Recommendations for a first smoker

Discussion in 'The Water Cooler' started by cmonsta, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. cmonsta

    cmonsta Grizzled Veteran

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    I figured there has to be some experienced smokers in here and wanted to ask for some advice looking for my first. I know charcoal makes the best flavor. But I'm worried that will be a lot to take on for a first timer and I don't learn well by reading things online. If I had a local friend who did I would learn from them but I don't that I know of. So I'm thinking pellet, electric, or propane. I've been looking hard at these Traeger Junior Elites and have been told they are legit. I am nervous spending the money on that only because there are a lot of moving parts and I've heard their customer service isn't the best (could just be people who are upset). It does have between a 4-4.5 review everywhere. So that has to be good. But is there anything else I should look at under $450? And word of advice? Thank you all in advance for your help!!!
     
  2. wl704

    wl704 Legendary Woodsman

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    I don't have first hand experience with a traeger, but have heard they have a good reputation.

    I have used charcoal or wood coals for years and it's not rocket science, but does take time monitoring and effort to maintain temperature. So when I'm smoking it a day I know I'm going to stay close by.

    If I can help beyond the decision to commit on the traeger or not let me know.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  3. cmonsta

    cmonsta Grizzled Veteran

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    Awesome thank you so much sir!!!
     
  4. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    I'd go with menthols.
     
  5. soccerdan90

    soccerdan90 Grizzled Veteran

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    My friend loves his traeger.


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  6. Fitz

    Fitz Legendary Woodsman

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    https://www.pitbarrelcooker.com/

    These are great and pretty user friendly. Both my dad & brother have them. Having used everything from $60 electric smokers to $45,000 Southern Pride smokers, if I were going to buy one today for my personal use it'd be a Pit Barrel.
     
  7. Fitz

    Fitz Legendary Woodsman

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    If I were to bite the bullet on a nice prosumer electric smoker, I'd look at Cookshack. Bullet proof smokers but they start around $600-700. Had years of experience with the model equivalent to the Commercial SM260. Ran 4 of them daily for a decade without a single issue.

    Cookshack Home | Home
     
  8. No.6Hunter

    No.6Hunter Die Hard Bowhunter

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    30" electric masterbuilt with wood chips it is easy to run and in-expensive.
     
  9. JasonOhio2018

    JasonOhio2018 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Or non filters
     
  10. Justin

    Justin Administrator

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    This is what I run at home and I've had no issues with it. I use an A-maze-n pellet smoker in it since I got sick of putting chips into it every 45 minutes to an hour. Now I just set it and forget it.
     
  11. greatwhitehunter3

    greatwhitehunter3 Grizzled Veteran

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    Anybody use a Bradley or are you just paying for the name?
     
  12. No.6Hunter

    No.6Hunter Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I've used a Bradley before and liked how it worked. The side feed pucks are much easier than chips but burn up much faster IMO.
     
  13. The Newbie Hunter

    The Newbie Hunter Newb

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    Ive got a big green egg and it is amazing, but the Traegers have caught my attention. Best piece of advice I can give is to buy the biggest size you can afford.
     
  14. cmonsta

    cmonsta Grizzled Veteran

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    Thank you everyone! Awesome options for sure. I found a treager on sale for $350 and couldn't pass. Now time to learn!!! Can't wait till she's here and I can make some ribs!!
     
  15. PinkPony

    PinkPony Die Hard Bowhunter

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    My parents got my husband a Masterbuilt electric smoker for Christmas. With our life style this was the best because we are so busy that I honestly admit we'd probably ruin a lot of food if we had to keep an eye on it. We heat it up, fill the pan with juice/water/soda/beer (whatever we are thinking) - set the timer and pretty much done until you want to add your woodchips. Depending on how much smoke flavor you want depends on how much/how long you need to have them in there.

    I will also add - that we made deer inner loin in it that was AMAZING. Also ate snow geese breasts that were quite delicious.

    Hickory and apple juice seem to be our go to.
     
  16. Jeepwillys

    Jeepwillys Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Best to start with something that can maintain your heat for you. Electric or gas. and use chunk wood to smoke. Once you're ready to move on. I prefer vertical barrel style smokers, (unless you plan on doing a lot of whole hogs, then go horizontal), as it seems to not have any hot or cold spots or "stale" smoke areas. Very important to keep all smoke moving and not letting it sit. Of course indirect heat is key.
    Though it is time consuming, nothing beats getting an early morning start on getting your fire going. Sitting around all day maintaining your heat and smoke while drinking a beer with friends. One thing I've found is advantageous is having a secondary fire to get coals out of to raise the temp, instead of trying to add wood to your fire box. And don't forget a water trough for moisture.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
  17. Jeepwillys

    Jeepwillys Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Also the first 3 hrs or so is key to getting your smoke ring, it usually wont soak up much more flavor after that. From there out just keep your heat low.
     
  18. TKP030

    TKP030 Weekend Warrior

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    I have a bradley. I really enjoy it, its nice you can set your smoke time and your cooking time to be two different amouts which is nice when cooking slow but dont want to over smoke. the disks last 20 minutes a piece so you can get an idea on how many you would go through.
     
  19. Mywaytotalk

    Mywaytotalk Weekend Warrior

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    The Big Green Egg changed everything for me. I cook them low and slow for smoke cooks usually ranging 12-24 hrs. Best grill, smoker, oven, dryer, wok, and griddle surface I've ever used. I want and 2nd and 3rd now


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