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Cheap and lazy

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    Cheap and lazy

    Thanks to this site, I'm finally able to smoke good ribs and the holy grail of Texas barbecue, brisket. I no longer have to pay barbecue joints $18-$22 a pound for what a lot of times is pretty mediocre. I'm using a 15 year old Weber kettle (thats the cheap part) with a slow n sear and am really happy with the flavor profile that I get from charcoal and a few chunks of hickory or apple wood. Ribs are a relatively easy 5-6 hours, but brisket is usually 12-14 hours on the cooker. I usually put it on at midnight to have it ready to eat by 6pm. I have to add charcoal around 5am and then worry about it while I'm sleeping. I need more capacity, a cooker that can go longer without refueling, and hold temperature so I don't have to tend to it as much. A pellet smoker is the obvious solution, but a quality one is pricey, and I've heard that they don't have the the smokier flavor profile us Texans prefer. I started thinking a 26 inch Weber kettle would give me more capacity and a longer cook time without refueling, but I would still have to tend to it like my 22 inch kettle. A 22 inch Weber Smokey Mountain would give me plenty of capacity, but I read they're difficult to keep at the 220-225 temperature I like to cook at. I lean toward Weber products because they last. I've been looking at the Masterbuilt 560 which seems to cover cost, capacity, ease of use, and flavor profile I like. What causes me to hesitate is the quality. I can't imagine one of those lasting much more than 5 or 6 years without some of the pricey mods some users are adding, like $270 for a stainless firebox liner and water pan. I up for any advise I can get.

    Howdy from Kansas Territory, Welcome to Th Pit!

    Lookin forward to learnin along with, an from ya!

    I gots me a kettle, too!


      I can be of no help because I cook primarily on a pellet cooker. But welcome to the pit from WI! I am sure you’ll get plenty of advice.


        Welcome from Minnesota. Enjoy The Pit!


          Welcome from Virginia Beach.


            Welcome from south Texas!


              Welcome from Colorado ...


                Welcome from Nor Cal, might want to think about a PBC.


                  Welcome to the PIT from the Lou!

                  I have a couple kettles - my performer Louie and my redhead Lucille - so I know what you have and what you're up against. I too, am working within a budget, so I've learned to hack.

                  I look at Craig's List a lot, and came upon a new, unused Kitchenaid grill for $ 100 - the owner said it was 'too big'. None of us would consider buying or owning this by choice. Jackpot.

                  I reset the chimney with a gasket, put a gasket on the lid, put grommets in for thermometer probes, put in a thermometer at the grate level, sealed the chassis to assure I had a smoke chamber, and used trimmed magnetic plates for bumper stickers to seal the front areas around knobs and such. I put in a sheet metal rectangle in the ash bin to prevent the floorboard from rusting out. The monster gives me about 50% more burn time than a 22.5" kettle.

                  My point is, maybe think outside the box and put some work into something to make it what you want. One thing this grill does have it great CI grates, and a pretty big second tier tray to boot.

                  Click image for larger version  Name:	KitchenAid Upgraded.jpg Views:	0 Size:	1.72 MB ID:	912853
                  The lid gasket and landing pad...
                  and ready to go ↓
                  Click image for larger version  Name:	KA Phase 1.jpg Views:	0 Size:	840.4 KB ID:	912854
                  Food for thought maybe? I use two grates on the left as the smoking area, and the entire grate on the right, boxed off, as a fuel box. If you're handy building something up could be fun..

                  (this is not good for dead of winter cooks, the gauge steel is too light)
                  Last edited by JGo37; September 18, 2020, 01:28 PM.


                    I think pit barrel cooker might be what you would be a smoker that checks off a lot of those wishes off the list. because it runs a little higher and efficiently heats the meat my neighbor has been cooking 11 lb briskets with one fire tend.

                    Good luck and welcome to the pit!


                      Check out the snake or fuse method on the YouTube channel they can go a long time without tending to the fire. I’ve used it with success on my son’s 26” with good success.


                        I have a 26” kettle and a PBC. I’ve done as many as 7 slabs of ribs on my Kettle by rolling them up. I can get up to 6 7-8 lb pork butts in the PBC. As far as whole packer briskets go...only one on the kettle and two in the PBC.
                        i would love to have more capacity too but am VERY pleased with how each of these cookers operate.


                        • JGo37
                          JGo37 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          You can't go wrong with a 26" kettle - that's a beast of a cooking machine!

                        My two cents worth: I still have my circa '78 Weber kettle in addition to a current Weber Performer and PBC. I jumped on the pellet cooker bandwagon a couple years ago, was never really impressed with the smoke profile and the controller failed after 13 months. If it were me I would do a 26" kettle if capacity and low and slow was the real need. Just sayin.


                          Welcome from Westerm Masschusetts.


                            Welcome from Chicagoland!

                            I own a MB560 so I would definitely recommend it. The mods you are considering are not worth it, in my view. However, it is an excellent smoker. I think it deserves to me on your short list still.

                            Some others that might meet your needs would be a Pit Barrel Cooker or a Oklahoma Joe Bronco barrel cooker. The OJ can be sometimes found at Walmart for around $200.



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