Smoker - what to purchase?

Food - recipes, reviews, and discussion
Message
Author
MitchTallan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2955
Joined: June 3rd, 2009, 10:17 am

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#51 Post by MitchTallan » April 16th, 2020, 7:06 am

RyanC wrote:
April 14th, 2020, 8:15 am
Good thread. I have a BGE that I love but am thinking of taking the next step and also getting a real offset smoker -- something like Yoder or Shirley makes.
Besides my previous comments which were in response to your post, may I suggest you watch or help someone clean up their reverse flow offset after a smoke?
Most designs involve a sloping sheet of metal to collect the melting fat. You have to remove this sheet of metal and scrape out the collected congealed fat. Not pretty or fun.
Insulated verticals have the advantage of allowing the user to just place an aluminum foil type pan under the meat and easily dispose of the fat.
I have never had to scrape out collected congealed fat once after at least 60 smokes with my insulated vertical.

User avatar
Todd F r e n c h
Site Admin
<dfn>Site Admin</dfn>
Posts: 39861
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 8:46 am
Location: San Clemente, CA

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#52 Post by Todd F r e n c h » April 16th, 2020, 8:02 am

I decided to go with the same one Phil Franks has, the Camp Chef SmokePro SG24, a pellet smoker, as the price was fantastic at Dick's Sporting Goods, only $449.98 (that extra $50 off ended yesterday - https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p/ca ... trplltxcfp ), and eventually will add the Sidekick. I decided I'm too much of a control freak to 'set it and forget it' but the SmokePro comes with two probes and is programmable, so if I choose to get a wifi probe system it will be easy to do so.

https://amazingribs.com/smoker/camp-che ... ill-review

Amazing Ribs reviews really liked it, and while my first choice was the Woodwind, the price on the SmokePro drew me in, particularly since this will be my first smoker. While electric drew me in, most of the info I read on Amazing Ribs pushed me toward pellet grills. Ordered some glue-free pellets, as well :)

Thanks for all the amazing info here. I skipped around often based on the recommendations, but, as is often the case for me, I go back to my first choice. cheesehead
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP) (and have a "penchant for gossip" -KBI)

User avatar
Scott G r u n e r
Posts: 3839
Joined: June 6th, 2009, 9:03 pm
Location: Seattleish

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#53 Post by Scott G r u n e r » April 16th, 2020, 8:06 am

Congrats Todd! Share pics of your first smoke
//Cynic

User avatar
Todd F r e n c h
Site Admin
<dfn>Site Admin</dfn>
Posts: 39861
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 8:46 am
Location: San Clemente, CA

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#54 Post by Todd F r e n c h » April 16th, 2020, 8:08 am

Scott G r u n e r wrote:
April 16th, 2020, 8:06 am
Congrats Todd! Share pics of your first smoke
It's gonna be Flannery hangers, let me assure you of that! Next will be chicken thighs, and I'm gonna make a white bbq sauce that I had when in Alabama last year - those smoked thighs blew my little mind
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP) (and have a "penchant for gossip" -KBI)

User avatar
Todd F r e n c h
Site Admin
<dfn>Site Admin</dfn>
Posts: 39861
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 8:46 am
Location: San Clemente, CA

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#55 Post by Todd F r e n c h » April 19th, 2020, 8:53 am

Smoked some Flannery hangers and some veggies last night, along with a piece of salmon for my daughter. While I loved the flavor of the hangers, I prefer grilling, as it’s still so juicy that way. I smoked at only 250 degrees so next time I’ll amp it up to 350, and use direct heat. The low-temp smoked hangers looked gorgeous (gotta love what smoking does to beef, color-wise) and were flavorful, but both Braydn and I preferred the juiciness of a grilled piece instead. I figure ‘grilling’ on the smoker should be the perfect combo of juiciness and smoky flavor. This unit supposedly gets to 500 but I’ll do 350-375 instead.

I loved the texture of the vegetables, but at low temperature they are exposed to a lot of smoke, so the marinade was a little overwhelmed. Salmon was denser and less juicy, again, low temperature smoking. I think all three of these dishes would be better at 350 degrees.

Today I’ll be trying smoked chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, that I brined yesterday than dry-rubbed, left in the fridge overnight. Later in the week will be ribs, but since we like our ribs juicy, might have to do a slow roast in a pan with some water/onions/beer first, finish on the smoker. Recommendations welcome on that!
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP) (and have a "penchant for gossip" -KBI)

User avatar
ERPark
Posts: 3447
Joined: March 7th, 2015, 6:48 am

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#56 Post by ERPark » April 19th, 2020, 10:30 am

Todd, how long did you have the hangers on your smoker for?

For steaks (predominantly NY and ribeye, with an occasional Denver cut if I find a nicely well marbled piece), I use my Traeger as a reverse sear. I’ll keep it on the smoke setting, which will be as low as 125-130 degrees when temps are cooler, and 150-160 degrees if it’s a warm day. Smoke the proteins for 1.5 to 4 hours, depending on thickness. Then heat up a cast iron on the stove at high heat, give it a good sear (usually 30 seconds to 3 minutes per side, again depending on thickness), cover with foil and let it rest. The result is crust, smoky flavor and juiciness.

We always do whole brown mushrooms at the same time in the Traeger, tossed with salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil beforehand. Bell peppers, red onions, whole green onions and asparagus often show up, as well.
GEN3

User avatar
Todd F r e n c h
Site Admin
<dfn>Site Admin</dfn>
Posts: 39861
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 8:46 am
Location: San Clemente, CA

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#57 Post by Todd F r e n c h » April 19th, 2020, 11:09 am

ERPark wrote:
April 19th, 2020, 10:30 am
Todd, how long did you have the hangers on your smoker for?

For steaks (predominantly NY and ribeye, with an occasional Denver cut if I find a nicely well marbled piece), I use my Traeger as a reverse sear. I’ll keep it on the smoke setting, which will be as low as 125-130 degrees when temps are cooler, and 150-160 degrees if it’s a warm day. Smoke the proteins for 1.5 to 4 hours, depending on thickness. Then heat up a cast iron on the stove at high heat, give it a good sear (usually 30 seconds to 3 minutes per side, again depending on thickness), cover with foil and let it rest. The result is crust, smoky flavor and juiciness.

We always do whole brown mushrooms at the same time in the Traeger, tossed with salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil beforehand. Bell peppers, red onions, whole green onions and asparagus often show up, as well.
30 minutes. With other cuts from Flannery I do reverse sear, but on 225-250 in the oven, take out around 115 degrees, sear on grill. I’m amazed you use such a low temperature - 125-130 degrees is like Dallas on a hot day lol. Might try the smoker as the first step for reverse sear, but not sure I want to try the temperature that low!

I did bell peppers, red onions, yellow and green zucchini, sweet potato, mushrooms, used a balsamic and garlic glaze
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP) (and have a "penchant for gossip" -KBI)

User avatar
ERPark
Posts: 3447
Joined: March 7th, 2015, 6:48 am

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#58 Post by ERPark » April 19th, 2020, 12:09 pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote:
April 19th, 2020, 11:09 am
ERPark wrote:
April 19th, 2020, 10:30 am
Todd, how long did you have the hangers on your smoker for?

For steaks (predominantly NY and ribeye, with an occasional Denver cut if I find a nicely well marbled piece), I use my Traeger as a reverse sear. I’ll keep it on the smoke setting, which will be as low as 125-130 degrees when temps are cooler, and 150-160 degrees if it’s a warm day. Smoke the proteins for 1.5 to 4 hours, depending on thickness. Then heat up a cast iron on the stove at high heat, give it a good sear (usually 30 seconds to 3 minutes per side, again depending on thickness), cover with foil and let it rest. The result is crust, smoky flavor and juiciness.

We always do whole brown mushrooms at the same time in the Traeger, tossed with salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil beforehand. Bell peppers, red onions, whole green onions and asparagus often show up, as well.
30 minutes. With other cuts from Flannery I do reverse sear, but on 225-250 in the oven, take out around 115 degrees, sear on grill. I’m amazed you use such a low temperature - 125-130 degrees is like Dallas on a hot day lol. Might try the smoker as the first step for reverse sear, but not sure I want to try the temperature that low!

I did bell peppers, red onions, yellow and green zucchini, sweet potato, mushrooms, used a balsamic and garlic glaze
For the veggies, I’d KIS (keep it simple) with the seasonings. The smoke really gives it a wonderful flavor (if like most folks, you like smoky notes). Perhaps do a dipping sauce or oil, for folks who really want the party in their mouth.

Smoking at that low of a temp for steaks isn’t dramatically different than doing a sous vide IMO. And when you’re doing things like smoking homemade bacon, or a 20+ hour packer brisket, then having that low of a consistent temp setting really comes in handy!
GEN3

User avatar
Todd F r e n c h
Site Admin
<dfn>Site Admin</dfn>
Posts: 39861
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 8:46 am
Location: San Clemente, CA

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#59 Post by Todd F r e n c h » April 20th, 2020, 9:47 am

Smoked boneless skinless chicken breasts were a hit - really like tenderness. They took longer than expected, but very worth it. While I used a brine, I didn't tenderize/pound them at all as I figured that would open up a lot of pores which would just soak up smoke
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP) (and have a "penchant for gossip" -KBI)

User avatar
Robert M yers
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3018
Joined: March 10th, 2010, 8:24 pm
Location: Cleveland

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#60 Post by Robert M yers » April 24th, 2020, 6:49 am

As someone who has wanted a smoker for years, This thread has thoroughly only managed to confuse me more.

If anybody has the time on their hands, would you mind taking a step back from individual smoker recs and give a short tutorial on dedicated smoker types. (BGE folks, we know that thing can Devil Eggs if you put in the time champagne.gif )

Fuel sources, lack of smoke rings? Will my meat be legit on a Chinese smoker or will the Deep South kick me back to Yankee land :)

MitchTallan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2955
Joined: June 3rd, 2009, 10:17 am

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#61 Post by MitchTallan » April 24th, 2020, 10:23 am

Robert M yers wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 6:49 am
As someone who has wanted a smoker for years, This thread has thoroughly only managed to confuse me more.

If anybody has the time on their hands, would you mind taking a step back from individual smoker recs and give a short tutorial on dedicated smoker types. (BGE folks, we know that thing can Devil Eggs if you put in the time champagne.gif )

Fuel sources, lack of smoke rings? Will my meat be legit on a Chinese smoker or will the Deep South kick me back to Yankee land :)
I will take a shot.
I will skip the ancient practice of simply placing meat over a fire and I will skip the primitive and similar practice of Santa Barbara tri tip that remains the same today.
Things started out originally with masonry built pits. That is how "pit" got it's name-they more or less were masonry pits with the wood placed below and to the side of the meat placed on a raised grill with a cover on top.
These types of pits are still in use today, mostly I believe in the Piedmont region of North Carolina but elsewhere too.
The configurations of these pits evolved over time to include offset fire chambers from the cooking chamber and rotisserie style rotating shelves and any number of other variations still built with cinder block or other masonry.
Then came the conversion of oil tanks into smokers which has evolved into the stick burners of today. You've seen the cheapie versions at hardware stores and Costco. The cheap versions use rather thin steel plate and the simplest ones don't even have a separate fire box. I started off with one of these. The fancy ones have been named already-Jambo, Lang, Shirley, Yoders, Meadow Creek, and no less than fifty others. Aaron Franklin famously builds his own from Texas oil drums. "Stick burner" means it is meant to burn wood. Splits of small logs. Aaron Franklins are so huge, they burn whole logs though splits burn cleaner. There are variations in design. Reverse flow is a subset of stick burners. There are vertical versions. There are trailer versions and backyard (fixed placement) versions. They come in all sizes and levels of craftmanship. Some have insulated fire boxes (I believe that Jamie Geer of Jambo clams to have "invented" the insulated firebox.
Next we should talk about cabinet style smokers. These are built from two layers of thinner steel with insulation in between and they too come in all kind of variations. Stumps to me is the quintessential cabinet style smoker, Humphreys is another. They generally are designed to burn lump coal with small wood splits or chunks added for smoke. Again, there are countless variations of the same theme. Some have rotisseries, some have gravity fed charcoal or lump chutes, some are designed to work with computerized air flow regulation to keep temps constant.
From there, things drop off to the outliers.
I will skip the Komodo style since I think you asked to do so.
There are the Ugly Drum Smokers almost always called UDS. Just google UDS smoker and you will find all the info you need. Crude, cheap, but very effective and hobbyists love them.
And then we come to pellets. I am a snob. I think pellets are for rabbits. As in rabbit poop. Many call them "pellet poopers". They work. That is all I have to say.
Does this help? Hope so.
It far from covers every type of smoker.
I was trying to find a variation of a rotisserie stick burner which had a fire chamber underneath and running the length of the cook chamber called "Barrow Smokers" but they must have gone out of business. A local restaurant used one and got great results. But in the process, speaking of Aaron Franklin, I found this https://franklinbbqpits.com/ The cynic would say Aaron is cashing in, but I don't know, I am tempted.

User avatar
William Segui
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2674
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 12:36 pm

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#62 Post by William Segui » April 24th, 2020, 12:00 pm

cookshack

MitchTallan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2955
Joined: June 3rd, 2009, 10:17 am

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#63 Post by MitchTallan » April 24th, 2020, 12:51 pm

Awww Will.....

User avatar
Robert M yers
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3018
Joined: March 10th, 2010, 8:24 pm
Location: Cleveland

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#64 Post by Robert M yers » April 24th, 2020, 2:31 pm

MitchTallan wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 12:51 pm
Awww Will.....
[rofl.gif]
Thanks for taking the shot at it Mitch!

MitchTallan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2955
Joined: June 3rd, 2009, 10:17 am

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#65 Post by MitchTallan » April 24th, 2020, 4:42 pm

Found the other smoker that always interested me; Marrow, not "Barrow".
http://www.marrowgrills.com/page04.html
Rotisserie. Reasonably priced.

Jason Crawford
Posts: 226
Joined: January 16th, 2013, 6:59 pm

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#66 Post by Jason Crawford » April 24th, 2020, 4:56 pm

Born in Texas. Raised in the Carolinas. Educated in Memphis. Best friend lives in St. Louis.

No wood, no good.

MitchTallan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2955
Joined: June 3rd, 2009, 10:17 am

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#67 Post by MitchTallan » April 24th, 2020, 5:09 pm

Jason Crawford wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 4:56 pm
Born in Texas. Raised in the Carolinas. Educated in Memphis. Best friend lives in St. Louis.

No wood, no good.
Amen. Baruch ha-Shem.

User avatar
Robert M yers
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3018
Joined: March 10th, 2010, 8:24 pm
Location: Cleveland

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#68 Post by Robert M yers » April 24th, 2020, 6:08 pm

Is there anything in between “cheating” and full on old school that can make life easier? Are pellets the middle ground? Is there a wood burner that doesn’t require tweaking every 20 minutes?

GregP
Posts: 616
Joined: October 15th, 2018, 4:59 pm

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#69 Post by GregP » April 24th, 2020, 10:10 pm

Robert M yers wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 6:08 pm
Is there anything in between “cheating” and full on old school that can make life easier? Are pellets the middle ground? Is there a wood burner that doesn’t require tweaking every 20 minutes?
COOKSHAK
G r e g P i a t i g o r s k i
I T B - i s k a r a n u w i n e

User avatar
Robert M yers
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3018
Joined: March 10th, 2010, 8:24 pm
Location: Cleveland

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#70 Post by Robert M yers » April 25th, 2020, 1:33 am

Does anybody have thoughts about the Pit Barrel Cooker? Almost seems too good to be true?

https://amazingribs.com/smoker/pit-barrel-cooker-review

User avatar
dcornutt
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 10398
Joined: February 12th, 2009, 4:19 pm

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#71 Post by dcornutt » April 25th, 2020, 2:53 am

If you are going to do steaks on it, nothing beats the big green egg. It is the best. It smokes great too. You can get an attachment that will control the airflow with a small processor. It keeps amazingly consistent temperatures. Hands down it is the best for those who want to smoke and grill IMHO.

If you want a smoker that can be used to occasionally do other things, I have to tell you that my RecTec has been primo. I use what is called the perfect mix pellets. Apple,Cherry,Maple and Hickory. It is computer controlled through two integrated temperature probes. The information comes to your computer, phone, pad etc. You can make changes there. I am smoking a brisket right now. 15 lb Painted Hills prepped in the Franklin manner with salt and pepper. I add a little garlic and sweet paprika. They come out perfect every time and the device is easy to clean. It is not cheap but it is cheaper than Yoder etc. The company is out of Augusta, GA. I have "The Bull". They have a new one. It is more expensive but it has a massive smoking area. You can smoke a whole side of beef on the thing.

I have the RT 700. The big boy is the BFG. RT 2500BFG. It is a dual stack and GIGANTIC. https://www.rectecgrills.com/grills These put Traeger to shame. Much better construction. All stainless. Only thing close is the MAK 2 star which is more expensive.

As an aside, I live next to a national forest. I can't really leave an open fire unattended even on my drive pad. Therefore, no Big Green Egg to smoke. Too much risk. This pellet grill is electric and has some safety features that keep it from having problems. If a flame happens in the smoke pot, it seems to cut off to prevent a larger problem. I can't recommend this enough.
DON Cornutt

"Before you eat or drink anything, carefully consider with whom you eat or drink rather than what you
eat or drink,because eating without a friend is the life of the lion or the wolf." Epicurius

MitchTallan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2955
Joined: June 3rd, 2009, 10:17 am

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#72 Post by MitchTallan » April 27th, 2020, 6:10 am

I am sorry to sound like a broken record but pellet burners are like fake fireplaces.
I am serious as can be.
They both emulate the real deal and they are both far more convenient and easy to use.
They both accomplish the same result if the only goal is a half-way decent result.
Why stop at a pellet burner if that is all you want? You can stick your meat in a large pot with some smoke chips in aluminum foil and smoke indoors!
For many of us, Q is a process. The process is far more therapeutic, relaxing, and and rewarding than the meat placed on the table. The meat placed on the table is a symbol of all that came before it.
Another analogy would be fly-fishing. Anyone who has stalked fish, waded into the water, experienced the graceful rhythm of proper casting technique, landed the fly where it was intended to go and set the hook knows that the rainbow or cut-throat jumping and thrashing is the symbol of your efforts and achievements and not the beginning of the goal.
When fly fishing, the enthusiast gets to experience the tranquility of the surroundings and a thousand other stimuli that are separate and distinct from whether there is even a rise, let alone a trout brought in.
And fly fishing is damned hard work, particularly in rock strewn uneven and slippery creeks like those in the mountains.
A pellet burner is like landing a farm-raised trout from a tank in a convention center during an outdoorsman's event.
Disclaimer-I am not sure there is a single hobby known to mankind that gives rise to such strong feelings and opinions as BBQ. So forgive me please for mine.

Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow
Posts: 6412
Joined: April 29th, 2010, 1:36 pm

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#73 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » April 27th, 2020, 9:39 am

People, above, mention Cookshack; I have had two Smokin' Tex machines. Essentially, they are a small refrigerator looking cabinet with a heating element and box to put whatever wood you want (as long as it fits, which is easy to buy on Ebay). Couldn't be simpler. They have a thermostat of 0-250 degrees. I don't know the specs of the pellet ones, but they are, to me, highly unappealing: the worst of many worlds. Suspect , processed wood compressed into pellets (making the wood's character on a food somewhat anonymous; I use various different hardwoods and fruitwoods, depending on the protein, including cold smoking). Then , just like having to buy one brand of anything, you are beholden to the manufacturer of the pellets. If they go out of business, you need an alternative source of fuel. If not, they control your "market".

Just wanted to make sure that got communicated as a supplement to Mitch's summary. To my knowledge, none of us are capable or intrested in professional style contraptions, but in simplicity and purity. And, maintenance and space. All these concerns point to a Smokin Tex/
Cookshack type of apparatus: choose and buy your own wood; control the temperature; compact; easy to clean; electric power source; capably of cold smoking (like smoked salmon, which I do all the time). I've had two over the last 16 years...and they have changed my life...cooking and eating wise.

Now, if you have a ranch or a trailer on your 4x4 to pull the drum..and stack huge pieces of hickory...and enter competitions or want to open a bbq place....that's different, though many barbecue places use larger versions of the Smokin Tex/Cookshack types...surprisingly. The best place, IMO, in the Philadelphia suburbs uses nothing else and it is packed all the time.

MitchTallan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2955
Joined: June 3rd, 2009, 10:17 am

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#74 Post by MitchTallan » April 27th, 2020, 10:25 am

I will be the first to admit that my opinion is that of a BBQ snob.
There is a sticky on the BBQ-Brethren site entitled "Getting Snobbish on our BBQ" that is worth a look-the message is that it is all-too-easy to lose one's perspective.
Yesterday I used my BGE XL to smoke three racks of ribs.
It rained all day yesterday where I am in Central Ohio.
Even though I could not sit outside and enjoy the cook, I had one of my best rib cooks ever. Perfect tug, beautiful smoke ring, found a rub and mop combo that beat all previous efforts...
I would not, and likely could not have done that with a stick burner. My 270 cabinet style smoker has never been as effective with ribs as my BGE.
So my point to all this is that I am huge fan of the BGE and I recognize that in reality there is no best smoker for all conditions and all scenarios.

J. Rock
Posts: 719
Joined: March 11th, 2019, 4:53 pm
Location: The [West] Valley

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#75 Post by J. Rock » April 27th, 2020, 12:37 pm

This is a great thread! I'm really interested in adding a smoker or grill that can smoke to my tool kit, but I know very little about smoking food. I've seen some criticism that some smokers (e.g., electric) don't reach high enough heat for somethings. Can you / does it make sense to combine cooking methods like cast iron for searing or oven for higher temp roasting with smoking? Will a lower max temp limit me a lot when it comes to smoking?

I'm interested in something that's decently easy/convenient (as I won't usually want to sit by the smoker all day) and very safe (since I live in a canyon with some high winds and higher risk of wildfires); however, I don't want to get something can't do much.
J o r d a n

User avatar
ClarkstonMark
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1737
Joined: December 19th, 2009, 12:13 pm
Location: Detroit

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#76 Post by ClarkstonMark » April 27th, 2020, 2:23 pm

MitchTallan wrote:
April 27th, 2020, 6:10 am
Disclaimer-I am not sure there is a single hobby known to mankind that gives rise to such strong feelings and opinions as BBQ. So forgive me please for mine.
Well, I don't know, fly fishing maybe?
and maybe the WB Politics forum ...
[cheers.gif]
Mark Cronmiller
White Lake, MI

GregP
Posts: 616
Joined: October 15th, 2018, 4:59 pm

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#77 Post by GregP » April 27th, 2020, 2:26 pm

J. Rock wrote:
April 27th, 2020, 12:37 pm
This is a great thread! I'm really interested in adding a smoker or grill that can smoke to my tool kit, but I know very little about smoking food. I've seen some criticism that some smokers (e.g., electric) don't reach high enough heat for somethings. Can you / does it make sense to combine cooking methods like cast iron for searing or oven for higher temp roasting with smoking? Will a lower max temp limit me a lot when it comes to smoking?

I'm interested in something that's decently easy/convenient (as I won't usually want to sit by the smoker all day) and very safe (since I live in a canyon with some high winds and higher risk of wildfires); however, I don't want to get something can't do much.
Electric smokers, and I have a Cookshak for many years now, usually go up to 250F. The only thing it means is that you may need to cook something for a longer period of time, no biggie since its electric with a set and forget process. Sure, I sometimes want higher temps, but mainly if one is smoking an entire chicken, let's say, and wants the skin to crisp up. Again, no issue, since one can smoke it and then finish it on a grill, one more step in the process, but no big deal from where I stand. For pretty much anything else 250F is high enough, I rarely venture outside 200-220F for any meat/fish.

Just smoked a few skin on duck breasts, 45 minutes at 230F. We then finish them on a frying pan, skin side down, in any case, at dinner time, though I seriously doubt a wood smoker would be used differently or you end up with overcooked meat. So, really, a bit of a change in how one does things, but Cookshack and its copies do a great job with minimal effort. And have been winning pro competitions for years now, never mind being compact enough to be used in restaurant kitchens, to boot.

I get some wanting to "mess with" during cooking process, but some of us simply do not have the time to begin with, thus set it and forget it bullet proof method electrics provide. Yes, I am looking at a vertical off-set smoker, but really only for larger quantity whole fish cold/hot smoking where I want to hang them vertically for a professional look once done. That's it, I cannot see any other reason one would want such a smoker, well, unless one does entire side of animal and real estate is required (the only "negative" to small electric smokers, IMO). But that is my need, and it is different than others'.

Buy a Cookshak, USA made, bulletproof in its use, allows YOUR choice of wood (I usually stick with fruit ones, apple and cherry), and only requires an outlet. No need to keep insulation in good shape as many wood smokers require, nor replacing it, no need to clean much, no time to set up, and no baby sitting.

If you simply want great results with little fuss, then electric unit is more than fine. If you are looking for a "process" and have the time, then wood smoker. Your decision, and how high electrics go is not really an issue with 250F being "high enough" for almost anything you'd want to smoke. You may not get that "smoke ring" some crave, but if you're not in pro competitions the only thing that matters is taste, and you won't be able to tell an electric smoker product versus wood smoker in a blind side by side, trust me on that.
G r e g P i a t i g o r s k i
I T B - i s k a r a n u w i n e

User avatar
T. Altmayer
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4521
Joined: February 14th, 2009, 3:37 pm

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#78 Post by T. Altmayer » April 28th, 2020, 8:05 am

MitchTallan wrote:
April 27th, 2020, 10:25 am
I will be the first to admit that my opinion is that of a BBQ snob.
There is a sticky on the BBQ-Brethren site entitled "Getting Snobbish on our BBQ" that is worth a look-the message is that it is all-too-easy to lose one's perspective.
Yesterday I used my BGE XL to smoke three racks of ribs.
It rained all day yesterday where I am in Central Ohio.
Even though I could not sit outside and enjoy the cook, I had one of my best rib cooks ever. Perfect tug, beautiful smoke ring, found a rub and mop combo that beat all previous efforts...
I would not, and likely could not have done that with a stick burner. My 270 cabinet style smoker has never been as effective with ribs as my BGE.
So my point to all this is that I am huge fan of the BGE and I recognize that in reality there is no best smoker for all conditions and all scenarios.
Mitch, what do you use in you BGE for fuel?
Tom

MitchTallan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2955
Joined: June 3rd, 2009, 10:17 am

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#79 Post by MitchTallan » April 28th, 2020, 9:32 am

I use lump only, and my favorite lump by far is called "Clay Hill" and afaik can only be purchased from this outfit, where I also bought my 270 https://mdbbqservices.com/product/clay- ... -charcoal/ The Clay Hill is produced from a local guy to Mason Dixon and he has access to multiple woods (maple, cherry, hickory, ash, apple, among others) made in his own retort just miles away from the MD store.
Twice I brought a large van and stocked the van floor to ceiling with as many bags as I could fit and drove the six hours from central Ohio to Mason Dixon (out in what is truly the sticks) and back just for the Clay Hill.
Second best imho is of all things, BGE brand which we all know is made for them by Royal Oak but is a premium version (though some debate that and claim it is identical). I used to use a brand called "Rockwood" but I found it only so-so and hard to find.
This database is helpful http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lumprankdata.htm?name

Does it all really make a difference? My humble op is yes and no. You can't argue with the competition winner quoted here
https://amazingribs.com/more-technique- ... al-is-made "Heat is heat" and "flavor comes from the wood" is undeniably true. But what if the lump is made from left over residential treated hardwood (true in many cases) and other junk or chemically treated wood? And what if it does not burn evenly or burn well? Without a doubt, the best bang for the buck-imho-is Royal Oak in the bright orange-red bag that the big box hardware stores often sell for rock bottom prices.

J. Rock
Posts: 719
Joined: March 11th, 2019, 4:53 pm
Location: The [West] Valley

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#80 Post by J. Rock » April 28th, 2020, 10:30 am

I'm currently leaning towards the Grilla Chimp. I'm thinking a pellet grill seems like the best balance of quality cooking, versatility, and convenience. The Chimp in particular appeals to me due to the value, my family currently only consisting of 2 people, and the fact that I can easily fit it on the balcony outside of my kitchen (my back yard is a level above my kitchen since my house is built into a hill). If anyone has any opinions on this one way or another, I'm happy to hear them.
J o r d a n

User avatar
RyanC
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3666
Joined: June 2nd, 2009, 4:20 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#81 Post by RyanC » April 28th, 2020, 12:14 pm

MitchTallan wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 9:32 am
I use lump only, and my favorite lump by far is called "Clay Hill" and afaik can only be purchased from this outfit, where I also bought my 270 https://mdbbqservices.com/product/clay- ... -charcoal/ The Clay Hill is produced from a local guy to Mason Dixon and he has access to multiple woods (maple, cherry, hickory, ash, apple, among others) made in his own retort just miles away from the MD store.
Twice I brought a large van and stocked the van floor to ceiling with as many bags as I could fit and drove the six hours from central Ohio to Mason Dixon (out in what is truly the sticks) and back just for the Clay Hill.
Second best imho is of all things, BGE brand which we all know is made for them by Royal Oak but is a premium version (though some debate that and claim it is identical). I used to use a brand called "Rockwood" but I found it only so-so and hard to find.
This database is helpful http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lumprankdata.htm?name

Does it all really make a difference? My humble op is yes and no. You can't argue with the competition winner quoted here
https://amazingribs.com/more-technique- ... al-is-made "Heat is heat" and "flavor comes from the wood" is undeniably true. But what if the lump is made from left over residential treated hardwood (true in many cases) and other junk or chemically treated wood? And what if it does not burn evenly or burn well? Without a doubt, the best bang for the buck-imho-is Royal Oak in the bright orange-red bag that the big box hardware stores often sell for rock bottom prices.
I’ve had great results with the BGE brand
C@ughey

User avatar
William Segui
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2674
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 12:36 pm

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#82 Post by William Segui » April 28th, 2020, 12:19 pm

MitchTallan wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 12:51 pm
Awww Will.....
I have a BGE but no time. I grabbed a Cookshack off CL a few years ago and it has been great. 90% of the result for 10% of the effort.

User avatar
G. Bienstock
Posts: 2735
Joined: December 29th, 2009, 6:32 pm
Location: Reno, NV

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#83 Post by G. Bienstock » April 29th, 2020, 2:50 pm

I use only Royal Oak. Sometimes there are rocks, not fully charred pieces, bark and oversize chunks that need reducing. Despite that I get excellent results and the price and availability are right.
Glenn

Positive Rastaman Vibration

ITB 1999-2005

GregP
Posts: 616
Joined: October 15th, 2018, 4:59 pm

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#84 Post by GregP » April 29th, 2020, 4:33 pm

William Segui wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 12:19 pm
I have a BGE but no time. I grabbed a Cookshack off CL a few years ago and it has been great. 90% of the result for 10% of the effort.
Will, just curious, what is the 10% you are "missing" with Cookshack?
G r e g P i a t i g o r s k i
I T B - i s k a r a n u w i n e

User avatar
William Segui
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2674
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 12:36 pm

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#85 Post by William Segui » April 29th, 2020, 4:41 pm

GregP wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 4:33 pm
William Segui wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 12:19 pm
I have a BGE but no time. I grabbed a Cookshack off CL a few years ago and it has been great. 90% of the result for 10% of the effort.
Will, just curious, what is the 10% you are "missing" with Cookshack?
I was actually quoting someone from another board, so I can't take full credit/blame. I've never been able to get pro-level bark on my briskets, nor do I get to sit outside and drink beer for 14 hours with a 'got to watch the temp' excuse.

User avatar
Robert M yers
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3018
Joined: March 10th, 2010, 8:24 pm
Location: Cleveland

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#86 Post by Robert M yers » April 29th, 2020, 7:02 pm

Robert M yers wrote:
April 25th, 2020, 1:33 am
Does anybody have thoughts about the Pit Barrel Cooker? Almost seems too good to be true?

https://amazingribs.com/smoker/pit-barrel-cooker-review
I’m about to pull the trigger on one of these. Cheap, good review, and actually available locally. I’m off of work for a week so I need something to do. Has anybody seen one in action?

GregP
Posts: 616
Joined: October 15th, 2018, 4:59 pm

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#87 Post by GregP » April 29th, 2020, 11:44 pm

William Segui wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 4:41 pm
GregP wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 4:33 pm
William Segui wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 12:19 pm
I have a BGE but no time. I grabbed a Cookshack off CL a few years ago and it has been great. 90% of the result for 10% of the effort.
Will, just curious, what is the 10% you are "missing" with Cookshack?
I was actually quoting someone from another board, so I can't take full credit/blame. I've never been able to get pro-level bark on my briskets, nor do I get to sit outside and drink beer for 14 hours with a 'got to watch the temp' excuse.
Sure, makes sense, I mentioned bark above. But I also dismiss anyone who infers that TASTE wise they would be able to tell the difference between their high falluting setups against Cookshack. Bark means absolutely nothing outside of competition circles, and TBH, have no idea why it matters even there. We had a GM from the Strip restaurant over for dinner twice in the past 3 weeks, he is now asking for recipes to implement once they re-open. "Lowly" Cookshack.

I'll reach out when Napa re-opens, will bring some Cookshack goodness.
G r e g P i a t i g o r s k i
I T B - i s k a r a n u w i n e

MitchTallan
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2955
Joined: June 3rd, 2009, 10:17 am

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#88 Post by MitchTallan » April 30th, 2020, 6:04 am

Bark matters on brisket just as a seared crust matters on a good steak. It adds many things-unami, overall flavor, and contrasting texture chiefly.
Despite the myths to the contrary, science has proved that rubs do not penetrate the meat. The crust carries the flavor of the rub, even if it is only salt and pepper a la Aaron Franklin.
There is a continuum between real Texas style brisket and simple pot roast.
The same is true as to achieving the right level of collagen break-down; a lot of BBQ'rs make the mistake of keeping it wrapped too long and steaming the crap out of it until it is crumbly when sliced.
That is pot roast, not brisket.
If the slice cuts easily without breaking apart and will bend when draped over an extended finger without breaking, you have hit the mark.
This is not a mere parlor trick; it corresponds with the meat being extremely tender but still having the proper texture and tug.

Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow
Posts: 6412
Joined: April 29th, 2010, 1:36 pm

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#89 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » April 30th, 2020, 12:32 pm

William Segui wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 4:41 pm
GregP wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 4:33 pm
William Segui wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 12:19 pm
I have a BGE but no time. I grabbed a Cookshack off CL a few years ago and it has been great. 90% of the result for 10% of the effort.
Will, just curious, what is the 10% you are "missing" with Cookshack?
I was actually quoting someone from another board, so I can't take full credit/blame. I've never been able to get pro-level bark on my briskets, nor do I get to sit outside and drink beer for 14 hours with a 'got to watch the temp' excuse.
Earlier this year, I was eating lunch at what I consider to be the Philadelphia suburbs' best BBQ restaurant...great brisket. The owner showed me his equipment...surprisingly, Cook Shack type smokers...large. He told me with these electric smokers, he smokes them fat side down to get a better bark..and burnt ends. He sold me a raw brisket and told me to try it....and it was noticeably barkier....FWIW.

J. Rock
Posts: 719
Joined: March 11th, 2019, 4:53 pm
Location: The [West] Valley

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#90 Post by J. Rock » April 30th, 2020, 12:51 pm

I get my Grilla Chimp pellet grill next week and I'm going to try doing a reverse sear of the Flannery Kali burger blend. I'll report back with the results!
J o r d a n

User avatar
William Segui
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2674
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 12:36 pm

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#91 Post by William Segui » April 30th, 2020, 1:08 pm

GregP wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 11:44 pm


Will, just curious, what is the 10% you are "missing" with Cookshack?
I was actually quoting someone from another board, so I can't take full credit/blame. I've never been able to get pro-level bark on my briskets, nor do I get to sit outside and drink beer for 14 hours with a 'got to watch the temp' excuse.
Sure, makes sense, I mentioned bark above. But I also dismiss anyone who infers that TASTE wise they would be able to tell the difference between their high falluting setups against Cookshack. Bark means absolutely nothing outside of competition circles, and TBH, have no idea why it matters even there. We had a GM from the Strip restaurant over for dinner twice in the past 3 weeks, he is now asking for recipes to implement once they re-open. "Lowly" Cookshack.
I'll reach out when Napa re-opens, will bring some Cookshack goodness.
I'm certainly not complaining and I only came in here to recommend! I'd love to get my hands on one of the briskets the big time guys get (pretty sure they are waygu or some other level well above what I can reasonably get/afford locally) and see how well I can do in my sad little electric wannabe. And even if I was leaving something on the table flavorwise, the convenience is such that I wouldn't even care.

User avatar
Todd F r e n c h
Site Admin
<dfn>Site Admin</dfn>
Posts: 39861
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 8:46 am
Location: San Clemente, CA

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#92 Post by Todd F r e n c h » April 30th, 2020, 2:02 pm

Working on carnitas today. About an hour more, then I braise them to get the juices needed for the skillet browning
Attachments
2D48AB71-C68F-47B0-84FA-6FC0EE877005.jpeg
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP) (and have a "penchant for gossip" -KBI)

User avatar
Todd F r e n c h
Site Admin
<dfn>Site Admin</dfn>
Posts: 39861
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 8:46 am
Location: San Clemente, CA

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#93 Post by Todd F r e n c h » April 30th, 2020, 3:06 pm

Ready for braising!!
Attachments
58B07CCF-A5D9-474D-8ECC-AE82231B1D7C.jpeg
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP) (and have a "penchant for gossip" -KBI)

User avatar
Bill Tex Landreth
Posts: 22870
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 11:45 am

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#94 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » April 30th, 2020, 3:59 pm

William Segui wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 1:08 pm
GregP wrote:
April 29th, 2020, 11:44 pm


Will, just curious, what is the 10% you are "missing" with Cookshack?
I was actually quoting someone from another board, so I can't take full credit/blame. I've never been able to get pro-level bark on my briskets, nor do I get to sit outside and drink beer for 14 hours with a 'got to watch the temp' excuse.
Sure, makes sense, I mentioned bark above. But I also dismiss anyone who infers that TASTE wise they would be able to tell the difference between their high falluting setups against Cookshack. Bark means absolutely nothing outside of competition circles, and TBH, have no idea why it matters even there. We had a GM from the Strip restaurant over for dinner twice in the past 3 weeks, he is now asking for recipes to implement once they re-open. "Lowly" Cookshack.
I'll reach out when Napa re-opens, will bring some Cookshack goodness.
I'm certainly not complaining and I only came in here to recommend! I'd love to get my hands on one of the briskets the big time guys get (pretty sure they are waygu or some other level well above what I can reasonably get/afford locally) and see how well I can do in my sad little electric wannabe. And even if I was leaving something on the table flavorwise, the convenience is such that I wouldn't even care.
When the world reboots and we slaughter our next cow, I'll personally fly a brisket to Napa for a get together.
DB: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Cankles&amp=true&defid=248846

User avatar
Mike Davila
Posts: 477
Joined: August 22nd, 2010, 1:47 pm
Location: South Florida

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#95 Post by Mike Davila » April 30th, 2020, 4:18 pm

Doing a pork shoulder on the stumps tonight, resting right now, will pull in about 15 minutes.
I so much want to smoke a high quality brisket, but have to wait for a crowd as it is only the two of us.
E4AE7CE6-A634-4F2A-AD4E-6117394A884A.jpeg

User avatar
jordan whitehead
Posts: 4516
Joined: February 12th, 2009, 4:59 pm
Location: Northbrook, IL

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#96 Post by jordan whitehead » May 6th, 2020, 4:29 pm

www.annaswish.org

User avatar
jordan whitehead
Posts: 4516
Joined: February 12th, 2009, 4:59 pm
Location: Northbrook, IL

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#97 Post by jordan whitehead » May 6th, 2020, 4:30 pm

Mike Davila wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 4:18 pm
Doing a pork shoulder on the stumps tonight, resting right now, will pull in about 15 minutes.
I so much want to smoke a high quality brisket, but have to wait for a crowd as it is only the two of us.
E4AE7CE6-A634-4F2A-AD4E-6117394A884A.jpeg
leftover BBQ rules
www.annaswish.org

Lee Short
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1362
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 7:33 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#98 Post by Lee Short » May 6th, 2020, 9:45 pm

jordan whitehead wrote:
May 6th, 2020, 4:30 pm
Mike Davila wrote:
April 30th, 2020, 4:18 pm
Doing a pork shoulder on the stumps tonight, resting right now, will pull in about 15 minutes.
I so much want to smoke a high quality brisket, but have to wait for a crowd as it is only the two of us.
E4AE7CE6-A634-4F2A-AD4E-6117394A884A.jpeg
leftover BBQ rules
Agreed. Even better than leftover pizza. Works so many ways. Add a fried egg and some onions and some salsa, and you've got the best breakfast tacos.

J. Rock
Posts: 719
Joined: March 11th, 2019, 4:53 pm
Location: The [West] Valley

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#99 Post by J. Rock » May 7th, 2020, 11:25 pm

I broke in my new Grilla Chimp tonight with some Flannery Kali blend burgers. Smoked 'em low for 55 minutes and the seared with salt and pepper one the cast iron on the stove. Amazing! Paired really well with a 2015 Byron Blatty Ghost Cat.
J o r d a n

Jeff_M.
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 646
Joined: July 18th, 2019, 7:39 am
Location: SoCal

Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#100 Post by Jeff_M. » May 8th, 2020, 11:51 am

Missed the discussion for this one. I have a Weber 22" Smokey Mountain. I've made a few upgrades to the smoker based on reviews from Meathead's site and from using the smoker for the last 3+ years.

I replaced the standard factory door with the stainless door from Cajun Bandit. I also got a new smoke ring and a 5 gallon water bowl from Cajun Bandit. I have a second grate for the charcoal to help keep the charcoal from falling through to the base piece when cooking.

I've went through several bluetooth meat probes and eventually got myself the BBQ Guru CyberQ which recently got discontinued with an upgraded model out. This with the vent fan is awesome as it allows you to set the smoker to the temperature you want and besides minor micro adjustments to the top damper and any spritzing, foiling of the meat, etc, really allows you to set it and forget it. I do have to make some micro adjustments to the damper opening on windy days or on real cold overnight cooks.

Most of what I learned are from amazingribs.com, the Weber Virtual Bullet site https://www.virtualweberbullet.com/cooking-topics/ and also watching YouTube, T-Roy Cooks does some great instructional videos as does Malcom Reed with howtobbqright.com.
Jeff M 0 l l

2020 WOTY Candidates
2007 Yangarra Estate High Sands Grenache
1986 Spottswoode Cabernet

Post Reply

Return to “Epicurean Exploits - Food and Recipes”