Author Topic: Advice for getting a smoker  (Read 4107 times)

Offline sch21c

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Re: Advice for getting a smoker
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2012, 12:14:51 PM »
I've been using a Weber 22" kettle for about a year.  Weber makes baskets that fit perfectly in their kettles to hold the coals in a controlled space (you've probably seen them) that work very well.  I usually use one - not both. 

To keep the initial temp down I use lump charcoal and put a 1" or so layer of unlit lump in the bottom of the basket.  Then I light a very small amount of charcoal so it is completely ash covered.  When I say a small amount I mean somewhere around 1.5 to 2 hand fulls, tops.  Once everything is warmed up and the meat is on the grill, add the soaked wood chips on to the coal.  The combination of lit/unlit coal and the wood chips burning (sooner or later) keeps the temp about right.  I might have to add some additional coal after 3.5 to 4 hours. 

You can get a really good smoke in a Weber Kettle but you won't be doing huge amounts of meat at a time.  It's a fairly cheap way to try your hand at smoking and not end up with something you can't really use for other tasks if you don't enjoy the process.

Paul

I agree and do everything that was said here. Weber makes the swiss army knife of outdoor cooking equipment.

Agreed.  Started smoking using the kettle grill.  Upgraded to the WSM after a couple of years because I wanted to do larger smokes.

Offline jeffy

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Re: Advice for getting a smoker
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2012, 02:25:44 PM »
I've been using a Weber 22" kettle for about a year.  Weber makes baskets that fit perfectly in their kettles to hold the coals in a controlled space (you've probably seen them) that work very well.  I usually use one - not both. 

To keep the initial temp down I use lump charcoal and put a 1" or so layer of unlit lump in the bottom of the basket.  Then I light a very small amount of charcoal so it is completely ash covered.  When I say a small amount I mean somewhere around 1.5 to 2 hand fulls, tops.  Once everything is warmed up and the meat is on the grill, add the soaked wood chips on to the coal.  The combination of lit/unlit coal and the wood chips burning (sooner or later) keeps the temp about right.  I might have to add some additional coal after 3.5 to 4 hours. 

You can get a really good smoke in a Weber Kettle but you won't be doing huge amounts of meat at a time.  It's a fairly cheap way to try your hand at smoking and not end up with something you can't really use for other tasks if you don't enjoy the process.

Paul

Paul,
Does adjusting the vent (both the top and the bottom) help control the burn rate and temp?  If so, how do you set yours for a long slow, lowish temp cooking session?
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Advice for getting a smoker
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2012, 02:37:57 PM »
Paul,
Does adjusting the vent (both the top and the bottom) help control the burn rate and temp?  If so, how do you set yours for a long slow, lowish temp cooking session?

When I've smoked on my kettle, and when I smoke on my converted kettle, I keep the top vent wide open and adjust the bottom vents (I have old kettles with the three separate vents, not the one-touch).

Top vent wide open.  Usually one bottom vent open partially.  I can maintain 250 pretty steady, but it's hard to maintain a steady temp around 225.  Maintaining temp for a long smoke requires adding fuel once or twice throughout the day.  I typically get 250 for 2.5 to 3 hours before it starts dropping.

I also put a couple of bricks in the bottom of the kettle to help modulate the temp.  I'm not sure how much this helps or not as I've just always done it.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Advice for getting a smoker
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2012, 02:56:14 PM »
I've been using a Weber 22" kettle for about a year.  Weber makes baskets that fit perfectly in their kettles to hold the coals in a controlled space (you've probably seen them) that work very well.  I usually use one - not both. 

To keep the initial temp down I use lump charcoal and put a 1" or so layer of unlit lump in the bottom of the basket.  Then I light a very small amount of charcoal so it is completely ash covered.  When I say a small amount I mean somewhere around 1.5 to 2 hand fulls, tops.  Once everything is warmed up and the meat is on the grill, add the soaked wood chips on to the coal.  The combination of lit/unlit coal and the wood chips burning (sooner or later) keeps the temp about right.  I might have to add some additional coal after 3.5 to 4 hours. 

You can get a really good smoke in a Weber Kettle but you won't be doing huge amounts of meat at a time.  It's a fairly cheap way to try your hand at smoking and not end up with something you can't really use for other tasks if you don't enjoy the process.

Paul

Paul,
Does adjusting the vent (both the top and the bottom) help control the burn rate and temp?  If so, how do you set yours for a long slow, lowish temp cooking session?

My kettle has one vent on top and one on bottom.  I set the bottom 3/4 or more closed and the top on is 2/3 closed.  It has enough leaks to keep the coals going.

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline bluesman

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Advice for getting a smoker
« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2012, 07:05:47 PM »
I use the WSM with excellent results. They come highly recommended. As has been said the BGE and UDS are also highly rated. It will come down to your budget as they will all produce wonderful BBQ. I also smoke with great success in my $79 Weber Kettle. There are many options but again, it will come down to your budget. If money wasn't an option...I would have one of each. :)
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 07:09:31 PM by bluesman »
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Offline markaberrant

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Re: Advice for getting a smoker
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2012, 07:32:17 PM »
Yep, I hope anyone considering a smoker thinks of all the options available, as well as think about what they actually want to use it for.

As mentioned, charcoal, offsets, various DIY contraptions, and even electric smokers (check out the Cookshack Smokettes) can all make great food.

I'm not a fan of the cheapo smokers, but as already mentioned, there are folks that can make good food on them.  Even my mom has been making great Q on her Electric Brinkman I bought her for xmas 5 years ago for $60.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 08:12:54 PM by markaberrant »