WELCOME TO RIVER DAVES PLACE

Smoker Recommendations

Foscheck

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 29, 2016
Messages
169
Reaction score
166
Want to start smoking meat, and I know there’s a bunch of experience on the board. Pellet smokers seem to be a popular choice, but I kinda want to roll old school. Is an offset smoker that much harder to master? Was convinced I wanted a drum smoker, but adding charcoal mid-cook seems like a PITA. How did you start, and what do you recommend?
 

FishSniper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
1,369
Reaction score
2,268
Want to start smoking meat, and I know there’s a bunch of experience on the board. Pellet smokers seem to be a popular choice, but I kinda want to roll old school. Is an offset smoker that much harder to master? Was convinced I wanted a drum smoker, but adding charcoal mid-cook seems like a PITA. How did you start, and what do you recommend?
I have the pit barrel. Pretty simple and the food comes out excellent and I have never had to add charcoal during the cook. I eventually want to get an offset smoker but have been very happy with the barrel. https://pitbarrelcooker.com/
 

Livewire Fabworks

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
276
Reaction score
425
I have ran a Weber Smokey Mountain 18" for the last 10 years and love it. Great heat distribution and I can smoke a packer brisket on one load of coals. The 21" is not as efficient on coal usage. I have also smoked on an offset, coffin, and pellet smoker. They all have their pros and cons. Offsets are great for burning all real hardwood instead of coal and wood. Coffins make loading really easy, and pellet smokers are like ovens. I currently own a Treagar that was given to me as a gift and it went to our place at the river since I liked the traditional smoking much better.
 

DLC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2013
Messages
5,416
Reaction score
6,162
I have a ugly drum smoker
2 Weber kettles
2 Treager’s
Several gas grills

You can make your own drum smoker just need to source a good barrel

We would lay rebar Accross the top and hang the meat from the rebar and rest the lid on top of the rebar with a little air gap (thickness of the rebar ) worked great and we used it mostly out in the desert when camping. A long smoke like a brisket (10-12hrs ) would be kind of difficult and a lot of time to monitor

I like the pellet (Treager the best) set it and forget it and monitor your meat temps and time. Boom done!

The Weber’s are really nice and work great, I can do a rib eye roast on rotisserie and it turns out really good

The gas is great for just grilling a steak, brats or some chicken it’s quick and easy and no fussing around
 

77charger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Messages
3,636
Reaction score
2,780
I have just a basic vertical water smoker from lowes does fine for me but liking that barrel one posted.Some day i would like to have an offset burner deal.I will do a pork butt here and there usually just make a day of it playing with charcoal

As for traegar like said more like an oven fine if you feel like being a male version of a woman in the patio then have at it.I have had food cooked on one sure its good but dont go saying you can bbq good when you just adjust a temp setting then grab a truly while you look at your phone apps to check temps.
 

HOOTER SLED-

Supercharged MOTORBOAT!!!
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Messages
24,596
Reaction score
16,489
Want to start smoking meat, and I know there’s a bunch of experience on the board. Pellet smokers seem to be a popular choice, but I kinda want to roll old school. Is an offset smoker that much harder to master? Was convinced I wanted a drum smoker, but adding charcoal mid-cook seems like a PITA. How did you start, and what do you recommend?
FYI....if you really wanna roll old skool, it's always gonna be more of a PITA or take more attention to keep feeding it with wood/charcoal to maintain your temp...LOL.
 

Javajoe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2020
Messages
1,036
Reaction score
1,879
Want to start smoking meat, and I know there’s a bunch of experience on the board. Pellet smokers seem to be a popular choice, but I kinda want to roll old school. Is an offset smoker that much harder to master? Was convinced I wanted a drum smoker, but adding charcoal mid-cook seems like a PITA. How did you start, and what do you recommend?
First thing is join this forum. You will learn a lot
 

dave29

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2010
Messages
1,078
Reaction score
1,358
I started smoking years ago with a Outers smoker. Then bought a bigger Outers. Needed more grill space so I went through 3 offset stick burners with the last one being a Yoder made with heavy duty steel. When It got cold I needed to throw a welders blanket on it to maintain heat.
Took Myron Mixons smoking school in Unadilla, Georgia. 2 day class with the man himself at his home. I decided to go with his gravity feed water smoker. Military grade insulation, will burn 14 hours on a full load of charcoal. Wood chunks go in the bottom of the smoker. 5 racks. Rolls on industrial wheels. Hardware is stainless, industrial hinges. Industrial exterior paint. You can run a DigiQ fan and controller if you like. It's totally bitchin!!!!! Buy the right smoker the first time. It may be more but after you do it, you're done. Myron MIxon Smokers
 

Brokeboatin221

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Messages
974
Reaction score
900
I have just a basic vertical water smoker from lowes does fine for me but liking that barrel one posted.Some day i would like to have an offset burner deal.I will do a pork butt here and there usually just make a day of it playing with charcoal

As for traegar like said more like an oven fine if you feel like being a male version of a woman in the patio then have at it.I have had food cooked on one sure its good but dont go saying you can bbq good when you just adjust a temp setting then grab a truly while you look at your phone apps to check temps.
I prefer long islands when I use my GMG...... get your facts right......
 

BigDaddyOC

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 19, 2016
Messages
898
Reaction score
713
like many others I have a pellet, a kettle and a WSM. I ditched the propane when I got the pellet. The pellet does ok for regularly cooking and smoking smaller things for shorter time. I've ran the WSM for about 8 years now and just recently have been contemplating a offset stick burner to really try a serious smoker. the WSM does pretty good, lots of guys use them in competition, just thinking about changing it up
 

TeamGreene

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Messages
3,244
Reaction score
5,180
Want to start smoking meat, and I know there’s a bunch of experience on the board. Pellet smokers seem to be a popular choice, but I kinda want to roll old school. Is an offset smoker that much harder to master? Was convinced I wanted a drum smoker, but adding charcoal mid-cook seems like a PITA. How did you start, and what do you recommend?
I have had a Old Country Pecos offset since 16' stick burners are in my opinion real smoking pellets are outdoor ovens a set it and forget it kinda deal. Which ever offset you go with I recommend getting a good temp gauge (Tel-Tru) and a good meat probe temp (Thermepen). These will help you immensely. I use oak for the most part but I also have almond which is real good too. I read this Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto which has a lot of great info. Good luck!
 

Groper

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
1,875
Reaction score
1,323
I have a Traegar and it works BUT the temp swing is too great for my liking it wll be going to the scrap yard soon and replaced by a RecTec 😁

I also have a Home | KBQ and I do like this better than the Pellet smoker but you have to babysit it which is fine just have enough BEER close by :p
 

sintax

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2008
Messages
4,124
Reaction score
5,504
I have a Traegar and it works BUT the temp swing is too great for my liking it wll be going to the scrap yard soon and replaced by a RecTec 😁

I also have a Home | KBQ and I do like this better than the Pellet smoker but you have to babysit it which is fine just have enough BEER close by :p
if you're really dead set on a pellet smoker, look towards something closer to a Yoder YS-640, its a much more substantial unit, if you need proof, just google the weights. When it comes to smokers and gun safes, there is value in weight.

If you're trying to avoid those temp swings, thats the only thing thats going to fix that problem
 

sintax

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2008
Messages
4,124
Reaction score
5,504
Traeger here as well... They get a bad rap from the hardcore smoker guys but work great for us!
I do kind of fall into that camp, but I also understand not everyone cares to do things a certain way, even if its "the right way".

This is why they have drive through car washes at the gas station, not everyone wants to spend their afternoon washing and detailing their car. At the end of the day both of the cars are clean, but are they the same product? Not likely.

Two schools of thought... How good does it need to be? vs How good can I make it?
 

Groper

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
1,875
Reaction score
1,323
if you're really dead set on a pellet smoker, look towards something closer to a Yoder YS-640, its a much more substantial unit, if you need proof, just google the weights. When it comes to smokers and gun safes, there is value in weight.

If you're trying to avoid those temp swings, thats the only thing thats going to fix that problem
I narrowed it down to the Yoder YS-640 & the RecTec RT-700 the deal killer for me is the lack of a cleanout for the fire box without taking it apart why would they leave that out of the design process ? 🤬
 
Last edited:

Xring01

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
2,148
Reaction score
3,059
There are Pro’s Con’s to all of them.

Disclaimer:
I currently own Pitts/Spitt Offset, Weber Summit Charcoal, Weber Smokefire, over the years, I have had 3 Weber Smokey Mountains 2-22, 1 -18, Weber Ranch 36”, Green Mountains, Weber kettles, many others. BTW I was born/raised in Texas, so take that into account.

IN MY OPINION... Quick thoughts
Offsets - put out the best food, and can cook alot of food, they are the most work, and least efficient on fuel, they love fuel... need lots of it. Take a bit more time to learn how to operate.

Pellets - are great for people who basically want an out door oven, easy to use, pellets are more expensive than charcoal, decent food... however they have many parts that can break, and typically break at the worst time. (Ask me how I know).

Insulated - Big Green Egg Types - Limited space for larger cooks, excellent on fuel consumption, good food, pretty pricey, easy to use, and run a very long time on little fuel.

Weber Smoky Mountain/Drums - Probably the best bang for the buck. Great food, excellent on fuel consumption and has alot of Cooking psace.

Honorable Mention:
Weber 26” Kettle- I believe its the absolute best bang for the buck... Why...
Because you get a Kettle that can be used for everything, bbq chicken, carne asada, reverse searing tri tips or Prime Ribes, etc etc etc. and it makes a great smoker, if you use offset or snake methods with charcoal... All for under $300 brand new.... Boat loads of Youtube videos to teach you.

Cheaper propane ones - not worth your time in my opinion.
 
Last edited:

Bigbore500r

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
14,825
Reaction score
26,333
Want to start smoking meat, and I know there’s a bunch of experience on the board. Pellet smokers seem to be a popular choice, but I kinda want to roll old school. Is an offset smoker that much harder to master? Was convinced I wanted a drum smoker, but adding charcoal mid-cook seems like a PITA. How did you start, and what do you recommend?
I prefer wood charcoal over pellets, and we use an "old school" offset vertical smoker at the river.

For the home, I picked up one of these - wood charcoal flavor, no moving hopper or auger parts, same offset charcoal flavor: Sort of the best of both worlds i figured...

1623169195223.png


Controls heat by varying fan speed, works like a convection oven. Lots of smoke flavor. Only downside is you have to light the charcoal, but I just use a little plumbing torch and its going within 30 seconds :cool:

Good build quality, and under $800 for the big guy at Home Depot. Has WIFI control for temp adjustment and timer settings, and monitoring probes / etc.
 

Ace in the Hole

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
1,602
Reaction score
2,900
I prefer wood charcoal over pellets, and we use an "old school" offset vertical smoker at the river.

For the home, I picked up one of these - wood charcoal flavor, no moving hopper or auger parts, same offset charcoal flavor: Sort of the best of both worlds i figured...

View attachment 1011162

Controls heat by varying fan speed, works like a convection oven. Lots of smoke flavor. Only downside is you have to light the charcoal, but I just use a little plumbing torch and its going within 30 seconds :cool:

Good build quality, and under $800 for the big guy at Home Depot. Has WIFI control for temp adjustment and timer settings, and monitoring probes / etc.
My buddy just bought this....loves it. We smoke with a weber pellet smoker that I really like...I wouldn't mind getting one of these for havasu.
 

Xring01

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
2,148
Reaction score
3,059
My buddy just bought this....loves it. We smoke with a weber pellet smoker that I really like...I wouldn't mind getting one of these for havasu.
I have a Weber Smoke Fire, I could be talked out of... Its the Weber Pellet grill..
If you want one, pm me... and we can discuss it.
 

Ace in the Hole

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
1,602
Reaction score
2,900
I have a Weber Smoke Fire, I could be talked out of... Its the Weber Pellet grill..
If you want one, pm me... and we can discuss it.
Mine burned up....badly and had a ton of issues. I went rounds with customer care and they wound up sending me all of the 2.0 weber parts. Never have had another issue....if you don't have the welded chute that is the source of SOOOO many problems.
 

Xring01

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
2,148
Reaction score
3,059
Mine burned up....badly and had a ton of issues. I went rounds with customer care and they wound up sending me all of the 2.0 weber parts. Never have had another issue....if you don't have the welded chute that is the source of SOOOO many problems.

No real problems for me. But I have not used it much. I prefer my Weber Summit Charcoal, over the smoke fire, Thats just what I use the most. To me, the food is better on Charcoal over any Pellet Smoker... But thats me.
 

Cobalt232

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2018
Messages
675
Reaction score
777
I got a RecTeq RT-590 last July for my birthday from my wife. (after I put it in the online cart for her). It's great. I love my Weber kettle but have not used it since.

In a year, only one time would I have liked more space, so the smaller size is good with me.

Personally, I would not have on at the river house as the stuff you will make on it often takes too much prep and cook time, so we just have a gas grill and a small Weber there.
 

81Sprint

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2010
Messages
638
Reaction score
1,370
Malcom also has a pretty good podcast where he talks about recipes and stuff.
I myself have a treager and am happy with it for what i use it for, also have a gas weber and a blackstone.
I've used a few of his recipes, the Turkey breast one came out really good!
 

81Sprint

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2010
Messages
638
Reaction score
1,370
There are Pro’s Con’s to all of them.

Disclaimer:
I currently own Pitts/Spitt Offset, Weber Summit Charcoal, Weber Smokefire, over the years, I have had 3 Weber Smokey Mountains 2-22, 1 -18, Weber Ranch 36”, Green Mountains, Weber kettles, many others. BTW I was born/raised in Texas, so take that into account.

IN MY OPINION... Quick thoughts
Offsets - put out the best food, and can cook alot of food, they are the most work, and least efficient on fuel, they love fuel... need lots of it. Take a bit more time to learn how to operate.

Pellets - are great for people who basically want an out door oven, easy to use, pellets are more expensive than charcoal, decent food... however they have many parts that can break, and typically break at the worst time. (Ask me how I know).

Insulated - Big Green Egg Types - Limited space for larger cooks, excellent on fuel consumption, good food, pretty pricey, easy to use, and run a very long time on little fuel.

Weber Smoky Mountain/Drums - Probably the best bang for the buck. Great food, excellent on fuel consumption and has alot of Cooking psace.

Honorable Mention:
Weber 26” Kettle- I believe its the absolute best bang for the buck... Why...
Because you get a Kettle that can be used for everything, bbq chicken, carne asada, reverse searing tri tips or Prime Ribes, etc etc etc. and it makes a great smoker, if you use offset or snake methods with charcoal... All for under $300 brand new.... Boat loads of Youtube videos to teach you.

Cheaper propane ones - not worth your time in my opinion.
This is great advice for the beginner. I went from my Pitts/Spitts to a pellet because i got tired of staying up all night keeping the temp regulated for briskets/ pork shoulder, etc. The pellet is very easy, set it and forget it but you loose some of the true smoke flavor. Have 2 Weber kettles, Austin XL pellet, Deep fryer, Blackstone on the patio as well as the gas grille in my built in. Makes my wife crazy but hey I'm a Texan as well and that's just the way it is! I use the Weber Kettles more than anything now days.
 

pronstar

President, Dallas Chapter
Joined
Aug 5, 2009
Messages
30,637
Reaction score
29,783
Masterbuilt electric. Digital temp controls. Super easy.

Electrics aren’t too popular among the die-hards, but hard to argue with good results.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Groper

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
1,875
Reaction score
1,323
I got a RecTeq RT-590 last July for my birthday from my wife. (after I put it in the online cart for her). It's great. I love my Weber kettle but have not used it since.

In a year, only one time would I have liked more space, so the smaller size is good with me.

Personally, I would not have on at the river house as the stuff you will make on it often takes too much prep and cook time, so we just have a gas grill and a small Weber there.
This ^^^^ we're too busy to mess with a smoker during Bote'n season so i'll smoke 8-10 racks of BB Ribs vacuum pack and take them to the River heat in the oven @225 deg. for 2hrs or thaw cut them up baste and put them on the gas grill or weber to heat and serve. 😜
 

Marine Industries West

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2011
Messages
570
Reaction score
594
Got to also put in the good word for the Masterbuilt. Best Smoker/BBQ I've ever had. When I saw the design I was pretty excited. Someone thought it thru. I even wrote them a letter giving them props on this unit.

I've owned 5 Treagers, Weber Smoke Boxes, Smoke Hollow Smoke Boxes, and Oklahoma Joes Side draft stick burner. All of these with exception of the Treagers were good units but nothing compares to the Masterbuilt. Vertical Side draft hopper that you can use charcoal or wood chunk or a mixture of both. Most consistent and best quality cooks I've ever done. The charcoal start up is super easy when you buy their fire starters. The temperature control is unbelievably accurate. Treager couldn't hold a candle to the temperature control of this unit. And as previously mentioned, no moving auger for fuel feed. One less thing to cause a problem. The cook chamber on the larger Masterbuilt has a ton of room. Fits up to 17 whole chickens. It's crazy how much shit you could fit in there.

Stick burners are cool, but require a ton of time to regulate. It's fun for a while, but gets old.

You tube has some cool videos of the Masterbuilts. These are the best of both worlds when it comes to BBQ and smoke.
 

BUSTI

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2010
Messages
1,989
Reaction score
774
I have a Yoder YS640S pellet and I love it. It is easy and very Versatile.

If I was going to buy an offset it would be the Yoder Wichita.

All Yoders are built to last.
 

Jed-O

Shitter was full!
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
3,063
Reaction score
3,669
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Pit Boss yet. Angela got me one for Christmas and it's been great! I have the propane version with the wood chunk drawer. I holds temp easily and is easy to maintain as well. It's also made in Arizona.
 

Bigbore500r

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
14,825
Reaction score
26,333
I t
Got to also put in the good word for the Masterbuilt. Best Smoker/BBQ I've ever had. When I saw the design I was pretty excited. Someone thought it thru. I even wrote them a letter giving them props on this unit.

I've owned 5 Treagers, Weber Smoke Boxes, Smoke Hollow Smoke Boxes, and Oklahoma Joes Side draft stick burner. All of these with exception of the Treagers were good units but nothing compares to the Masterbuilt. Vertical Side draft hopper that you can use charcoal or wood chunk or a mixture of both. Most consistent and best quality cooks I've ever done. The charcoal start up is super easy when you buy their fire starters. The temperature control is unbelievably accurate. Treager couldn't hold a candle to the temperature control of this unit. And as previously mentioned, no moving auger for fuel feed. One less thing to cause a problem. The cook chamber on the larger Masterbuilt has a ton of room. Fits up to 17 whole chickens. It's crazy how much shit you could fit in there.

Stick burners are cool, but require a ton of time to regulate. It's fun for a while, but gets old.

You tube has some cool videos of the Masterbuilts. These are the best of both worlds when it comes to BBQ and smoke.
I really like mine. The only thing I have come to realize that disappoints me, is that it can't replace a BBQ at the drop of a hat. Your not gonna "crank the heat up from 275 to 600 and sear" at the end of a smoke - Its gonna start a fire with all that juicy smoked fat that has dripped down into the trough! If you clean it first, you can use it as a BBQ and it has no problem cranking out high temps (way hotter than any of the pellet grills......). I learned this the hard way!

Im gonna use it strictly for smoking and keep a gas BBQ around for quick high-temp searing, just get it hot and move the meat over for a few minutes .

Am I doing somethng wrong? Lol
 

ArizonaKevin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Messages
2,760
Reaction score
3,392
I t


I really like mine. The only thing I have come to realize that disappoints me, is that it can't replace a BBQ at the drop of a hat. Your not gonna "crank the heat up from 275 to 600 and sear" at the end of a smoke - Its gonna start a fire with all that juicy smoked fat that has dripped down into the trough! If you clean it first, you can use it as a BBQ and it has no problem cranking out high temps (way hotter than any of the pellet grills......). I learned this the hard way!

Im gonna use it strictly for smoking and keep a gas BBQ around for quick high-temp searing, just get it hot and move the meat over for a few minutes .

Am I doing somethng wrong? Lol
I have a smoker and a blackstone, seems to cover all of my bases really well.

You don't get the grill marks on a blackstone obviously, but I prefer the crust of the sear that a blackstone can throw down vs a gas grill.
 

Bigbore500r

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
14,825
Reaction score
26,333
I have a smoker and a blackstone, seems to cover all of my bases really well.

You don't get the grill marks on a blackstone obviously, but I prefer the crust of the sear that a blackstone can throw down vs a gas grill.
I have a 36" blackstone, i'll try that for searing
 

Cole Brewed

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Messages
703
Reaction score
1,268
Want to start smoking meat, and I know there’s a bunch of experience on the board. Pellet smokers seem to be a popular choice, but I kinda want to roll old school. Is an offset smoker that much harder to master? Was convinced I wanted a drum smoker, but adding charcoal mid-cook seems like a PITA. How did you start, and what do you recommend?
Are you thinking something like this?
432DBC01-1FCE-4610-86D6-BF89EE23EE05.jpeg

I have this one , a 36” New Braunfels offset like the one above. Modified to this
D9A277D9-C968-4FC8-B84B-0575F051B9E8.jpeg
 
Top