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Smokers - help me choose one


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i was going to buy a big expensive ceramic grill/smoker last year. then i asked myself- a la bonner--how many times i would actually use it. and also whether i really wanted to make bbq at home that would--at my level of ability--probably be only a little bit better (if that) than what's available in the twin cities. the two answers together saved me about $1000. we are happy with the occasional burgers and hot dogs on our old workhorse weber kettle.

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Weber even (for a while, I don't think it's available any more) sold a heavy-duty cast-iron grill that fit the standard kettle. It had sides which folded up allowing access to the coals, and was a really nice product. Don't know why they discontinued it.

Seems as if a few of them are being made by others...http://weberkettleclub.com/blog/2018/09/17/cast-iron-grates-for-weber-charcoal-grills/

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As everyone says, an 18" kettle is your best friend for summertime (or not terrible winter time) grilling, but don't ignore @SLBunges advice regarding ceramics when it gets colder - you could even get one of those and add on a temperature controller for hot smoking and, if you want your cold smokehouse - a Smokai. 

My father had a weber barrel style smoker for many years. We got it at the local ACE (what you call 'Eh-ce in Canada I guess) where it was inexplicably on sale for about $100. It was very good for smaller items - duck breast, sausage, bacon, but I don't think it would be easy to use it for larger cuts. 

 

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4 hours ago, Anthony Bonner said:

this is the math I did when I decided on just a simple weber for now.  Realistically I grill 2-3 nights a week but slow cook 2-3 times a summer.

This makes sense. And also depends what you are smoking. Id be fine smoking chicken or a rack of ribs on a Weber kettle. I think I'd struggle smoking a pork shoulder or a brisket or a plate of beef ribs on a kettle. 

And once I get the Bullet going I cook a lot on it because I feel I'm wasting space not using both racks. So if I'm cooking a shoulder on one rack I'll make chicken for the week on the other rack.  

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4 hours ago, mitchells said:

This makes sense. And also depends what you are smoking. Id be fine smoking chicken or a rack of ribs on a Weber kettle. I think I'd struggle smoking a pork shoulder or a brisket or a plate of beef ribs on a kettle. 

And once I get the Bullet going I cook a lot on it because I feel I'm wasting space not using both racks. So if I'm cooking a shoulder on one rack I'll make chicken for the week on the other rack.  

But grilled beef ribs (Flintstonian) work really nicely over hard wood  charcoal and or coal and and a few soaked chunks!

 

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On 5/4/2021 at 2:04 PM, joethefoodie said:

And for grilling, the weber is nice for a two-level fire.  I used to use it a lot for plain old roasting with just a little smoke, like for a whole chicken, a pork roast, etc.

I don't know where you're looking at prices, but I see the classic kettle (18" - do you need much bigger?) at $99 US, and the 22" at $119 US...

I was looking at the webber website. It's the premium that's US $175 (CA $229). The 22" original is US$119 (CA$159) and 18" original $99. (CA$119).     

Truth be told, I suggested propane since it's easier to use, but my mother wanted charcoal, and since it was for her (I would only get to play with it for smoking), she got to choose.     

I recommended the premium since the enclosed ash catcher would make it cleaner and easier for her (or me) to clean. But those who purchased it ordered a MasterTouch. I didn't really look into that model, so don't know much about it other than it was CA$289, but I guess that's what we have! I will research smoking on a kettle grill now.

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3 hours ago, prasantrin said:

I was looking at the webber website. It's the premium that's US $175 (CA $229). The 22" original is US$119 (CA$159) and 18" original $99. (CA$119).     

Truth be told, I suggested propane since it's easier to use, but my mother wanted charcoal, and since it was for her (I would only get to play with it for smoking), she got to choose.     

I recommended the premium since the enclosed ash catcher would make it cleaner and easier for her (or me) to clean. But those who purchased it ordered a MasterTouch. I didn't really look into that model, so don't know much about it other than it was CA$289, but I guess that's what we have! I will research smoking on a kettle grill now.

The first thing I ever read (or the first thing I think I ever read) about smoking on a Weber was...

image.png.d03a190ccba42400d3162a3276094222.png

There should be no shortage of info for you elsewhere.

 

 

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