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brandonh1987 02-07-2013 11:55 AM

Help Picking between 3 smokers
Okay, I've researched them all, heard numerous pro's / con's. But basically I am just starting out. Ive been using an electric smoker and want to step it up. I have trouble tasting the smoke, and the clean up tends to be a pain ( even with putting foil on everything.) Moreso this smoker will be just for home bbq, but I do want to try my hand at some small competitions from time to time here in my city (KC). I am leaning towards a Large BGE or 2 Big Steel Kegs or 1 Big steel keg and 1 traeger lil tex elite. The reason I want to go with a kamado is because I can do more than just slow smoke. I would like to make pizza and steaks from time to time. But my main concern is low and slow. I know there are a few comparisons between the BGE and BSK, but EVERy review I see they are cooking like steaks or something non low and slow. There have got to be some of you out there that have used a BGE and a BSK for a low and slow smoke of pork butt or brisket. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I would honestly prefer the BGE but as many have said they are hard to move and break easy, but the quality of cooking is superior to that of a BSK. And that Traeger Lil tex elite, I found one for a very good price, I have never cooked on one, are they able to hold 275 temps in 0 degree weather? Also how is the smoke flavor with them? Thanks

Big George's BBQ 02-07-2013 12:15 PM

I have a large BGE and love it. I can sear steaks at 700 degrees, cook bacon and salmon at 150. I can put pork butts or brisket on at night and get some sleep. I set the egg for 220 and it is at 220 when I get up. I personally use a Guru for long cooks but know many others that just set it and it maintain temps without any assisstance. I cook most of my meats on a raised grid. You can get lots of attachments at the ceramic grill store. I did a turkey for T Day and it was awesome. If I really load it up with lump charcoal I bet I can get 24 hrs with out having to add any lump- I use wicked good. You will get lots of oppinions, and then there is a UDS

JMSetzler 02-07-2013 12:18 PM

After having used several different kamados, I can't agree that that the quality of cooking varies much if any between the models. I have the bottom of the line Char-Griller Akorn kamado and two Kamado Joe ceramic kamados (Classic and Big Joe.)

The Big Steel Keg is a much better smoker than the Akorn because it's more air tight and a lot easier to control the temperature. The Big Green Egg is going to be just as easy to control the temps. The BSK has one advantage over the ceramic kamados. It's easier to bring the temperature down in that system because there isn't nearly as much heat being retained in the body of the grill. It's also a lot lighter and easier to move around if you want to take it somewhere with you.

I have no experience with pellet grills...

dmprantz 02-07-2013 12:29 PM

I'm not a fan of Kamados, and as you can tell from my sig, I have one. I've cooked low and slow on them, and I think if you must have a multi-tasker they fit the bill, but usually at quite a premium, and for not a lot of cooking space. Historically I've recommended that people get a WSM over a Kamado for space, and a Kettle for grilling. There's also the option of the Cajun Bandit and Smoke EZ which allow you to convert a kettle into a smoker. You also have options at that point for a rotisserie, etc. Smoke EZ even has a 26" version!

The Acorn brings things to a new level since it is more affordable, but still, I would ask yourself if it's better than a Gas Assist Performer + Smoke EZ. I haven't used one so can't comment specifically, but it's in that range.

Traegers are easy to use too, I have one, though it's not in my sig. Something to consider would be to get a larger Traeger and mod it to do what you want. You can upgrade the controller and maybe the motor, and you can get it really hot and sear. You can also augment the smoke flavour with a smoke gun, etc. All of that is fun to use at home and legal for comps. There's no reason why you can't have both, but personally, I would go either the Modified Traeger or Modified Kettle route. In the end it's a personal decision, and you'll do what you think is best that you can afford.


BB-Kuhn 02-07-2013 12:49 PM

Id go with a keg and a traeger - for competitions, it could be nice to have temp/space/time options spread across two small-ish setups.

Bludawg 02-07-2013 02:02 PM

I'd get two kegs and never look back. Your dissatisfied with your electric but yet you're wanting to buy a Trager.:confused: The only difference between your elec. and a pellet pooper, is the pellet pooper is a "self feeding" electric smoker, and it can suck up a few more KW.

dmprantz 02-07-2013 02:04 PM


Originally Posted by Bludawg (Post 2358244)
the pellet pooper is a "self feeding" electric smoker.

The above statement is not true.


DownHomeQue 02-07-2013 03:29 PM


Originally Posted by dmprantz (Post 2358248)
The above statement is not true.


Uh oh.. lol :twitch:

eddieh70301 02-07-2013 03:36 PM

I have an older model KEG that I've had for about three years. I started smoking on the KEG. It does take a bit of time to dial in the temps but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy.
I've cooked low and slow and also high temps. It turns out some great que, from butts and ribs to steaks and pizza. It does a good job throughout the heat spectrum.
I've never cooked on a traeger or BGE but would think the BGE would cook the same as the KEG.
Note the kamado's have limited cooking space. I've cooked three butts, two on the bottom grate and one on the top, at the same time. Make sure to get a heat deflector as you will need it.

J-Rod 02-07-2013 03:44 PM

Build a UDS and make it so you can also grill on it by being able to hang the coal basket up high directly under the grate. These can do it all IMO.

flyingbassman5 02-07-2013 03:46 PM


Originally Posted by dmprantz (Post 2358248)
The above statement is not true.


How so?? Don't pellet poopers automatically feed pellets on to a heating element to ignite them? Then continue to keep doing so to maintain the set target temp?

DubfromGA 02-07-2013 03:50 PM

Get the kamado and don't look back.

dmprantz 02-07-2013 04:24 PM


Originally Posted by flyingbassman5 (Post 2358351)
How so??

Electric smokers use an electric heating element and small amounts of wood, usually chips, to produce smoke. Pellet poopers maintain a small, hot wood burning fire. The fire provides both heat and some degree of smoke. There is usually an electric heating element which lights the initial fire out of convenience, but once the fire is running, the heating element turns off. Many people operate pellet poopers without an electric heating element for various reasons. Regardless of your opinion of pellet poopers and the quality of Q that they produce, they are not "electric smokers."


Trumpstylz 02-07-2013 04:57 PM

Akorn, or a BGE. From what I've heard, the Big Steel Kegs aren't made like they used to be. And they aren't priced that way either.

shirknwrk 02-07-2013 05:02 PM

Which Keg are you considering? The Broil King Keg (formerly called model 4000) i s priced about $800 and comes with a wheeled stand, removable side shelves, cast iron main cooking grid and a removable/swing away upper grid. The Big Steel Keg (Formerly model 2000) lacks the cast iron grid, the swing away upper grid and wheels. It sells for about $650. I think the more expensive one is worth the difference. If you decide on ceramic (I love my Egg), consider the Kamado Joe... Accessories such as the stand and side shelves are standard and the price is usually $100-200 less than the BGE.

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