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April 13th, 2010


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01:33 pm
A question:
What's the best charcoal grill/smoker for a not unreasonable amount of money?

The Weber Performer models get great reviews and have a propane starter, but there's less than 400 sq. in. of grill real estate. But propane charcoal starter! And they've got a great reputation for durability. Unfortunately not good for smoking.

The Char-Grill 2137 has over 1000 sq. in. of space but isn't considered as durable as the Weber. But it does have an optional offset smoke box for some hot smoking action...

Anyone have advice, recommendations, etc?
mood: calmcalm

(27 bits of drivel | babble incoherently)

Comments:


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From:mizarchivist
Date:April 13th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
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I'm asking my resident grill master and will get back to you.
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From:inahandbasket
Date:April 13th, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC)
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awesomesauce. ^_^
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From:eclectician
Date:April 13th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
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Big green egg? The offset smoker on the one with the droid-number is quite attractive - though as you already have a smoker, maybe less so.
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:April 13th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC)
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Well our current smoker is somewhat of an enigma.
It's neither a cold smoker, nor a hot smoker. Kind of a warm smoker... Since I'm planning on a new grill this summer it might be nice to get a proper hot smoking grill, and convert the warm smoker into something closer to a cold smoker.
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:April 13th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
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also, the egg shaped ceramics are quite nice, but that one for instance only has 255 square inches of real estate. I'm frequently frustrated by the space available on our current grill when cooking for more than two people, and want something that I can accommodate a summer grilling party with 10 or more people.
[User Picture]
From:veek
Date:April 13th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
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My brother-and-family have a [large-size] Big Green Egg. It successfully smoked a 27lb turkey AND all the veggies for T'giving, all at once.

I'm just sayin.
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:April 13th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
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Ohh, it comes in SIZES!
/me researches
[User Picture]
From:veek
Date:April 13th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
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Not that the BGE is in any way reasonably priced. Yet I want one.
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:April 13th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
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Ouch, yeah. Just did some reading, would be well over a grand for one of the larger ones with a reasonable set of accessories. Yeesh.
Dmaned shiny though...
[User Picture]
From:veek
Date:April 13th, 2010 08:04 pm (UTC)
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SO shiny. I loved using it, when I did.

THIS is what cohousing would be awesome for. :)
[User Picture]
From:starflow
Date:April 13th, 2010 07:02 pm (UTC)
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I bought the Smokenator for Eric last year and it works quite well. Obviously, not a true smoker, but with the right tools like a dual thermometer and such, he's done quite a lot. We've also had no problems smoking lots of food for guests.
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:April 13th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
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neat! thanks for the link!
From:squirrella
Date:April 13th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
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we're looking at the Performer in the next few weeks. we've beaten our stand-alone 22.5" Weber to death between grilling and smoking and everything in-between. our smoking has been more indirect than true smoking, but it's never been a disappointment. i can have Mike email you if you want to hear more good things about Webers.....
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:April 13th, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
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heh, I've no doubt. Webers have plenty of devoted followers. ;-)
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From:jacflash
Date:April 13th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
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Preface: I own three grills -- including a Weber Performer and Weber's top-of-the-line propane grill -- and a Weber barbecue cooker, and cook outside 3-4 times a week year-round.

You don't need a Performer -- I like mine, but it was a hand-me-down from dancingwolfgrrl's dad, so I didn't have to pay $400 or whatever for it. If you want charcoal, your absolute best best is to buy a 22.5" Weber kettle grill and light it by putting balled-up newspapers or shredded paper grocery bags under the charcoal grate. Under $100, you can do anything with it, and it'll last 15 years or more.

Propane? Pick the Weber that suits your price point and needs and buy with confidence. Done.

Unless you are prepared to spend thousands of dollars, I very very strongly advise against buying any brand other than Weber. There really is no comparison in quality and durability.
[User Picture]
From:jacflash
Date:April 13th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
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One more thought: Grill makers like to advertise grill area, but... I could probably do 12 burgers or chops at once, maybe more, on a 22.5" Weber kettle. Even using a two-level fire, I've done 6-7 burgers and a couple of steaks together without a problem.
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:April 13th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, i don't think I need 1k+ sq in., but once loaded up with veggies and meats I run out of space quickly. That said, there's a big difference between my tiny smokey joe and a 22.5" kettle. The more I'm reading the more I think that may be the way to go, unless I want to spend $600ish on a 1/4" steel drum style as the next tier...

Thanks for the infos!
[User Picture]
From:jacflash
Date:April 13th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
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There's actually a time-honored low-budget solution if you find yourself cramped for space every now and then on a kettle: Buy a second one cheap off of Craigslist for occasional use. :-)
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:April 13th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC)
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It's true, I'll stash the smokey joe in the basement for parties...
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From:komos
Date:April 13th, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC)
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Have you looked at the Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5"? It'll do volume as a smoker, and there's a non-invasive conversion that you can do to run it grill.
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:April 13th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
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Didn't know about the conversion, and I'm looking for a grill more than a smoker. Thanks for the tip, will research! That gets great smoker reviews.
[User Picture]
From:komos
Date:April 13th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC)
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Pete got himself that setup and has done good things with it. The grill sits low, so it's kind of like having a larger version of the Smokey Joe. It has its good and bad points.

On the other hand, if you're focusing on grilling with a smoking sideline, I'll also point you at the Weber kettle with the option for an insert. We're able to do hot smokes pretty reliably in the SJs by banking coals under a jury-rigged heat-shield, and that only gets better with the additional space to play with.

I understand that BGEs are gorgeous, but they are spendy.
[User Picture]
From:inahandbasket
Date:April 13th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
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CRAZY spendy!
But that's an "I won the lottery!" day 1 purchase for sure. ;-)
[User Picture]
From:jacflash
Date:April 13th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
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I have the smaller WSM, and I recently did 6 pork butts at once in it -- fed 30 people. And I could probably do a dozen slabs of spares in it without too much difficulty. I've never been clear on what advantage the 22.5" WSM is really offering to folks who are just cooking for friends and family.
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From:komos
Date:April 13th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
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TBH, I was thinking in terms of usable grill area for the conversion.
[User Picture]
From:library_sexy
Date:April 14th, 2010 01:39 am (UTC)
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My father has the Weber Performer and we LOVE it. The propane start is great. We cooked our December wedding (2 legs of lamb) on it and there were no complaints.

The air control on it seems to be really good. With the hard wood charcoal we find we can easily kill a fire and relight the stuff. A bag last a long time.

We are getting ours post vacation :)

As for a smoker I would look to pick up something on the cheaper side. I know my Dad has one, but no idea what brand and it only gets used every once in a while. The grill is an every week kind of tool for us.
[User Picture]
From:jjjiii
Date:April 14th, 2010 02:56 am (UTC)
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I have what I believe is a smoker in my basement. Brand new, unassembled, and I have no idea how I got it. I think maybe it came with my house? I've been thinking about craigslisting it... I kinda need to look in the box and figure out wtf it is.
A question: What's the best charcoal grill/smoker for a not… - another LJ. or: how i learned to stop worrying and love this life-thingy

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