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My Smoker Dilemma

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    My Smoker Dilemma

    Howdy folks.

    I have my Weber Kettle One-Touch gold, which at the time I figured was the best idea. Discovered the Smokenator through this site and have been mostly pleased with it. My latest run I had a beast of a time regulating the temp and the coals seemed to catch too quickly which, I'm sure is an air leakage problem.

    I want to get the iQue or another fan regulator but because I opted for the gold I either need to remove the ash catcher at the bottom, which seems like a huge pain, or have a hole drilled in the side, also a huge pain and not something my ladyfriend is keen on having done to the grill.

    As I already have the smokenator, I'm hesitant to go another route as I've spent that money and used it and it works with tending, but I'm really looking for an option I don't have to babysit quite as much. I do find the constant tending relaxing and the "true BBQ" experience, but in today's world I don't always have the time for it.

    That's when I started looking at the Masterbuilt Electric 40. But then, electric. I read more and no, no I do not want electric.

    The iQue or partyQ, seem like great ideas. Still can figure out which is the better option if I end up going with one.

    All this being said, here's a few questions:

    Is there a market for used Smokenators? I'd, of course, sell it at a loss, like $50.

    The Smokevault looks promising, but that's going to end up being a pretty penny after propane tanks are accounted for and with all the rain we get in Seattle it might be a bad idea.

    The Pit Barrel Cooker is something I'm starting to fall in love with, but can it take an iQue or other temp regulator? And what if I want to cold smoke, is that a thing?

    I'm sure a lot of these answers can be found on-site with some digging, but I'd like to hear directly from y'all.

    Modify my Weber? Sell the Smokenator? PBC with a regulator? Help me BBQ-Qonobi, you're my only hope.


    #2
    popNerd

    Relax, you just have to figure it out, do several dry runs... no food to waist... learn how much charcoal or wood chips to put in it at one time. When you first fire it up let the coals settle down to a constant, when you have a constant temp for about a half hour and the temp is too high you have too much coals and when the temp is too low... well you know.
    Depending on what your cooking and for how long depends on how much attention you have to pay to the grill.

    Rob

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks Rob I do appreciate your response.

      I've had many successful runs with my Smokenator, but I'm really in the mood to upgrade to something new. That's kinda the direction I'm looking at for this thread. This was the first time in the year or so I've had it that it's giving me any sort of issue. And it wasn't a huge issue, the ribs were delicious and I didn't have to baby it too awful much, just more than I would have liked. Also, as we're closing out summer, I know my smokenator set-up in the backyard makes temp control that much more difficult.

      I'm just a gadget guy, and I like buying toys. And it just seems to me to be time to upgrade my hardware.

      Comment


        #4
        I'm a gadget guy myself work in the home/office automation industry and understand the need to upgrade. Do your own research and get what you want for the type of food you want to cook. Many folks here will give you feedback on the cooker your looking at, more then likely someone here has one. My new cooker just arrived today from the great state of Georgia, will be posting pics tomorrow as well as my first cook on Saturday. Good luck on your findings

        Rob

        Comment


        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          Well? How 'bout some pics of that new cooker of yours?

        • crvan
          crvan commented
          Editing a comment
          I will be posting pics of my new cooker as well as my first cook in general discussion under topic new cooker and first cook shortly

          Rob

        #5
        If you are looking for something you can set-and-forget, the Pit Barrel Cooker doesn't need a regulator. It just cooks (my last brisket, I put it in, monitored the temp for about the first hour until it settled in, and then took a nap! Best brisket I ever ate). I use mine for most anything meat, and it rocks! Considering you already have the Kettle, you would be set on steaks and whatnot. I don't do salmon on my PBC (mostly because I have a lower-temp option in my GMG), and I do cook a lot of things outside the "normal" BBQ on my pellet smoker (cheesecake, cobbler, etc). PBC CAN cold smoke, but you would probably want to do like I did and get a pellet burner and some pellets for that. I just cold smoked some cheese on it today. What would you be trying to cold smoke?

        I know you want a new toy, but next month, Harry Soo will be talking about fire control... maybe wait until after his talk? If you really want a charcoal-based set-and-forget, I recommend the PBC (you can't control temps very well on it, but you can just put meat in and get amazing dinners out). If you are really into controlling temps and don't need the charcoal flavor, then a pellet grill like a Rec-tec or something might be the way to go. It's up to you how you want to go. If you have any questions about the PBC or pellet grills, I will be happy to answer as best I can.
        Last edited by fredcanfly; August 7, 2014, 08:30 PM. Reason: Added "pellet" before "smoker" on the line that talks about outside "normal" BBQ.

        Comment


          #6
          popNerd you can't go wrong with a PBC. If you're budget is $300, it's a no brainer. If you have more you're willing to spend, it gets complicated. Tell us how much you can spend and what you want to do with your new cooker.

          Comment


          • popNerd
            popNerd commented
            Editing a comment
            My budget is around $300-$400. I want something that I can feel comfortable using while watching the game and not running out to check every 30 minutes, but also isn't going to make me feel like the pit has done all the work for me. If that makes sense. I want a challenge, but I also want to be lazy.

            The more I articulate what I'm looking for, the more I'm realizing how contradictory and ridiculous I sound.

          #7
          I don't think PBCs are designed for nor is it wise to attempt a T-stat controller. I second the PBC advice, unmodded. If you want a relative amount of set and forget the Smokevault has great reviews for a gasser.

          Comment


            #8
            Adding Pitmaster110 and the right digital thermometer makes all the difference. Don't use the tape supplied by IQ to close the vents. Manually close the vents with your One-Touch. Don't ditch the Smokenator. Damming the charcoal and the radiant heat is a good thing.

            Comment


              #9
              Originally posted by dicknodnfs View Post
              Adding Pitmaster110 and the right digital thermometer makes all the difference. Don't use the tape supplied by IQ to close the vents. Manually close the vents with your One-Touch. Don't ditch the Smokenator. Damming the charcoal and the radiant heat is a good thing.

              This is excellent advice.

              Comment


                #10
                Originally posted by Pit Boss View Post


                This is excellent advice.

                And the plan I originally wanted to use, but here are a few questions to clarify:

                Because it's the One-Touch Gold, that ash catcher is an issue with the 110. I read up on how to install the 110 around the ash catcher hardware, but that again calls for drilling a hole in the side of the kettle. I'm assuming that's what you're referring to by not using the tape and just using the existing vents. Is there a different way to do this?

                Am I going to have an air leakage problem with that?

                And, is getting this hole drilled in the kettle as daunting as it sounds? Or am I making a mountain out of a molehill.

                Comment


                  #11
                  You have a great grill in the OTG. And it can be used as a smoker too. But if you are getting more into smoking and looking to invest in a stand alone smoker, how come you haven't thought of the WSM? It is considered by many as one of the easiest to take out of the box, put together, and start smoking. They run a little hot at first, but after about 10 cooks, they stabilize and lock into temps. Within thirty minutes after I fire mine up, she's stable at around 270* - 280* which is right where I like to smoke my ribs / butts / briskets. (You can manage it lower or higher, that is where me and the WSM like to run.)

                  I do have an IQ 120 for my WSM. I connect it to the pin wheel vent. I only use it on long / overnight cooks. It works great, but just not needed on the WSM for shorter cooks like ribs.

                  Comment


                    #12
                    PBC can't benifit from the regulator. However if you look into a UDS and the Big poppa kit you can use it on that. Its like the big brother to the PBC. lots more control and cooking area. And you can build it for under $200US

                    Comment


                      #13
                      Good question. I've looked at the WSM and was one of my considerations, but then I started looking at the PBC and then back to the Smokenator with the IQ. There are just so, so many choices and variables here that I'm having a hard time even having a gut instinct about the right choice for me.

                      Then it leads into, "Well, I already invested in the OTG and Smokenator, so why not just beef that up? A lot of the hesitation for jumping into the stand-alone is the feeling that the Smokenator would then just sit dormant and unloved. And who wants that? I tend to over-analyze my gadgets when I'm in research phase and ALL of these choices have so many things I like about them. I want to be secure in my investment, not have instant buyers remorse, ya know?


                      I appreciate all of your responses, but I'm beginning to think I might be beyond help with this. I know I'm driving the ladyfriend crazy talking about all the different options non-stop, so I thank all of you for your patience and information.

                      Comment


                        #14
                        pop,

                        This all boils down to what do YOU want. Do you want to work with what you currently have (and spend that extra money on toys/gadgets/meat, etc)? How much do you want to spend if you want something new? Do you want to manage temps and feel like you are BBQing? Do you want to be able to crank out great BBQ with less effort? Do you have to have that particular temp? The smokenator could be sold to someone who would use it, I am sure, if you are really feeling like you have to get something new. These are all ideas and questions only you can answer. Once you have those questions figured out, come back to us, and we can help you narrow down what option is best for you.

                        I was the same way before getting the PBC. I realized once I narrowed down what I was willing to spend, that swept away a lot of options, which made figuring out what I wanted easier. I ended up on the cheaper side of what I wanted to spend (which let me get a Thermapen and some extra cuts of meat). It worked out great and I couldn't be happier with the decision. Just take a step back, a deep breath, and you will pick what's right for you (with this site's recommendations you cannot go wrong).

                        Comment


                          #15
                          Good advice from fred ^

                          Pick budget boundaries.
                          Pick ease of use per your standards, and cooking capacity you'll need
                          Pick 3 of the models/setups that fit those ranges,
                          Then fret over how hard picking one of those 3 are! At least then it's not a choice between 300 models and setups.

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