Food Smokers: Talk to me-recommendations

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by Breadman03, Mar 14, 2019 at 3:48 PM.

  1. Breadman03

    Breadman03 Valuable Member Catskill Reef Member

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    My sister in law is looking to surprise her wife with a good but inexpensive smoker. I suppose decent quality and ease of use are the most important features.

    It's just the two of them, though they are looking to add a child or two eventually. They ocassionally host small parties, so it should have a reasonable amount of capacity. They have natural gas available, but I don't know if there is a preference for wood, LP, or natural gas.

    Anyhow, does anyone have some recommendations? Thanks!
     
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  2. JoshH

    JoshH Swimming in the deep end... R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor

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    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019 at 3:57 PM
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  3. Breadman03

    Breadman03 Valuable Member Catskill Reef Member

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    :D:D

    That thread is why I came here to post. Thanks for the advice!
     
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  4. Greybeard

    Greybeard Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor

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    I'm a pellet smoker guy. On my 2nd pellet smoker, and LOVE IT.

    My first was a Green Mountain. Nice smoker, but after a decade, it was struggling. Seemed like something would break every time I went to use it. Served it's useful life, I suppose.

    Bought a Pit Boss last summer. Lights much more reliably than the old one did, holds temperature very well. Powder coat finish, heavy duty stainless internals, seems like it should be very durable.

    Pellet smokers are EASY. Fill the hopper with pellets... I like White Oak, Hickory, and Apple woods, depending on what I'm cooking. Turn the thing on, and wait for it to reach your desired temperature. Need to cook something all day? No problem, it'll hold whatever temp you set it at. All the heat is natural wood, tons of smoke, excellent flavor. We cook everything from burgers and steaks to tri-tip, brisket, turkeys, heck, pizza, veggies... My wife poured a can of Hominy into a ceramic bowl and put on there the other day while I was cooking burgers. Even gave that a smokey flavor.

    No Babysitting.

    Really. When I smoke a turkey, I set the temp low, put the turkey in at midnight, and go to bed. 8am, start the finishing process, by 11, it's ready to carve.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019 at 4:14 PM
  5. Maacc

    Maacc Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I would vote Big Green Egg XL especially for parties . It can grill/sear hot cook low and slow for smoke. You can bake on it, pizza and pies. I have even done a suckling pig. Great flavor and super easy to control.
     
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  6. Opus

    Opus Valuable Member

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    They said inexpensive, not the most expensive.
     
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  7. Opus

    Opus Valuable Member

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    OP, if ease of use is top priority, then a pellet grill is probably the best option. You are looking at probably $500+ for one that is not junk. If you want to make the smoking process an "experience" then a wood smoker is the way to go. An offset smoker can run anywhere from $150 to over $1000. If they are willing to go used, then something like craigs list or the marketplace on face book is a great way to pick up a nice smoker at a good price. Just realize, this can become as big an addiction as reefing.
     
  8. Maacc

    Maacc Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    First, it is not, by far the most expensive kamado by far. Second the cheapest out of the door is not always the least expensive.
    Third if you use it extensively you can easily save far more in really good and enjoyable meals compared to eating out to end up on the good money wise in short order.
     
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  9. Dual40IM

    Dual40IM Active Member Partner Member 2019

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    I'm with Greybeard, I love my pellet grill. We have the RecTec RT-680 and love it.
     
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  10. klm2500hd

    klm2500hd Member

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    I have an Oklahoma Joe, combo propane grill, smoker, charcoal grill, best of all worlds. Propane for quick weekday dinners, smoker and charcoal for when time is not a critical factor. Holds heat in well, both fuel types. This thing can reach 500F on propane in a minute, smoke a turkey only uses a few pieces of wood.
     
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  11. alton

    alton Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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  12. Deiblerj

    Deiblerj Active Member

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  13. shred5

    shred5 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I am looking at a pellet grill/smoker now for myself.
    They can hold temps very stable, almost like a oven.
    Most come with probes.
    They are more flexible than a smoker too and can be used as a grill.
    Some have a slide to make them open flame if you want to.
    They have a fan in them so they need some electricity. They are very even at cooking and can be more like a convection oven.
    They heat up almost as fast as a gas grill. You can have as much or as little smoke flavor as you want.

    They are just more versatile than other stuff out there.

    They can be had very reasonable to.. Pit boss and Z-grills can be had at pretty low prices.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019 at 9:41 AM
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  14. Greybeard

    Greybeard Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor

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    My Pit Boss is this one:
    https://pitboss-grills.com/Shop-Pit-Boss/Grills/wood-pellet/700sc-wood-pellet-grill

    List price, $699. I bought mine last July at Sam's Club, clearance price $499. Stopped into Sams a few weeks later, and found one on the shelf, in a torn up box, but the grill didn't look damaged... $349. Bought it immediatly. Ended up selling it to a friend.

    I later found out why Sam's was clearing out the Pit Boss grills... they've got their own 'Maker's Mark' branded pellet grills now. In compairison to the Pit Boss, it's a POS. Thin, painted metal, where the Pit Boss is much heavier gauge, and powder coated. Still, the Maker's Mark might be a good entry point for a pellet grill. Showing out of stock at my local Sam's, but listed at $249.
     
  15. jgraz

    jgraz Valuable Member NJRC Member

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    Weber Smokey Mountain
    I have three, and wouldn't hesitate to.buy a fourth. I use them all the time for just about everything. The 18" is perfect for most item, but brisket can take some creativity to fit in the beginning. I've gotten 9 racks of ribs on 1 cooker and once temps are dialed in it stays rock solid.

    They also have a 14" or 22" if you want smaller or larger
     
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  16. Billdogg

    Billdogg Active Member

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    I have the same one. I find it to be VERY easy to use. I have set the temperature on it exactly once (when I first got it a few years ago) You plug it in, and some water the the dish at the bottom and then add your wood chips of choice. My go-to for chips is ~80% cherry with some hickory or mesquite tossed in for a little extra. It is literally and set it and forget it smoker, and at least IMHO, for the novice or occasional user, a very safe bet.
     
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  17. ShawnSaucier

    ShawnSaucier Well-Known Member

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    It all depends on what you consider expensive. Also does she have any smoking experience at all?
    Pellet smokers can be very easy to use, not overly expensive to get into ($300-500 ish to start). Usually somewhat automated and a set and forget type situation. They usually run on electricity or gas. Many units run some type of app so you can monitor on your phone throughout the day. Usually electric but you can find gas units also but will still need an outlet to run.
    Upright smokers are usually cheaper ($150-350 ish)but a bit more finicky. A lot of people that have uprights do a lot of DIY mods to make them a bit more stable to retain their heat. These are very simplistic in design and materials. Depending on where you live, you could have issues using these year round. Wood used is usually in chip form, so you are constantly reloading throughout your smoking period. Your meats or products are above all of the smoking materials and flames. This can be limiting on what you can and can’t smoke in these units Usually gas or electric.
    Off Set smokers are usually the stereotypical looking “barrel” on its side unit with a small barrel connected to it. They do take up more space than the upright and more common AIO pellet smokers. These are a bit more expensive ($500 and up) but can have multiple uses. The main body can be set up as a regular grill. These type of smokers are considered “ offset” as in the smoke comes in from the side and you have a bit more control on how much heat is reaching your item you are smoking. These usually use chunky bits of wood but some have the option to add pellets with auto feeders. As you are using large pieces to smoke, you may get away with filling it just once. Usually charcoal or gas.
    The Big Green Egg/Kamodo I have not used but understand the general concept. The main body is thickly insulated allowing you to retain the heat very easily. It is set up like an upright smoker with your smoke and heat coming from below. But this is a unit that can be used as a grill also. They are expensive. Usually using pellets or chips for your smoke. So you will be refilling throughout your smoking period.
     
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  18. shred5

    shred5 Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Walmart has good deals on Pit boss. Probably not as good as your but they are pretty good starter grills:


    297.00
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Pit-Boss-340-Wood-Fired-Pellet-Grill/46716276

    on Sale 337.00
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Pit-Boss-700FB-Wood-Fired-Pellet-Grill-w-Flame-Broiler/52162941

    396.00
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Pit-Boss...-Fired-Pellet-Grill-w-Flame-Broiler/838778838

    497.00 for a pretty large one with Flame broil feature:

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Pit-Boss...Grill-w-Flame-Broiler-Cooking-Probe/793230399
     
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  19. crusso1993

    crusso1993 Valuable Member Partner Member 2019 Hospitality Award

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    My apologies as have no idea on a recommendation for a smoker. However, my good friend, @dantimdad, is a classically trained and schooled chef. He may be able to throw a suggestion, or two, into the mix.

    Whatever you go with please let us all know and good luck!
     
  20. dantimdad

    dantimdad Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor North Alabama Reef Club

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    Agreed on the pit boss. For the price they are pretty good.

    I use a very old (30 years old?) New Braunsfeld upright coffin style one that was one of the last welded plate steel ones they made.

    It has been transported many times and Lord only knows how much food has been prepared with it. :)

    If you can find one used, get it and repaint the outside.
     
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