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zachg18
10-25-2018, 02:43 PM
Hey all!

I am really interested in smoking my first ever brisket and wanted to see if you all have a recommended "starter kit" for me.

Relatively inexpensive smoker, wood, rub, other tools, etc...

I don't need a very big smoker, as i only plan on doing this for the family once a month or so and will most likely just be doing brisket for starters.

I am sure there will be varying opinions, but hopefully I can piece together what makes most sense from all your answers (if i get any haha!).

Thanks!

LloydQ
10-25-2018, 02:49 PM
Weber Smoky Mountain is darn good starter smoker. It comes in 3 sizes, but the smallest would be a stretch for a whole brisket. You can use briquettes or lump charcoal in them. Hickory, oak or pecan chunks all work well. I am partial to the pecan. Welcome to the forum!

W.I.T.W.A.G?
10-25-2018, 02:50 PM
Brisket is hardly a "starter" meat but that's a whole other conversation. I would try chicken to start until you get dialed in a bit

Build yourself an ugly drum smoker for under $100. (there are lots of UDS build threads on here). Use charcoal and wood chunks to start, I prefer hickory. If you're only doing brisket go with Salt and Pepper. You're going to want an instant read thermometer as well.
Good Smokin' Luck!

Stlsportster
10-25-2018, 02:53 PM
I think this is a pretty good list for someone just starting out.

https://amazingribs.com/ratings-reviews-and-buying-guides/amazingribs-com-pitmaster-awards-for-best-value-grills-smokers-3

SmittyJonz
10-25-2018, 03:41 PM
Ugly Drum Smoker - DIY or bought. Charcoal n wood chunks. Start with Pork Butt. Brisket is Generally the Hardest to get right as it has a small Window of Done. Pork Butt is Hard to mess up.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eC0Gud4kS1g&t=21s
.

pjtexas1
10-25-2018, 04:17 PM
I agree on starting with a simple cooker so you are not fighting the cooker and the brisket. Maybe a Pit Barrel Cooker. Just light and cook.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

16Adams
10-25-2018, 04:21 PM
Learn to grill/smoke without the gadgets
Learn heat and meat-Multiple Heat Various Meats
Learn to cook by look and feel different meat different heat
Start with good salt and good coarse black pepper- expand

Advance thru heat meat and seasoning experiments.
MSU (make stuff up)
Have fun and surprise yourself

Feed family and feed friends. Your senses will be dulled standing in smoke.
Watch Franklins PBS Shows
Watch YouTube eastern North Carolina shows
Read: Franklin Manifesto, Holy Smoke-Peace Love and BBQ.

You will develop a style. It’s yours- own it. Don’t be afraid to change up and trash a recipe.

I’ve had close to twenty cookers in the last 10 years.
Kind of like a golf swing. Still searching for the perfect one.

zachg18
10-25-2018, 04:29 PM
Thanks all! Really appreciate the advice!

Big Andy
10-25-2018, 04:38 PM
I second the Pit Barrel Cooker recommendation. Brisket is a tight fit but you can do it. Turns out great brisket and great food.

BBQ_MAFIA
10-25-2018, 06:41 PM
Pit Barrel has to be the easiest cooker out there.
I still can’t believe how well it cooks.
It’s not expensive, it doesn’t take up a lot of room.
It doesn’t use a lot of fuel and doesn’t require constant attention.

SmittyJonz
10-25-2018, 08:20 PM
https://lakeland.craigslist.org/for/d/brand-new-custom-built-ugly/6703990754.html

https://www.hunsakersmokers.com

https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=265088
(If you make the drive the 3rd might come with lessons.....)
.

Smoking Piney
10-25-2018, 08:21 PM
I'm going to infer that you have no previous experience smoking meat.......

A Weber Smoky Mountain is a great cooker for the price and will serve you well even as you gain experience.

Brisket? Not a good choice to start with. It requires a level of feel and touch that can only be gained through experience. It's not a cheap cut of meat to try out first.

Best Bet - pork butt for pulled pork. Very forgiving on cook temps, fairly inexpensive, lots of servings if pulled, and always a crowd pleaser when done right.

Stingerhook
10-25-2018, 08:44 PM
If you want to try a UDS pm me and we can arrange something.

Big George's BBQ
10-25-2018, 09:01 PM
The Weber Smokey My. Is a great grill/smoker. UDS is prob the cheapest. If you are not good with some tools BigPapa Smokers- a vendor on this site and has a kit to build one- has everything but the drum. Check Craigís list too good luck. Let us know what you got. There is a great UDS thread on this site

Happy Hapgood
10-25-2018, 09:07 PM
Another vote for the WSM and Welcome to the forum. Agree with a Boston butt for 1st cook.

Tannhauser42
10-25-2018, 09:14 PM
I would vote Pit Barrel Cooker. Easy to cook in. Do you already have a "normal" grill? If not, a Weber kettle could be an option.

BMar
10-25-2018, 09:44 PM
I stuck with my weber kettle for years, got the feel for doing just about everything on it, then moved on to smoking whatever would fit in it (it's difficult, but gave me a real sense of what to look for and temp control). Just recently built myself a UDS and all that time I spent on the weber really paid off, just smoked my first brisket on it, turned out amazing and having that experience made it easy. Good luck!

Dweverett
10-25-2018, 10:08 PM
Not knowing the budget etc., another vote for either a Weber Smokey Mountain or Pit Barrel Cooker -- both about $300 (assuming the 18.5" version of the Weber). They are both really solid smokers.

Depending on your need for a grill as well, you could go with a Weber Kettle and a Slow N Sear. You can find 22" kettles used very cheap but even new it's under $300 for the pair. If you go that route though, I'd recommend buying the 26" given your focus on brisket. That would put you somewhat north of $400 but you can grill and smoke just about everything with it. Little more learning curve than the first two but with the slow n sear it's not a lot harder.

SmoothBoarBBQ
10-26-2018, 04:29 AM
Weber Kettle is probably the best bang for the buck and very versatile. This will also be a cheap way of honing your skills and learning how to adjust vents to get a desired temp and airflow.

Lots of recommendations here for a UDS and I can get on board with that as well. In a similar fashion if you don't want to take up a fabricating project, Walmart (in my area anyways) are selling the Barrel House Cooker for less than $200. This forum doesn't like this brand because of a patent dispute, but that's all been legally resolved, so all parties are happy.

Notes : BBQ is a lot of fun so try to keep it very simple when you're starting. Weber brand rubs are available in most supermarkets and they are good rubs for a decent price. No need to start off dropping money on premium rubs that cost a ton of money.

Personally I enjoy BBQ books and there are ton of good ones out there that helped me when I first started. Right now I'm really enjoying cooking my way through this cookbook by a woman named "Diva Q." (https://www.amazon.com/Diva-Qs-Barbecue-Recipes-Cooking-ebook/dp/B012KJK0A8?crid=3P66AVQ630GLY&keywords=diva+q+cookbook&qid=1540542352&sprefix=Diva+Q+cook%2Caps%2C192&sr=8-1-fkmrnull&ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1)


Note 2 : when it comes to wood just use what's available in your area. If you go to your local stores and they have oak then use that. There's a lot of dogma in BBQ but most of it is just an equivalent to "old wives tales." Good luck and this forum is a hell of a resource when it comes to recipes / general questions.

mattmountz94
10-26-2018, 05:56 AM
I started on a craigslist kettle. While a brisket would be tight doing pork butts worked great. Simple KBB w some apple chunks. Rub salt and pepper for your first.

Jason TQ
10-26-2018, 07:52 AM
Either a 22 Kettle or a 18 or 22 WSM. Kettle is really inexpensive and easy to cook on. I used to bring my smokers to FL when visiting my nephews/family and then showed them how they can smoke on their kettle and they ran with it. Then my wife and I got them a WSM 22 for their birthday and they use it all the time (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=264421).

Really you just need the cooker, charcoal and some wood. You probably have the other stuff you need even if not all the right sized tongs, brushes etc.

Mike in Roseville
10-26-2018, 09:58 AM
Hey all!

I am really interested in smoking my first ever brisket and wanted to see if you all have a recommended "starter kit" for me.

Relatively inexpensive smoker, wood, rub, other tools, etc...

I don't need a very big smoker, as i only plan on doing this for the family once a month or so and will most likely just be doing brisket for starters.

I am sure there will be varying opinions, but hopefully I can piece together what makes most sense from all your answers (if i get any haha!).

Thanks!


I think either a PBC or WSM would be the ticket. New $300 (used maybe half that). There are pros/cons to each one, but they will both crank out excellent food.



As for rub, you can get away with kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Yes you can try a bunch of fancy beef rubs, but for all intents and purposes...it works just fine.


Wood is something you just have to try. I'd say start in the apple/pecan range and go to something more bold if you're feeling it.

Pedro7
10-26-2018, 10:15 AM
Pit Barrel Cooker, a leave in thermometer, and whatever rub you see around here that people recommend. Look at a couple trimming videos as well beforehand. Light the barrel, monitor meat temp, and enjoy the day :) I'd highly recommend not trying to hit a certain "time to eat" and just let the meat do it's thing. Don't open the smoker until it's time to wrap and time to pull off. Let it rest a few hours.

zachg18
10-26-2018, 11:36 AM
Thank you again everyone! I've read all your comments and cant tell you how much I appreciate the help. I am always a bit hesitant to post on forums because you tend to find a lot of rude/snarky replies, but you all have been awesome!

On a side note, it appears that brisket is a tough first meat to cook. Unfortunately I can't try pork since I'm Jewish, so maybe I'll try some chicken then. But brisket is really the goal here at some point :)

SmittyJonz
10-26-2018, 11:39 AM
Practice with Chuck roast -it’s similar to brisket -then move up to brisket

Mike in Roseville
10-26-2018, 11:49 AM
Practice with Chuck roast -itís similar to brisket -then move up to brisket


I suppose. I suggest maybe even smoking a different cut of beef that isn't as tough. I have tried multiple chuckies to scratch the brisket "itch," done different ways (H/F, L/S, Injected, foiled, etc.), and I have never had one turn out as tender as a brisket. Even taking them to 210-211 there's still resistance.



My vote would be for beef short ribs. Minimal prep, minimal steps, excellent results without with or without wrapping.

16Adams
10-26-2018, 11:55 AM
You can build one of these in about an hour. And $50. Weber Smokey Joe plus a Tamale Pot. Grocery store has chicken quarters 27c# in 10# sacks. Someone better than me can post a link. They were quite the rage here a few years ago. Several build options. A Pro Golfer interview once said highly intelligent people don’t make good golfers. Overthinking- paralysis by analysis. Smoking can be that way. To much time to react.

Heat, meat and good times.

70’s rock helps

Pedro7
10-26-2018, 12:05 PM
Thank you again everyone! I've read all your comments and cant tell you how much I appreciate the help. I am always a bit hesitant to post on forums because you tend to find a lot of rude/snarky replies, but you all have been awesome!

On a side note, it appears that brisket is a tough first meat to cook. Unfortunately I can't try pork since I'm Jewish, so maybe I'll try some chicken then. But brisket is really the goal here at some point :)

Don't feel intimidated by it. Only way to get better at it is to practice!

dadsr4
10-26-2018, 12:40 PM
Thank you again everyone! I've read all your comments and cant tell you how much I appreciate the help. I am always a bit hesitant to post on forums because you tend to find a lot of rude/snarky replies, but you all have been awesome!

On a side note, it appears that brisket is a tough first meat to cook. Unfortunately I can't try pork since I'm Jewish, so maybe I'll try some chicken then. But brisket is really the goal here at some point :)
Since others brought it up first, I've been smoking everything on a Weber kettle for decades. You have to learn how to control the temps using the vents, but that's true for almost any cooker. I'm not a fan of brisket, but have smoked any other cut of beef that I could fit on it. Lots of chicken, turkey, and lamb. It's an inexpensive way to dip your toe into smoking, and one of the best out there for grilling.
You only need a simple setup.
https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=1074&pictureid=11204
https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=1074&pictureid=11878

SideSt3p
10-26-2018, 12:55 PM
Welcome to the forums! The folks here are very welcoming of questions and if anything the only "problem" you'll have is we all have our own way of doing things and we love to share! :mrgreen:

I started with a Weber Kettle using the snake method to learn how to BBQ. It was also awesome because it's just a great grill so I can do steaks/chicken/fish etc all on it as well as some smoking. I then went up to a 22.5" Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). I almost went with a UDS but frankly, I just don't have time to build a smoker when the WSM is bada$$ and people WIN BBQ championships with it.

So I throw my vote in on WSM. I recommend atleast the 18" but you'd be surprised just how often you'll be thankful with a bigger cooker. As you get further into cooking, and BBQ...and specifically this forum with all these farkers giving out amazing ideas of things to try...you'll appreciate having the larger cooking space.

vw1914
10-26-2018, 12:56 PM
Pit barrel cooker..start there....

qnbiker
10-28-2018, 12:05 PM
My vote is for a WSM. Great starter smoker as many have said, and people win comps with them as others have said. I cringe when people say they are ready to "upgrade" from the WSM. Try new stuff, sure, but the WSM cooks Q with the best.

OklaDustDevil
10-28-2018, 12:20 PM
I suggest a really old book called Smoke & Spice, likely it’s still in print. I’ve bought 20-30 smokin and grillin books since that one 30 years ago but I still find it the best. And it will address techniques and equipment also.

I disagree with some of my Brethren on here about avoiding brisket. Maybe smoke chicken once or twice just to learn how to operate whatever cooker you choose, but after that I’d go for it with brisket — after all, it’s not rocket science!

Tannhauser42
10-28-2018, 12:27 PM
I disagree with some of my Brethren on here about avoiding brisket. Maybe smoke chicken once or twice just to learn how to operate whatever cooker you choose, but after that Iíd go for it with brisket ó after all, itís not rocket science!

I agree with this. It's not that brisket itself is hard to do, it's just that if you do screw it up, it hurts the wallet more. Do the simpler (and cheaper) stuff first like chicken, fatties, or even some ribs just to learn how to keep the cooker temp stable, and then you're good to go.

qnbiker
10-28-2018, 01:21 PM
I suggest a really old book called Smoke & Spice, likely itís still in print. Iíve bought 20-30 smokin and grillin books since that one 30 years ago but I still find it the best. And it will address techniques and equipment also.

I disagree with some of my Brethren on here about avoiding brisket. Maybe smoke chicken once or twice just to learn how to operate whatever cooker you choose, but after that Iíd go for it with brisket ó after all, itís not rocket science!+1 on Smoke & Spice

SmittyJonz
10-28-2018, 09:13 PM
Whatever you Get - Don't get Red.......Camo is Cool. :heh:

Joshw
10-28-2018, 11:07 PM
+1 on Smoke & Spice

First bbq book I ever bought, and the best. It is still in print, and you can actually buy it on kindle.

zachg18
10-29-2018, 12:05 PM
Thanks again everyone!

Definitely seeing a consensus between either WSM or UDS. That helps a ton.

I am assuming electric smokers are frowned upon here?

I never had any intention of getting one, just curious haha!

SmittyJonz
10-29-2018, 12:24 PM
Several have Dlectric smokers - many Here started on One then moved On to charcoal or wood smokers.

andre2955
10-29-2018, 12:51 PM
Fantastic advice here... love it. I started on an electric. It was not a long term solution for me. Other options mentioned here will give you more control and variety of heating/fuel options IMO. I could never get the electric hot enough to smoke a brisket they way I ultimately landed (250-275F).

Pork Butts are a great way to get to know your new smoker and how it handles on long cooks. That's important. The meat is much more forgiving (harder to dry out or under/over cook).

SideSt3p
10-29-2018, 01:21 PM
I am assuming electric smokers are frowned upon here?

I never had any intention of getting one, just curious haha!

Not at all! Great BBQ comes from all types of smokers, so we don't descriminate. Basically if it smells good, looks good (well this is questionable sometimes...LOL), and tastes good, we'll eat it!

Electric smokers are also sometimes all people can have (condos with HoAs etc). But I've had GREAT Q off of those bad boys.

OklaDustDevil
10-29-2018, 01:29 PM
In terms of type of smoker, I would offer another alternative. I am sure WSM/UDS are fantastic, and many here use them; if one of your goals is to get into smoking as inexpensively as possible, they’ll likely be the best way to do that.

But another alternative is to do what I did as an Okie living in Texas back in the day and start with a horizontal offset woodburning pit. I found it interesting and fun (and, at times, challenging) to learn to manage, hold, and vary my pit temp while burning wood logs. And once you master it you should be able to handle any other style of cooker. Of course, it will require a bit more space, $, and access to wood, but many, including me, have found it rewarding.

Any way you go, enjoy the process and good luck with your decision!

DBBQ
10-29-2018, 07:53 PM
Smoke and Spice got me started. Totally agree. I have bought/sold many smokers since I started bbqing about 18 years ago, but have never been without a WSM.









I suggest a really old book called Smoke & Spice, likely itís still in print. Iíve bought 20-30 smokin and grillin books since that one 30 years ago but I still find it the best. And it will address techniques and equipment also.

I disagree with some of my Brethren on here about avoiding brisket. Maybe smoke chicken once or twice just to learn how to operate whatever cooker you choose, but after that Iíd go for it with brisket ó after all, itís not rocket science!

Stingerhook
11-07-2018, 07:19 PM
Food for thought Zach.
https://miami.craigslist.org/pbc/for/d/weber-smokey-mountain-22/6741214402.html