View Full Version : New Smoker Advice Needed

11-22-2013, 05:25 PM
Hello all. I could really use some advice. I'm less than 6 month into (but very much addicted) to smoking. Right now I am using a cheap offset smoker hand-me-down and I'm looking to upgrade because of significant smoke leaks, general flimsy metal, and lack of cooking space.

I'd like a nice offset smoker or vertical with front loading shelfs, but don't want to spend more than $750 (I'm not sure I can convince my wife more than $500 is acceptable). I also want to use charcoal (for some reason gas, pellets, electric aren't as appealing).

I've done a good bit of looking around, and I'm thinking the Weber Smokey Mountain might be the way to go. I would prefer front loading shelfs if going with a vertical, but it sounds like there aren't many high quality front loading charcoals for $750 or less, at least that have reviews as good as WSM.

It also sounds like I have to spend >$750 to buy a good offset smoker.

My other concern is I like to cook ribs, and I'm not sure how many full slabs I can fit on a WSM, even if I go with the 22.5 inch. In the end, I'm not married to the WSM, but I'm not sure if there is another way I can go in this price range?

Your thoughts and advice is much appreciated.

11-22-2013, 05:29 PM
You can't go wrong with the WSM speaking from experience. Also there is such a huge WSM following, you can always get experienced advice. Each time I look at buying a stick burner, I think of how many WSMs I could buy the the cost. I think the deal breaker will be when I am ready for whole hog.

11-22-2013, 05:39 PM
UDS or WSM in that range for a vertical that is worth it. If you want an offset the Old Country series at Academy get some props. Old Country Wrangler (http://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/old-country-bbq-pits-wrangler-smoker/pid-653607?N=578824977)

11-22-2013, 05:46 PM
No issues with a WSM since you want to use charcoal. I would keep an eye on Craigslist for a quality offset too. This is a good time of year to be looking for smoker bargains. Guys need money, and the weather is getting crappy...

11-22-2013, 05:50 PM
^^^^^^^^ What they said.

Would go with a UDS over a 22.5" wsm if price is a concern so you can save the money and get something else. The addiction will only grow.

If you live close by to a Academy take a look at the Old Country wrangler as mentioned above as a good offset. I believe there were some reviews by a fellow brother recently. Do a search on Old Country wrangler.

You can also comb Craigslist for a Weber OTG. The OTG would make a great addition.

Another option. Pit Barrel Cooker is selling for $269.00 -- its a hot and fast cooker with a lot of capacity. 8 rack of baby backs or st Louis at once

Pappy Q
11-22-2013, 06:03 PM
beg your wife for more money

fat heads bbq
11-22-2013, 06:16 PM
build a uds for cheap and save your money for a good offset.

Jason TQ
11-22-2013, 06:20 PM
Get a WSM and if you don't like it put it up on Craigslist and get a decent chunk of the money back then buy something else.

11-22-2013, 06:56 PM
I disagree....build 2 UDS's :biggrin1:

11-22-2013, 06:59 PM
i would seriously think about a UDS. i have been smoking on one for 2 years. I love it. I smoked 3-8# pork butts and 5 racks of ribs for a party. When they were done smoked 20# of wings. I have 2 cooking grates. Works great.

11-22-2013, 07:01 PM
I read on weber's web site, you can fit 8 rib racks in a 22.5 wsm.

11-22-2013, 08:56 PM
Can't go wrong with WSM , UDS, Pit Barrel Cooker - All are Good and many Guys have 2/3 or all 3 of these. If you are handy UDS would be Cheapest then PBC then WSM. And $500 would get you BOTH a UDS and a PBC :wink: but they are basically same thing- PBC 30 gal and UDS 55 gallon. I have a UDS and it's great , Easy to cook on but access isn't as Easy as a Cabinet Smoker esp when cooking multiple types of Meats.

You may be able to find local metal fab/welder to build you a Round Pipe Vertical in $600-$800 range........maybe like:

11-22-2013, 09:19 PM
CL is your best bet. I got a big Texas Smokemaster offset for $250 3 years ago on CL. My vertical was custom built for under $400 this year by a place I found somewhat near me. Have you talked to any local builders? I talked to nearly every one that I could find. Shipping anything built out of 1/4" is expensive. Both of these hold a ton of food. Absolutely nothing wrong with a WSM. Eventually I will have one if I can find one on CL.

11-22-2013, 09:23 PM
I would look at a Large BGE. Very versatile.

11-22-2013, 09:59 PM
The real thing people need to know is...
1. How many people you cook for on a normal basis?
2. What do you cook the most?
3. Are you good with tools and have them available?

These would all help us help you. :becky:

11-23-2013, 04:48 PM
Thanks guys. I'm going to go ahead with the WSM, and then look into an offset on CL. I'm going to see if I can get the WSM in time for Thanksgiving.

11-23-2013, 05:40 PM
Great Choice!

11-23-2013, 05:49 PM
Good choice, I love mine.

El Ropo
11-23-2013, 06:34 PM
Build a UDS, a mini WSM, and buy a Weber OTS. Use the extra $500 leftover from your budget to buy a bunch of meat and fuel.