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London BBQer
07-07-2011, 04:56 PM
Hi everyone,

It's been a long time since I posted on here. I've been getting used to my OTG again over the last couple of months here in th UK, and wanted to make the jump from grilling to smoking.

I've read about the fire-brick method but I saw the Smokenator, and it seems like a pretty easy way to smoke over long periods of time; I also like the hover grill too. I don't have the money or space for a WSM, and since a relative is coming over in two weeks I thought I'd ask the BBQ Brethren crew for some advice as to if it is worth it or not? (also do we have an affiliation discount with the manufacturer's?)

Just got to get my Weber smoking big slabs of meat!

mbshop
07-07-2011, 04:58 PM
i just see no need for it.

Rookie'48
07-07-2011, 05:32 PM
It works pretty good except that you'll be re-filling the charcoal box quite a lot.

aquablue22
07-07-2011, 06:10 PM
hinged grates........

jsperk
07-07-2011, 07:18 PM
It works pretty good. I actually fill the whole cavity up with charcoal and put a bigger loaf pan filled with water on top where the smokenator one goes. You can get a long burn that way without fussing every hour with it. I like gadgets thats why I bought it but after using the fire ring method I really don't use my smokenator. I may even try to sell it. Between the fire ring method and my ceramic grill I just haven't used my smokenator.

redvert05
07-07-2011, 07:30 PM
I have one, and I also have my OTG setup currently with Fire Bricks holding the coals to one side. I get great results with the Fire Brick Method and the Smokenator is in the storage building. Made my own hover grill. Here is a pic of the setup I have just used today to do some chicken thighs using Stubbs and Pear wood for smoke. I got a solid 4 hours burn from this setup without messing with the temps hardly at all. Held steady at 250*.

http://i1194.photobucket.com/albums/aa362/redvert05/BonelessSkinlessThighsVeggies1.jpg

If I had it to do again, I would have saved my money and did this setup from the start. Just my experience with it.

Terry

NorthwestBBQ
07-07-2011, 07:40 PM
Hi everyone, It's been a long time since I posted on here.

This is your first post. :-P

cbpeck
07-07-2011, 08:03 PM
It doesn't take much to convince me to buy another gadget, but I had a couple [dozen] fire bricks laying around, so I grabbed two of those one day and a drip/water pan. It worked incredibly well, partly because the bricks are a very effective heat sink.

I don't see how a Smokenator could be any better. No offense to the developer.

jsperk
07-07-2011, 08:38 PM
I will say one thing about the smokenator. It really does give a moist enviroment inside. Even when I smoked with the little pan. I could not believe the moisture in my kettle.

London BBQer
07-08-2011, 04:11 AM
Thanks for the info so far everyone.

I'm still leaning toward the Smokenator since it looks very simple and easy to control. I've been reading on a couple of other sites and in videos how the temp stays solid for 6-7hrs. The larger water pan seems like the way to go if I want to leave it for a while longer than an hour.

@redvert05: Your setup looks good. Does it matter that you get less space than if you used the smokenator? And you have moved the water to the side of the coals, I guess it doesn't matter if it sits above then?

And could you use this setup to smoke brisket or a large turkey?

@jsperk: great idea using the loaf pan. That's one issue people have mentioned is the need to be refilling water often. If you increase the amount of water, wouldn't that reduce the temp you can bbq at, or does that not matter because you are already BBQing low?

And how long did you leave it with the larger pan before you had to refill?

Maybe the additional moisture is due to the water pan sitting directly above the hot coals, increasing the amount of steam coming off.

redvert05
07-08-2011, 06:28 AM
@redvert05: Your setup looks good. Does it matter that you get less space than if you used the smokenator? And you have moved the water to the side of the coals, I guess it doesn't matter if it sits above then?

Maybe the additional moisture is due to the water pan sitting directly above the hot coals, increasing the amount of steam coming off.

Its true that we have a bit less grill room due to the bricks. They make thinner firebricks but these were FREE....so thats what I am using for now! :-D

The hover grill makes up for the space loss and its just me and the wife so we have not had a problem with room. We also have a WSM, so if needed I could do a crap load of food on it for more people.

The placement of the water pan under the food probably does not give off as much moisture as it does catch drippings and stabilizes the temps. If I wanted to add a bunch of moisture, I would place a smaller water pan right over the coals on the grill (just like the smokenator's setup). With the fire bricks acting like a heat sink, I prob don't even need the water in my drip pan anymore. And I am here to tell you that those brick hold the heat a long time even after I shut the grill down! :shocked:

jsperk
07-08-2011, 07:56 AM
London BBQER,

I can't remember how long I went without adding water.
Here is a pic with smokenator/rotisserie. I used a steel pie pan for the water bowl. The basket hit the loaf pan I needed something lower.
http://i701.photobucket.com/albums/ww16/jsperk/DSC03968.jpghttp://i701.photobucket.com/albums/ww16/jsperk/DSC03971.jpg

London BBQer
07-08-2011, 10:55 AM
Its true that we have a bit less grill room due to the bricks. They make thinner firebricks but these were FREE....so thats what I am using for now! :-D

The hover grill makes up for the space loss and its just me and the wife so we have not had a problem with room. We also have a WSM, so if needed I could do a crap load of food on it for more people.

The placement of the water pan under the food probably does not give off as much moisture as it does catch drippings and stabilizes the temps. If I wanted to add a bunch of moisture, I would place a smaller water pan right over the coals on the grill (just like the smokenator's setup). With the fire bricks acting like a heat sink, I prob don't even need the water in my drip pan anymore. And I am here to tell you that those brick hold the heat a long time even after I shut the grill down! :shocked:

Man I wish I had the money and space for a WSM, the things I would do!!:-D

Sounds like you've got the fire brick method sorted. Not sure if it has switched me off the smokenator yet. If I end up moving to the brick method after using it I'll let you know, and you can say 'I told you so'!!

London BBQer
07-08-2011, 10:58 AM
London BBQER,

I can't remember how long I went without adding water.
Here is a pic with smokenator/rotisserie. I used a steel pie pan for the water bowl. The basket hit the loaf pan I needed something lower.
http://i701.photobucket.com/albums/ww16/jsperk/DSC03968.jpghttp://i701.photobucket.com/albums/ww16/jsperk/DSC03971.jpg

Digging that set-up. Is that one of those Rib-o-lator contraptions? Awesome ribs!!

That's the first thing I'll be cooking with the Smokenator methinks. Hopefully I get it right, but if not I'll have fun learning. The lack of BBQ knowledge in this country is astonishing sometimes!

Carbon
07-08-2011, 11:17 AM
Try the fire brick method first. It only takes a minute to set up, tops. I have also used common bricks instead of fire bricks in the past with no problem.

Dave Russell
07-08-2011, 11:40 AM
Yeah, stimulate the economy and buy a smokinator.:becky:

However, it's just as easy, and BETTER, in my opinion, to use the Weber rails or firebricks to hold the charcoal on one side, though. As long as your kettle's in good shape and you just light the top briqs or pieces of lump, ala MM, you don't even need water to keep temps in the 250-ish smoking zone. If you want water, just fill a pan up with hot water and sit on the grate right over the fire. It's ridiculous how small the smokinator water pan is, and the "hover grill" is just a cheap, hard to clean warming rack.

Terry's extended rack with the carriage bolts and washers is a great, easy way to go for more cooking area. :thumb:

London BBQer
07-09-2011, 09:51 AM
Man, I feel like I'm going against the grain by getting the Smokenator!

I've decided to get one and try it out. If it's no good I can always sell it here on one of the BBQ sites, since they're impossible to get hold of here without the ridiculous shipping costs.

Hopefully it will enable me to start smokin' some decent ribs and joints!

HarrynVegas
01-25-2014, 01:39 PM
I made my own version of this from a piece of sheet metal that I bought at Lowes for $8.00. I use a larger water pan placed on the cooking grate over the devise. This way I can get more charcoal inside. I installed a new one touch system in my 1997 Red Performer. The old one was too leaky, and I couldn't control temp well. Now I can hold 225 for about five hours or more. I've only done St. Louis ribs and pork butts but so far everything has been tasty. Sometimes I cook 3-2-1 and sometimes not. Results seem good either way.

smoke ninja
01-25-2014, 01:57 PM
I too use bricks. The smokenator does work, but only you can justify the high cost of a bent piece of steel, when a free mod can work as good if not better. I had to justify the cost of a rotisserie, even though spatchcock chickens cook better, imo.

One undeniable advantage is gained space. I even seen a pic with food on the charcoal grate. With a hover grill that makes three levels.

deguerre
01-25-2014, 02:03 PM
Woo! Blast from the past!

SmittyJonz
01-25-2014, 02:11 PM
I think it is a good product but overpriced so I did my own DIY SmokyNador 3.0 with two pizza pans

http://i1326.photobucket.com/albums/u645/bobjones79/null_zps2974d158.jpg (http://s1326.photobucket.com/user/bobjones79/media/null_zps2974d158.jpg.html)

Search SmokyNador 3.0 and you will see mine- I have to add charcoal every 4/6 hours depending on how hot I'm running it -but it's easy

smoke ninja
01-25-2014, 02:18 PM
Woo! Blast from the past!

Yea I responded when harrynvegas bumped it, didn't look at the dates. But at least now I know about SmittyJonz mod, so it was worth it.

SmittyJonz
01-25-2014, 02:23 PM
I did not notice the dates either because I'm driving and posting from my phone with talk text thing

Vision
01-25-2014, 02:33 PM
The smokenator gives you more temp control then using firebricks. I got one before getting a wsm. It's pretty neat. The downside is you need to fill the stock waterpan every hour. Some guys place a larger pan on top. If I was to use it again I'd probably run it dry as that's how I run the wsm. I say buy that or a wsm.

Bludawg
01-25-2014, 03:01 PM
You can make your own Hover grill use a grate from an 18" kettle and for blots and a hand full of nuts & flat washers. I just bank the coals to one side and dup 6-8 hot coals on top no bricks need. If you want to use water( a waste of water & grill space IMO) put a loaf pan on the grate over the fire.