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View Full Version : Beginner Smoker for Grandfather - Suggestions?


SweetBlue
04-05-2013, 12:05 PM
Hey All,

I was visiting my grandparents for Easter when my grandpa said he had been thinking about trying his hand at smoking. He has some free time on his hands and he's always wanted to try it.

As you can imagine I was pretty elated. He wants a to start out with a cheaper unit then move to something nicer if he ends up liking the hobby.

I'd love to surprise him with a smoker. Can you guys offer some suggestions on a relatively inexpensive smoker that would be great for a beginner? Thanks to my father in-law I started out on a BGE so I don't have much experience with other types of smokers.

Thanks!
-Matt

silver8ack
04-05-2013, 12:07 PM
Define 'inexpensive'. It's a relative term. :)

A UDS, WSM, or the small Traeger are probably the cheapest options... probably in that order too.

K80Shooter
04-05-2013, 12:08 PM
I think for someone just starting out a Akorn would be great. Very similar to the egg but a lot cheaper. If not that then a wsm (weber smokey mountiam) would be great.

Jaskew82
04-05-2013, 12:16 PM
I would consider a simple Weber One Touch gold. You can smoke on it and its pretty cheap and convenient. If you want to step it up, get a WSM. They are around $300 and very easy to cook on. I actually find the BGE and other Kamado type cookers have a slightly harder learning curve than the WSM or kettle's.

Neonnblack
04-05-2013, 12:22 PM
My first smoker was a UDS, couldnt be happier.

sparky'
04-05-2013, 12:28 PM
WSM are easy to use and produce great results. 18 = $300, 22 = $400.

Teamfour
04-05-2013, 12:36 PM
UDS - and to make the experience better, build it together.

fantomlord
04-05-2013, 12:39 PM
presumably he's not going to be cooking for large crowds (at least not at first)?

I'd consider building him a mini WSM

joshcary
04-05-2013, 12:47 PM
18.5" WSM would be my suggestion. Many a wonderful meal has been made on WSM's and at $299, it's hard to beat!

16Adams
04-05-2013, 12:49 PM
Pit Barrel Cooker is having a sale. Free shipping. Akorn amazing quality at a low price. WSM as set and forget as you can get for smoking but honestly I prefer the higher temps in the PBC.
The Mini WSM gets used a lot for 4 hour cooks around here. You have lots of options, best part is whatever you choose, you are right.
Where there's smoke, there's smiles.

checkrd past
04-05-2013, 01:00 PM
Make it easy and get an entry level pellet smoker ,Treager ,Green Mountain Grill etc

El Ropo
04-05-2013, 01:15 PM
Define smoking? does he want to cold smoke cheese and meat, or does he want to actually BBQ smoke? Don't want to p off the old man and get him the wrong setup.

^that is my pet peeve, people call 'em smokers, I call 'em BBQs, unless they are strictly cold smokers.

samfsu
04-05-2013, 01:38 PM
18.5" WSM or a WSM Mini.

HeSmellsLikeSmoke
04-05-2013, 01:43 PM
Speaking as a grandfather I would love it if a grandson wanted to build a smoker for me with me. I vote for a WSM that you both plan and build together.

N8man
04-05-2013, 01:50 PM
A Weber Charcoal Grill would be my suggestion for the beginner...

Crimson
04-05-2013, 02:02 PM
Or a Big Red Kamado grill seeing there on sale thru tomarrow with rebate $219
http://www.menards.com/main/outdoors/grills-smokers/big-red-kamado-grill/p-1509794-c-10141.htm

K-JUN
04-05-2013, 02:19 PM
This is a very inexpensive option.
http://images.lowes.com/product/converted/728649/728649739555lg.jpg

Lowes has them for $59.00 (http://www.lowes.com/pd_332738-42600-CBS1101L_4294703217__?productId=3294734&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=)

GARNAAL
04-05-2013, 02:23 PM
I got this one at Lowe's for ~ $160 to replace my rusted out Braunfels side by side..

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=130059

I absolutely love it.. use it for hot smoking - fill the woodchip box - set at 190F and forget it for at least 2 hours.. before refilling the woodbox if needed..

I also use it for "cold smoking" with a large rectangular sieve and sawdust - using no heat - just light the sawdust on one side and I get at least 6 hours of smoke out of it...

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showpost.php?p=2363602&postcount=48

Neonnblack
04-05-2013, 03:24 PM
people call 'em smokers, I call 'em BBQs,


I call them BBQ smokers. :razz:

mattkins99
04-05-2013, 03:31 PM
This is a very inexpensive option.
http://images.lowes.com/product/converted/728649/728649739555lg.jpg

Lowes has them for $59.00 (http://www.lowes.com/pd_332738-42600-CBS1101L_4294703217__?productId=3294734&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=)


+1. I started on something like this. Note, mine was charcoal, however, I lived in a condo at the time and charcoal wasn't allowed, so I went to Walgreens and bought an electric hot plate. I couldn't get much above 230, but it worked and got me hooked :mrgreen:

LightmanE300
04-05-2013, 04:00 PM
18.5 wsm

K80Shooter
04-05-2013, 04:14 PM
Or a Big Red Kamado grill seeing there on sale thru tomarrow with rebate $219
http://www.menards.com/main/outdoors/grills-smokers/big-red-kamado-grill/p-1509794-c-10141.htm


The 219 price is only if you pick it up at the store. There's none around here so just for the heck of it I thought I would see how much it would be to ship it to me............. Only $147.00 shipping charges.

Gnaws on Pigs
04-05-2013, 05:24 PM
Hard to beat an Akorn for $299 at Lowes.....

Budman1
04-05-2013, 05:36 PM
Building a UDS with him would be awesome!

cowgirl
04-05-2013, 06:17 PM
All great suggestions..
I like Jim and Budman's idea of building one with him. He will enjoy the time spent with you. :cool::grin:

willbird
04-05-2013, 08:42 PM
I think the mini WSM is a great idea. I snagged the grill portion from CL, just need the rest of the parts.

Bill

Trumpstylz
04-05-2013, 08:43 PM
mini or full size wsm.

Daggs
04-05-2013, 08:55 PM
My first smoker was a UDS, couldnt be happier.

^ simple, inexpensive, simple. Nuffield said

yakdung
04-05-2013, 09:09 PM
Weber Smokey Mountain and a controller for the long cooks.

silver8ack
04-05-2013, 10:19 PM
Define smoking? does he want to cold smoke cheese and meat, or does he want to actually BBQ smoke? Don't want to p off the old man and get him the wrong setup.

^that is my pet peeve, people call 'em smokers, I call 'em BBQs, unless they are strictly cold smokers.

Around here everything is a BBQ and no one has a farkin clue what bbq is.

Bigdog
04-06-2013, 06:55 AM
This is a very inexpensive option.
http://images.lowes.com/product/converted/728649/728649739555lg.jpg

Lowes has them for $59.00 (http://www.lowes.com/pd_332738-42600-CBS1101L_4294703217__?productId=3294734&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=)

I concur. This is how I started and I'm a grandpa too. Lots of good suggestions here though. Another option is to watch Craig's List and pick one up that way.

oifmarine2003
04-06-2013, 08:34 AM
This little smoke hollow is the first smoker I had. It is good to learn some basics on. It is cheap and works pretty well. If he enjoys it, he can step up to a bigger and better smoker down the road.

http://www.gandermountain.com/modperl/product/details.cgi?pdesc=Smoke-Hollow-34-LP-Gas-Smoker&i=401740&r=view&aID=505O3B&cvsfa=2586&cvsfe=2&cvsfhu=343031373430&s_kwcid=goobase_goobase_filler&cID=GSHOP_401740

oifmarine2003
04-06-2013, 08:35 AM
or build one together. That would be cool experience.

aawa
04-06-2013, 08:40 AM
If he is cooking for a small amount of people (2-4 people) Make a mini WSM (you can find detailed builds by googling it). You get quality time with gpop doing an easy build (takes less than 90mins to make it, including painting it) And it is super efficient (with a load of royal oak lump charcoal I can get 6+ hours, with a load of wicked good lump charcoal I can go 9+ hours)

If you don't want to build it, a 18in weber smokey mountain for $300. It is a little bit more expensive than the entry level smokers, however it is also ready to go right out of the box. It requires no mods to cook well, and it is very simple to learn how to use it.

bbqwilly
04-06-2013, 08:46 AM
I started out on a cheap $50 brinkman charcoal smoker from Lowes. I learned from that smoker that I loved smoking and I needed a bigger one.

Everyone has their own opinion, but if I had it to do over again I would.

J-Rod
04-06-2013, 08:51 AM
UDS - and to make the experience better, build it together.

^^^this^^^

SweetBlue
04-06-2013, 08:53 AM
Hey guys - I can't thank you enough for all the suggestions! Lots of great info here. I'm going to do some research, look into the WSM/UDS and hopefully have something narrowed down by this evening. As far as what he'll be cooking up, it will be pretty standard - brisket, pork butt, chicken, etc. I do imagine he'll end up getting more adventurous. As we all can attest to, rarely does it stop at those 3 cooks :) .

deepsouth
04-06-2013, 08:58 AM
lots of great information here so far covering the full range of options.

i'd go with one of the lesser price models of ceramic type smokers since you have that kind and will likely be his goto for advice.

El Ropo
04-06-2013, 09:36 AM
For a family get together with pops, I'd also think about a mini WSM. Smokey joe ($30), 32 quart tamale pot ($20), Tuna can ($2.00), cooking grate and charcoal grate ($20). Stainless hardware? B ess.. Grab the cheapest hw you can find and give them a vinegar soak. All zinc coating will be gone in a flash (or slightly slower).

Very easy to learn how to use while being efficient on the fuel usage. You can even cook a whole packer brisket on a mini, fold it over.