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plllog

Advice please on smoker/grill

plllog
last month
last modified: last month

Unlike in some parts of the country, there's really no push to cook outside here, so I've never seen the point of a gas grill for us, and will not be buying one. I do have a little art object of a barbecue, but it's just a little barbecue. It's fine for small things, but there's no way to expand it. For years, I've contemplated getting a Big Green Egg, but to be greater than my little sputnik, and useful for smoking, but it would have to be actually big and I don't have a good place for it, or enough desire to make a big commitment, and the he-men around here would just as soon zap something and watch the game. They're lacking in the man❤fire gene.

So I've been looking at this multilevel smoker/grill. It's small, light and not too much money, big enough to smoke anything I want to try (I'm not going into BBQ competitions!) and divides into two grills. Plus, once cool and clean, it would be easy to store in the garage. The reviews are good, but I wonder what those of you who do this stuff think of it.



Comments (26)

  • linda campbell
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Who makes it....what fuel? I have a small weber Q on my deck just outside the kitchen door. Had it for a lot of years and I use it often...lights in a whink, I can add a smoke packet if I want but usually don't. It's big enough to grill 2 whole pork loins or a 18 pound turkey, a couple fo chickens, 2 or 3 slabs of ribs, a mess of brats or burgers for a picnic and small enough to grill a small beef filet just for me, as I did tonight.....and there is no greasy mess in the kitchen, no need to run the fan and no heat added to my house. It's not beautiful but neither in the 52 inch TV in the family room, not the 2 black holes in the kitchen that are ovens.

    And it's cheap as a good grill goes....about $450 with the stand.

    plllog thanked linda campbell
  • plllog
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks for the info, Linda. That's more barbeque than I need. There really isn't a good place to keep one by my kitchen. This is some Chinese brand, I think, well reviewed, for $111, and it comes apart easily for camping. Charcoal.

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  • bbstx
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I was looking at the Komodo Joe to see if they had a small one to recommend to you. Both my step-son and my son-in-law have Komodo Joes instead of BGE. I found there is a Joe Jr. that may be small enough to fulfill your needs.


    FWIW, I have a Weber Genesis that is attached to the house natural gas line. DH also did not have the fire gene so I wanted something easy for me to use.

    plllog thanked bbstx
  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Kamado Joe Jr only weighs 68 lbs. according to the search I just did. The classic Joe II is the one that weighs 232 lbs. The largest Kamato Joe is about 350 lbs! Yikes!


    Pillog - I have a electric smoker similar in shape and size to the one in your OP that I use at the lake but it would not serve as both a grill and a smoker since it only gets to about 225F max temp. I can smoke a whole turkey, brisket, or 4 slabs of baby backs on it.

    plllog thanked LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
  • bbstx
    last month

    Jack, that makes so much more sense! I swear I looked a the KJ Jr page twice because I could not believe what I was reading. I’m going to delete that portion of my post so no one gets confused, like I was! Thanks!

  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
    last month

    Gas grills are the only ones that I think do both easily, grill and smoke. I have a Weber with excellent low heat controls and smokes for 24 hours perfectly and, of course, grills. For short term smoking using hardwood charcoal, I use an Oklahoma Joe Rambler charcoal grill.

    I like that for smoked chicken that I use in soups.

    plllog thanked Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
  • plllog
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank-you for all the commernts! I added a clarification to the top post that I'm not going to buy a gas unit, but I'm very interested to learn that smoking is done on them, because I'd been under the impression that they don't do it.

    Further clarification, this isn't going to get a lot of use. I can duplicate gas grill cooking indoors, and our weather is rarely pleasant for cooking outside. OTOH, I tried oven smoking once, and never again. The exquistite filters on my oven scrubbed the smells, but I assume the toxins are smaller molecules or something. It made me sick and took three days to air it out of the house. As long as I stay upwind of burning wood or charcoal, I'm fine, but it's not a great choice for the air quality, so will be sparingly used,

    About 10 years ago, I flirted with the idea of a full sized Kamodo, one of the beautiful tiled ones that could double as a garden sculpture, but discovered that while certain men like the flavors of char grilled and smoked, they had no interest in producing them, and I was too busy. That baby one is adorable, but unlike the nice young man in the picture, I will not be hauling 70 lbs. of barbecue up and down the stairs, and the minions will balk.

    LoneJack's experience with the electric smoker gives me some encouragement. I do understand that feeding the fire would be an all day project, but if I don't want to smoke a brisket enough to do it, what's the point at all? I also looked into electric smokers back when, and it could be an option if I wanted to do more smoking or needed an outdoor oven.

    I just can't decide if this cheap and portible option will be good enough for several uses per year,

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    last month

    I would give it a hard pass based on the bad reviews. These low level beginner smokers are so cheaply made and do not use high heat paint so they burn it off quickly and start to rust. Burning paint is toxic. Nice design idea but seems fussy--remove the lid, then the middle tier to check on lower level food. All heat is lost so you will burn through charcoal fast.

    Most are not to happy with the quality of the classic Webers compared to the originals but at least they are enameled or bake-coated.

    Here are some portable grills if travel is important. Could always pair that with a smoke tube.

    Smokers/grills have to be the most frustrating thing to shop for.

    A near identical model is at the box stores. Might want to see it in person. (it has the same middle removable section). Reviews similar. Half say 'crap' and good reviews are mostly those with no smoking/grilling experience. Just seem happy to have a new toy.

    Like our first bullet smoker 30+ years ago from a yard sale. New toy. Gateway to our off-set side fire-box.







    plllog thanked sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    last month

    I think I only paid $80 for my little electric smoker but that was a few years ago. It has a water pan and 2 grates. I put the wood chunks directly on the element at the bottom.

    One caveat is that it doesn't heat up enough when the outside temps are below about 45F. You can still get the smoke but it won't cook a 12 lb. turkey to internal temperature at Thanksgiving. I have to finish it in the oven.

    I think it weighs about 25 lbs. total but you can separate it into 3 pieces if moving it around.


    This is similar to the one I have : Electric smoker

    plllog thanked LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
  • petalique
    last month

    What do you mostly want to do, grill or smoke?

    Small scale?


    I think that unit would not make a good smoker, and not for anything beyond small and not in cold weather. You’d be feeding it charcoal frequently.


    You can buy a small smoke cylinder Iinto which you add some dry woodchips such as applewood and you can use this with sime outside (outdoor grills).


    I got a free electric smoker last year and we recently experimented with a small beef brisket. It smoke/cooked for several hours. It is not a small until and we keep it under wraps in the winter. There is a water pan and a pan for dry wood chips. Itt has a digital thermostat. We used a probe thermometer for the meat. I wo ’t likely be using it often for health reasons. Most things that smoke well have a fairly high fat content (other than salmon.) But the meat was delicious and flavorful.


    I don’ grill much but have a gas grill (won it) and a charcoal/wood charcoal grill. I have grilled a pizza calzone on it, as well as burgers, fish, veggies and par cooked chicken. I don’t use that much either. What is fun, but scores an F environmentally, is a firepit. Drives the mosquitoes away, burns weed seeds/plants, and is fun to sit upwind of on spring, summer and fall nights.

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    last month

    Pilllog, i thought you had a yard and outdoor dining?. Never grilling?. Big learning curve if new to you. Annie hates it so Elery takes over. I love it and took over from DH years ago. He screwed up everything. Proteins are expensive for most of us. Over-cooked, or under-cooked while waiting for a meal...not fun.

    I think it is best to have a designated smoker and learn the tricks like set-it-and-forget-it.

    To maintain a proper temp, check on it but leave it be. A good grill keeps the heat and mess out of the kitchen in warmer months. A good off-set fire box can grill and smoke. At the same time, with a few tricks.

    I've been obsessed with Yakatori since lock-down. Even pre-covid. Japanese fireclay traditional ones are expensive but some are more affordable. Though delicate.

    Seems to fit our dining style the past few years. Small plates, less protein, and lots of veg. Prep ahead and eat outside on the deck.

    The compressed charcoal is high heat and less smoke. Once started it can last 4-5 hours. And can be snuffed and re-used.

    The stainless Yak can go in the dishwasher. yack grills



    plllog thanked sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
  • plllog
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Yes, I have a back yard, but it's small (by our standards), and the patio area is narrow with lots of doors, with a cards sized table and a little barbecue. Unlike a lot of areas, our Summer evenings tend to be cool and dank, and unpleasant, for the most part. There isn't much of a lure to cook outside often. That's one of the reasons I keep saying "camping" because that's when I think about cooking outside. Because of the megadrought, we have a little more sun and heat, which is why I even started this. :) My little barbecue is too small for more people and has no cover or anything. It's simple, put charcoal in the bottom and food on the rack. I was looking for something I could use for a few more people and to try smoking outside.

    Re "cold" weather, it may be too cold for us to sit outside on a Summer evening, but if it gets below 50° F on a Winter night, everyone here has hysterics and starts covering the plants. I think it did get down to 45° F at my house at least once, but my garden survived. The roses can take it. I do have a fire table, propane in copper glass fire pebbles. :) OTOH, it's illegal to have a fire on the ground while camping, due to fire danger, so the ability to use this one as a fire pit was a bonus.

    I didn't get the same sense from the reviews, on many sites as S, in fact, looking for reviews based on usage, rather than assembly and CS, what I found is that people liked it for what it is, but I thought it said high heat finish. One review did, but I can't find that on the description today, so that's going to tip it into the "no" column, and I'm grateful to S for pointing it out.

    This is the other one I was looking at. It's more barbecue grill, but has a lid.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B096SM1YCF/ref=ox_sc_saved_image_3?smid=AENMC57PJOU0U&psc=1

  • linda campbell
    last month

    If you look to charcoal as fuel youw ill never use it but for a big deal entertaining party, but that precludes a small grill. Sounds like you are not really interested in grilling. I grill even in the winter broviced the grill is not covered in snow but have even been known to shove off the snow to light it. You don't have to sit around the grill and stare at the meat....you can duck inside while it cooks.


    plllog thanked linda campbell
  • party_music50
    last month

    I bought an inexpensive Weber smoker/grill many years ago.... it's very similar to the one you posted. It's lightweight, easy to use, and can smoke a ton of meat! I'd use it more if I had a lot of people to feed. lol!

    plllog thanked party_music50
  • plllog
    Original Author
    last month

    My regular barbecue uses charcoal. That's the point. I can achieve everything I want to other than the buring solid fuel part indoors, and, frankly, the burning solid fuel is good for neither the air nor the body, so for me it's not meant to be a cooking staple, but just an alternative treat. And camping. That's why I don't want to invest big bucks or make a permanent unsightly thing in the middle of the patio. I need something light and portable and charcoal fueled, which will feed a dozen people, unlike my tiny artsy barbecue (which is too tall and inconveniently shaped for camping, and doesn't have a wind break).


    PM, thanks. i just looked at Weber. They currently have barrel smokers, including small ones, but they're for smoking only,

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    last month

    During the beginning of lock-down, DH mentioned the need for a mid-level smoker/grill here---where we were 'locked-in'. Researched on-line, had a short list, many out of stock. DH went to a parking lot tent sale and walked away. Made out fine with what we have.

    So i get the frustration shopping today. (i do like the tabletop grill you posted plllog)

    So who would not think this is functional and cute? Then the reviews...this is Target but discontinued as well as the same model from Cabella's. Re-called due to a fire hazzard.

    Guessing Target had many returns if like this review.




    plllog thanked sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
  • plllog
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks, Sleevendog. I'll look at that one further.

  • petalique
    last month

    Recently I spotted an interesting, multlevel grill. Round, Black with several cantilevered arms that could hold grates or grill or flat pans. These could be swung over the heat source as needed.


    Within the past 6 days I was waching one of Steve Raichlen’s shows, and he was using this very grill set uo and was pan cooking a vegetarian paella.


    I’ve look around Amazone and search with terms I thought might bring up promising result, all to no avail. It wasn’t a huge grill set up, and likely not conveniently portable, but I wondered if plllog might want to look at it. Anyone know what I’m referring to. I cannot recall what the base was like. Anyone?

    plllog thanked petalique
  • plllog
    Original Author
    last month

    That sounds cool! If you figure out what it is, I'd love to know more.


    I did get the tabletop barbecue I linked at the end of a long medial post above and wrote about in my ”results” thread. It has the advantage of being able to cool down very fast, increasing the portability. And it has much more cooking space than my little artsy barbecue. I expect to bring it back home today, and I hope to try smoking my duck this weekend. Since it's a flat grill, unlike the barrel smoker with its hanging hooks, I'm debating with myself about whether I should butterfly the duck or leave it whole.

  • petalique
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Here is Steve’s page on grills and smokers.I didn’t see it there.


    https://barbecuebible.com/product-type/grills-smokers/


    If you lived around me, I’d let you used my smoker. I got is for free off CL about a year ago. Used, in good condition. Even bags of wood chips. It’s not the same model, but sort of like this.





    We have it outdoors, covered

    I saw someone selling a smaller electric Masterbuilt smoker, new looking for $50.

    As for reviews — I usually peruse the most negatives first, then move up to midlevel. I look at photos from users. However, you often have to keep perspective. Sorry if I seem cynical, but some people don’t take care of things, or they are numb and dumb acting, or do not even glance at directions. Some people would try using a Kitchenaid mixer for an outboard motor in salt water.

    I love the color of this thing:



    I think I asked you before: would you like to primarily grill or smoke?

    Do you have a place to keep it out of the rain or bad weather?

    And it sound like the meat eating, game watching, testosteroners would not be likely to help you move it, tend it, clean it? I’m sorry if that is the case, but I bet you’re not alone.

    If that’s the case you can treat yourself to something convenient, even if pricy ;)

    You can drive over to Texan Tex’s BBQ and Smoke Take Out and fill up.

    But, I bet you want the freedom to develop your own recipes.

    My DH can be unwenthused about my extensive projects. (I admit, I’m a bit of a handful and we have different styles).

    I have set about having him feel an emotional and problem solving interest in a couple of areas. I have B**ching back pain and it cramps my stlye and limits my ”on” time. If not fo that, I’d be eager to fiddle with the smoker. But staying bent over ain’t my thang. So I did the marinade/rub and as I was doing that asked if he’d check out the smoker — function, temperature accuracy and go over the manual. If I am uncomfortable (pain), I have little patience. I usually need to get other things done as well’ So, by default and by some design, he became the pit master (whatever).

    Maybe you could confiscate the cable bill. Let is go unpaid for a few months. Maybe service will be cut off (right around the time your guys are searching for methods todo you in).

    So, you’ll be wanting to grill and smoke? For yourself plus at least two grown fellas stuck to recliners, watching sports as the lawn is overgrown?

    You need to have fun too ;)

    plllog thanked petalique
  • petalique
    last month

    Oh, i see, you got this one?



    I wonder if you can set up that Wbber rotisserie over it?


    Maybe you can cut up duckie and cook with a rotisserie?


    I have (came by) two nice electric rotisserie units that are made by Jennair. Likely came with an oven. I want to figure out a way to make a crutch or support. I don’t think DH will have the time or interests and its going to get back burnered for now. The problem is, again, most things you’d cook w this fall into the Yummy Animal Fat category which I must limit.


    PS For charcoal, try the real wood lump charcoal, Nice and no chemical lighter flued odor.

  • Sherry
    last month
    last modified: last month

    If any one wants just a portable charcoal grill, I have had this one and it is excellent.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004RALJ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    plllog thanked Sherry
  • plllog
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Yes, Petalique, I got that one...and the red, snce it'll prbably live in the garage where it won't fade. :D Sherry, yours looks excellent. Features of the one I got, which I like are that the top's handle has feet, so you can rest it inverted and use it as a holder, and it has the charcoal basket which works exactly as advertised, lifting the warm charcol out of the ashes. I do use the lump charcoal, much reclamed (started as wood scraps before being professionally charcoalized), and a chimney with blank packing paper, but I'm under no illusions about the environmental costs of using solid fuel. This is something we do sparingly.

    LOL, P, on your description of the men! I'm actually the one who uses ’net and TV most, so the cutoff would be a spite the face thing, but it's very amusing! A minion took on cleaning the new barbecue unasked, threw away the charcoal, and the box it came in which I was using to contain it for transport. Argh!

    You remind me that I have a battery op rotisserie for my little artsy barbecue. It wasn't great shakes (or actually shakes too much) as intended, but I wonder if I could rig it to work with the new bbq?

    I'm good at reading reviews. I used to teach related sujects, and know the linguistic analysis. It gets really obvious who is engaged, good or bad, and who's a shill or just blathering. I did take ”hard to put together” seriously, but also know that I have skills therein. :) It wasn't that bad if one is familiar with woodscrews. ;)

    Thank-you for the kindness. Your smoker is impressive! That blue bbq is good looking. The items on the link are intriguing. I'm not sure I'll get that serious. If there's room, I might smoke some cheese with the duck. I really can buy just about everything, though the best smoked cheese isn't available right now. The local barbecue joint is excellent, but they do what they do and that's what they do. So I'll see how the duck goes. Good ducks have gone up a couple of bucks, but are still a bargain. And delicious!

  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
    last month

    Several portable charcoal grills are shown on this thread.


    Please note, never BBQ indoors. Carbon monoxide (CO) kills. You cannot always tell if you have put out the fire and CO is odorless.


    dcarch

  • thibeaultstable77
    last month

    I did my homework recently and ended up buying the Masterbuilt 30" Electric with glass door. Masterbuilt gets good reviews and I joined a FB group Masterbuilt Smoking, Tips and Ideas before buying. The members are very supportive and quick to answer questions and offer advice.



    This one is more than big enough for Moe and I because I never see myself smoking more than one meat at a time, and maybe occasionally two.


    I seasoned the new smoker on Tuesday in preparation for smoking on Wednesday. I went simple with just two bone in chicken breasts. I wanted smoked chicken for sandwiches. I also bought an InkBird digital thermometer also highly recommended. I already had one of their digital instant read thermometers.



    I set the temperature for 165°F and removed the chicken when it reached the target. Wrapped in foil and then into the fridge until last night.



    Sliced on the electric meat slicer and made toasted Club House sandwiches for dinner.



    They were big so Moe and I just share one, along with homemade twice fried fries.


    I was really happy with the smokiness of the chicken. And it doesn't use many woodchips. And you don't have to open the door to add more. There is a little chip thingy on the side that you pull out and put about 1/2 cup or so of chips in, push it back into the smoker, give it a turn and the chips are deposited into the tray.


    Plan to smoke baby back ribs next time around.