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Author Topic: Convince me to buy a smoker  (Read 6183 times)

ChaoSki

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 32
Convince me to buy a smoker
« on: April 14, 2016, 07:01:45 AM »
So now that my Cast Iron hoarding came to completion and Weber Kettle hoarding is in the full swing......I'm thinking about the smoker.

I currently use 3 of my kettles mostly for indirect and smoking duties and I must say, it has worked out perfect. They do everything and anything I need.

So I'm wondering if there is a specific reason why people switch over to a smoker. I'm also curious about about the pros and cons of both. I can see charcoal loading is much better on the smoker......and obviously # of meats you can stack. Anything else?

TIA

addicted-to-smoke

  • WKC Ambassador
  • Posts: 5783
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2016, 08:24:10 AM »
They do everything and anything I need.

I won't be an enabler here. You've answered your own question, so a smoker would be a toy. There's something to be said for using a dedicated machine, but since both WSMs and kettles require a certain setup and some experience, the difference comes down mainly to capacity or configuration.

If you like the occasional Boston Butt or other lump of meat, a smoker is a hard sell. But if you'd cook several at a time it's ideal. If you want to do hanging fish, sausages etc it's ideal. But full ribs won't fit unless you get a 22, and your 22 kettle you already have ... so again, capacity.

Looking at retail prices of WSMs, consider instead a Cajun Bandit accessory for your kettle. Looking at used craigslist prices, the common 18 WSM is too tempting to pass up for most of us.
It's the iconic symbol for the backyard. It's family/friends, food and fun. What more do you need to feel everything [is] going to be all right. As long as we can still have a BBQ in our backyard, the world seems a bit of a better place. At least for that moment. -reillyranch

tb80

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 713
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2016, 08:43:14 AM »
Lots of issues to consider here.

First, what kind of smoker?  Charcoal? Stick burner? Pellet? Electric?  Each have their own advantages/disadvantages. 

Lets' assume you are talking about a WSM since this is a Weber fan website.  In that case, I would look at what do you want to smoke?  As @addicted-to-smoke says, if you are doing the occasional pork butt, it doesn't make much sense to get a WSM unless you want it just to have and use another smoker.  I have a mini WSM, 18" WSM and 22" WSM.  Each one has its advantages.

For me, I look at the length of the smoke and how much meat I am smoking.  If I am doing one or two racks of ribs, I tend to use my kettles.  If I am doing one pork butt, I am using my mini WSM or 18" because it is easier for me to maintain a constant temp over 8+ hours versus using a kettle (and yes, I know you can use the snake method to get long burn times, and I have done that, but I still like using my WSM for longer smokes rather than the snake on the kettle).  If I am doing a brisket or more than one cut of meat, I will typically use my 22" WSM.

One downside of the WSM is it will typically use more charcoal than a kettle, especially the 22" WSM.  However, I stock up when charcoal goes on sale so that doesn't matter as much to me.

Also, as a side note, taste of BBQ cooked on a WSM vs. a kettle is the same to me.

So basically, for me, the advantage of the WSM is being able to smoke for a longer period of time (8+ hours) and have more capacity. Plus, it is just fun to use.

Also, keep an eye on CL.  I have found multiple 18" WSM for under $100 and two 22" WSM for around $100-$125.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 08:47:22 AM by tb80 »
Looking for Blue Mastertouch or Blue Performer. 

Currently have: Performer (Green); 22.5 Mastertouch (Red); 26.75 OTG;  22.5 WSM; 18.5 WSM; Jumbo Joe; SJS (Green Uline); SJG (used for Mini WSM); Blue SS Performer; Blue MBH; Summit

pbe gummi bear

  • WKC Mod
  • Posts: 9059
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2016, 02:16:22 PM »
For me the reasons for purchasing a wsm vs. a kettle are:

Holds way more meat than a kettle
Fun to use
Optimized to hold temp at smoking range
Significantly longer burn times without refilling

And here's when I would use a wsm instead of a kettle

I have a bunch of 22" kettles and a 22.5" WSM.  This is my cooking choice flowchart in text form:

1- Will I need temp higher than 300? If yes, use a kettle. If no, move to 2.

2- Will my smoke session last longer than 3 hours? If yes, use the WSM. If no, move to 3.

3- Will what I'm cooking fit flat on the grate without any of the meat being too close to the fire or being overcrowded? If yes, consider using the kettle or move to 4.

4- Do I want to impress my friends when they come over because I "fired up the huge smoker for them"? If yes, use the WSM. lol

Given that I don't cook too often I rarely break rules 1-3 unless there are extenuating circumstances. ymmv
"Have you hugged your Weber today?"
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crowderjd

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 1679
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2016, 02:17:50 PM »
I've said it before, but the WSM is foolproof.  And I have a tendency to foolishness.
Chasing the impossibles: Westerner, Custom, Meat Cut!

iCARRY

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 1113
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2016, 02:48:48 PM »
That flow chart is perfect. It is definitely a conversation starter when it's fired up. Everyone I know has either an electric or gas smoker. They tell me they are intimidated by a charcoal smoker. I explain how easy it is then they taste the food and tell me it tastes better then anything they ever smoked.


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swamprb

  • WKC Performer
  • Posts: 2418
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2016, 04:38:58 PM »
@ChaoSki

I suffer from PAS.

Pit Acquisition Syndrome, and I have a feeling that you too might be a prime candidate for this dreaded disease. Hoarding is just the beginning. I can't edit my signature and either can @Troy, but hell, smokers are cool!

Start slowly...don't listen to those others ^^^ they know not what they speak! Take my advice!! You need to be diverse in your PAS struggle! Don't buy into the Weber hype!!

Accessorize! Cajun Bandit or Weber Rotisserie rings, Stackers or Smoke EZ, DIY kits - Hey go big or stay on the deck!

Trash cans/ UDS's /55 gallon drums - nothing says hillbilly like smoking on a burn barrel!

Vintage Japanese or Chinese Kamados! Big Green Egg/Primo?Kamado Joe -Hell an Acorn grill FWIW!!

Forget those Char-Grillers unless you need a place to store your tongs and bbq forks!

Electric smokers?? No shame in your game!!

Pellet Poopers? WhyTF not??

Stick burning Trailer Offset - yeah baby! Woodpile!

the world is your oyster! Shuck it!


I cook on: Backwoods Gater, Lang 36, Hunsaker Smokers, Pellet Pro 22" WSM, BGE's, WSM's, Cajun Bandits, PK Grills, Drum Smokers, Genesis Silver C, Weber Q's, Cookshack 008, Little Chief, La Caja China #2, Lodge Sportsman...oh yeah! Weber Kettles! Kamado restoration and pit modification hack!

glrasmussen

  • WKC Performer
  • Posts: 3275
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2016, 07:17:22 PM »
Listen to what @swamprb has to say. He has been around the block a couple times.

toolhead

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 1500
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2016, 01:57:54 AM »
Whether you end up buying a wsm is a personal decision...

That said.....with a 18/14" wsm i thoroughly enjoy both on a regular basis.

For me the buy decision was easy bc i smoke all my own jerky treats for my puppy....the cost savings and MUCH better quality of dyi jerky paid for both wsms within 6 months.

Jerky requires a lot of grate space for large batches so wsms were a hard requirement

Good luck with ur decision
Grills

ChaoSki

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 32
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2016, 04:42:15 AM »
Thanks to everyone for their responses, much appreciated.

Lot to think about. I don't do big smokes with a lot of meat (not yet anyways) nor do I do ribs, fish or jerky etc (although I am a huge fisherman (carp/pike), catch release only).

I will def look out for them on Craigslist, it would be nice to have a dedicated smoker that's stationary. If I can get one for $100, I will certainly snatch it.

Keep them coming

addicted-to-smoke

  • WKC Ambassador
  • Posts: 5783
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2016, 04:58:56 AM »
swamprb's collection of modded kettles and WSMs is creative and well-executed. When I grow up I'll be like him.
It's the iconic symbol for the backyard. It's family/friends, food and fun. What more do you need to feel everything [is] going to be all right. As long as we can still have a BBQ in our backyard, the world seems a bit of a better place. At least for that moment. -reillyranch

TheDude

  • WKC Performer
  • Posts: 2375
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2016, 06:28:11 PM »
Thanks to everyone for their responses, much appreciated.

Lot to think about. I don't do big smokes with a lot of meat (not yet anyways) nor do I do ribs, fish or jerky etc (although I am a huge fisherman (carp/pike), catch release only).

I will def look out for them on Craigslist, it would be nice to have a dedicated smoker that's stationary. If I can get one for $100, I will certainly snatch it.

Keep them coming

Patience. I got my 18.5" for $60 a few weeks ago.
Still need a 22 yellow

MrHoss

  • WKC Performer
  • Posts: 3477
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2016, 05:21:26 PM »
Don't be surprised if you come back to the Kettle. But for shoulders and brisket I use the Kettle. If I had a 26 OTG I'd use the WSM's less.
"Why do you have so many bbq's?"....."I just like lookin' at em' sometimes....and I have enough purses and shoes"

LaTuFu

  • WKC Brave
  • Posts: 299
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2016, 03:29:29 AM »
I use my 26 as much as I do my WSM. If I filled my 26 to the limit it would be way more food than my family could eat.

But I still love my WSM.
Q2000; 26er; P Code MT; 22 WSM

Tommy B

  • WKC Brave
  • Posts: 382
    • @tommybrooker
Re: Convince me to buy a smoker
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2016, 12:43:33 PM »
I prefer to cook on my WSM over kettles for long cooks. You can fit much more meat and temps are more stable. you can cook low and slow on kettles and turn out great results. I can just get a more stable temp on a WSM.
Hotty Toddy!