Originally Posted by caseydog
This question comes up all the time on the forum. From my experience on the forum, asking the brethren what cooker to buy is like asking what car to buy on a car forum. There are so many good ones out there.
I would pick one, or maybe a couple out, and ask the brethren their experiences with those units. Find out the pros and cons of of those particular units.
Check out the suggestions on here, narrow your options, then run those options by the brethren. IMO, you will get more usable information.
Originally Posted by IamMadMan
I agree with Casey Dog here, everyone loves the smokers they have and they all feel their smoker is best, mainly because it suits their needs well. People are individuals and needs change from person to person like anything else.
My suggestion to you is to figure out what you need, not what you think you want.
Start by deciding what you wish to use for fuel, do you want a stick burner that may require a lot of attention, or a well insulated charcoal cooker that can burn all night on an eight pound load of lump charcoal. Consider and calculate your fuel costs then move on to other needs.
After that you can decide size, adjustable shelving, vertical or horizontal, reverse flow, and so on....
The last thing I want to do is try to persuade you to purchase something just because I like my unit. Here is the reasoning on how and why I chose my smoker that I recently purchased... How I chose my smoker
Maybe some of this selection process can help you find your needs?
Also added was to the fact was that it was a $1000.00 cheaper than another unit of similar design I was considering.
These can be purchased on a cart or with castors.
I completely agree with CaseyDog and IamMadMan....think of what you want to accomplish and then begin sorting through the different smokers/cookers available. The process may take a couple months to figure out...hell it's taken me 2 years. I wanted a Cadillac Cooker, then a Meadow Creek or Lang (leaned towards MC), then Pitmaker, then CC again, then Backwoods...and now I'm really liking Assassin.
It's going to be a long process. First thing to decide is ... stick burner (then within that category a RF or standard offset) or coal burner (vertical/cabinet style). All produce great BBQ, but it also will depend on your ability to monitor and be "tied to your cooker" while cooking.
One thing to think about, if the largest crowd you intend on cooking for is 25, then you may not need a big unit. Use your budget to buy a couple different cookers...a small RF, a small vertical and/or a charcoal kettle, but get them all from reputable builders/companies. Maybe throw in a Guru or Stoker, good digital thermometer, and a good set of insulated food gloves. Then put them all on the utility trailer.
If there's money or desire absolutely burning a hole...build a UDS (or spend a little more and go for a 22.5" WSM) and start practicing your fire managaement, rub combinations and meat cooking. It's a cheap way to get started and gives you time to make a sound decision.