What’s Your Favorite Smoker?

I have been wanting a smoker for a few years now. My old kettle Weber from 2 decades ago doesn’t count.

Me: Boy, a smoker sure would be nice.
The Mister: Uh huh.

Me: I could really smoke up some nice meats if I had a smoker.
The Mister: Yup.

Never really pushed it more than that since it was never at the top of my wish list. Up until a month ago. I figured the only way to convince him that I really need a smoker was to get him hooked. Sure I could have just gone out and bought a smoker but I like it better when he sees it my way (bwahahaha). It’s like as if he has something invested in it too. I had a feeling that a smoker was in my near future. The planets were aligning and signs were there.

I had lunch with a friend a couple of weeks ago and she told me they broke down and bought a Big Green Egg (BGE). Gasp! How freaking awesome is that! If I had money dripping out of my nose, I’d get one too. She was telling me about all the wonderful things they were grilling on the Egg. But no smoking. What? I told her they weren’t official eggheads until they do some smoking. :-) Anyway, I shared her stories with the Mister. He didn’t have too many questions, just his usual 2, What is it and How much does it cost. Coincidentally, I finally got around to looking through my latest Saveur magazine and what do you know, an article on the origin of the BGE. I left it open on that page for him to find. In all honesty, I just thought he’d be interested in the history of the Egg. I wasn’t pushing for one, really.

But it was the pulled pork I (tried to) smoked on the gas grill that ultimately swayed him. We had the last of the pulled pork last night. I think he was a little sad when he took the last of the pork. I asked him if he would like a supply of pulled pork meat readily available. (that’s it, bait him in) And of course he said yes. Didn’t hurt telling him about all the things Mike & Sherry at Menu in Progress use their smoker for (check out all the smoked goodness here).

So now I’m looking for a smoker. Not the Egg (can’t wrap my head around how much those things cost) but something that will produce good results at a more reasonable price tag. I’ve seen some low end electric smokers for under $200 but I think I really prefer a charcoal/wood one. I’m leaning towards a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker (aka, the Bullet) similar in concept as the BGE with really good reviews.

We’re going to go look at some this weekend. There are a few things that the smoker must have: a built-in thermometer, easy way to add (lump) charcoals, good temperature control and big enough to smoke 2 7.5 lb pork butts.  So here’s where I need your help. I would love to hear some suggestions and recommendations in picking out the right smoker. What grill/smoker do you use to smoke your meat and how do you like it? What features do you have/want? What else do I need besides a chimney starter, long tongs, BBQ gloves….?

8 Comments

  1. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to point out that it is Sherry at Menu In Progress who is in charge of the smoker – I just make requests and take pictures :-)

    We love our Weber Smokey Mountain. I think it is at the perfect middle ground, price-wise. You could spend more, but I don’t know that you would get your money’s worth. You could spend less, but you might end up with a smoker that falls apart in a year or doesn’t cook as well as you would like.

  2. I have the 22″ Weber Smoker and can’t live without it. You should get one because it’s great for the price. Don’t get the over priced green egg. Looked at those a few times and maybe it is as nice as they say but for the price it better also do the dishes.

    • Hey Steve-O! I didn’t know you had the WSM. We went to BBQ-G this morning and I looked at the BGE and apparently there’s a knock-off brand they had there too. Not that much cheaper. I just got a flyer from Costco and they’re selling a knock-off called the “Black Pearl”. It is pretty but still too much for my taste. I got to see the 22.5 and the 18.5″ WSM side by side. The 22.5 is huge so I’m definitely going to go with the smaller one.

  3. Hey CAB – I’ve got a WSM as well. A couple of years ago, I got to hang out with the 4Q BBQ team and Professor Salt at a BBQ competition. They still use WSM…… I was told, “it’s the cook, not the gear”.

    • Hi Kirk! Thanks for recommendation. In my case, where the cook isn’t that good, a little boost in the gear might help a bit. “Maybe.” hehe. I placed the order for a WSM and eagerly waiting to do my first smoke this weekend. I have 2 butts waiting in the fridge.

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