Advice needed on smoker

Joost

New member
Hi all,

As I told in my intro-posting, I'm very new to low temperature cooking on charcoal and smoking. Here in the Netherlands this is virtually unkown. I did some experiments on my gas barbecue, generating smoke with wood chips an aluminum foil pack (seen in one of Steven Raichlens books). It works to some extent, but not very satisfactory. Temperature control is fine, but getting a long consistent amount of smoke is almost impossible.

So, time for a new toy! I've looked around a bit and see the following basic options:

<UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>a Weber 57 Gold. Disavantage: this is a grill, not a real smoker, but I expect would work much better than my gas grill. Advantages: readily available here, price can be overcome (the equivalent of 286 USD), general purpose usage.
<LI> a WSM: Advantage: a real smoker, according to this forum (of course
) the best in the world. Disadvantage: more difficult to get here, more expensive (465 USD), less versatile(how well can you grill on a WSM??)
<LI>a big green egg. Advantage: top of the bill(?????), Disadvantage: VERY expensive (1268 USD)
[/list]

My feeling is the best buy would be a WSM, but I am very curious to some honest pros and cons of the others in the list. Or some more options?
 

Paul G.

TVWBB Emerald Member
The Weber Gold is, I think, a kettle grill as you indicated. While low/slow can be done on it by utilizing the Minion Methid, it is somewhat difficult and will require a lot of attention.

The BGE is apparently an excellent cooker, but the con on it probably has to do with capacity.

I don't think any one cooker will be excellent for all forms of cooking. The WSM can be used quite well for grilling, however. Most people over here just add a kettle Weber for that purpose. Why use just one cooker when 2, 3 or 4 will do just as well
.

In my mine, there is no question the WSM is far superior to either of the other two for low/slow. I think it would be worth the effort to obtain one.

Paul
 

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
In my opinion, the WSM would be the most versatile. Though you can low/slow in a kettle (I did for years and still do on occasion) it is easier to low/slow with a WSM--paricularly for long cooks. Further, with a WSM you can take full advantage of the recipes and info posted on this site--not a small issue at all! Further still, the WSM can easily be used for direct grilling by removing the middle section and dropping a cook grate to a position directly on the coal ring. Though not as much space as a larger kettle grill, it works well. We have a few members here with space limitations that have dispensed with their kettles to save space. And since you have a gasser you can still use that for grilling.
 

Rick Soliman

TVWBB Pro
You cant find another pit built this well that cooks championship BBQ for $200 US dollars.

And I second everything Kevin said.

My only gripe is that I usually cant lay a slab of spares flat on the WSM. I would love for weber to make a larger version.

Rick
The Smoke Hunters BBQ
 

adam clyde

TVWBB Pro
and the only thing I'll add is that if you already have a gas grill, which it sounds like you do, then there's no reason not to get the WSM, if you are already going to lay down the money for something.

It really is an amazing product. So simple, but extremely effective.

Regarding cost... I wonder if you could find cheaper to have someone you know in the U.S. buy one then ship it out there. They are running around $225 USD right now. I'm not sure, but I imagine you could get shipping slow boat to the Netherlands for around $100 or so on it. that would save you around $125+.

Anyhow, just a thought.

Cheers -
Adam
 

Joe McManus

TVWBB All-Star
Wilkommen Joost,
Hoe gaat et met u?

Sorry that's really rusty. Lived in "Vladeren" many years ago, and my Dutch is more than rusty. Anyway welcome.

I have the Weber platinum kettle (2 actually) and two WSMs. If it was pure versatility I was looking for, I'd go with the WSM. Although, I'm not sure many folks around here would be willing to pony up almost $500 for a new one. That hurts!

I've never cooked on a BGE myself, but have seen them in action often. they are nice cookers and give you an added dimension of cooking at VERY high temps and normal smoking temps (not at the same time).

You'll struggle maintaining smoking temperatures in the kettle. LIke Kevin said its possible, but not easy. That's how I got my start, then I got the WSM, and haven't smoked with kettle since then.

Between the WSM and the BGE, there is a cult following behind both. Both are great cookers, and I know more than a couple people who have both. Either way you can't go wrong. Your pocket book will decide in the end and you'll have a great time leaning how to cook on either!

Tot ziens!
Joey Mac
 

Chris Gorey

New member
Joost.

I am in the situation that you are. I have a Weber Performer which I use to both grill and smoke on. I have been thinking that I need to get a real smoker also, as it is some effort to maintain low and slow temps on the kettle. I have been reading this forum or some time and think that the WSM will be my choice. There is a section here http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/grilling.html about grilling on the WSM which you might want to check out.
 

Sal DeTraglia

TVWBB Member
Hi Joost:

I bought a WSM last year in the US for $200. Then I shipped it to Spain. Shipping was $160, plus another 60€ for import duties. So going that path won't really save you any money.

If you really want to save money and are a patient man, then my recommendation is the following: Wait until your next trip to the US, buy it, and then carry it back on the airplane. It's only 48 lbs. and the box isn't too enormous. But if the airline gives you a hassle, then repack the WSM contents into two smaller/lighter boxes.

Of course, check with the airline first to see what their weight restrictions are.

Sal
 

Joost

New member
Hi all,

Thanks for the valuable advice! All and all it supports my decision to go for a WSM. A kettle is not a good idea in my case. Indeed I do have gas grill. Furthermore, the Grilling section that Chris pointed out convinces me that if occaisionally want to grill over charcoal, I can do it easily on the WSM. Is it indeed wise to order a replacement charcoal grate for the Weber 22-1/2" kettle grill as suggested there? But if that grill fits, why is the capacity only that of a 18.5" kettle as said in the article?

The Big Green Egg is just too expensive for now. And I hear no-one say it is really worth it. Perhaps as next piece of equipment?

Joe, interesting mixture of German and Dutch
But definitely understandable. Thanks for the native welcome!

Adam, Sal, I was indeed investigating to import a WSM myself, but was converging to the same conclusion as Sal. The shipping is even more than I expected. On top of that I read some comments on the box quality on this site that did make me hesitate whether it would arrive here in a decent shape. I'll consider Sal's suggestion to carry it myself. I travel regularly to the US. Will not save me import duties though. Won't carry it invisble through customs
 

Doug D

TVWBB Hall of Fame
The "Weber Egg Configuration" method in the grilling article describes what I do, and the cooking grate is just as close without having to buy a kettle charcoal grate. I have to admit I've never really seen the point in the "Turning Up The Heat!" method, unless it's to allow wall-to-wall charcoal.
 

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