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Need a new smoker

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    Need a new smoker

    Ok. I have 2 Weber kettles. One I use for a smoker with an attachment.

    Been thinking about getting a regular smoker but on the cheap side.

    I was thinking about the Weber 22" smoky mountain. It's about $440.

    Is there a better choice for maybe just a little bit more?

    Thought about a pellet smoker but crap they are expensive. I don't want anything smaller than a 22" cooking area. But I really want my money's worth that I'm not going to try and replace within a couple years.

    What would be a good choice?

    #2
    Joetee I don't think there is anything that can touch the capacity of the WSM 22 in the price range, unless it is something like a propane vertical smoker like the Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24", which has 5 levels that can each hold a full size steam table tray.

    I've got a Party Q fan controller for my 22" Performer with the SNS, and can get 12+ hours on a load of charcoal. I used to want a pellet smoker too (I like the original Grilla), but think with a fan controller a WSM 22 would be just as hands off, or close to it, as any pellet cooker.

    If you have not seen it, Gateway makes a hanging kit for 55 gallon drum cookers that just so happens to fit the WSM 22. This lets you hang your ribs and briskets just like a Pit Barrel Cooker.

    https://www.bbqguys.com/gateway-drum...-smokers-10655

    Comment


      #3
      If a stick burner is a possibility, you can get a pretty decent one at Academy for under $1,000. I have used the Over and Under and Smokehouse models of Old County BBQ Pits and had good luck with both of those. $500 - $700 range.

      Comment


        #4
        If you want more grate space, something like an OK Joe Highland with a couple of fairly inexpensive mods will get you a pretty serviceable yet reasonably priced offset. The cooking area is something like 17x40 (I don't have an actual OKJ so I might be slightly off.) They work great with charcoal and chunks, especially with a fan controller, or you can also burn wood, if you get the urge to learn fire management. You might also consider a drum, like the OKJ Bronco. Bigger grate than a PBC and lots of folks rave about it.

        Comment


          #5
          I think the WSM is an excellent choice. Once dialed in it can produce some terrific food. There's a reason why they're seen at just about every competition...and why guys like Harry Soo walk away with trophies & checks.

          A fan setup will make it about as set & forget as they come. And I like the idea of the hanger that jfmorris suggested. The ability to use it like a PBC but with more control & versatility. (If I'm not careful I might talk myself into one again. LOL)

          Comment


            #6
            Ok so if they both cost the same, either a pit barrel or a smokey mountain, which would you choose.

            I have an air controller which works wonderful on my kettle.

            Comment


            • surfdog
              surfdog commented
              Editing a comment
              Well, I'm biased so I would get the Weber.
              Lots of people around here love their PBC...but I have honestly never even seen one, let alone used or eaten anything made in one.

              I like the ability to adjust temps on the WSM. Yes, it requires a bit more learning/adjustment...but it works great. There are entire sites dedicated to them. And parts & mods if needed/wanted are readily available.

              And I like the versatility...water/no water...grates/hanging...low & slow/hot & fast...

            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              I would get the WSM I think. I like control...

            • TripleB
              TripleB commented
              Editing a comment
              What jfmorris said. Plus you can buy rib hangers for the WSM.

            #7
            If you are really interested in pellet grills, there are older models (new old stock) of Camp Chef on eBay. Several less than $500. They've done a lot of model revamping the past few years, a lot of it being in the carts underneath the grills, so the older models are a bit uglier. I had a SmokePro STX I bought on eBay and it was a fine little pellet grill.

            Comment


            • TripleB
              TripleB commented
              Editing a comment
              I’m a KCBS BBQ judge (over 35 competitions). I’ve seen maybe one pellet smoker at an event. But I’ve seen hundreds of WSM’s.

            • glitchy
              glitchy commented
              Editing a comment
              TripleB maybe teams are shifting away from again or it’s a regional thing. In 2009 50% of the top 12 KCBS points teams were pellet grillers supposedly. As well: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-rele...300136353.html
              https://forum.cookshack.com/topic/pe...american-royal

            • TripleB
              TripleB commented
              Editing a comment
              glitchy one article was in 2008 and the other was KCBS partnering with Tragear and rewarded teams using Tragear grills. Not saying pellet smokers can’t win, just stating that the comps I’ve been at for the last six years, I’ve seen more WSM’s than any other smoker. One reason for that is that a team will use 3-4 WSM’s (one WSM for each turn in category). Just have not seen any pellet smokers.

            #8
            Joetee I recently had the same thoughts and was thinking about either the Masterbuilt or a pellet grill. I ended up getting an air controller, pit viper, and a 22 WSM. I should be getting it next week. I just couldn't give up the taste of charcoal but needed something that was virtually set and forget. If I was going pellet, I liked the Camp Chef SG 24.

            Comment


              #9
              I am biased towards the WSM 22 as well, since I own one (see avatar). I love mine. Plenty of real estate to cook on and you do have the versatility of using a fan for temp. Excellent smoke flavor as well. That's the cooker I would choose.

              Comment


                #10
                Well if it were me and I needed a 22" smoker I'd go with the Oklahoma Joe Bronco Pro. The Bronco does not get many mentions here but the temp control and other features make it a pretty nifty unit. Understand I am Weber / SNS and PBC guy and still have the Bronco on my next possible buy list.

                https://www.oklahomajoes.com/bronco-pro-drum-smoker

                Comment


                • Joetee
                  Joetee commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Made in China. So thank you but no thanks.

                • Dadof3Illinois
                  Dadof3Illinois commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I believe the PBC is made in China now also...

                • BFlynn
                  BFlynn commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I've seen the bronco at academy and it looks like a solid machine.
                  I would consider it, except it says Oklahoma on the side.

                  Just can't have that.

                  If it was an Arkansas Joe, I'd buy it in a heartbeat

                #11
                I've got a PBC. I've used a WSM. You'll get good results with either.

                If you're going to use a fan controller, either one will be very precise.

                PBC is 18 inches across. So the WSM has more grate space.
                PBC has more capacity by hanging meats, but you can add a hanger to the WSM.
                Hanging ribs seems to cook them a little faster

                Theyre both great smokers.

                WSM has a dome lid. PBC has a flat lid with cool horse shoe handles....

                We're really splitting hairs here.
                Last edited by BFlynn; July 30, 2020, 09:04 AM.

                Comment


                • Mudkat
                  Mudkat commented
                  Editing a comment
                  This sums it all up in one neaty tighty post.

                #12
                I was in the same place you were about 2 years ago and decided on the PBC. I’m happy with my choice. I don’t use any fan controller as I don’t think the PBC needs it.

                Comment


                • N227GB
                  N227GB commented
                  Editing a comment
                  You can't go wrong with a PBC and it's definitely in your budget.

                #13
                I don't see a side door for adding fuel, water, etc.
                This would be a problem for me.

                Comment


                • Joetee
                  Joetee commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I do large briskets. And wouldn't want to have to go in through the top to add fuel for a 20 hour cook. And the drippings wouldn't be enough I don't think to help a cook that long to stay most.
                  Just my opinion.

                • hoovarmin
                  hoovarmin commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Joetee not sure how big the briskets you cook are but they cook faster in a PBC and what ColonialDawg said is true, you don't need water in a PBC because it is a very high humidity cooker. WSM is awesome, too.

                • ColonialDawg
                  ColonialDawg commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The PBC cooks at around 270-300, so you won’t be cooking anything for 20 hours. I’m thinking 8-10 hours. The PBC will last at least that long. I cooked a short rib plate and was done in about 5-6 hours. It was amazing. A brisket will be plenty moist. Search these forums and you’ll see some excellent examples.

                #14
                Thank you all.
                Here's what I have now.
                22 inch Weber kettle with a Cajun Bandit smoker attachment. It works real well. The only problem I'm having is no access to the fuel and water pan without removing the attachment.
                I'm really looking for access through a door.
                It seems like I see a lot of problems with keeping a low n slow 225° for a long time with both the WSM and the PBC compared to what I have now.

                What I'm looking for is something else with a lot of grill space that won't cost me an arm and a leg.

                I'm sure the WSM will/can handle 7 hours. I much rather cook longer with more control of air/heat.

                I'm in the home work stage trying to figure out exactly what I want. Spending a few hundred bucks and finding out I wish I bought something else for a little bit more is what I'm trying to avoid.

                Any other advice/suggestions are welcome.

                Comment


                • Hulagn1971
                  Hulagn1971 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Joetee, I've gone 16+ hours at 250 with my WSM without a hitch. With that being said, I don't use my water pan, I only cover it foil. Also for the long cooks I use B&B briquettes for a much longer burn. I have my door taped up as I don't need to refuel with being able to cook that long. There are aftermarket coal rings/baskets that hold a lot more charcoal if you need it. Good luck!
                  Last edited by Hulagn1971; July 30, 2020, 04:44 PM.

                • bep35
                  bep35 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I have the PBC and really like it. The PBC isn't really designed to maintain a 225 temp. Mine seems to want to run in the 275 range, which is becoming the new low and slow. The PBC easily bumps up to 350 for great chicken with crispy skin. And there is something special about hanging the meat over your fire. The juices dripping onto the coals create a unique and tasty flavor profile you can't get elsewhere. There is a ton of advice from users on this site cooking with the PBC.

                • surfdog
                  surfdog commented
                  Editing a comment
                  “ What I'm looking for is something else with a lot of grill space that won't cost me an arm and a leg.”

                  Whoa...was about to blow your budget completely out of water. LOL

                #15
                Well after much research I think I found what I might be getting. Now I just need to figure out how to pay for it. LOL

                I really like the Lone Star Smoke, 20x36, offset smoker.

                It's expensive but will probably last a life time.

                What do you all think?

                Comment


                • TripleB
                  TripleB commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Think long and hard on an offset. I have one (a Jambo) and they are 100% hands on. No ATC. I’m glad I own it, but also glad I got a 22” WSM (with an ATC) for those times I don’t want to stay up during the night babysitting a brisket or butt.

                • jfmorris
                  jfmorris commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I have an offset. It makes great BBQ. It also requires staying up all night and messing with the fire every 30 minutes. A 20x36 is similar in size to mine (24x36 for the main chamber), so will probably use similar amounts of fuel. If using charcoal + wood hunks, a brisket or butt smoke takes 30-40 pounds of charcoal, plus a bag of wood chunks. If smoking with straight wood, expect to use a wheelbarrow of wood.

                  Due to becoming lazy in my 50's, I smoke now more on my kettle+SNS than the offset.

                • jfmorris
                  jfmorris commented
                  Editing a comment
                  And you are right - the LSG *WILL* last a lifetime. My offset smoker was welded up by a guy in my Dad's shop back around 1985, and since he used 304SS, it will be handed down to my son. Or maybe a grandson!

                  I use the kettle mostly as it is hands off (feed the fire every 12-14 hours with the right charcoal in the SNS and a fan controller), and it only uses 7-8 pounds of fuel for a long cook.

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