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Gas, Coal or electric?


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Discussion Starter #1
So I typically use a propane grill, instant convenient etc. But If I go camping (Sebring Weekend) I fire up the $30.00 mini charcoal grill , works well but its a timing and planning thing.. Have never owned a smoker, but many of my friends do..What's your flavor?

thewelshm
 

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But I am switching to natural gas this year. Never owned a smoker. Well, actually I did but I never took it out of the cardboard box it came in.
 

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Been using a Pellet Smoker ( nickname Pellet Poopers ) for the last 10 years and really like them. Load them up with pellets, fire them off, put the meat in, and walk away till time to take it out. They give a light to medium smoke flavor, not as heavy as the stick smokers. Previously had a Propane Smoker and still use it, without the propane, when I want to smoke up a batch of cheese. Currently own a Green Mountain Grill Davy Crockett that goes with me in the Motor Home and a Louisiana Grill for use here at the homestead. Will be running a batch of Bacon through it tomorrow. I had a treager at one time, NEVER AGAIN. Also never USE THEIR PELLETS.

Joe
 

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Still using my 1983 charcoal grill from Sears Kenmore. Have restored it about 3 times in all those years. Made 2 delicious Publix Greenwise NY strip steaks(with soaked apple wood chips) on it tonight for the GF and I and afterwards cooked 8 wings indirect for "snacks" in the next day or two. For smokers I used, and still have, a Brinkmann Smoke & Grill which is charcoal and wood burning. It IS a labor of love because it needs a lot of attention. I have made many Thanksgiving turkeys on it. Max size is about 13 lbs. give or take at about 8-9 hours. But let me tell you, I remember the smoked turkeys being served along side oven baked turkeys for big family Thanksgiving dinners and the smoked turkey was always a ribcage when the evening was over. My GF bought me an electric Cuisinart cabinet style smoker 2 years ago and after a learning curve the first time out of the gate, it's my go to smoker now. Why you ask? Less supervision required because you set the thermostat and other than adding more wood chips (or pellets as I have chosen) there isn't much manual labor involved. Can't speak for the gas fueled smokers but I imagine they are just as luxurious as electric. YMMV.
 

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Welsh, I posted a pic of my PK Grill in your other thread; works great as a smoker as well. Depending on the protein, I will use pecan, apple, black walnut, hickory, mesquite or cherry wood; all done on indirect heat low and slow
 

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Caveat to Joe's pellet pooper. It requires electricity to run the auger.

You'll find many different camp followers in the smoking game. Much like handgun preference or vehicle preference.

I started out with a propane smoker (big monster), convenient and not a great learning curve to operate. For the OP, living in Florida removes one of the problems with this type of smoker, heat loss when fall and winter arrive.

Electric: my adult children like them for the convenience but as you may suspect, you need electricity to run (or a generator if you want to take it camping ((yes, I've seen it done on our truck jamboree's).

Charcoal: more stuff to learn and you can't just use any ol' charcoal (bit of a snob on this account). I'm rather prejudice in this category so I'll just leave it at I've been using this method for many, many, many years. Even built several mini-WSM's (smaller version of the Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker).

Lastly, stick burners. Wood smokers. Requires a lot of knowledge as to type of woods suitable for smoking, how to set your fire to maintain temperatures for the long term, as in many hours.

There are several excellent forums out there that can get you a lot more information.

My go to forum for this is: https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/

A word of caution: If you visit the folks on SMF, we won't be reading any of your posts for MANY days.
 

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I checked charcoal but only use wood in it. About 25 years ago got to tour a Kingsford Charcoal plant and swore would never use a manufactured charcoal again. Tried gas and electric but just like the wood cooked food better.
 

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I've had all three...sort of. I've only had the 3-piece little charcoal and electric smokers which were really unhandy to use. I have a big propane job now that really works well, unless it's cold and windy. When that happens, I basically build a windbreak out of whatever is available to block the wind.
A wood burner with a separate firebox is a really versatile set-up. You just have to keep an eye on things.
First experience with electric was a disaster. I was used to charcoal which will lose heat after awhile. We loaded up the new electric with pheasants (mistake: not enough fat on a wild rooster) and went down to the dock to swim and drink beer. Three hours later we came back up and checked the meat. REEBOK, total REEBOK. Those birds were absolutely inedible. We just ate the sides and drank more beer and all was well, but lesson learned for sure.

BTW: does anyone have a window in their smoker? I've always thought that the window would turn black immediately, but I would like to hear from those with experience.
 

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I have charcoal, wood, and propane. I cook large quantities at work, sometimes as many as 144 butts at a time, or 120 turkeys at a time. That smoker it's wood fired and finicky according to weather, wind, and wood quality.
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At the house I have a small propane and a little larger charcoal. The propane is incredibly simple and I can do 2 butts or about 10 leg quarters.

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Hailing from the KC area, and being a member of the KCBS (Kansas City Barbeque Society), at their competitions, only naturally fired smokers are allowed. I’ve seen some crazy smokers – one made from a VW body, another made from an airplane fuselage, another in the back of an old school bus, another made from part of an old fire truck. But, they all have one thing in common – wood and/or charcoal fired – and the best meats in the world!!!
 

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Wood, real wood. Mesquite, oak, extremely well dried eucalyptus, ironwood and store bought hickory chunks fot ribs. It's time consuming, I sit and watch the temperature hover at about 250° F and add a chunk or three when needed. My nephew calls it cooking "caveman style". 20200312_123111_1585570749109.jpg
Keeping yourself entertained for a hours while watching the process can be fun, with the right company, refreshments and conversation, time goes by quickly.
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Hailing from the KC area, and being a member of the KCBS (Kansas City Barbeque Society), at their competitions, only naturally fired smokers are allowed. I’ve seen some crazy smokers – one made from a VW body, another made from an airplane fuselage, another in the back of an old school bus, another made from part of an old fire truck. But, they all have one thing in common – wood and/or charcoal fired – and the best meats in the world!!!
A old Doc friend of mine reps these on the side:

From Old Hickory Pits in MO (He is also a BBQ judge) Brought one out to the gun club for a NFL charity fundraiser and cookout; that thing cooked enough to feed the massive hungry crowd
 

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I bought a big, honking wood burner at the Texas State Fair 25 years ago. I've still got it and it still works just fine. I usually burn oak and pecan but will burn fruit wood on occasion, just for something different. That photo of azmick pretty much sums up me when I'm smoking. You can get it set where it'll burn pretty steadily but you can't just walk off and leave it.

Anyway, it got to be a bit heavy to drag out except for big smoking jobs. I got to where I used the tractor to do it. I thought that in my old age that I needed something lighter and more manageable. I bought an electric smoker. Hated that thing and I never got the hang of it. I could never get the temperature right. It used to swing all over the place but mostly never got hot enough to make any decent smoke. It's stored down in the barn. And for the person that asked, yes the glass door does get dirty and is a pain to clean.

Next I got a Green Mountain Grill Davy Crockett pellet grill. When you're cooking for just two people, that little thing is great. In fact I prefer to use it as a smoker rather than as a grill. Like somebody else already said, we take it in the motorhome or rather in the towed SUV. Just set it and forget it and you can check what's going on with your smartphone. It's a light to medium smoke compared to the wood burner but still quite pleasant. At around 55 pounds I can still tote it around.

I liked the little pellet grill so much that I was thinking of getting a bigger one. I was interested to see someone's comments on the Traeger.

Edit: I forgot to mention that a friend has two of those "biscuit" smokers and swears by them. I tried some of the product and it's very good.
 

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BTW: does anyone have a window in their smoker? I've always thought that the window would turn black immediately, but I would like to hear from those with experience.
I did years ago in another smoker; got to the point it was useless as a window
 
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