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Thread: New to smoking, advice for a rookie?

  1. #1
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    Question New to smoking, advice for a rookie?

    I am considering purchasing a Weber smokey mountain 14.5".

    As far as the Weber Rapidfire Chimney starter goes, would it be better to get the compact size or the regular size?

    Any advice for a rookie? I appreciate any tips for getting started.

  2. #2
    TVWBB Pro Lew Newby's Avatar
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    First off, welcome to the forum. There's a lot of folks here willing to help.

    If you have a charcoal grill or plan to get one then I would get the regular size. I have both sizes and use the regular size most of the time. I use the compact, a Christmas gift, when I do a Minion start on the 14.5 WSM. Hope that helps.
    Old dog, learning new tricks - one cook at a time :-). -14.5" & 22.5" WSM, 1998 22" Performer with Vortex, Auber ATC. CB Rotisserie, Rec Tec Mini Pellet Grill

  3. #3
    TVWBB Fan Randy's Avatar
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    I have both chimneys, but mainly use the compact one. Most of the time there is charcoal left from the last cook, so using the small one is all I need. I also like the weber starter cubes. Not sure who you are cooking for, but might want to rethink the 14.5 if it for more than one or two people.

  4. #4
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    I got the regular size. If I don’t need many lit coals I just flip it over.

  5. #5
    TVWBB Emerald Member Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    I got a small one and have used it twice, I have three full-size ones and rarely use more than one at a time but, you never know!
    As far as minion method, I had a small ignition failure one time and pulled out my torch to fire one side (I like the side ignition method) and gave it about three minutes or less, nice side start. I’ve been sold on that technique since. Fill the ring, torch the side, and Bob’s your uncle!
    The side lit thing was shared with me by TonyUK who got it from the esteemed Enrico Brandizzi, I think it’s worth trying, it works great for me.
    BTW, I’d consider an 18” if you plan on any party’s, you can put a small amount on a bigger grill but, it’s really to put a bigger thing on a postage stamp. My opinion of course.
    Last edited by Timothy F. Lewis; 06-26-2018 at 05:53 AM.
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

  6. #6
    TVWBB Pro Dan C. FL's Avatar
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    I have the full sized chimney. It was all that was on the shelf at my Lowe's when I went to get my smoker. I've never found myself wanting a smaller one, it works whether I'm firing up 10 coals or a whole chimney full.

    Now, I want to echo what Randy said. If you're cooking for more than a couple of people on the reg, you might want to consider going for the 18". I got my 18" last summer and have found it to be perfect for my needs (usually feeding between 2-6 people). For Christmas, my mother-in-law and wife were out shopping for me when they came across a brand new, never used 14" for $50. (I don't know how they do it, but those two can find amazing bargains!!) I've used it several times so far and like it too. But, my uses have either been for something for just the two of us (like whole chicken) or as an additional cooker when needed (my niece's graduation party I did brisket on the 18" because I knew it well and trusted it more with that finicky piece of meat and did a butt on the 14"). I recently got two slabs of St. Louis style ribs thinking that I'd cook them on the 14". When I started to set everything up, I just decided to use the 18" because I could lay the ribs flat.

    Other advice...invest in a Smoke or some other dual probe thermometer. Best money that I've spent. Welcome to your new addiction!!!
    22" Weber Kettle; 18" Weber Kettle; Big Brother: 18" Weber Smokey Mountain ; and Brand New Baby Brother 14" Weber Smokey Mountain

  7. #7
    TVWBB Guru Pat G's Avatar
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    I only use the small chimney starter when using my WSM's. I'm with Randy and Len, I own both the 18 and the 14 and if I could only have one I would keep the 18.
    Performer Deluxe(Copper) Genesis Gold B(Redhead) 18WSM 14WSM 26 OTG 22 OTG 18 OTG JJ Q1200 Gas & Charcoal Go Anywhere, Vortex, Kettle Pizza, Smoke

  8. #8
    TVWBB Fan Donna Fong's Avatar
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    I use the smaller chimney when cooking with my 14". You can cook everything on the 14". You just have to be smart about it. If I were stranded on a desert island I'd take my 14" with me.
    22", 18", 18", 18", 14", copper kettle

  9. #9
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    I own both. I use the small one for the 14" and when dutch oven cooking. Use the larger on the SS Performer.
    SSP, Sprit 310SS, 14.5 WSM, Q100, Smokey Joe

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