Smoker buying advice

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Smoker buying advice

Postby Bryan_80 » 19 Sep 2015, 16:40

Hi all,

I have been wanting to get a smoker for a while now and finally decided to do something about it. I had decided on getting a Landmann Tennessee and have done a lot of research on modifications required to get them smoking properly etc. However, after stumbling upon this forum this morning I am reconsidering my options...

So what I'm after is advice on buying a new smoker. I am to total novice - the extent of my barbecuing so far has been limited to a wee bucket bbq from Tesco for about a tenner :)

I don't have much of budget, so I'm looking to spend somewhere between £100-150 (if possible). I don't really need anything amazing so if I can get something in that price range that has a decent sized grill I will be happy.

Thanks in advance!

Bryan
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Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby JEC » 19 Sep 2015, 20:07

Hello and welcome. The standard advice in your situation is to get a Weber kettle, it will smoke and grill with ease, lots of advice on here and a wealth of information on the virtual weber bullet site. you're about £100 short of a billet style smoker, deals come up on ProQ stuff especially at this time of year but you still may be a bit short. The kettle will serve you well until you know you're really in to smoking.
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Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby wade » 20 Sep 2015, 09:03

A Weber kettle is a really good start. Make sure that you get the 57cm though or you will find that the space is cramped with a 47cm - especially when using indirect cooking.
My next suggestion would be something like a Weber Smoky Mountain (WSM) or a ProQ bullet smoker. These are a little more expensive but will give you a larger cooking area. At most BBQ competitions you will see the teams using a lot of Weber Kettles and WSM/ProQ bullet smokers.
Especially when first starting out I would avoid going for an offset smoker (like the landmann) as, although they look the part when you think of "American style" BBQ, they are quite difficult to maintain good even temperature throughout the cooking chamber - especially at the lower price range.
In addition to the smoker itself you really should consider buying a good digital thermometer (e.g. a Maverick ET-732/33) as temperature control is very important. Do not rely on the thermometers that come with the smokers that are in the lid as they are usually inaccurate when it comes to knowing the temperature at the cooking grate.
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Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby essexsmoker » 20 Sep 2015, 12:29

I would say a UDS is the second best bet after the weber kettle. If you are slightly DIY inclined then building a UDS should be a breeze. This will give you a full sized 57cm unit with the option of 2 or more shelves. You should be able to build one for around £100.
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Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby Chris__M » 20 Sep 2015, 12:38

+1 to the Weber Kettle vote - it really is a versatile bit of kit, which will let you do both grilling and slow smoking.

To add to wade's advice on getting the 57cm version; also avoid anything with "compact" in the name. Weber do "compact" versions of their grills for a slightly cheaper price. There's nothing wrong with them, as such, but they have a lot shallower lid, which makes doing things like beer can chicken more difficult.

What you want is a Weber Original, or a Weber Original Premium. The Premium has a built in ash bucket, which makes cleanup very easy, and a 57cm Premium is at the top end of your budget. The Original 57cm is a few quid cheaper, and perfectly good.
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Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby Bryan_80 » 20 Sep 2015, 14:10

Hi guys,

Thanks for the replies and great advice.

I realise now that I was being naive at budget I was looking at. This was based on the Landmann which of course I will not be going for now. I am definitely prepared to pay more..

So the options appear to be the Weber kettle, WSM which probably will be a little too pricey for me and a ProQ.
I googled UDS. They look great and affordable but sadly I just don't trust myself not to make a mess of it :)
The kettle looks like a good option, but when I cook I will be cooking for between 7-10 people most of the time so would it be big enough?
I found a ProQ Frontier Elite on forfoodsmokers.com for £260 which will probably be my first choice, so same again, would this be big enough? The second shelf would be great for veggie sides.

Thanks again for your help!

Bryan
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Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby Tiny » 20 Sep 2015, 16:04

The Landmann Tennesee Smoker
This unit has many distinctive features that make it unique in this price bracket. Unlike a Weber it is made of steel so thin that a deft prod will see your finger go straight through. When designing the firebox they opted for an original low slung grate ensuring that coals will choke out due to ash in a few hours. The flap used to control airflow flops around in the breeze and a popular mod is to blu tack a lettuce leaf in its place as this affords better control. but they have ensured that there is no risk of the fire going out by allowing the ingress of air at every possible join and seal.

But this doesn't mean there isn't excitement, the lack of a heat shield on the handles means that if you have the nimble fingers of an lacemaker you are safe, but if you have normal sized hands its red knuckle Russian roulette.

After sales support is a little limited and when I asked for an spare part they offered to sell it to me for 30% of the total cost of the unit. The good people of Landmann I decided take this prohibitive approach out of love, as they knew before I did that within one season the unit would rust like it had been filmed on time lapse photography, and its completely useless nature meant its most successful outing is when it left on the flat bed of the scrap metal dealer.

On the plus side it does look a little bit like Preston from Wallace and Gromit.

On balance I think you are better off with a kettle or an UDS

Cheers
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Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby Bryan_80 » 20 Sep 2015, 16:19

Tiny, if anyone has summed up why people should steer clear of a Landmann, it is you.

I thank you sir :)
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Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby essexsmoker » 20 Sep 2015, 20:13

Tiny wrote:The Landmann Tennesee Smoker
This unit has many distinctive features that make it unique in this price bracket. Unlike a Weber it is made of steel so thin that a deft prod will see your finger go straight through. When designing the firebox they opted for an original low slung grate ensuring that coals will choke out due to ash in a few hours. The flap used to control airflow flops around in the breeze and a popular mod is to blu tack a lettuce leaf in its place as this affords better control. but they have ensured that there is no risk of the fire going out by allowing the ingress of air at every possible join and seal.

But this doesn't mean there isn't excitement, the lack of a heat shield on the handles means that if you have the nimble fingers of an lacemaker you are safe, but if you have normal sized hands its red knuckle Russian roulette.

After sales support is a little limited and when I asked for an spare part they offered to sell it to me for 30% of the total cost of the unit. The good people of Landmann I decided take this prohibitive approach out of love, as they knew before I did that within one season the unit would rust like it had been filmed on time lapse photography, and its completely useless nature meant its most successful outing is when it left on the flat bed of the scrap metal dealer.

On the plus side it does look a little bit like Preston from Wallace and Gromit.

On balance I think you are better off with a kettle or an UDS

Cheers
Tiny

Christ thay was funny. :D
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Re: Smoker buying advice

Postby wade » 21 Sep 2015, 03:40

essexsmoker wrote:
Tiny wrote:The Landmann Tennesee Smoker
This unit has many distinctive features that make it unique in this price bracket. Unlike a Weber it is made of steel so thin that a deft prod will see your finger go straight through. When designing the firebox they opted for an original low slung grate ensuring that coals will choke out due to ash in a few hours. The flap used to control airflow flops around in the breeze and a popular mod is to blu tack a lettuce leaf in its place as this affords better control. but they have ensured that there is no risk of the fire going out by allowing the ingress of air at every possible join and seal.

But this doesn't mean there isn't excitement, the lack of a heat shield on the handles means that if you have the nimble fingers of an lacemaker you are safe, but if you have normal sized hands its red knuckle Russian roulette.

After sales support is a little limited and when I asked for an spare part they offered to sell it to me for 30% of the total cost of the unit. The good people of Landmann I decided take this prohibitive approach out of love, as they knew before I did that within one season the unit would rust like it had been filmed on time lapse photography, and its completely useless nature meant its most successful outing is when it left on the flat bed of the scrap metal dealer.

On the plus side it does look a little bit like Preston from Wallace and Gromit.

On balance I think you are better off with a kettle or an UDS

Cheers
Tiny

Christ thay was funny. :D


Can we assume that you forgot to declare your interest... You obviously work for Landmann on their marketing team :D
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