There are 11 page views remaining.

Support ARC

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazon.


Some Of Our Favorite
Tools And Toys

These are not ads. These are products we love and highly recommend. Click here to read more about our medals and what they mean.



Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.

Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts

Digital Thermometers Are Your Most Valuable Tool And Here's A Great Buy!

maverick PT55 thermometer

A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. YOU NEED ONE!

Click here for more info on the Maverick PT-55 Waterproof Instant-Read Thermometer Review shown above. It may be the best value in a thermometer out there

If you have a Weber Kettle, you need the Slow 'N' Sear

slow n sear

The Slow 'N' Sear turns your grill into a first class smoker and also creates an extremely hot sear zone you can use to create steakhouse steaks.

Click here for our article on this breakthrough tool

GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone

grill grates

GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, keep small foods from committing suicide, kill hotspots, are easier to clean, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily removed and moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke to whatever is above. Every gas grill needs them.

Click here for more about what makes these grates so special

Pit Barrel Cooker Smoker

The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy

The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers in the hardware stores because temperature control is so much easier. Best of all, it is only 9 delivered to your door!

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them

The Swiss Army Knife Of Thermometers


The smart folks at ThermoWorks have finally done it: The Swiss Army Knife of thermometers, two in one. Start with the industry standard food thermometer, the Thermapen MK4, (Platinum Medal winner) truly instant (2 to 3 seconds) precise (+ or – 0.7°F). Then they built in an infrared thermometer ideal for measuring the temps of pizza stones, griddles, and frying pans (also great for finding leaks around doors and windows in your house).

Click here to read our test results and comprehensive review and why it won our Platinum Medal.


G&F Suede Welder's Gloves

Heat Resistant Gloves With Extra Long Sleeves Hold The Hot Stuff

If you're using oven mitts at the grill, it's time to trade up. Say hello to these suede welder's gloves. They're heat resistant enough to handle hot grill grates, and flexible enough to handle tongs. The extra long sleeves even let you reach deep into the firebox to move hot logs without getting burned. Our Fave.

Click here to read our detailed review

Click here to order from Amazon

The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One

the good one grill

The Good-One Open Range is a charcoal grill with an offset smoke chamber attached. It is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. The grill sits low in front and doubles as a firebox for the smoke chamber which is spliced on above and behind so it can work like a horizontal offset smoker only better. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.

Click here to read our complete review

kareubequ bbq smoker

Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.

Click here for our review of this superb smoker

Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker

masterbuilt gas smoker

The First Propane Smoker With A Thermostat Makes This Baby Foolproof

Set ThermoTemp's dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin'.

Click here to read our detailed review

PK 360 grill

Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?

The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it's easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado. Beautifully designed and completely portable. Meathead says it is his preferrred grill.

Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

Click here to order it direct from PK and get a special deal for readers only

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


No announcement yet.

Need some advice

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Top | #16
    WWelcome to the PiT!


    • Top | #17
      Kamado would be a first choice for me because of the stability of temps, and the versatility.

      Something like a WSM would be my second choice, especially as it appears you already own a gasser. They too are very stable...even more so with a controller, though I’ve never owned a controller myself.

      A pellet cooker is probably the most set & forget of the lot seeing as they’re essentially wood fired ovens.
      The drawback, for ME, is that the smoke profile is pretty least when using my father’s Traeger. (The only pellet cooker I’ve ever used.) I’ve managed to fix that by adding an A-Maze-N tube on the grate...

      It’s really going to come down to budget...and what other, if any, uses you want out of the cooker.

      And welcome aboard.


      • Top | #18
        Sounds to me like you want a pellet cooker. But you CAN go with charcoal too. I have a Primo, in the same category as all the other kamados. I have a thermostatic controller which makes it very much set and forget. But it was a costly option. You have to buy the cooker itself, then buy a stand/table or build a table (I built mine). Then buy the controller. All said I have about $2k into my Primo plus table plus stuff.

        it is easy enough to use, light he coals, set the thermostatic controller, then let it heat up. I do have to choke down the fan and top vent, it’s easy.

        But a pellet cooker is even easier.
        Last edited by SmokeyGator; May 12th, 2019, 03:29 PM.


        • EdF
          EdF commented
          Editing a comment
          I was going to build a table when I had my woodworking shop set up. But that ship has sailed. Still on the ground at 17 years and counting!

          (all that bending over helps keep you limber - though actually it's not that much of a bend, given that the lower vent almost never needs adjusting).

        • SmokeyGator
          SmokeyGator commented
          Editing a comment
          EdF you could leave it on the floor. But then you will be hunched over when using it. I use mine for high heat direct grilling and long slow smokes. The table was worth the effort.

      • Top | #19
        Hey there HackerDave!
        On a related note, don’t overlook a remote temp sensor like the FireBoard. Next to my pellet-pooper, the FireBoard is my next critical piece-of-mind tool. If (actually, when) something goes awry with the cook, and/or the meat’s at temp, the low and high alarms can alert you in time to adjust, especially if away on the golf course, asleep in bed, or at Costco shopping for your next brisket. Also, let’s you monitor your cook from almost anywhere. The smart-phone app keeps you connected anywhere your phone has internet access, as long as the FireBoard can talk to your home WiFi.
        (nope, I don’t work for FireBoard, just love mine)

        Keep us posted! Good luck, and have fun.


        • Top | #20
          Click image for larger version

Name:	3A6FD744-88F3-4F94-B133-AF069AD128D7.jpeg
Views:	5
Size:	282.4 KB
ID:	678354

          Click image for larger version

Name:	D9E9ADD8-A5E1-49DF-8B2F-5BE370D4035D.jpeg
Views:	2
Size:	75.7 KB
ID:	678353Click image for larger version

Name:	7CF31D4E-AE92-49D6-ABD8-9CF14446E481.jpeg
Views:	4
Size:	97.7 KB
ID:	678352 Pellet will work well.

          Thermostatic control with remote temperature monitoring is great too, and with a little effort you can set one up on almost any charcoal grill.

          I get 5-8 hours unattended nonreload on a Weber kettle (depending on the kettle and the weather ).
          I get 8-12 in the PBC and easily 12+ on my pk360.

          all above times are with food.

          Attached are my calibration runs without food.

          Remote monitoring is great. I can dial back the temp from the grocery store with the fireboard controller.


          • Top | #21
            A Weber Kettle with an SnS, a fan, and wireless temp probes will do exactly what you ask. You'll be able to monitor your cook via an app on your phone, and you can raise or lower the cooking temp if you feel like your meat temps are not progressing as you would want. You can get 8 hours or more easily depending on what kind of fuel you use out of that setup. And you will have a nicer smoke profile than with a pellet pooper.

            Plus you will have a more versatile cooker than if you get something that is just a smoker.

            I'm biased. I have and love a 22" Kettle.


            • Top | #22
              While I can smoke on my Weber Performer Deluxe (22") with the Slow 'N Sear for 8 to 12 hours hands off, I think your best bet is a pellet smoker. Charcoal *might* go out on you and might need tending. I've solved most of the tending issue with a temperature controller called the Party Q. Propane or natural gas smokers might need tending to adjust temperature. Electric smokers just don't put out the same level of product IMO, so I wouldn't even go there.

              With a pellet smoker, once you fill up the hopper, assuming the smoker is in good working order, and the ashes from prior cooks are cleaned out to avoid anything interfering with operation, it should be good for 12 to 20 hours, depending on the hopper size. I really like the Grilla products, but you may want to consider something that has a Wifi capability built in, so that you can monitor it and even control the temperature from a smart phone app while out and about. I have a Smoke and Smoke Gateway that lets me MONITOR, but I cannot do something like adjust the temp down to 170F to hold the meat until I get home, which is the advantage I could see of some of the smokers that have Wifi monitoring and control (Rec-tec, Green Mountain Grills).

              All that said, if you are just looking to not check it every hour, and are fine with 4, 5, 6 hours, you could get by with a charcoal smoker like the Pit Barrel Cooker (PBC) or a Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). They are charcoal, and will run for hours on a load of fuel, and are dedicated smokers like you said you wanted (versus something like the kettle + Slow 'N Sear). With a wifi enabled thermometer, or a temperature controller with a fan, you can monitor and even control the temp remotely. You just can't add charcoal without being there.
              Last edited by jfmorris; May 13th, 2019, 08:30 AM.


              • Buck Flicks
                Buck Flicks commented
                Editing a comment
                Ah... yeah, I didn't see the "want a dedicated smoker" bit in the OP. That being the case, I'd go with a WSM with a fan controller. Pellet poopers just don't give the smoke punch I like. But if you like a lighter smoke profile, they're pretty much the perfect set it and forget it machine.

              • jfmorris
                jfmorris commented
                Editing a comment
                Yeah, since I got the SNS for my Performer, and later the PartyQ, I've had much less desire for a pellet smoker. I can monitor with my Smoke (with wifi gateway), and down the road can see getting a Fireboard so I can control temp remotely too

            • Top | #23
              I want to thank all of you for helping me out. Here is yet another question. Is there any particular brand of pellet that might work better when it comes to getting a smokey flavor? As this will be my first smoker, I imagine I might be happy with the results out of the box simply because I don't know better!!


              • Top | #24
                Hey Dave-

                Late to the party... but better late than never

                I know a lot of the guys on this forum have a backyard full of cookers and/or have cooked on many cookers (different types/styles) over the years. That said, you are definitely asking your questions to the right group of guys/gals.

                Being no different than the average backyard grilling/smoking nut, I too have had my fair share of cookers over the years.

                That said, I can say this with absolute confidence based on experience. The pellet smoker is going to be impossible to beat if your #1 priority is convenience! Many will tell you that you will end up with a less desirable end product when cooked on a pellet smoker vs stick or charcoal cooker. I, and those I cook for, have not at all found that to be the case. Yes, pellet cookers produce a lighter smoke profile... but IMO, it is a very desirable smoke profile that I have also found appeals to the masses. I am very familiar with sticks and charcoal and have no problem maintaining a clean fire, but what I have discovered is that I actually get more compliments on the food that comes from my pellet cooker than any other cooker I have ever had. Go figure...

                If you decide to go the pellet route, it would be very helpful to identify your approx budget. Being that I don't know that, at this point my highest recommendation for a pure pellet smoker would hands down go the MAK 1 Star. It is just flat out a smoking beast. Yes, it'll cost more than a Chinese import, but I consider it to be more an investment than a purchase as it'll be around for many years to come. Why the MAK 1 Star:

                - Produces tons of smoke!
                - Smoke vents primarily at cooking grate level vs a smoke stack... which in my opinion helps with holding the smoke back on the meat a bit longer before exiting the cooker.
                - The 1 Star is manufactured with anodized aluminum under it's high temp powder coat finish. This means that you will not be dealing with rust down the road should you have a few chips and scratches here and there... I love that!
                - The Pellet Boss controller on the MAK Grills is amazing! Highly programmable and makes looooong low n slows an absolute breeze.
                - The folks at MAK and the support they offer is really good!
                - You are purchasing a smoker that is 100% US made... all the way down to the 304SS hardware that is used.
                - MAK makes some great accessories for their pellet grills. For the 1 Star, at a minimum, I'd recommend a cover and full upper grate. With the full upper grate, it is quite impressive how much food you can cook at one time on a cooker with a relatively small footprint.

                I am obviously a big fan of MAK Grills, and no, I do not work for them... lol. Yes, there are other very nice pellet cookers on the market! It is just my opinion that when you put them head to head against the MAK's, that the MAK will speak for itself

                Again, this is based on my experiences and is nothing more than my opinion.

                Look forward to seeing the direction you go. You will get lots of opinions... but at the end of the day, only you can decide what will work best for you and yours.


                • Top | #25
                  Budget is pretty open at this point. I have a very nice gasser that handles the grilling aspect. The smoker is a luxury, but cost is secondary to ease of use and ability to set it up and leave. I figure its going to be about a grand to get a solid smoker and wifi ability. Maybe I am wrong and can do better than that, but I can swing a grand if its well made and will last a while. I will look into the MAK. My first thought was Traeger simply because my local Costco carried them but now they seem to be carrying the Louisiana brand which I am unfamiliar with. Searching online I found the Grilla brand which is well reviewed and they are based here in Michigan (but built in China). I'm now off to the MAK website!! Lets see what they offer


                  • Top | #26
                    Salutations from Hays, Kansas! Agree with above on cookers. I’m partial to pellet smokers for “set and forget,” however, you can’t really forget. I’m very fond of my Yoder.

                    Good luck to you on this adventure and enjoy The Pit!


                    • Top | #27
                      Get a KBQ and pay the neighbor kid $5/hr to toss in a new log every 30 mins. Temp controller gives you consistent temps and beautiful blue smoke. Real wood fire gives you the best barbecue...period. A monkey could feed it while you’re off having fun!


                      • Top | #28
                        While your choice of smoker is important based on your need to leave the smoker, I would start my search with the WiFi controller both built in or add on and then choose my cooker.