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Unread 01-12-2011, 04:26 PM   #1
ssj4vinh
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Default Big Difference between smokers?

Hello,

I was wondering how much of a difference there was between using the following for smoking:

1. weber kettle with modifications such as smokenator, firebrick
2. WSM or other similar smokers
3. offset smokers

What are the differences in taste? Will I be able to get meat as tender with all three? etc.

Thanks!
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Unread 01-12-2011, 04:33 PM   #2
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If you are new to smoking, I would go with the WSM. It is the perfect smoker for newbies and pro's. The 18.5" WSM is affordable, easy to use and makes the perfect bbq every time you use it.
The kettle will work, but it is better to use as a charcoal barbecue.
Offsets will also work, but aren't as easy to manage temps.
I have all 3 types of smokers and I highly recommend the WSM.
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Unread 01-12-2011, 04:37 PM   #3
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How bout a little more detail about he Kettle, Smokenator, and Fire Brick combo? I see no need for a Smokenator on a Kettle. Are you referring to using the firebrick to bank the coals to one side. You can get tender meat with all of em. Just comes down to knowing your pit, how to work it, and what it can do, intake, exhaust, etc.

As far as taste difference, you may notice a bit of a difference from the meat done on an offset if using all wood. The kettle, WSM are about the same if using coal and wood chunks, pretty much.
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Unread 01-12-2011, 05:01 PM   #4
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They are all very different, and I will only talk about WSM and offsets as I have lots of experience smoking with both of those, and much less with a kettle with those sort of mods.

A WSM is a great cooker. It produces consistent results and is a very easy to use cooker. It uses tremendously less fuel than an offset, and can run anywhere from 8 to over 24 hours without needing to refuel (based on charcoal used and other factors). WSM's are what I use. I find them to be the best world-class cooker value-wise. (UDS can be argued here but you have to build your own).

An offset is a good cooker as well, but I would really only look into one over a WSM if you are talking about a larger offset, one that can burn split logs as the source of fuel. The flavor from a pure stickburner is the best in my opinion, but it comes with a cost of labor to keep it running. They usually have to be refueled every couple hours or so, and you should keep an eye on them since you may make adjustments throughout your cook, so it requires a lot of attention compared to a WSM.

People have won championships with both WSM's and offsets, so the flavor difference is not that dramatic or important, but it is there (just my opinion, others may disagree). If you have the time and the money to run an offset, that would be my primary choice, and after that I would never hesitate to go straight to a WSM.

You may also consider vertical units like Spicewine, Backwoods and Stumps cookers if you are considering the WSM route, but have the money for a large offset. Just fgood for thought.
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Unread 01-12-2011, 06:01 PM   #5
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I smoke on a kettle and can make good BBQ on it. I do not use a Smokenator or Fire Bricks, but, they would be nice to own. It is more work, as there are definitely limits to using a kettle, especially tending and adding fuel and lack of meat capacity.

It also produces a different flavor profile than an off-set, at least in my mind. Could I tell which is which blind, probably not. But, I like ribs off of offsets most every time I have them. I am not a fan of the smaller offsets though. Just too much fuel consumption and fire maintenance.

For meats such as brisket and chicken, I really like a direct fire cooker and something like a UDS would be my choice, with an insulated vertical a dream as well. I think they produce an excellent product.
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Unread 01-12-2011, 06:25 PM   #6
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I can't speak to the offset, but there is a big difference in effort and (in my experience) the amount of smoke flavor between the kettle and WSM. The WSM is much easier to control and adjust at the lower temps, not to mention less effort in keeping it filled up with coals for longer cooks.

I've used the poor man's version of fire bricks in the kettle (in fact prefer that for most indirect cooking) and although it allows you pretty good control and the ability to do a Minion-style burn still isn't anywhere near as easy to use as a WSM. However, it does make it a lot easier to grill at the same time as you are smoking/cooking indirect.
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Unread 01-12-2011, 06:32 PM   #7
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+1 for the wsm
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Unread 01-12-2011, 06:42 PM   #8
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+2 WSM. Will make you love doing BBQ.
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Unread 01-12-2011, 06:53 PM   #9
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After cooking on offsets for 40 years, I switched to a WSM, and I love it. Do I still miss the offset? Sometimes I get a little nostalgic for the fire tending, but I guess I've gotten lazy in my old age.

You can make good Q in anything. I've seen great Q come from horizontally split barrels, old refrigerators, all sorts of goofy setups.


You are more in control of the taste than the cooker is. Just get the one that puts the biggest smile on your face.


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Unread 01-13-2011, 01:47 AM   #10
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I only have experience with offset smoker but would have to agree with the other posters in this thread. They use a lot of fuel and is not the "set it and forget it" type of smoking that you may be able to do with WSM or UDS.

I will say the frequent adding of fuel/keeping eye on temps creates plenty of opportunity to have adult drinks with the guys in the yard.
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Unread 01-13-2011, 02:00 AM   #11
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I don't own a WSM, but that's my reccomendation also!
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Unread 01-13-2011, 07:18 AM   #12
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Never owned a WSM I cook on a offset stick burner and what the others have said is true. On cold windy days you stay busier than a one legged man at a butt kicking contest. It is fun sometimes though. I never intend to sell my offset but I do see an insulated vertical smoker in my future.

Get what you like and learn to control the temp. and you got it made!
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Unread 01-13-2011, 07:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigabyte View Post
They are all very different, and I will only talk about WSM and offsets as I have lots of experience smoking with both of those, and much less with a kettle with those sort of mods.

A WSM is a great cooker. It produces consistent results and is a very easy to use cooker. It uses tremendously less fuel than an offset, and can run anywhere from 8 to over 24 hours without needing to refuel (based on charcoal used and other factors). WSM's are what I use. I find them to be the best world-class cooker value-wise. (UDS can be argued here but you have to build your own).

An offset is a good cooker as well, but I would really only look into one over a WSM if you are talking about a larger offset, one that can burn split logs as the source of fuel. The flavor from a pure stickburner is the best in my opinion, but it comes with a cost of labor to keep it running. They usually have to be refueled every couple hours or so, and you should keep an eye on them since you may make adjustments throughout your cook, so it requires a lot of attention compared to a WSM.

People have won championships with both WSM's and offsets, so the flavor difference is not that dramatic or important, but it is there (just my opinion, others may disagree). If you have the time and the money to run an offset, that would be my primary choice, and after that I would never hesitate to go straight to a WSM.

You may also consider vertical units like Spicewine, Backwoods and Stumps cookers if you are considering the WSM route, but have the money for a large offset. Just fgood for thought.

^^^ Bigabyte pretty much hit it for me. I've had and still have Weber 22's. I use them for quick/small smokes and of course grilling. For a while
I had a smaller WSM. I liked it, but I wanted more real estate and wanted
the different flavors that you get with offsets. I gave it away (many
years ago before Brethren was conceived) and purchased a very heavy
duty but towards the smaller side offset. I LOVE it. It lead to my
purchase of my Lang (offset with reverse flow). Now, as it ends up, I
prefer the offset reverse flow so much that I use it even for fairly smaller
cooks. It likes its fuel to be certain.
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Unread 01-13-2011, 07:56 PM   #14
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Dare I say it?

UDS!
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Unread 01-13-2011, 08:01 PM   #15
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SS,

Let's revert to math:

Subtract by 3, and add this...

Buy a Backwoods Smoker. You'll be glad you did!
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