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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 07-31-2011, 11:40 PM   #1
azmark
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Default Smokers, What's The Difference?

I'm still new and as I am getting use to my WSM and loving it! Looking at all of the different makers they all tend to be similar of either off-set or vertical smokers. What is the difference between them?
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:21 AM   #2
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There are so many differences, many of which affects how the smoker cooks, thus affecting how the food will taste. The question is so broad. Even smokers that would seem to be quite similar, for instance, a WSM and a UDS have distinct characteristics and this affects the food.
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:25 AM   #3
azmark
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Originally Posted by landarc View Post
There are so many differences, many of which affects how the smoker cooks, thus affecting how the food will taste. The question is so broad. Even smokers that would seem to be quite similar, for instance, a WSM and a UDS have distinct characteristics and this affects the food.
I knew it was going to be one of those answers
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azmark View Post
I knew it was going to be one of those answers
YUP--he speaks the truth

Each style of cooker, offset stick burner, cabinet style, bullet style, pellet cooker, gas smoker, and electric smoker has it's own personality.

Wish it was simpler, but then it wouldn't be fun

TIM
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:46 AM   #5
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Get one of each. I have two Traegers and a Kamado Joe, building a UDS this week and then probably picking up a small offset to complete the array. They are all unique, fun, frustrating and wonderful. A hobby you can eat, perfect.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:34 AM   #6
azmark
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Get one of each.
Hell ya. I'm liking the thought process here
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:47 PM   #7
JMSetzler
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Smokers vary in a lot of different aspects including those mentioned here already. Your WSM is a great place to start though. I started with one as well and it's still my only smoker. I'm working on building a UDS but that is gonna take a while to get together...

Various smokers use different cooking techniques and fuel sources. Lots of folks prefer cooking with wood instead of charcoal or gas, so they get smokers that cater to those desires. Some people like to take their show on the road, so trailered smokers are a preference in that arena. It probably takes a little time in the hobby to figure out what your preferences are, but I think you started with a perfect choice :)
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:05 PM   #8
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Yes, the simple answer is that one I gave. If you look only at stickburners, there are cabinet types, insulated types, side offsets, back offsets, direct fired and combinations of those. There are single end drafting units, double (or more) bottom or side draft units that come in closer to the middle of the cooking chamber and those odd combinations of the two. Then you have direct fired, reverse flow or straight flow chambers that affect how the smoke hits the meat and how it flows through the chamber. Then you have some set up like a bandera, others with round barrels and still others with odd chamber shapes and rotissieries. All of these have a profound affect on the flavor and smokiness of the meat you cook.

Now start adding in combination fuel cookers, charcoal burners, gas and electric pellet poopers and sawdust cookers, ceramic cookers, kettle cookers (like me), then there are those folks that insist BBQ can be finished in an oven, people who cook in smoke sheds (I happen to really like pork butts cooked in a smoking cabinet) and you are just scratching the surface. A lot ends up having to do with your needs and plans.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:24 PM   #9
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The cool thing is that you have a lot of versatility built into owning a WSM. Lump vs. briqs; cherry vs. apple vs. hickory vs. pecan vs. oak vs. mesquite etc. A water pan vs. a dry pan, or sand filled pan, or beer filled pan. And back to the coals, even within the family of briquettes you have plain, hickory, mesquite etc. You got a great cooker that's for sure. Enjoy, welcome to the BBQ family.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:39 PM   #10
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I think one thing has been overlooked here that is rather obvious -- quantity.

If you need to cook a lot of meat at one time, you need a big smoker, and a giant WSM would probably not function as well as the normal sizes, and would be a PITA to use.

If you are like me, and only do smaller cooks, a WSM is ideal, where a large stick-burner would be underused.

For big cooks, you need something that holds a lot of meat, while still making even heat and distributing the smoke evenly, as well. It has to be easy to get to all the meat on the smoker, too.

For small cooks, you need something that gets good results, without using a ton of fuel.

That's why I use a WSM, and even made a mini-WSM for my Smokey Joe Gold. A 48-inch stick-burner would be a waste of work and fuel to smoke one meat loaf for dinner. I can do a meatloaf smoke on the WSM with leas than one chimney of charcoal.

On the other hand, I would need multiple WSMs to do catering or competitions with, so it would be worth it to look into other types of smokers that may make more sense.

That's my 2-cents.

CD
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:49 PM   #11
azmark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caseydog View Post
I think one thing has been overlooked here that is rather obvious -- quantity.

If you need to cook a lot of meat at one time, you need a big smoker, and a giant WSM would probably not function as well as the normal sizes, and would be a PITA to use.

If you are like me, and only do smaller cooks, a WSM is ideal, where a large stick-burner would be underused.

For big cooks, you need something that holds a lot of meat, while still making even heat and distributing the smoke evenly, as well. It has to be easy to get to all the meat on the smoker, too.

For small cooks, you need something that gets good results, without using a ton of fuel.

That's why I use a WSM, and even made a mini-WSM for my Smokey Joe Gold. A 48-inch stick-burner would be a waste of work and fuel to smoke one meat loaf for dinner. I can do a meatloaf smoke on the WSM with leas than one chimney of charcoal.

On the other hand, I would need multiple WSMs to do catering or competitions with, so it would be worth it to look into other types of smokers that may make more sense.

That's my 2-cents.

CD
Thank you, that was a better understanding of what I was getting to. I think quantity would be something I would take into consideration. I was able to make 6 slabs of ribs and 24 thighs yesterday and it was a hassle and a lot of work and timing but it is once in a blue moon I would be doing that much again.
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