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Ready to Leave BGE Behind - I need some help deciding

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  • mug15
    Charter Member
    • Aug 2014
    • 6
    • Las Vegas, NV
    • Large BGE
      BBQ Guru Temp controller
      Still looking for "clean" hardwood charcoal supply source

    Ready to Leave BGE Behind - I need some help deciding

    I have loved my BGE for over 15 years, and "sold" a few to friends over that time. I have used this site for recipes mainly, but have also been educated about a lot of things just by reading the free site (I have been a paying customer for some time to support what I viewed as great and worthy work, but I was not much of a user of the discussions here - just did not take the time).

    I moved from Atlanta to Las Vegas 5 years ago, and finally fully retired a bit ago (so I expect to be more active here). I have always had trouble getting good quality hardwood charcoal here in the middle of the desert. Also I got a crack on the outside (year 2 - and it took them about two months to replace it) and I just now noticed the fire box has cracked - likely due to the harsh weather (Very dry obv. and a bit warm in the summer, but it also gets surprisingly cold at times in the winter).

    After reading Meathead on the benefit of briquets, I have decided to get several dedicated cookers. I will get a gasser for convenience and a dedicated charcoal grill for steaks, burgers, etc. I also love to smoke pork and poultry (who doesn't?) but I also want to expand my fish smoking to more than salmon. So the help I need is picking 2 smokers (one for meat and one for fish).

    I just decided after some serious reading and video watching that I want to get a WSM - it was a close call as all you PBC fans here are compelling, but the temp control issue was the key for me (I was a big fan of overnight cooks on the BGE but I'm old and need my sleep!). Is this thinking flawed? For bigger groups I have started a brisket overnight, moved it to an inside oven in the AM, then done ribs for 5-6 hours on the BGE for an afternoon party. I assume it would be the same drill on a WSM or PBC? I only need that a few times a year btw.

    But my real question is what's best for a fish smoker - or should I just get a PBC for meat and use the WSM for fish?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.
  • Skip
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 2667
    • Blue Earth, Minnesota
    • Memphis Pellet Grill, Large BGE, Weber Kettle with SnS, Weber Gasser, Pit Barrel Cooker, Cast Iron Pans & Griddle, Grill Grates

    I like to smoke fish once in awhile too and have used several different cookers and configurations. How about a plain Weber Kettle, possibly with a SNS. ? You sound like you could make about any cooker work. Good luck and have fun with it! Be sure to let us know your decision.


    • Huskee
      Pit Boss/Manager
      • May 2014
      • 14291
      • central MI, USA
      • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

        Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

        Smokers / Grills
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        • PBC
        • Grilla Silverbac pellet grill
        • Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado (SnSK)
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        • Weber 22" Original Kettle Premium (copper)
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        • Weber Jumbo Joe Gold (18.5")
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        • Brinkmann cabinet charcoal smoker (repurposed)

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        About me
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        Location: Farwell, Michigan- near Clare. (dead center of lower peninsula)

        • Healthcare- Licensed & Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for MidMichigan Health, a University of Michigan Health System.

      I've slow smoked and quick grilled all manner of fish from salmon to tuna to pike & bass on all manner of cookers. Love it all, but my favorites are slow smoked with all wood or charcoal & wood, and quick-grilled with the pellet cooker (for a very mild, yet still outdoor grilled flavor).

      My suggestions are a pellet cooker (instead of gasser, more convenience than a gasser and better flavor) and a 26" Weber kettle w/ SnS. But, I've never been drawn to a WSM so I am reverse biased I suppose. I do have a PBC but hanging meats isn't my personal favorite. A 26" kettle with a SnS is a smoking/grilling force!


      • HawkerXP
        Club Member
        • Jul 2016
        • 4424
        • Northern Virginia
        • 3 Weber kettles, and a PBC
          Dot w two probes
          Slo n Sear
          Cold beer

        I use my kettle for the fish we eat. pbc, pbc,...Like you mostly salmon but am looking to expand on this. I do have a PBC, never done an overnight. I prefer to get up early get it going and snooze until time to get moving. Brisket 15lb figure 10 hours. I'll throw in some ribs with the brisket towards the end of the cook. pbc, pbc,... good luck with your search!


        • Old Glory
          Club Member
          • Feb 2018
          • 697
          • Northshore MA

          Weber Summit - one grill to rule them all!

          Why get rid of the Egg? It gives you lots of versatility. It does things many other grills cannot. Pair it with a Kettle/Slow and Sear or PK360 for easy direct and two zone grilling and then get a barrel or WSM.

          The PK is a master of two zone and makes killer steaks and chops. Only downside for me is I want to get to 350 -375 to cook chicken and it won't get there and hold temp for me. It runs at 250 for hours. I would think it would be great for smoking fish.

          The kettle and Slow and Sear can do the same thinks as a PK but can hold 350 better. PK is better insulated though.

          Why do you need a dedicated smoker for fish? I assume because of fishy smells?


          • RonB
            Club Member
            • Apr 2016
            • 11446
            • Near Richmond VA
            • Weber Performer Deluxe
              Pizza insert
              Smokenator 1000
              Cookshack Smokette Elite
              2 Thermapens
              lots of probes.

            When I bought my Cookshack electric smoker many years ago, the person I talked to said that if I cook a lot of oily fish, I should have a dedicated smoker for fish. If I just occasionally smoke fish, a dedicated smoker would not be necessary. I do know that cooking salmon with meat changes the taste of the meat enough that I don't like the result, YMMV.

            So my recommendation would be a 26" Kettle with SnS and add a 22" kettle with SnS if you smoke a lot of fish. If you won't be using both at the same time, you could get away with one regular SnS shared with both.


            • FireMan
              FireMan commented
              Editing a comment
              I know what that means, YMMV. Your mileage may vary, Ol’ Bonesy told me so.

            • mug15
              mug15 commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks FireMan - I in fact did NOT know what it meant!
          • Spinaker
            • Nov 2014
            • 10214
            • Land of Tonka
            • John "J R"
              Instagram: JRBowlsby
              Smokin' Hound Que
              Minnesota/ United States of America

              Dexter (Beagle mix)
              Kinnick (American Foxhound)

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              Buck 119 Special
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              Next Major Purchase
              Lone Star Grillz 24 X 48 Offset

            First of all, thank you for your years of support. We really appreciate it!

            The BGE can be run all night long (and all weekend really) using a controller. They run steady as can be and you can do a ton of different smoking and grilling on the BGE, as you know. I would look into the FireBoard or DigiQ. I have been really happy with my FireBoard system and the ability to remotely control the BGE from anywhere is great. I routinely run my BGE overnight with no issues. They are much easier to do than the WSM or the PBC in that regard. (In my experience anyway)

            If you do decide to get rid of it, I would go with the PBC over the WSM. That is just a personal choice after running both. I just prefer the PBC. Fewer parts and I think it is build more solid. The door not he WSM really irritates me, flimsy and leaky. Don't get me wrong, the WSM is still fine smoker, but I prefer the PBC. The PBC can handle a lot of ribs. I've done 8 in mine before and they cook in about 5 hours or so. the PBC ribs are tough to beat. The 26" Weber Kettle is also a must if you are getting the WSM or the PBC as the grilling on those units leaves a lot to be desired.

            As to the fish, I would use the kettle. It will be the easiest way to go because you have tons of great space, it lays flat and you can control the temp very easily. The WSM or PBC are much better at ribs, brisket, shoulders or any other larger cut.

            Congrats on your retirement and thank you for the years of support!


            • Jon Liebers
              Club Member
              • May 2018
              • 198

              uh I would never ever dissuade a new cooker purchase let alone two. But I think you would be very well served by getting either a fireboard or BBQ guru for the temp control issue . I NEVER miss any sleep over a cook in a BGE (or any Komado cooker). As for cooker, well again you can do it all on that BGE. In fact its great at searing , low and slow , pizza etc . Personally the two main drawback I see are real estate-the BGE just isn't big enough for me to do the size cooks I would like without all that extender grill nonsense. And two ,its difficult to get temp down if you've overshot. But again with electronic fan control not really a problem. So , as for real estate well, you're not really picking up any at all if youre considering a WSM or PBC as replacements. So......if your just wanting to add cookers for fun and to use along with I would get something that provides for good two zone cooking (something the BGE doesn't do well with out moving around grids in the middle of a cook)
              But I for one would say the BGE is a better low and slow cooker than either PBC or WSM. So looking at good two zone stuff I would consider the PK360 or if budget is much higher I like the M1 grills( been trying to get myself to buy one) .
              Last edited by Jon Liebers; November 14th, 2019, 09:59 AM.


              • TripleB
                Club Member
                • May 2017
                • 405
                • La Crescenta
                • Jambo Backyard Smoker
                  Weber Smokey Mountain (22" & 18.5")
                  Portable Kitchen 360
                  Portable Kitchen Grill
                  Pit Barrel Cooker
                  Weber "Brownie" Circa 1978 22"
                  Weber Gas Grill, Silver A
                  BBQ Guru ATC
                  Favorite Beer: Peroni
                  Favorite Sports Teams: Rams, Dodgers, Kings, UCLA Bruins

                So it sounds like you've decided on a gasser for convenience, a dedicated grill for grilling and looking at two smokers, one for fish and one for meats. my 2 cents:

                Gasser - Weber. They work great, built well and easy to rebuild and replace parts.
                Grill - PK. Either a PK original or PK360. I love my PK360 and use it all the time, but it's a bit pricey.
                Smoker for fish: An electric smoker. But I don't smoke a lot of fish, so this works well for me. Use if for sausage as well.
                Smoker for meat: 22" WSM with ATC. Gotta have the ATC. Set at 11pm and temp is rock solid at 6am. Also, the Gateway rib hanger is a gem.

                Personally, PBC and SnS don't do a lot for me.


                • mug15
                  mug15 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  ATC must be some kind of Automatic Temp Control? Brand or link so I can learn more?

                • FireMan
                  FireMan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Or or means At The Chiropractor.

                • TripleB
                  TripleB commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yes, Automatic Temperature Controller. I use BBQ Guru's, but bought them years ago when, at the time, the two biggest ATC manufacturers were BBQ Guru and Stoker. I think Fire Boards are the rage right now, but I've been happy with my little Guru's. They get the job done.
              • Ground Chuck
                Club Member
                • Apr 2019
                • 113
                • Northern Kentucky

                I feel like I remember Meathead recommending a separate pit for fish. Anyone know if that is necessary? I'd hate to mess up my new offset by cooking fish in there! I'd definitely keep the Egg if I were you .


                • Skip
                  Founding Member
                  • Jul 2014
                  • 2667
                  • Blue Earth, Minnesota
                  • Memphis Pellet Grill, Large BGE, Weber Kettle with SnS, Weber Gasser, Pit Barrel Cooker, Cast Iron Pans & Griddle, Grill Grates

                  I've done fish on several of my cookers and just let them burn off for a little while afterwards and then I don't feel like there is any fishy carryover. Just my opinion.


                  • Skip
                    Skip commented
                    Editing a comment
                    PS---I wouldn't do Lutefisk on any cooker that you valued at all. If you aren't sure what Lutefisk is that's just as well. Visit the midwest in Dec-Jan and you will be able to smell the Lutefisk. It's quite fishy and ...LOL

                  • Old Glory
                    Old Glory commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That's what I'd do, run it hot with some chunks and goodby fish odor. That said I'd probably keep it out of the BGE since the ceramic is porous.

                    When I lived in Gloucester my neighbors used to smoke bluefish and Mackerel. Smelled like burning trash.
                • mug15
                  Charter Member
                  • Aug 2014
                  • 6
                  • Las Vegas, NV
                  • Large BGE
                    BBQ Guru Temp controller
                    Still looking for "clean" hardwood charcoal supply source

                  Thanks to all for the many quick responses. First some clarifications: 1) I am ditching the BGE b/cause it keeps cracking AND I cannot find good consistent hardwood charcoal here in the desert AND Meathead (along with Dr. Blonder's famous "smoke" interview) has convinced me that sawdust and corn starch >>> hardwood due to consistency of its cooking/heating characteristics. 2) My reading convinced me that its not good to smoke fish and meat in the same unit as the "fishyness" stays in the smoker.

                  I had not thought of a kettle/SNS for fish smoking - its seems face-palming obvious now that its been pointed out here, but hey - I'm a newbie to everything but the BGE (looking now for the smiley face emojis but it looks like we only have real editing buttons because this is a serious subject - FOOD! - or maybe I'm just a blogging newbie and don't know the symbols).

                  Also regarding the overnight low and slow cooks, years ago a Meathead article convinced me to be gat a BBQ Guru digital fan and temp probes, which all these years later still keeps the BGE humming at 225 (although I have not done a L&S cook since I found the latest crack). My question was whether the WSM was likely to be a "set it and forget it" for 8 hours once I learn how to dial it in given there does not seem to be a way to attach a control fan to the air intake (at least I have not read about that being an option anywhere).

                  Also I had not thought about an electric pellet smoker as I wanted wood to be the heat source (more flavorful meat but that probably doesn't matter with the fishies?) - Can you really direct grill over the pellets? - I thought the pellet box is typically not located below the cooking chamber.


                  • Old Glory
                    Old Glory commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Your egg should be warrantied correct?

                    I get briquettes are more precise but I think you get better flavor from lump.
                • SavageSmoke
                  Club Member
                  • Jun 2019
                  • 170
                  • Eden, NC

                  For a dedicated fish smoker, I would go with a pellet grill. The smoke profile is light and they are very easy to dial in on temp. For a meat smoker, I would look at a charcoal cabinet like a backwoods, BQ, or Stumps. Good luck to you.


                  • mug15
                    Charter Member
                    • Aug 2014
                    • 6
                    • Las Vegas, NV
                    • Large BGE
                      BBQ Guru Temp controller
                      Still looking for "clean" hardwood charcoal supply source

                    Old Glory - yes they have a lifetime warranty but since they lost their patent protection they seem much less interested in customer support (it took weeks and weeks to get a replacement when the main outer ceramic cracked) and the new crack in the firebox will likely be a fight as well. That said, the real issue is that I cannot get good, clean, consistency burning hardwood charcoal in Las Vegas and with all the great options for briquets plus wood chunks I will go in that direction - the blue bags are everywhere.


                    • Old Glory
                      Old Glory commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I get it, its a pain. I'm still holding out hope for the BGE since its such a great cooker. I get my lump online from FOGO. It is some of the best lump available. https://www.fogocharcoal.com/
                  • klflowers
                    Club Member
                    • Sep 2015
                    • 2553
                    • Tennessee

                    BBQ Guru with wsm:


                    I have a Cyber Q that I use with my wsm all the time.


                    • mug15
                      mug15 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Great - thanks much!



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                  Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

                  fireboard bbq thermometer

                  With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.

                  Click here to read our detailed review

                  Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

                  Green Mountain Davey Crockett Grill

                  Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

                  Click here to read our detailed review and to order