smokers Can someone recommend a good smoker ?

I'm used to doing it freight train style where you stand in front of it and feed the beast keep a eye on the temp at all times love doing it this way, But want something that's more set and forget , I'm used to 6 to 15 hour cooks but by the time i'm done I'm usually to drunk to eat the old way lol . Would love to cook overnight with no worries . (Admin please move if you like just noticed I posted in the wrong section .)
 
I used the 22 WSM, this was yesterday. I recently started using this to regulate temp and its a game changer. Only used 1/2 bag of coal for this cook.
 
https://www.thermoworks.com/Billows
 
Pellet smokers are great and I just prefer real charcoal and wood hence the WSM for me
 
 
 

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stettoman

Extreme Member
JoynersHotPeppers said:
I used the 22 WSM, this was yesterday. I recently started using this to regulate temp and its a game changer. Only used 1/2 bag of coal for this cook.
 
https://www.thermoworks.com/Billows
 
Pellet smokers are great and I just prefer real charcoal and wood hence the WSM for me
 
 
 
Dayamn, Chis! That Billows looks the shit! And the price ain't that bad at all....
 

The Hot Pepper

Founder
Admin
The trick to pellet smokers is you buy the real hardwood pellets no fillers, not the compressed sawdust junk. Just an aside.
 
WSM is a good choice. So is a UDS (which you can build or buy).
 
This may be blasphemy, but I got my Pitboss pellet smoker last July and I love that little thing. It is the definition of "set it and forget it". Turn on, do a quick heat up, lower temp to desired level, add food, walk away, and return later for food.
 
My father in law said it was some of the best pork ribs he's ever had. Now, he could just be humoring me, but really, it makes pretty dang good smoked stuff.
 
My personal favorite, since I don't have to deal with coals and everything that requires, is to fire it up and smoke some burgers. Pop them on for and hour (30 minutes each side) and then sear. Delicious.
 
Also good for smoking salsa, too.
 
Gargoyle91 said:
I'm used to doing it freight train style where you stand in front of it and feed the beast keep a eye on the temp at all times love doing it this way, But want something that's more set and forget , I'm used to 6 to 15 hour cooks but by the time i'm done I'm usually to drunk to eat the old way lol .
I do this way too much, lol. (The drinking). I have a Weber Smokey Mtn, had one for years and love it. Pretty fuel efficient as long as it isnt a super windy day.

That said, I am buying a pellet grill soon. Just because they do work, good fuel is way easier to find than it used to be, and Ive been working a lot of overtime lately.

If I could only have one, Id go with the one that doesnt require a plug in, but that is just my opinion.
 

The Hot Pepper

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Good call. They take a little training to use but yeah once you get it supposedly easy. 
 

The Hot Pepper

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I've been looking into pellet myself. I like that the pellet is the fuel sources and the smoke. You just buy one thing. And you can get it on amazon, and charcoal you have to venture out to the store. Plus you need charcoal and wood. Consider these things. Also pellet used to be poo-pooed for not being able to grill. But GMG and Traeger now both offer models where the chamber will get to 500° for a sear. Indirect yes, but a sear. So no not a hard sear. But that works for me. Does it work for you? You can always have your Weber kettle for backyard grilling. If that is too many untis then maybe pellet is not for you. 
 
Gargoyle what are you thinking?
 

The Hot Pepper

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Nobody:
 
Me: You mean all I have to buy is this rabbit food looking stuff to have real smoked food? Count me in!
 
as far as set and forget.. almost any smoker can be set and forget, especially if you add a blower and a control system.
 
i started off on a gas grill (the original weber genesis.. that thing is at least as old as i am, no joke) with only one burner on for indirect heat and a woodchip pan above that. it worked, but babysitting it sucked. i was about to mod in a servo valve and control system, but then i realized that was stupid, and i should just buy or make an actual smoker.
there's no such thing as something that grills and smokes well.. unless it's expensive af.
 
then i made a UDS mounted on a shopping cart with a control system. by the time i made it, there were several commercially available control systems for bbq, and i decided that it was nice enough and for a low enough price that DIY controls were no longer appealing. not worth my time to make something of comparable quality. i got one from bbqguru. now several years later, the number of products available has probably tripled. even thermoworks makes one now lol.
 
since you can slap a controller on almost anything, you have to decide on the style of smoker you want.
 
start with choice of fuel:
 
stick burner... more traditional, possibly best flavor if done right. it's the most work though even with a controller. need to maintain coals and feed in wood as needed. there are some attempts at making this a little easier.. look at https://kbq.us/product/kbq-c-60-pit/
since you're talking about feeding the beast, i assume you were working a stick burner of some kind lol.
i'd love to have a nice, insulated, cabinet-style stick burner someday. 
 
charcoal... less work than stick burner, but the taste is not the same. in case it wasn't clear, my UDS burns charcoal (with chunks of wood mixed in for flavor).
a buddy of mine just got the 22" WSM, and i got to use it with him a couple times. it's nice. holds temp decently well without a controller if the weather isn't f'd up, but he plans to add one eventually.
 
pellets... i've never used one, so i won't shit talk it. honestly i'd love to borrow one to try. people love them because they're very easy to use, but word on the street is the smoke flavor is more subtle.
 
once you pick a fuel, then familiarize yourself with the types of designs available and their pros and cons in terms of fuel efficiency, evenness of temperature across the cooking surfaces, food capacity.. do you want a cabinet, offset, ...
 

The Hot Pepper

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sinensis said:
stick burner... more traditional, possibly best flavor if done right. it's the most work though even with a controller. need to maintain coals and feed in wood as needed. there are some attempts at making this a little easier.. look at https://kbq.us/product/kbq-c-60-pit/
since you're talking about feeding the beast, i assume you were working a stick burner of some kind lol.
i'd love to have a nice, insulated, cabinet-style stick burner someday.
 
I use a stick burner. Had it 12 yrs now. Still going strong, just bought new SS grates a few years ago after the CI rotted.
 
sinensis said:
pellets... i've never used one, so i won't shit talk it. honestly i'd love to borrow one to try. people love them because they're very easy to use, but word on the street is the smoke flavor is more subtle.
 
I'm fine with this! Why? I eat fish and veg these days. My butt and brisket days are over. I can smoke my salmon and get a nice sear on anything grilled. (I checked out some videos and burgers got a sear, and the temp gauge said 600. Old days was 400.) I like the ease and subtle smoke for delicate fish, also, great for smoking peppers. PEPPERS! So to me it's a bonus but I am still looking around. I actually like the idea of not having to buy charcoal and wood. Two heavy bags versus one bag of pellets which can be easily ordered and shipped. And I like the set-it-and-forget-it. If you want long cooks for large pieces of meat I would look at more options but also include pellet. But I don't do that anymore.
 
FWIW, I believe all of the Pitboss models have a slidable plate over the firebox that can be used for searing. It gets insanely hot over the firebox. My dad has the Lowe's exclusive model that has a built in rod external to the smoker that can slid the metal plating out of the way. Lots of stuff online though for using a cleaning rod for a rife and a few extra bits to make your own version.
 
I can open mine up, let the firepot get going well and use it to char peppers better than my gas grill. The only downside is its a smaller area, but I use it to fire roast tomatoes and tomatillos for salsa, fire roast peppers, and sear steaks or burgers after smoking them.
 
One consideration, brand to brand, is the auger length and motor power. I know some people complain about the Pitboss motor giving up eventually, but that hasn't been a problem for me or my dad so far. IIRC, the Traeger motor is a bit more sturdy and exerts greater force on the auger (so a pellet won't accidentally jam the auger). However, at about 1/2 the price of a Traeger, I find that to be acceptable.
 
I can't speak for temperature stability in the Traeger, but the thermometer in the Pitboss does mean you are swinging temp quite a bit overall. If I set to 225, It goes down to around 215-220 and then rises up to around 230-235. So, swings happen, but I think they are perfectly acceptable.
 
Edit to add: the smoke flavor can be lighter, but I don't think that's a demerit. I can't stand when someone smokes the hell out of the meat. Of course, you can use heavier smoke flavors like mesquite to account for the deficit. That said, some nice applewood pellets did a fine job on a butt the last time I did one of those.
 
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