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offset smoker vs classic Weber...help me decide!

I owned a traditional Weber charcoal grill in college. I LOVED it! But when I moved away I gave it to a good friend. I was given a wonderful Weber Genesis gas grill soon after. I've been 100% pleased with this grill except...sometimes I miss that charcoal goodness.

So, I'm going to buy a charcoal grill in addition to my gas. I'm thinking about an offset smoker like: http://www.charbroil.com/Consumer/pro...

This way I can grill traditionally or smoke stuff vs the Weber (which I loved) where indirect heat is as close as I can get to smoking. What do you guys and gals think?

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  1. It would seem that the offset smoker (something for which I covet) is what you're looking for. The gas grill is meeting you grilling needs, but not your smoker needs. The offset smoker will allow you to smoke meat with abandon and occassionally grill over charcoal when the mood strikes you. If you're not sure you actually want to get into smoking (which requires a bit of time on your part) you're probably better off sticking with your gas grill.

    8 Replies
    1. re: FlaHopper

      I too covet an offset smoker, but I'm not sure the Charbroil model is the one to buy. A Weber Kettle is so flexible and multi purpose that in that price range, I don't think it can be beat.

      If your goal is to start doing long, slow cooking with smoke, you may want to consider a Weber Bullet or a Bradley smoker. As FlaHopper mentioned, you've got grilling covered and there are ways to pump up your smoke/wood flavours on a gas grill.

      For me, going to an offset is the next level and it will require an investment in serious equipment.

      1. re: Pantz

        I like my Weber Bullet well enough (http://eatanddrinkitall.blogspot.com/...), but as soon as I got used to it, I wanted something bigger. If I had it to do over again, I'd go right for the offset smoker. I mean you invest so much time in quality barbecue, it's a shame that the Bullet limits the amount of meat you can prepare at one time.

        1. re: FlaHopper

          I'd check your assumption about an offset being the next 'level' of smoker. The WSM has a lot going for it- tight construction, controllability, nice paint job ( ;-) ). There are folks who compete that just run 3 or so at once.

          Unless you get into the higher tier of expense on offsets (think Klose), that extra capacity will be at the expense of burning a lot of fuel and having to tend the fire a lot to maintain stable temperature. That's just from the thickness of the metal used to construct it and from air leaks.

          If you want the advantages of the WSM with extra capacity, you're either going to need to get an expensive offset or go to an insulated smoker like a Backwoods or Stumps.

          1. re: ted

            Because I've never used an offset, I wasn't aware of the problems with the less expensive ones. So thanks for that. I guess it comes down to a matter of value: is the added capacity worth more to me than have to use two or three Bullet smokers at once? Don't know. That depends on how much the expensive smokers and high quality offsets cost.

            1. re: ted

              I guess my question is, with one of these cheaper offsets am I going to get a moderately good smoker/charcoal grill combo

              the Weber smoker is out of the question IMO b/c I don't have money for a separate smoker and charcoal grill at this time

              1. re: joshlane4

                I'd be on the lookout for a Weber kettle in good shape on craigslist.

                FWIW, I've had a Brinkmann Smoke n Pit minus the side firebox for 10 years or so. It's OK for grilling (Weber kettle would have better access to the whole grate and better air feed), but it's my go-to for smoke-roasting chicken, salmon and the like w/ an indirect fire. I wouldn't want to run it for many hours to do ribs, butt, etc.

              2. re: ted

                I guess my question is, with one of these cheaper offsets am I going to get a moderately good smoker/charcoal grill combo

                the Weber smoker is out of the question IMO b/c I don't have money for a separate smoker and charcoal grill at this time

              3. re: FlaHopper

                I have the exact offset that is linked here. Don't over estimate the size of the cooking surface. It's not that big. Two full shoulders or 4 racks cut into manageable pieces are about the surface size. Then there is rotating to do because the temperature difference from one end to the other is significant.

                All that said, I love me. I've produced some incredible food from it and dollar for dollar is a great BBQ purchase.

                Some other drawbacks are, thin gauge metal means keeping the temp up in colder temps is a challenge.
                The shelf in the front of it has no support so anything heavy has to have a side table.
                No thermometer. There is a hole for an aftermarket one though. I've found that the one I have gets coated in carbon and doesn't keep a good temp.

                DT

          2. I guess the thing is remember each does a different job - the grill is for grilling foods and the offset smoker is for true Barbecue - low and slow - I am like you Weber is my grill of choice and still have one - but four years ago my wife got me a brinkman offset smoker for my b'day and use both regularly - using the smoker is definitely a day long affair and is fun -

            3 Replies
            1. re: weinstein5

              But that's the thing, I think some of these offsets can do an adequate-if not good job at both. (Let me say here, of course I would rather have a BGE/Komodo but I don't have that kind of money, and won't for the foreseeable future).

              If you see the one I posted or this one (which you have to buy the sidecar separate): http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action...

              I think these will function as a regular charcoal grill, or you can use the sidecar and make them an offset smoker. That's at least what I'm hoping you can do.

              1. re: joshlane4

                The Brinkman I have is designed the same way and yes they will function like a charcoal grill but it is a bit of the pain to clean out the ashes - this is the brinkman I have http://tinyurl.com/5z56v9 -

                1. re: weinstein5

                  hmm...is it so much of a pain that I would want to deal with it? or is it the kind of pain that's do-able. I don't really want to buy this thing at this time if I'm ONLY gonna smoke in it.

            2. One word..... Big Green Egg. Ok, that's three words, but that is my recommendation. I'm so happy I bought one, it almost makes me giddy. It grills up to 700* and can keep 200* for as long as you need to do a brisket or pork butt.

              It's easy to maintain, there are many accessories available. But, most of all they have a very active internet community that has the answer for any problem or question.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chipman

                they can get a lot higher than that, I've seared tuna at near 1000 deg temps (my dad has the large sized BGE)...but alas, I have ~$200 to spend (and barely that) not the ~$1000+ I would need for a BGE.

                but hey, if you're buying!

              2. You could build a 'Little Brown Egg'. Looks like a fun project. This guy claims he only had to take the lid off twice cooking 2 pork butts. http://www.naffziger.net/blog/2008/07...

                1. Matter of personal taste, not a vote.