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Your favorite smoker?

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Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:37 am
Steven Grilling Guru
Grilling Guru

Posts: 277

Hi, everyone,

I just finished the men's book (Man Made Meals--due out in May) and I'm diving into the next one: on smoking.

I'm curious what YOUR favorite smokers are?

What's YOUR favorite food to smoke and do you have a preferred fuel?

Do you have any favorite accessories that help you smoke on a conventional grill?

Details, please!

Thanks.

SR

Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:38 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7453
Location: Stoughton, WI
I've only owned 2 smokers in my life: a horizontal offset Char-Broil Silver Smoker and a Weber Smokey Mountain. I had the SS first and to be honest I bought it mostly because I liked the looks, but after a couple of years I realized it was more than I needed and I sold it after finding the WSM (18", bought used).

I like to use hardwood briquettes as the primary fuel with apple, cherry, oak, hickory, and occasionally pear for smoke. It all depends what's fallen from the trees in the yard. :wink:

When I first started smoking I used my 22" Weber kettle and because it's the Bar-B-Kettle style with 3 individual vents I was able to control the fire pretty well. For my money the most important accessory for smoking with a kettle is a grate that has "trap doors" so that more fuel can be added without disturbing the food.

Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:12 am
toyman medium
medium

Posts: 126
I love my Big Green Egg, use lump charcoal, and depending on what I'm smoking I use pecan, oak, cherry, mesquite, and hickory. I started out wrapping wet smokewood in foil and placing on the tamers of my Jenn Air gas grill, then went to a smoke box. I would also cover any large openings to try to keep the heat/smoke in the grill hood. After I had some success on the gasser I bought my BGE. Night and day difference. My favorite smoke items are boston butt for pulled pork, chuck roasts for pulled beef and pasta sauces, and salmon/steelhead.
Large Big Green Egg
JennAir NG 3 burner
Wood Fired Oven
Ultra Sear Grill
Weber Silver B

Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:55 am
sroach well done
well done

Posts: 1160
Location: Warrington, PA
I have had three. Char-Griller Trio (Duo w/ SFB). A Weber Smoke Mountain, and recently a Big Green Egg.

I have to say, while I love the Weber and it's an excellent smoker, I love the bullet design, specially when I put two butts on the bottom rack for pulled pork and 3 racks of ribs on the top rack and all that goodness from the ribs drips down on the butts.


But since I have bought the XL BGE I have to say it's my favorite all around smoker/Grill/Pizza maker! I have done very long smokes 14 plus hours, and never have an issue.

Favorite food, has to be a brisket, I get a lot of positive feedback on them. Ribs are also always a hit, recently I did tea smoked ribs and they were outstanding.

Lump Coal Wicked Good is my choice.

Three of my favorite accessories:

1. Tongs
2. Thermopen
3. Steven's Flat Skewers
Image
_________________
XL BGE
18.5 Kettle Gold
18.5 WSM

Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:26 pm
Nick medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 74
After months of research I decided on the Primo XL Oval Ceramic Smoker/Grill. What I night and day difference on what/how I am able to cook!! Versatility was key when it came to spending the kind of money required to get a ceramic, and the Primo met that need. I love the shape of the Primo, it accomodates rectangular cuts (brisket, ribs, tenderlion, etc) perfectly, yet is big enough to accept my large pizza stone for baking. You can also divide the firebox into halves, enabeling you to do true indirect cooking. I got rid of 3 metal charcoal grills once I got a Primo, it does it all! Also love that its made in USA!!
Primo XL Oval
BeefEater Discovery 1000e 3-burner

Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:28 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5839
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Well, since you said you wanted details, here they are.

Since I joined the board I've used a couple of dozen different smokers, from BGEs to WSMs to the cold smokers used for making sausages and other cured meats. Since I live on an acreage at the edge of the wild and since I have a well-stocked workshop, I have a lot of opportunities to try out or build rigs the average homeowner can't.

And much as I like the idea of having one grill that does all things equally well I've never found such a grill even with the BGEs. If you are cold-smoking meat, the best thing I've found to do the job is a dedicated cold smoker and not a grill, for example. I have a couple of charcoal and gas grills for grilling, a horizontal offset smoker for hot smoking, and I'm working on a UDS and a dedicated cold smoker this year.

My favorite, however, is still my CharGriller Outlaw with SFB. After a few modifications I've set it up so it will hold fairly constant temps over 6 hours and once that time is up it's really not a big deal to start up a chimney and stoke it up for another 6 hours. It's never given me problems with rubbery skin on smoked chicken because I just crank open the vents during the last 30 minutes of a cook and the skin crisps right up.

It has 1000 square inches of cooking space, which translates to 16 racks of ribs and 2 medium birds all at once. That grill space is also enough to grill for a good-sized crowd. And now that I've found a big enough rotisserie, I'll be able to cook several birds or a small pig. Oh - and even with $100 in modifications it still costs 1/4 of the price of a Primo or BGE up here. I'm not made of money, so the 75% savings translates into a lot more meat and parts to build the other grills.

But I still maintain after all of the above that it's not the grill, it's the skill. I've had great steaks off a cheap campfire grill over an aspen fire that looked like it could barely warm a cup of coffee, excellent kebabs from a scrap metal grill, and pulled pork that was marvelous and that was smoked in an old garbage can.

As for my favorite food to smoke, it's pulled pork and ribs. But this is my second favorite:
http://www.barbecuebible.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=16794

My favorite fuel? Royal Oak or Maple Leaf lump charcoal for grilling, Royal Oak briquettes, and hickory/mesquite chips for beef, hickory/apple/corncob mix for pork, cherry/maple for poultry, and maple/alder for fish.

And my favorite tools? Steven's extra-long tongs, his grill scraping tool, and about half a dozen various types of skewers(and I still don't have any extra-wide ones!). Plus, I really like my 2 Weber chimneys but only because Steven's ultra-cool square chimney is too expensive for me to ship up here to Canada.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:59 pm
jstewart well done
well done

Posts: 945
Location: Simi Valley, CA
Well, the choice of favorite smoker is easy as I've only owned one :lol:

I have a Chargriller Super Pro with side firebox and it pretty much does everything I want to do. I like the amount of grill space so that I can cook a lot of meat at one time. In fact, I have three racks of baby backs and one rack of beef ribs on there right now. It also does well when I want to grill steaks. I just flip the ash pan back over, line it with aluminum foil to make cleanup easier, and set it close to the grates.

Although I smoke more ribs than anything else, I think my favorite is brisket followed closely by pork butts for making pulled pork. We're fortunate to have a good meat market here in town where I can get quality meat.

I also have a 22" Weber Kettle that I use for indirect cooking of tri-tips and I also grill on it as well with things such as various fish dishes, carne aside, and of course, desserts! We use the Weber for cooking the Thanksgiving turkey as well.

As for fuel, if I'm smoking on the CG, I use the Trader Joes brand which is actually the Rancher HD under the TJ brand. I use various types of wood chunks for smoke depending on what I'm cooking. For just about everything else, I use Kingsford as it burns hotter and faster which is what I prefer if grilling.

The one accessory I use all of the time and that I prefer are the Maverick remote probes. I started with the ET-73 and now have the ET-732 and I rely on them no matter what I'm cooking outside. Aside from the chimney starter, the only other item to mention is this neat thing my younger son gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago. It is used for cooking kabobs on the grill. It is rectangular shaped and has slots for up to 8 kabobs. Once you've put the ingredients on the skewers, you put them in the rack. The rack keeps the kabobs up off of the grill so you don't worry about them sticking to the grate. There is a chain and a knob that makes turning the kabobs so easy. Just give it a twist and all of them turn together! It really makes cooking kabobs easy.
Jimmy
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CG Super Pro w/SFB
Weber One Touch Silver

Post Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:02 pm
Old Smoker well done
well done

Posts: 1243
I'm like CG on this one, there really isn't,IMO, the one perfect do it all smoker grill. I only have a couple of different grills/smokers and each one has a place or purpose. Can you smoke with a kettle, sure. learn how to use the FUSE system, I hear some people get really good burn times the only thing is you may have to refuel. Important items, lets see, a good thermometer, a nice pair of tongs, a good pair of gloves that can take the heat, a couple of good knives and maybe a chimney starter.
22.5 WSM - Chargriller - Traeger Texas
I cook to eat not to compete

Post Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:51 am
d_holck well done
well done

Posts: 839
Location: Illinois
I've had a CG Outlaw for several years, and enjoy cooking on it very much, but... I find that I burn a LOT of fuel. There are probably some mods that I could do to tighten it up, but I've not done that. I use it primarily now if I'm grilling for a bunch of folks (burgers, brats, etc.).

For smoking, my current favorite is my UDS. It was a sugar barrel, I can fit about 12 racks of ribs in there, holds a rock-solid 240 degrees and burns less than a pound of RO charcoal per hour. I've got an expanded metal fuel basket that holds over 20 pounds of fuel. I love to make ribs (spares, babybacks, "country-style" are all good) and I've finally gotten enough practice to get a consistent predictable quality. I know a UDS could be a pain to refuel, but I can't think of too many cooks I'd be likely to do that would need over 20 hours to smoke. (Water Buffalo maybe, or beaver... :D )

I recently got a ribolator and have that mounted on a rotisserie ring made from another barrel. Ordinarily this sits on top of my Weber (22.5") but I think I could probably stack it on top of the UDS, put my kettle lid on top, and get 16 racks of ribs in there, or more. It would look like an overgrown R2D2, but I think it would work.

For smoke, I use oak, peach, and cherry from our yard mostly, but I don't really differentiate.
"... mmmmmmm 'bacon'."

CG Outlaw w/SFB
UDS
Old classic Weber Kettle

Post Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:09 am
beercuer User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 2287
Location: Southern Californy
Personally, I am rather partial to the Savinelli smokers, though the Peterson line of pipes is pretty good, too. (I just had to insert that). The offset Texas style smoker suits me quite nicely, so I also am a CG with SFB fan. I mostly prefer Trader Joe'a natural hardwood briquettes with usually foiled hickory pouches for smoke. I smoke a lot of different things but am best known for my beef jerky. Thermometers are essential to me. I would be amiss if I did not include my libation, pipe, pet cockatiel and border collie, and guitar. :cheers: :bbq:
Got beer???

Post Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:47 am
rhino260 medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 94
Location: Waynesboro,Pa
I started out about 12 years a go with a Brinkman chamber style smoker, then after the bottom rusted out of that one, I bought a 22" weber grill and used that until my wife bought me a master Forge vertical smoker for Fathers' day in 2010. But my latest purchase is the Backwoods Party smoker. By far the best smoker I ever used, and the easiest.
I also use a DigiQ with my backwoods. A tray of charcoal will last me about 6 hours. Over the weekend I did my first run of ribs, 18 total and it went like clock work.
I haven't had a chance to do brisket or pork butt yet, but it's coming.
I also love to smoke fatties & chicken thighs!
Backwoods Party w/ DigiQ
Master Forge Vertical
Weber Charcoal
We're always smoking something!

Post Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:37 am
phillyjazz well done
well done

Posts: 2965
Location: Philly

Though I'm not thrilled with the build quality (peeling paint and cracks in the ceramic) my GrillDome always comes through. I've learned to keep the lid propped open a crack, as the felt seal froze shut two weeks ago, and I had to wait for a thaw to do a brisket.

Never need to foil or anything. I use Royal Oak hardwood from Restaurant Depot, and various chunks of Apple, Hickory, Pecan for smoking.. Mesquite for grilling. I really find the ceramic (with a replacement cast iron grate) very versatile. Hits 700F for grilling, and maintains 225F for a day if it has to.

I use new coals for grilling, but for smoking, I keep a galvanized bucket of partially spent coals. They seem to burn cooler.
- Phillyjazz -

Grill Dome ceramic / Ducane Affinity 4200 gasser/ Concrete pit
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Post Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:56 pm
Steven Grilling Guru
Grilling Guru

Posts: 277

Thanks for your comments on smokers. Keep 'em coming!

SR

Post Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:27 pm
Trollby well done
well done

Posts: 1301
Location: MadCity, WI

I have only Owned one official Smoker but have modified both Weber 18" kettle and a Sunbeam Gas Grill.

I use to use the Weber for mainly steaks and burgers with smoking duties for a few years and the Sunbeam for daily/weekly cook-outs due to ease of heat-up and cool down.

I modified the old SB with a large cast-iron smoker box on one side so that it could be used as a smoker also it added better flavor to every cook if I threw in some Hickory chips. Which I did almost always. I bought this grill in 1992 and is still in service, but 2014 it will be retired due to the cooking area frame is getting thin from years of use (this grill was a cast body almost 1/3" thick for great heat retention).

I have to say that the Char-Griller I got and Modified is my all time favorite Smoker, it has the size for large smokes and with the added fire box makes re-filling easy without loosing all the heat in the cooking area.

I use the CG for regular grilling too, this is done easy with the adjustable rack and coal baskets that allow for more usage than the plain Jane grill or smoker.

For me I use mainly Royal-Oak briquets, I use Royal Oak lump for steaks but mainly use the briquets for smoking and grilling. For me the burn times and heat just seems better with RO and I can get it for a better price than the other name-brands.

As for wood for smoking, hickory is my favorite flavor, but I do like using apple too. Lately I found "Jack Daniels Oak-Barrel Chips" on sale and tried them for the "Gasser" and they seem to be very nice.

As for favorite accessories I would have to say my Maverick remote thermometer and my rotisserie mod for the gasser and CG

Post Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:06 am
lostarrow well done
well done

Posts: 594
Location: mississippi
About 15 years ago we made an homemade smoker @ hunting camp.
Luckily 1 person was an experienced welder.
It's not perfect, we've had to modify a lot to fix mistakes, only has had a thermometer for 3 years, but lots of fun.
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You know it's low tech when you use a coffee can to control you temp!

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New Braunfels
vermont castings gas grill
WSM
Char-Griller Kamodo

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