BBQ Smoker Alert!
Hello fellow barbacue enthusiasts. I need to buy a decent smoker fast. I don't want a starter one or a $20,000 smoker.
Found out that I'm gluten intolerant (otherwise known as Celiac disease-can't eat wheat, rye, barley, malt, etc., due to it's gluten content. Yeah, I know, this means that I can't eat most asian food due to the soy sauce content, no beer-yikes!, no pizza)
A lot of store bought and restaurant barbacue rubs and sauces have whorsteshire sauce and soy sauce of which I can't eat. Unfortunately, I have stayed away from most barbacue joints because of my food allergy. Calvins on Armitage claims to have gluten free sauce and rubs. Anyway, I would appreciate some advice on buying a smoker. There are so many out there that I don't know where to begin.
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We have an electric smoker made by SmokinTex which we absolutely love. This is the link to their website:
It may not suit you if you want to bbq over wood, but the convenience of being able to smoke during the Boston winter and not have to go out every couple of hours is a huge plus for us.
Our unit sits on the deck all year round (we have the all-stainless steel model). We've done all kinds of pork, beef brisket, fish, cheese, poultry and vegetables in it. It has an electric element with a smoker box. You put chunks of wood in the box, switch the unit on and that's it.
Hope that helps some. My sympathies with the gluten problem. I would be going through serious cold turkey at the prospect of no artisanal breads or good Asian food.
First off one of the fun things about doing true barrbecue - smoking is coming up with your own rubs and sauces - so you should be able to develop your own gluten free rubs and sauces-
I have a brinkman smoker (www.brinkman.net) - the smoke 'N pitmaster with the offset firbox - I love it! it isreasonably priced about 300-400 has a nice big area for plenty of food - check out http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... for other tips on the brinkman.
Also since it looks like you are chicago based - there is a great BBQ store in Wilmette - called the Backyard BBQ Store (http://www.backyardbbqstore.com) they were really helpful getting me started - have a great selection of woods
Many bbq contest champions use the Weber Smokey Mountain (also known as the Weber Bullet) at home, and some even use it in competition. Bob Cantor, owner of the excellent Memphis Minnie's bbq place in San Francisco, put me onto it. It's for the long, slow, smoke cooking that true barbecue requires and costs about $250. You use charcoal briquets for heat and wood chunks for smoke. The design, and some technique, lets it hold a pretty even temperature for a long time without constant tending. There's a great support site for it (not affiliated with the Weber company) at http://virtualweberbullet.com .
I also use the standard Weber kettle (22 1/2" diameter size) for grilling and for indirect smoke cooking meat that doesn't require the long slow type of cooking (tri-tip, for example). It's a classic and excellent design and comes with a good instruction booklet. Prices vary with features. The large ash catcher is definitely worth getting for ease of cleanup.
Without a doubt, the smoker to use is the Weber Smokey Mountain. And for stellar results, follow the 5-step directions from the "professor" at http://www.wiviott.com
I guarantee that you will have stellar results! Forget briquets, use chunk charcoal(from Whole Foods if you're near one) for fuel and wood chunks from Home Depot. No chips, no soaking.