if you want a cooker that will last a lifetime.

Found them. Very Happy
The sears brand was the BBQPro.
The UK brand was the ProQ Excel 20.
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Last edited by k.a.m. on Wed Nov 19 14 11:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jebby



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking like im gunna go wsm 18.5" if u guys think this is big enough? any real life advise on what fits in it?
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Smokin Mike
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Joined: 02 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jebby wrote:
Thanks guys I appreciate the input. I know im super green with smoking meat. (typically I griller but im learning) with a charcoal smoker do you add lump wood or wood chips to the charcoal for smoke or is it like with propane/electric where you put them in a smoke box to be heated?


Sounds like the consensus is for a WSM. The answer to your question is you would add chunks (lump wood) to your charcoal.
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jebby



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19 14 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks guys looks like 18.5" wsm is the winner. not to hunt down a good deal
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N8DCJ
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Joined: 20 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20 14 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jebby

This is one of my posts shortly before I bought the WSM it should answer your questions...

http://thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=58391&highlight=fit+wsm

Dan

p.s. I have never seen them on sale here in Ohio , the 18.5 is $300 USD...
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BUGSnBBQ
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20 14 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's in your budget, a WSM is hands down the best cooker for the money. They're nearly idiot-proof Laughing Amazon (where I got mine from) still has them for $299USD with free shipping. I guess they ship to Canada, but I honestly don't know.
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lantern
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Joined: 26 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20 14 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you get your WSM come on back and we'll get you set up and going on what will be a good first cook that will only be the starting point of great things to come!

You may be getting the smaller 18.5 WSM, but if money is a concern know that the 18.5 is much easier on fuel. All that extra space on the 22.5 can really eat up some charcoal. Very Happy
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necron 99
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20 14 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Napoleon smoker you posted the Lowe's Canada link to is like the ProBBQ or ProQ brand smokers that were sold for a while here in the USA. I don't think there's a US distributor for them any more.

The model in the link you posted is the equivalent of the Excel 20 based on the shipping box dimensions and info from Amazon (which says this is a discontinued model FWIW), with a 20" cooking grate.

http://www.amazon.com/Napoleon-AS300K-Apollo-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B003W2DX3E

The Weber products have a long history and parts for them can be sourced pretty easily.
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jebby



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20 14 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks guys I look forward to my new obsession. going with the 18.5" wsm. will have it within the month (dads xmas present from the wife and kid)

ideas for a good first cook in cold weather?

also wife is a health nut so anything that would appeal to her would be perfect
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20 14 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jebby wrote:
thanks guys I look forward to my new obsession. going with the 18.5" wsm. will have it within the month (dads xmas present from the wife and kid)

ideas for a good first cook in cold weather?

also wife is a health nut so anything that would appeal to her would be perfect

There is no seasoning needed for the WSM because of the coating, however the inside is very shiny and until you have one or two cooks to dull the inside they do run a little hotter than normal.
A good first cook is a couple of beer can chickens, this will let your wife eat healthy and you get a chance to play with temps and learn your cooker.
Another good first cook is a pork Butt, they are very forgiving on temp swings and allow you to experience longer cooks along the way to learning the cooker.
I hope this helps. Very Happy
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