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    Help me spend my money :)

    Hi everyone. We currently have a Memphis Advantage pellet grill. The Memphis does a decent job at most things. Reverse sear steaks are great. Chicken, burgers etc. are all good. However, I've never been crazy about it as a smoker. We just don't get much smoke flavor no matter what I try. Also, the one time I tried an overnight cook, the fire box filled with ash and the pellets backed up the pellet chute.

    So, I would like to add a smoker to the stable. Primary use would be for baby back ribs, pulled pork, brisket if it's ever affordable again, beef ribs etc. Typical low and slow stuff. I want room to cook at least 3 to 4 racks of ribs. I don't see ever cooking more than one packer brisket.

    I've got $1,000 (update, let's say $600) burning a hole in my virtual wallet. I want something fairly set and forget capable, low tech, simple and convenient. Right now, my two top runners are the Backwoods Chubby 3400 and a 22" Weber Smokey Mountain.

    I love the cabinet style of the Chubby. Seems very convenient that way. Reviews all seem very good. My biggest concern is how small the racks are, 16 ½ x 15 ½ inches. Seems like ribs barely fit. Not sure about a brisket.

    The 22" Weber Smokey Mountain should easily handle 6 racks of ribs or a couple of briskets from what I've seen. More than 3 racks of ribs laid flat would mean using both racks in the smoker, which seems a bit inconvenient. Also, the fact that you have to disassemble it to load up charcoal and get it going seems less than convenient. Being in my late 50's with a history of back issues, I don't know if I want to deal with bending over to build a fire.

    Then there's the other options like a Weber Kettle (26"?) with a Slow 'N Sear or a Masterbuilt gravity fed grill…

    So, I would love opinions from those of you that own one or more of the options. I am leaning towards the Chubby, but I kind of feel like going straight to it is cheating somehow. Help me spend my money
    Last edited by IdahoJim; June 25, 2021, 12:38 PM. Reason: Update my budget.

    #2
    The cabinet style is great. Insulated cabinets are not effected by outside temp much at all and with a controller and fan are pretty much set and forget. The size of the Cubby could be an issue though.
    I have a Lone Star Grills Large insulated cabinet and I love it. The Pee Wee size is 18"x23" but is 2x your budget.
    https://lonestargrillz.com/collectio...cabinet-smoker

    I do not own a WSM so I can't speak to them. The Masterbuilt gravity feed units might be something to look at also.
    Just my $.02
    Last edited by ofelles; June 24, 2021, 03:58 PM.

    Comment


      #3
      I vote for the 26" Kettle with SnS. You can add a Fireboard and fan, ( to aid in temp control), and still be under $1000. Lots of people here use a Fireboard and like it.
      Last edited by RonB; June 24, 2021, 04:47 PM.

      Comment


        #4
        IdahoJim when you throw the Masterbuilt gravity feed into the mix.... haha - that is the opposite of low-tech and simple. You've got high-tech covered already I think with the Memphis.

        I read lots of good things about the Chubby, but also agree that those racks are too small. You would have to cut all your ribs in half. The last cabinet style smoker I was considering was the Camp Chef Smokevault 24, which is a propane cabinet smoker that will hold up to 4 full sized hotel trays, and lots of ribs or butts.

        I believe that the WSM22 is simpler than you think it is, but it also does not have the versatility of a Weber Kettle style grill with the Slow 'N Sear added to it. I've got a Weber Performer 22" and the things I love about it are the built in work table - great for prep and a place to put stuff while grilling, the built in charcoal storage, and the propane ignition for charcoal is a big plus. With the SNS in place, without an elevated extension grate, I use a Weber rib rack to do up to 5 slabs of baby backs or St. Louis style spares - more often I am just doing 3. I can do 2 butts, 1 large brisket, 4 split chickens, probably 2-3 spatchcocked chickens, and did a 20 pound rotisserie turkey on it this past Thanksgiving. It's the bomb.

        For more space, a 26" kettle and the SNS XL would give you more room, but at the expense of fewer gadgets available, and no nice cart design either.

        If your budget was over $1000, I would throw a plug in for the SNS Deluxe Kamado. I have that and love it more each time I use it. In kamado mode it has a little more space available than the 22" kettle does when using the SNS. But it can't touch a cabinet smoker for capacity.

        Comment


          #5
          Well, set and forget isn’t necessarily compatible with low tech and back issues aren’t really ideal if you want the Chubby or Smoky Mountain. It’s not just the loading up but the refilling of charcoal, cleaning, and tending the fire. You would be constantly bending over.

          A 26” Weber with a SnS would be the most low tech solution and also avoid back issues. You might have to be a bit creative to get 4 racks of ribs on there and maybe use a rib holder but it should be doable. You can add a Fireboard later if it is not set and forget enough for your needs.

          I own a MB560 and I think it is pretty awesome. They have upgraded the parts now addressing some of the biggest quality issues so it would definitely be a great pick. It would be more set and forget and similar to your current pellet smoker in that regard with no further investment required. However, it is electronic and thus the parts will fail at some point. However, it is pretty easy to get new parts from MB so everything is fixable.

          in your shoes I would be considering the reliability of the Weber versus the increased fun factor and set and forget nature of the MB.
          Last edited by IFindZeroBadCooks; June 24, 2021, 03:55 PM.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by zero_credit View Post
            Well, set and forget isn’t necessarily compatible with low tech and back issues aren’t really ideal if you want the Chubby or Smoky Mountain. It’s not just the loading up but the refilling of charcoal, cleaning, and tending the fire. You would be constantly bending over.

            A 26” Weber with a SnS would be the most low tech solution and also avoid back issues. You might have to be a bit creative to get 4 racks of ribs on there and maybe use a rib holder but it should be doable. You can add a Fireboard later if it is not set and forget enough for your needs.

            I own a MB560 and I think it is pretty awesome. They have upgraded the parts now addressing some of the biggest quality issues so it would definitely be a great pick. It would be more set and forget and similar to your current pellet smoker in that regard with no further investment required. However, it is electronic and thus the parts will fail at some point.

            in your shoes I would be considering the reliability of the Weber versus the increased fun factor and set and forget nature of the MB.
            I figured if I get the Chubby it will go on a table, casters, cart or something to raise it up. At that point I think it would be easier to deal with than the WSM. But the size of the grates really worries me.

            I threw the Masterbuilt gravity fed in there just because it sounds very cool. I have read about some of the issues, which is why it is not at the top of my list. If something goes wrong with a cook, I want it to be my fault, not the fault of failing technology. Been there done that with the Memphis, and uttered (loudly) some words the neighbors probably didn't want to hear.

            Comment


            • IFindZeroBadCooks
              IFindZeroBadCooks commented
              Editing a comment
              Well, the ribs as others have noted would be an issues on the Chubby. And the Memphis is a much higher quality electronics than the MB electronics.

              Maybe the Weber 26" would work best then with some accessories. You could also consider the Weber Summit Charcoal Grill.

            • IFindZeroBadCooks
              IFindZeroBadCooks commented
              Editing a comment
              Weber Kamado

              https://www.weber.com/US/en/grills/c.../18201001.html

            #7
            Originally posted by RonB View Post
            I vote for the 26" Kettle with SnS. You can add a Fireboard and fan, ( to aid in thep control), and still be under $1000. Lots of people here use a Fireboard and like it.
            Can you actually do an overnight cook with a 26" kettle and a Slow-N-Sear? Like, start at midnight, put the thermometer in there with alarms set for grill temp, then sleep until 6 or 7 in the morning (assuming high or low temp alarms don't go off)? It seems to me smoking on a kettle with an SnS would generally mean easier cleanup. Safe assumption?

            Comment


            • RonB
              RonB commented
              Editing a comment
              I have done overnight cooks in my Kettle in the past, but not any more. Instead, I smoke at ~ 275° so that cooks go much quicker. I like my sleep.

            #8
            Have you tried using a smoke tube like this one loaded with wood chips instead of pellets in your Memphis Advantage? My go to method is to put a piece of charcoal in the bottom of the tube then fill it up with wood chips. Light the charcoal with a plumbers torch, and off you go.

            The WSM 22" is a great smoker. Add in a fan and controller and you have a charcoal smoker that is almost as easy as a pellet smoker with all the capacity you are looking for. The sections are not heavy or awkward to move, but only you can decide if it's more trouble than you want to deal with.

            You won't hardly find anyone here that would try to steer you away from a 26" kettle with a SnS. They are proven workhorses that can turn out great BBQ. Again, the addition of a fan and controller will really cut down on the fussing required during log cooks. I loved my 22" kettle/SnS combo, and have been kicking myself ever since I gave it away.

            The Masterbuilt gravity smokers are really looking promising and they seem to be reacting quickly to address problems that owners report. The 1050 is on my short list of new toys, but I don't have any hands on experience with it.

            I'll beat the rest of them too it and suggest that the barrel smokers like the Pit Barrel Cooker and the Oklahoma Joe Bronco are well worth considering. They have very loyal followers here, and by all accounts are fantastic cookers for the money. For me personally, I don't go in for building a fire in a glorified garbage can, but that might just be jealousy talking.

            At the end of the day, I'd go with Chubby G3 or one of it's larger siblings. With racks that are 22" deep, you should have no problems getting full racks of ribs in without cutting them. As a dedicated smoker that is easy to use and should turn out great food once you learn how it runs, you really can't go wrong with a well built insulated cabinet. Don't worry about jumping straight to the good stuff right out of the gate if the budget allows it. The Chubby has a great reputation for for build quality, and is very highly reviewed on the free side, and will likely serve you well for many years.
            Last edited by willxfmr; June 24, 2021, 08:58 PM.

            Comment


              #9
              Do a little further research & look into a PBC or an Oklahoma Joe barrel. The y can smoke & cook the dickens out of chicken & Wibs (8 wacks BTW) .

              Comment


                #10
                Originally posted by FireMan View Post
                Do a little further research & look into a PBC or an Oklahoma Joe barrel. The y can smoke & cook the dickens out of chicken & Wibs (8 wacks BTW) .
                I am just not crazy about the idea of hanging meat, especially racks of ribs. I've seen a horror story of the ribs falling off the hanger when they were being pulled. Also seen some pretty crunchy ribs that were near the bottom. Then there is spritzing when they are hanging, saucing when hanging etc. I think it kind of hits the convenience thing. To me I think it's just more convenient to lay meat on racks. I have to convince the wife on this purchase too, and I am pretty sure she wouldn't like a Pit Barrel style cooker.

                Comment


                  #11
                  Originally posted by willxfmr View Post
                  Have you tried using a smoke tube like this one loaded with wood chips instead of pellets in your Memphis Advantage? My go to method is to put a piece of charcoal in the bottom of the tube then fill it up with wood chips. Light the charcoal with a plumbers torch, and off you go.
                  I have a 12" A-Maze-n tube. Last pork butt cook, I used Lumberjack 100% hickory pellets and filled the tube with apple wood chips. Lit the tube with my heat gun. The tube burned about an hour. Still didn't have much smoke flavor. Some cooks the Memphis puts out decent smoke. Other times hardly any. Still trying to dial in what makes the difference. I usually run it between 225 and 250.

                  Comment


                    #12
                    If you want to consider something that is pretty much set and forget, without the aid of a fan, you might want to seriously consider the Oklahoma Joe Bronco as well, the Pro version. It’s larger than the one I have and should accommodate your cooking needs and space. Without going into a lot of detail myself, check out our Bronco channel here on AR. There’s many write ups from AR members who own one, and all are glowing reports. There’s also reviews of it, as well as one from our own Jerod Broussard It earned a Platinum Rating here at AR. It’s also well below your budget.

                    Just saw your last comments about falling meat and crunchy ends of the ribs. That isn’t really a problem. Very few people have had their meat fall off the hooks, you can always double hook it if you want. On ribs I’ll hook it 2 bones down, instead of the end rib. With the pro version you should have plenty of room to hang full racks without getting too close to the deflector plate. It also has a 22” cooking grate, if you don’t want to hang the meat.
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by Panhead John; June 24, 2021, 05:00 PM.

                    Comment


                      #13
                      Of course, if you are willing to give your Memphis one more chance, folks report this device is pretty amazing.

                      https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...the-holy-grail

                      Comment


                      • IdahoJim
                        IdahoJim commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I don't think it would work on the Memphis. The heat deflector/flavorizer is very different from Traegers etc.

                      #14
                      IFindZeroBadCooks mentioned the Weber Summit Kamado. I had almost forgotten about it. It is very tempting, but I don't need it's versatility. I want a smoker. I've read in other places the WSM is a better smoker than the Weber Summit Kamado, for about half the price. Is that the consensus here? I'm starting to lean towards the 22" WSM. Hopefully my back surgery recovery keeps going well and it won't be an issue using it. However, it's hard to find. Weber is sold out. BBQGuys say it ships in 6 - 8 weeks

                      Comment


                      • Old Glory
                        Old Glory commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I was going to suggest the WSCG. Its versatility is what makes it superior. Smokes low and slow like a kamado or set up like a kettle. Then switch things up and it is a charcoal grill two zone cooker. Super easy to regulate. Has a port for a fan if you want that. The WSCG is insulated so it is very stable.

                      #15
                      IdahoJim , both of the smokers are hugely popular here and are great smokers. Ultimately, the differences would come down more to certain features you value (e.g. cheaper price for the WSM because you do not want the added versatility of the WSCG). Both will turn out amazing food (I'm sure you're aware of the competition wins for Harry Soo with the WSM), and ultimately, with these two, the results are more an outcome of the person cooking versus the smokers themselves. For example, someone who does not enjoy fire management would probably turn out better cooks on a pellet smoker versus a stick burner, but that's not the case here as you are comparing two very similar smokers.

                      With the WSM so far under your budget, you do have room to add more tools or accessories as needed. For example, the door kit here ( https://www.cajunbandit.com/category...upgrade-parts/ ) is pretty popular, and there's a number of other mods to look at.

                      You've definitely got good choice with the WSM 22".

                      With the massive increase in COVID-19-related demand for all things BBQ and smoking related, it's pretty common to see long lead times now. If I had to guess, I'd probably order from Weber direct as I'd expect they would get them back in stock sooner, and would be easier to deal with in case of any issues.

                      Comment

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