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Smokeantor - worth the money?

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    Smokeantor - worth the money?

    I use two Weber 57" kettle. I do everything in them. I haven't find a need for a WSM. But I have been using one. And wow it is easy to keep that important temperature for a long time compared to the 57". I've been looking at the smokeantor for some time now but I am not sure that it will help as much as I hope. Anyone know if it is any good?

    #2
    Decided to pass on it. Bought 5 fire bricks for around $10 instead - working great so far.

    Comment


      #3
      Click image for larger version

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ID:	70104 I have one, and used it alot before getting a PBC, and I think it worked well. I have however read post from people getting very good results using a couple fire bricks to bank the coals to one side, (see picture) . The built in water pan is some what of a joke, and really way too small for a long cook, I used a much larger water tray above the Smokenator actually on the cooking grate. Basically it works fine, but there are cheaper methods to achieve the same results.
      Last edited by Stoney; March 11, 2015, 05:34 AM.

      Comment


        #4
        Mattias if you've read MH's article on the Smokenator all I can say is it's spot on. http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_tech...ator_tips.html

        It really tells you all you need to know when considering whether or not to purchase.

        Comment


          #5
          Mattias,

          I got one last year and have used it several times. I really, really like it. I know people have used bricks with success, but they don't block radiant heat to the same extent as a Smokenator. It's a well designed accessory. It easily snaps into place and with the hover grill and the ability to cook on the charcoal support grate you have a ton of capacity. For my first cook I cooked 4 slabs of baby backs, a 5 pound chuck roast and a loaf pan filled with canned tomatoes that I pureed up and used as a base for my homemade sauce. The crazy thing is I still had room to toss a 15 pound butt underneath (I did cook a butt later in the summer on the charcoal grate with 3 slabs up on the food support grate).

          Having said all of that, this little device does come with some tradeoffs when compared with a WSM. It's not a set it and forget it cooking experience. If you use the little water pan that comes with it (I do) it needs to be filled once per hour. I have found that I need to knock the ash off the coals once every 2 hours. At the 4 hour mark more coals need to be added (they don't need to be lit) but there is enough fire left in the little chamber that this is just a continuation of the Minion method. The nice thing is that it does hold a rock steady cooking temperature in the 220-250 range (I usually have it pegged at 225 with some initial fiddling with the bottom vents). Last summer I cooked a brisket for 10 hours in the Smokenator for a backyard party. Once I wrapped it I added some apple wood threw in the hover grill and smoked some chicken breasts. So yes, it does require some baby sitting but each time the process involves minimal work. Further, if you follow Meathead's advice you can cut down on that as well by completely filling the chamber with charcoal and putting a much larger water pan right above it on the food grate you can reduce the frequency for adding water and can extend the length of the cook before adding more coals. On Thanksgiving I ditched the water pan and had the vents wide open and I was able to hit and maintain 335 which was a perfect temperature for the turkey I cooked. It came out fantastic. For me, the only downside is that it kind of rendered my rotisserie ring useless. I can still use the ring to increase internal capacity, but I just don't see myself ever using it again for a turkey when the Smokenator produced such a beautiful bird.

          Comment


          • Gunderich_1
            Gunderich_1 commented
            Editing a comment
            JeffJ, So Jeff, is the hover grill worth it? I've been considering it but it just looks kinda flimsy to me. Would like to hear more from someone that has used it. Thanks,
            Tim

          #6
          Needless to say, I definitely feel it's worth the money. It has a very loyal following and has its own forum. Heck, go to Youtube and type in "Smokenator" and you'll find countless videos of people using it with great success.

          Comment


            #7
            I like mine and consider it to be an important piece of my arsenal...

            Comment


              #8
              What if I told you guys there's a product on the horizon with a larger water pan, basket to keep the coals together so you don't have to stir them as much, does an even better job of buffering radiant heat away from meat when smoking, and has an honest to goodness sear zone?

              Comment


              • fuzzydaddy
                fuzzydaddy commented
                Editing a comment
                Tell us more.

              • The Burn
                The Burn commented
                Editing a comment
                I'd say I'm happy to volunteer as a beta tester :-)

              • David Parrish
                David Parrish commented
                Editing a comment
                Guys all I can say today is that there will be more to come soon. TB, that beta tester idea (which is awesome)... keep that just between you and me

              #9
              The brick method turns out dynamite Q on my One Touch, I have no need for the smokenator. The Party Q on the other hand is on my spring shopping list as I am far too lazy and busy to be hovering over a grill for 14 hours at a time.

              Comment


                #10
                I was in a competition last weekend and was using my WSM and two Weber 22" kettles. I used the WSM for the brisket and pork butt. I used my SN for the ribs that went on at 6:30 and on my "beater"Weber I used 3 fire bricks. I put two fire brick side by side and the third to stabilize the other two. I was shooting for 325 and was able to get close to that with all of the vents wide open. The chicken legs only took around 90 minutes to get to 180 but I did notice the ones closest to the fire got done much quicker. I am guessing that not having the top piece of stainless allowed more heat to escape.

                Comment


                  #11
                  Like anything opinion-oriented, you'll probably get both ends of the spectrum with a question like that. I have never purchased one. The smokenator design holds promise. The general idea is great, and I don't deny you can accomplish great things with it if you don't mind its design flaws...but it leaves much room for improvement in my book. To me, improvement itself is worth money, room for improvement is not.

                  I use two bricks end to end in the far third or quarter of my 22" to bank the coals and wood. I set a water pan overtop of the coals, or slightly to the side (over the bricks), when doing most meats low & slow but not for chicken, chops, or burgers. I get great results w/o spending money on a product that is not what I want it to be. I'd have no problem dropping the cash if it were setup correctly, but when you have to add your own water pan anyway and play with a small opening for coals, why spend the cash on it? This is my rationale, and I'm not knocking others who love theirs, just sharing my thoughts. So far I've never once said "I should've gotten a Smokenator" after a cook.

                  Comment


                  • FLBuckeye
                    FLBuckeye commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I use the bigger water pan just like a like I use a better door on my WSM and an extra coal grate on the bottom of the WSM. Makes things easier and more convenient.

                  #12
                  Depends on what I'm cooking. If it's something smaller, I tend to use my Vortex in indirect mode. But for things that don't fit that layout, I love my SN, which I had first.

                  Comment


                    #13
                    I bought the smokenator, and it does work as advertised, but I don't like it anyway. It requires too much babysitting. I have used bricks successfully, but prefer the Vortex, or my home-made version of it (the ring from a springform pan):
                    Click image for larger version

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                    It runs for hours with no intervention, and you can place a (large) water pan in the middle.

                    Comment


                    • Henrik
                      Henrik commented
                      Editing a comment
                      That's a valid point. With the vortex (which is way better than my home made version, since it is conical) you can place it "upside down", i.e. small hole down, which reduces radiant heat quite a bit. Either way, when grilling like in the picture above I only light a few briquettes, so there's just a small fire going at any one time. Personally I don't think the radiant heat in this configuration is a problem, but I'm interested in hearing what experience other people are having.

                    • David Parrish
                      David Parrish commented
                      Editing a comment
                      You can find my review of the Vortex on this page under the Smokenator review: http://amazingribs.com/BBQ_buyers_gu...cessories.html

                    • Henrik
                      Henrik commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks for the link, great review! I usually cook just one pork butt (when using the kettle, as opposed to my kamado), but your reasoning around cooking many cuts at once makes perfect sense. For that reason I agree the Smokenator is definitely the better of the two. It all comes down to personal taste and preferences also, I guess. As Huskee stated earlier, you will hear pros and cons on both devices.

                    #14
                    I bought my OTS last September. Completely clueless about charcoal until I discovered this site. Had a SN on the wishlist, but went with the Vortex 1st ( Love It! )

                    Got SN for Xmas. Haven't used it yet, but look forward to it based on what I've read. Plan on using it for turkey, racks of ribs, anything too big for the V.

                    --Ed

                    Comment


                    • JeffJ
                      JeffJ commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I used it for a Thanksgiving turkey. It turned out great! I used Kingsford Blue and lit fifteen coals. I had the vents wide open and I removed the water pan. I was able to hit and maintain 330 which is a good temperature for cooking turkey.

                    • Medusa
                      Medusa commented
                      Editing a comment
                      @JeffJ,

                      Thanks! Did you run both vents wide open during the entire cook? Did you use a drip pan under the turkey for catching the drippings for gravy?

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