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Thread: Time to get serious about a new smoker.

  1. #61
    One man.....one pie Moliere's Avatar
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    Oh, and this is my grill. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I bought one with a rolling stand since I didn't ahve a place to put a built in grill. The charcoal pan can be raised up and down by the lever, which helps adjust the temperature (a must for charcoal grills) of the grilling. It's also big enough to do indirect heat cooking for something the size of a brisket. In fact, I've smoked a brisket on it twice prior to me getting my Weber Smokey Mountain.
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    Grooveshark dick tease MarkGrace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kccougar View Post
    Late this fall my brother-in-law decided to try his hand at masonry and build an outdoor grill/smoker at our cabin. For a first-timer, I think it turned out great. I'm anxious to try it out this summer. It will be my first time smoking something - what meat is good to try first?



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  3. #63
    Living in the Past ... FMCoug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moliere View Post
    You won't like my recommendation but here goes: Amazon.com: Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 18 1/2 Inch Smoker: Patio, Lawn & Garden

    It's cheap and does the job just fine. I have the 18.5 inch one but they also come in Amazon.com: Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 22.5-Inch Smoker: Patio, Lawn & Garden. I realize they aren't top of the line but it's what I settled on when I got into smoking. It sounds like you are a pro so you might be looking for something more but this has worked wonders for me.

    I've found that I can cook up to 4 briskets on 18.5 inch smoker. When I'm only doing 1 pork butt I can get 16 hours out of the charcoal in the fuel holder (not in cold weather but in the fall in Houston). The vent controls are easy and I find I can set the smoker around midnight and get a good 7 hours of sleep only to wake up and find the temperature is still within 10 degrees of where I left it. In fact, the last time I smoked a brisket it went for 10 hours and I never adjusted a vent (it stayed between 225 and 240 the whole time). You can also get a fan adapter for a coupe hundred bucks if you want to not have to worry about adjusting vents.

    My first choice was a Big Green Egg, but I didn't want to put down that much cash into something I had never tried. The Eggs seem to hold their temperature better as they are ceramic, but you can fit less on an Egg than you can a Weber. I've even seen a place that sells extension kits for the Weber.

    One thing I've always been told to avoid is a pipe smoker. They look cool and work well, but I've heard the temp controls are a pain. If you get one, make sure you get one that has a fan or other control for the temp. If I were to ever start up a BBQ catering business (this is my retirement plan....er hobby) then I'd buy a bigger one of these to haul around. Maybe something like this would do.
    I actually started out on a charcoal / water smoker, then moved on to the Bradley. Now I'm looking to upgrade from that. So I think the Pellet grill is the way to go.


    Anyway, I went by Backyards of America in Sandy today. They carry both Traeger and Memphis.

    In looking at the Traegers, I think I'd definitely go with the full size Texas Grill as I just think the Lil Tex is a bit small in terms of cooking area. Also it just has the Smoke/Med/High temp controls vs. the full digital on the full size.

    I also looked at all 3 Memphis they had there. Pro, Advantage, Select. THe main difference is how hot you can get them. The Pro goes to 650. The others less (600 and 550 IIRC). Pricing was $1395, $1695, $2195. The Memphis Pro is a sweet machine but that is a chunk of change. They would sell me the Traeger for $899.

    Also keep in mind I already own and love this grill. I have the deluxe model with the rotisserie.

    I also own this Bradley smoker. Which is showing its age but could still be used on large cooks to supplement the new smoker. To do smoked jalapenos, etc. I've also thought about getting an old fridge and the smoke generator from the Bradley and using it for cold smoking.

    So my options are:

    Go with the Memphis and try to sell the Solaire grill and combine the two functions. ONe question on that for CJF. How long does it take to heat up to grilling temp? One nice thing about the Solaire is you can have those IR burners up to sear in no time flat. The other question is what I could get form the Solaire on ksl, craig's list, etc. If I coudl get $500 or so that makes the Memphis not so outrageous.

    Keep the Solaire and buy the Traeger. Using the Traeger for just smoking. I am leaning this way but could be persuaded otherwise. But I'd have a pretty sweet setup at that point. Solaire for grilling and rotisseries. Traeger for hot smoking and Bradley and/or fridge conversion for cold smoking.

    Decisions ...
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  4. #64

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    To get to about 300 in single digit weather took between 5 and 10 minutes. 650 takes about 15 minutes in that weather. I would imagine that time comes down considerably in warmer months.

  5. #65
    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FMCoug View Post
    In looking at the Traegers, I think I'd definitely go with the full size Texas Grill as I just think the Lil Tex is a bit small in terms of cooking area. Also it just has the Smoke/Med/High temp controls vs. the full digital on the full size.
    You can put the digital control on any Traeger. It came standard on mine and I would definitely make sure to get one as it gives you much better temp control.

    Quote Originally Posted by FMCoug View Post
    I also looked at all 3 Memphis they had there. Pro, Advantage, Select. THe main difference is how hot you can get them. The Pro goes to 650. The others less (600 and 550 IIRC). Pricing was $1395, $1695, $2195. The Memphis Pro is a sweet machine but that is a chunk of change. They would sell me the Traeger for $899.

    Also keep in mind I already own and love this grill. I have the deluxe model with the rotisserie.

    I also own this Bradley smoker. Which is showing its age but could still be used on large cooks to supplement the new smoker. To do smoked jalapenos, etc. I've also thought about getting an old fridge and the smoke generator from the Bradley and using it for cold smoking.

    So my options are:

    Go with the Memphis and try to sell the Solaire grill and combine the two functions. ONe question on that for CJF. How long does it take to heat up to grilling temp? One nice thing about the Solaire is you can have those IR burners up to sear in no time flat. The other question is what I could get form the Solaire on ksl, craig's list, etc. If I coudl get $500 or so that makes the Memphis not so outrageous.

    Keep the Solaire and buy the Traeger. Using the Traeger for just smoking. I am leaning this way but could be persuaded otherwise. But I'd have a pretty sweet setup at that point. Solaire for grilling and rotisseries. Traeger for hot smoking and Bradley and/or fridge conversion for cold smoking.

    Decisions ...
    Lots of good choices. Good luck.
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  6. #66
    Living in the Past ... FMCoug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    You can put the digital control on any Traeger. It came standard on mine and I would definitely make sure to get one as it gives you much better temp control.
    I made the non-digital temperature control mistake with the Bradley. Won't be making that mistake again.

    The Memphis actually ties it to there internal probe and sets itself to warm when it reaches the desired temp. Pretty cool feature.

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  7. #67
    Somewhat Idahoan Drunk Tank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moliere View Post
    You won't like my recommendation but here goes: Amazon.com: Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 18 1/2 Inch Smoker: Patio, Lawn & Garden

    It's cheap and does the job just fine. I have the 18.5 inch one but they also come in Amazon.com: Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 22.5-Inch Smoker: Patio, Lawn & Garden. I realize they aren't top of the line but it's what I settled on when I got into smoking. It sounds like you are a pro so you might be looking for something more but this has worked wonders for me.

    I've found that I can cook up to 4 briskets on 18.5 inch smoker. When I'm only doing 1 pork butt I can get 16 hours out of the charcoal in the fuel holder (not in cold weather but in the fall in Houston). The vent controls are easy and I find I can set the smoker around midnight and get a good 7 hours of sleep only to wake up and find the temperature is still within 10 degrees of where I left it. In fact, the last time I smoked a brisket it went for 10 hours and I never adjusted a vent (it stayed between 225 and 240 the whole time). You can also get a fan adapter for a coupe hundred bucks if you want to not have to worry about adjusting vents.

    My first choice was a Big Green Egg, but I didn't want to put down that much cash into something I had never tried. The Eggs seem to hold their temperature better as they are ceramic, but you can fit less on an Egg than you can a Weber. I've even seen a place that sells extension kits for the Weber.

    One thing I've always been told to avoid is a pipe smoker. They look cool and work well, but I've heard the temp controls are a pain. If you get one, make sure you get one that has a fan or other control for the temp. If I were to ever start up a BBQ catering business (this is my retirement plan....er hobby) then I'd buy a bigger one of these to haul around. Maybe something like this would do.
    I may be picking up one of these tomorrow. There is a guy who is trying to get rid of one for $100.00. While I dont "need" it, I think I could easily flip it and make a few bucks on the deal. Not sure if it is an 18" or 24".

  8. #68
    One man.....one pie Moliere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drunk Tank View Post
    I may be picking up one of these tomorrow. There is a guy who is trying to get rid of one for $100.00. While I dont "need" it, I think I could easily flip it and make a few bucks on the deal. Not sure if it is an 18" or 24".
    That's a good deal, at least if it is in good condition. They last a long time if you take care of them. Just make sure the thing seals well enough where the pieces come together.

    The 22" incher would be fun to have. You could pack that thing with a ton of meat!
    "Discipleship is not a spectator sport. We cannot expect to experience the blessing of faith by standing inactive on the sidelines any more than we can experience the benefits of health by sitting on a sofa watching sporting events on television and giving advice to the athletes. And yet for some, “spectator discipleship” is a preferred if not primary way of worshipping." -Pres. Uchtdorf

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    Somewhat Idahoan Drunk Tank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FMCoug View Post
    I was wondering sizewise between the Lil' Tex and Texas Grill. Do you find you have plenty of cooking space? Plenty of room for a large brisket plus some other stuff?
    Here is the cook I did today in the Texas. two 5lb chickens, three 3.5 lb tri-tips and a 6 qt pot of beans. I think I could have squeezed a little more on there if I had to. The Traeger did great, although it had a hard time getting to the temp I wanted it with it loaded down like that. I had it set @ 325 and the temp on the controller was always between 285-300. The food came out great though, just cooked a little longer.











  10. #70

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    Landed at 11:35 this morning and smoking an 18 pound shoulder at 9:00. I can't wait for tomorrow.

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    Senior Member Portland Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJF View Post
    Landed at 11:35 this morning and smoking an 18 pound shoulder at 9:00. I can't wait for tomorrow.
    I will open the windows and sun roof on my car and follow the smell over to your place.

    Welcome back to the DC!

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    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    A few weeks ago we had a neighborhood party and I cooked 27 lbs of ribs and six chickens in the Traeger. I used my rib rack and did the ribs first and rotated the ribs into the kitchen oven while the chickens cooked. Everything turned out great and it was a huge hit. We were in such a rush that I forgot to take pictures.
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    Where's Wallace? Surfah's Avatar
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    Drunk Tank I really wish you were my neighbor when you post things like this.
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    Living in the Past ... FMCoug's Avatar
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    Looks like I need to pull the trigger soon. Today I was asked to do brisket for the ward activity in July. Never done that big of a cook before but if I get the new smoker and also use the Bradley I should be okay. I can do it in a couple of shifts if I need to.
    "It's true that everything happens for a reason. Just remember that sometimes that reason is that you did something really, really, stupid."

  15. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by FMCoug View Post
    Looks like I need to pull the trigger soon. Today I was asked to do brisket for the ward activity in July. Never done that big of a cook before but if I get the new smoker and also use the Bradley I should be okay. I can do it in a couple of shifts if I need to.
    So the rain really screwed with my overnight smoke last night. If your patio isn't covered, keep that in mind with the Memphis. It does really well in very cold weather, and it was holding the temp very well in the cool and windy weather last night. When the rain started it was game over.

    It still ended up very very good. I had about 5 hours in the smoker before the rain started so I still had a pretty good smoke flavor and a very nice smoke ring. I put the shoulder in the oven at 225 for another 9 hours. I put the mop on it every hour after hour 9. It turned out very good. Some vinegar based slaw and a little bit of sauce and it was a darn good. Much better I thought when I pulled it off the smoker in the middle of a rain storm.

  16. #76

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    Just got four racks of baby backs ready for the draft party tomorrow. Costco surprised me by removing the membrane off the back for me. $3 a pound and they removed the membrane. Can't beat that.

    Draft party menu includes baby back ribs, ATB's, potato salad, corn bread, fruit salad, and lemon ice cream pie. This will help make it bearable if the Jazz draft Kemba Walker.

  17. #77
    The dude abides Jeff Lebowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJF View Post
    Just got four racks of baby backs ready for the draft party tomorrow. Costco surprised me by removing the membrane off the back for me. $3 a pound and they removed the membrane. Can't beat that.

    Draft party menu includes baby back ribs, ATB's, potato salad, corn bread, fruit salad, and lemon ice cream pie. This will help make it bearable if the Jazz draft Kemba Walker.
    I did six racks today. Turned out great.
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  18. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Lebowski View Post
    I did six racks today. Turned out great.
    Where did you buy your meat? Do you use a homemade rub?

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  20. #80

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    The ABT's were a hit. In fact I've got another 20 in the smoker right now. Super easy and really good. I'm also trying my first fattie. Bacon cheese burger fattie. I can't find my camera from the move or I would post some pictures.

  21. #81

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    has anyone ever used a camp chef smoker? they've got pretty good reviews at amazon, and i can get it at cost. feedback is appreciated.
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    Do prices on the used market drop appreciably in the fall and winter? Also, how difficult is it to repair one of these if they break down? Or better asked, how often do the digital ones have issues? They look like work horses but you never know with the used market. The traeger Texas looks like the one for me....along with the JeffLebowski double pizza rack, I should be good to go. It appears that smokers are not good for steaks so looks like I need to hang onto the traditional grill. That is kind of annoying to have 2 out there, but steak is key at our pad. Truthfully, I'm most excited about trying the pizzas and the chicken. Those full birds that drunk tank posts look amazing.
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  23. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripletDaddy View Post
    Do prices on the used market drop appreciably in the fall and winter? Also, how difficult is it to repair one of these if they break down? Or better asked, how often do the digital ones have issues? They look like work horses but you never know with the used market. The traeger Texas looks like the one for me....along with the JeffLebowski double pizza rack, I should be good to go. It appears that smokers are not good for steaks so looks like I need to hang onto the traditional grill. That is kind of annoying to have 2 out there, but steak is key at our pad. Truthfully, I'm most excited about trying the pizzas and the chicken. Those full birds that drunk tank posts look amazing.
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    sweet triple TripletDaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfah View Post
    Get a big green egg.
    I thought about it but I'm too lazy to worry about monitoring it. I really enjoy the idea of set it and forget it temp control. Agreed that the egg would be better for getting to higher temps, especially in the winter.
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  25. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripletDaddy View Post
    I thought about it but I'm too lazy to worry about monitoring it. I really enjoy the idea of set it and forget it temp control. Agreed that the egg would be better for getting to higher temps, especially in the winter.
    From everyone I know that has an egg, it's easy to maintain temps consistently once you get used to it. A co-worker has one with some digital control module that helps. It's not quite set it and forget it, but almost. I want one for the versatility. To be able to cook a Pellegrino pizza at 700° and sear a ribeye at 800° and then finish it off at 400° sounds great.
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  26. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by TripletDaddy View Post
    Do prices on the used market drop appreciably in the fall and winter? Also, how difficult is it to repair one of these if they break down? Or better asked, how often do the digital ones have issues? They look like work horses but you never know with the used market. The traeger Texas looks like the one for me....along with the JeffLebowski double pizza rack, I should be good to go. It appears that smokers are not good for steaks so looks like I need to hang onto the traditional grill. That is kind of annoying to have 2 out there, but steak is key at our pad. Truthfully, I'm most excited about trying the pizzas and the chicken. Those full birds that drunk tank posts look amazing.
    Mine is great for steaks. Better than any grill I've ever used. I love doing steaks, especially with grill grates.

    Mine did have a mechanical problem. The starter had a problem and while fixing that I also discovered one of my fans was broken. I'm not a handy person, but it was easy even for me. And with. 5 year warranty it was also free.

  27. #87
    sweet triple TripletDaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJF View Post
    Mine is great for steaks. Better than any grill I've ever used. I love doing steaks, especially with grill grates.

    Mine did have a mechanical problem. The starter had a problem and while fixing that I also discovered one of my fans was broken. I'm not a handy person, but it was easy even for me. And with. 5 year warranty it was also free.
    You don't have the traeger though, correct? I don't thnk the traeger does steaks.
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  28. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by TripletDaddy View Post
    You don't have the traeger though, correct? I don't thnk the traeger does steaks.
    That was my way of telling you to get a Memphis. Also, you can do steaks on the Traeger, but I would get grill grates. They are awesome for smokers and inexpensive.

  29. #89
    sweet triple TripletDaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJF View Post
    That was my way of telling you to get a Memphis. Also, you can do steaks on the Traeger, but I would get grill grates. They are awesome for smokers and inexpensive.
    What do they do? They look just like the grates that come with the smoker.

    I guess you can cook the steak at 300 but that doesn't seem optimal to me.

    How much $$ are you burning in pellets to crank up that Memphis?
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  30. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by TripletDaddy View Post
    What do they do? They look just like the grates that come with the smoker.

    I guess you can cook the steak at 300 but that doesn't seem optimal to me.

    How much $$ are you burning in pellets to crank up that Memphis?
    You can get the Traeger hotter than 300, can't you? I saw a demo from a Traeger salesman after I bought the Memphis. He claimed he gets his to 450 to 500 for steaks all the time.

    Grill grates hold heat and sear the meat really nicely. You get the perfect grill marks on your meat and it keeps things juicier.

    www.grillgrate.com

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