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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 05-05-2013, 06:41 PM   #1
IamMadMan
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Default Chose your smoker based on needs.....

I often hear users of this forum ask, "which smoker should I buy?"

The bottom line to any decision is what are your needs, find your needs and chose your smoker based on that criteria alone.

Although I posted this as a review for the manufacturer, I felt the selection process may be a guide for others as well...


My reason for buying my Smoker.

I often hear people talking about getting bigger and better things just so they can have the best or the biggest. I wanted a new smoker a few years now, but I held off because I wanted to separate what I needed vs. what I wanted. Somewhere in the middle was my compromise which met all of my criteria for my needs with a little extra room for my wants. My reasons were not to show off a bigger and better cooker, but for only practicality of my own use.

While I no longer cook in competitions, I cook for local for Churches, American Legions, and VFW's without charge. Being in competitions many years ago I do realize the importance of an efficient dependable smoker. With this in mind, I put my needs as the first priority in selecting a new cooker.


My first need was a well insulated fuel efficient charcoal smoker, the cost of wood or propane on a large cooker can be a real hole in the pocket when it comes to fuel expenses.

My second need was the ability to smoke sausage as I make 20 - 30 pounds at a time, I needed ample height to hang sausage to maximize my capacity in the smoker.

My third need was to be able to do at least 8 - 10 or more pork butts for the American Legion, local churches, or VFW cookouts.

My last need was to be able to put full size and half size steam table pans into the cooker for other uses besides meats. I also needed to use the smoker for smaller cooks for dinner without using a lot of charcoal.

My want was to have a sturdy and quality constructed unit with a little extra room for more cooking area.

I first looked at a "Stumps" smoker, priced way out of my range. I abandoned my idea but later came across the "Backwoods" line of smokers, again pricey. "Backwoods" has a model called the "Competitor", and while this did fit my needs, it was still more than I was willing to part with. On top of the selling prices were crating and shipping costs.

This winter I found a company in Maine (Humphrey's) that rebuilds smokers and they were going to make their own line of smokers in the fashion of the reverse-flow vertical design. The different models can be found here.. http://www.mainemachining.com/store/...t=HumphreyPits

I looked at their "Battlebox", a competition smoker for obviously those who compete on a national or regional level. Although the unit is portable it did not meet my criteria. I then looked at the "Down East Beast" which met all of my needs and wants. I went for the unit sight unseen because I had total trust in Kevin, the salesman. He didn't push, he didn't try to up-sell me, he simply listened to what I wanted and then he suggested the unit that met my basic needs.

The unit arrived and it was like having a new child. I have had it for almost a month and I am still more than happy with all aspects of the cooker. It is constructed with superior quality and construction. It is also built with high temperature, 1200 degree, food safe insulation for maximum fuel efficiency.

The unit comes complete with 4 shelves, but I purchased mine with 8 so I can do a multitude of ribs if needed. The water pan is actually a heavy duty full size hotel pan and holds about 3 gallons of water. The shelving is adjustable "slide-in" / "slide-out" for individual spacing requirements. A 5 pound load of charcoal will last me 8(+) hours. The large water pan allows extreme uniformity of heat inside the smoker and eliminates the need for me to foil meats to keep them from drying out. Every cook has provided a full flavored smoked meat with a perfect bark with luscious, moist, tender meat.

My final consideration on purchasing this smoker was the fact that I only wanted to buy one last smoker ever, it met my needs, had most my wants, but most of all, it is made with superior construction and quality. At my age there isn't much left to enjoy as a craft or hobby, and smoking meat and sausage is something I really enjoy, the bonus side of this is that many others also enjoy the product of my hobby. The new smoker brings a smile to my face every time I use it.

With the purchase of a Guru, you can start the smoker, load the meat and walk away, it will tend itself. Because of the size I need only to check the water pan at the 6 - 8 hour mark and I can reload any charcoal (if needed) if it is burning too quickly. (there are vast differences in the burn of charcoals)

While smoking is a lot of work, the guru takes the walking and checking out of the equation, not waking up wondering if the cooker is at proper temp. You can see the pit temp and the internal meat temp without touching the smoker. It also gives you the ability to get a full nights sleep, feeling rested at the cookout so you can enjoy yourself too, not hoping that it will end soon so you can take a nap and get some lost sleep (LOL).

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Unread 05-05-2013, 07:53 PM   #2
garzanium
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Good looking box. I'm thinking about building me one of these clones...just for fun
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Unread 05-05-2013, 08:22 PM   #3
16Adams
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that is very analytical. I have an engineer brother and a doctor brother. They both used the same thought process and own only one cooker, XL Big Green Eggs. I on the other hand , a mediocre student JUCO grad enjoy mucho cervesa with all 12, or is that 14 of my cookers.

But I must say, what you finally decided fits your needs is a fantastic looking cooker. Its just that there's a lot of Country Clubs that I will never be a member of.
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Unread 05-05-2013, 08:25 PM   #4
IamMadMan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garzanium View Post
Good looking box. I'm thinking about building me one of these clones...just for fun

I think you are on to something. It would be a fun project.
If you need some internal pictures let me know...

I have always preferred horizontal units, but it's hard to hang sausage in them.
My need to smoke my home made sausage was the factor to go to a vertical smoker. With the efficiency and the capacity of the unit I actually like it better than my horizontal because of the even heat distribution.
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Unread 05-05-2013, 08:35 PM   #5
IamMadMan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 16Adams View Post
that is very analytical. I have an engineer brother and a doctor brother. They both used the same thought process and own only one cooker, XL Big Green Eggs. I on the other hand , a mediocre student JUCO grad enjoy mucho cervesa with all 12, or is that 14 of my cookers.

But I must say, what you finally decided fits your needs is a fantastic looking cooker. Its just that there's a lot of Country Clubs that I will never be a member of.
16Adams,

I too had a collection of cookers, some bought, some rescued and restored. With the new cooker I have only 3 now. My new DownEast Beast, a Camp Chef 24" Propane that I use as a warmer or oven, and a Weber Kettle.

It was hard to give the other 4 away, it was like adopting out your children (LOL), you want to make sure they go to good homes and will be properly cared for.
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