So many times I’ve heard the question, “What kind of smoker do you use? I have no idea what to use!”
Me? I have three things on my deck:
1. Standard LP gas grill (Warm Morning…not the exploding model)
This is the good ol’ standby. Steaks? Hotdogs? Rando-meat for company in a pinch? Your standard grill is a definite need. LP or charcoal – that’s your choice. When it comes down to it…I just use LP if for nothing else but the pure ease, no mess, and no extra cost / time of charcoal.
2. Charcoal 2-box smoker (Brinkman)
This is your generic $150 “from the home improvement store” 2-box smoker. One side is an offset 18″ wide firebox which connects to the 36″ cooking platform.
3. Masterbuilt 30″ Electric Smoker
Being influenced by the more purist-thread of BBQ pitmasters, I had decided that I was never going to give electric a chance. Holy heck was I wrong. This is nearly the ONLY thing I use (outside of the quick hotdogs on the grill) for any kind of meal prep. It looks like a little dorm fridge, has a lock, and a temperature / time control. Other than adding wood regularly and double checking to make sure the plug hasn’t fallen out of the wall – it’s pretty much a “set it and forget it” operation.
So to answer the question above – save up about $200 and get the electric smoker. For beginners and even the amateur pitmaster, why not take one of the variables out of the equation? Smoking with charcoal is definitely a badge of honor, but your setup requires nearly CONSTANT supervision to maintain a constant temperature.