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Looking for a charcoal smoker - MCS

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    Looking for a charcoal smoker - MCS

    Would anyone care to shed their insight into what would be the best entry level charcoal smoker for someone looking to get into the charcoal game? My cheap offset has gone to be with the scrap pile so I was looking to get a charcoal smoker to start playing around with. I have a pellet grill, propane smoker, and gasser still so I would like to start playing around with true live-fire again. After reading many posts, it seems like a weber kettle or PBC would be a good start but any input would be greatly appreciated!

    #2
    Check out Weber Smokey Mountain also.

    What is your budget? BGEs are excellent, WSCG also excellent.

    Kettle with a Slow and Sear.

    Comment


    • LA Pork Butt
      LA Pork Butt commented
      Editing a comment
      I’ll second that and from all reports add the Pit Barrel Ccokr.

    #3
    Kettle + SnS There are a ton of accessories made for the kettle so you can rotisserie, make pizza, go low and slow or hot and fast.

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      #4
      If you don’t need to grill, I would look at the Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) or PBC. I have a Weber Performer (kettle) which can smoke with the Slow ‘N Sear and grill, but if I just wanted a smoker, I would choose between the WSM and PBC.

      Comment


      • Bob's BBQ
        Bob's BBQ commented
        Editing a comment
        I'll agree with jfmorris assessment. I have Weber and PK grills and a PBC. All are terrific.

      #5
      I have both a PBC and a 26” Kettle. Really like both and either one would give you great food. But if I had to choose I would get the 26” Weber kettle and add the SnS and vortex. It’s easy to clean, a ton of after market accessories are available for it and it can easily go from low and slow to sear temps in just a few mins. Don’t get me wrong I like my PBC with its large capacity and distinct flavor profile but for versatility and ease of use I give my nod to the 26” Weber Kettle.

      Comment


        #6
        Well, before a certain someone chimes in with "PBC, PBC, PBC!" LOL
        I'd suggest a WSM.
        Quite versatile, which some other types don't seem to match, and with a relatively easy learning curve. And if you feel you need to hang whatever it is you're going to smoke...there are hangers made for that.

        You didn't state a budget, but given the options in your initial post...I'm going with x hundred dollars. The WSM fits that bill...yes, the WSCG (I own one) or a BGE does all of that but seriously raises the ante.

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          #7
          Personally I like my kamado and my many kettles.

          Comment


            #8
            Depends on budget and the size crowd you’ll be cooking for...a Webber kettle is what I started on, and I made a lot of good barbecue for my family.

            Comment


              #9
              Gravity fed.

              Comment


              • jfmorris
                jfmorris commented
                Editing a comment
                So, what gravity fed charcoal smokers would you recommend? Inquiring minds want to know! My smokers burn charcoal, and are fed by gravity (me dropping charcoal into them)...

              #10
              Depending upon budget. But I would recommend taking a look at the SNS Kamado.

              Comment


                #11
                Like they said. I have a kettle/sns and a wsm. My only change would be a bigger kettle, I have the 22.

                Comment


                  #12
                  Lower costs.... Kettles (26 and 22) as I have 2 with the accessories. I love my kettles.

                  more money and quality are the Kamado. KJ, BGE and Primo.

                  Comment


                    #13
                    Like DavidNorcross mentioned, the SNS Kamado is pretty nice looking. 2 zone coupled with a kamado. A few more dollars though.

                    Comment


                    • Attjack
                      Attjack commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Probably better off off with a Primo Oval imo.

                    #14
                    Follow up question if I may: The kettle's main advantage seems to be versatility. What would be the advantage of a WSM over a kettle?

                    Comment


                    • Attjack
                      Attjack commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Probably capacity.

                    • jfmorris
                      jfmorris commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Capacity, especially in the 22" WSM. Also, flexibility. If you buy the Gateway 30 or 55 gallon drum hanger kits, they will work on the 18" or 22" kettle to let you dangle your ribs over the fire just like a PBC.

                      To me, where the PBC falls down is capacity for big hunks of meat like butts. A WSM 22 can hold 8, a WSM 18 can hold 6. With the PBC, 2 butts is about the limit, hanging, or grated. If you just cook ribs/chicken and never more than 1-2 butts or briskets, then the PBC is a rock star.
                      Last edited by jfmorris; February 6, 2020, 10:57 AM.

                    • surfdog
                      surfdog commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Along with capacity, the OP was looking for a smoker...
                      I like the versatility of the WSM. Good rack space, or use a hanger if so inclined. Water pan or no water pan...diffusion or not, operators choice. I also like the ability to control temperatures, low & slow to hot & fast. If I didn’t have the WSCGC I’d have another 22” WSM in a heartbeat.

                    #15
                    Get into charcoal with the PBC, especially if you only want a smoker. It's a great cooker for the price. Actually it's a great cooker for any price. It holds its own against the big boys (I have a Weber Summit Charcoal Grill/SnS/Kamado as well).

                    If you can afford it, get a 22" Weber kettle with the SnS as well. That way you'd have all bases covered. There isn't anything you couldn't smoke or grill with a PBC and a kettle/SnS combo.

                    For a smoker only, the nod for me would go to the PBC because of the volume it can hold and the price vs a kettle+SnS combo.

                    Kathryn

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