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Ok I am not sure if this belongs in this thread. Feel free to move it to the correct thread board.

I am looking to purchase a smoker / grill next spring. I would like be able to hot and cold smoke (lox) and run it as a regular grill. Kinda like a 3 in 1 tool. I have looked at the green egg but it is a bit too odd, like some thing a tree hugger would own and it is down right pricy to boot. Please feel free to share your experience and knowledge.

Thanks in advance,

Tom

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  • 4 weeks later...

I don't think I can answer your question directly, but can tell my experience. I have used a lot of different set-ups. I run an old gutted refrigerator set-up with charcoal, fruitwood chips and an electric charcoal starter. It works good, holds a big batch, but needs constant tending for temperature control. I want to build something with an electric coil and computerized thermostatic control, so you can pre-set temperature cycles on long batches like sausage. This would be an effective tool, but none of these would be suitable for grilling.

The old mecco barrel smoker would be your best bet for small batches and is very versatile. They work great for fish and with tinkering game meats and poultry (it takes a long time)For sausage it is inconvenient, to say the least.

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You want to smoke, cold smoke, and grill on the same unit. Well, I think if you're going to smoke and BBQ I would look into propane for a heat source.

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I don't think I can answer your question directly, but can tell my experience. I have used a lot of different set-ups. I run an old gutted refrigerator set-up with charcoal, fruitwood chips and an electric charcoal starter. It works good, holds a big batch, but needs constant tending for temperature control. I want to build something with an electric coil and computerized thermostatic control, so you can pre-set temperature cycles on long batches like sausage. This would be an effective tool, but none of these would be suitable for grilling.

The old mecco barrel smoker would be your best bet for small batches and is very versatile. They work great for fish and with tinkering game meats and poultry (it takes a long time)For sausage it is inconvenient, to say the least.

Matt,

Funny that you should say that you need some kind of tempature controller. I work for a commercial laundry equipment manufacturer in tech support. You can use a thermostat from an older manual control tumbler (big dryer) The tempature range would be perfect and most of the older ones are able to control 120 volts ac and up to 220 v. Let me know and I point you in the right direction.

Regards,

Tom

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Have you considered building a UDS -Ugly Drum Smoker. They work great and you can save a few bucks. Here is some info:

http://www.theqjoint.com/forum/showthread.php?3941-Building-a-basic-drum-smoker-(UDS)

They don't have to be ugly as some of these pics show:

http://www.theqjoint.com/forum/showthread.php?8998-Drum-Smoker-Photo-Gallery!!!

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Thomas, not sure if you're still looking or not but I bought the one from Char-Griller they sell at Fleet Farm and Menards. I only use it as a grill, but you can buy a side-attached firebox for smoking. I don't know the first thing about smoking, but when I did my research a lot of people had good things to say about the unit. Best of all, its pretty inexpensive. I think I paid about $100 for the main unit, and the side firebox sells for about $70. I can tell you that as a grill it works well, and everyone seems to like the way the food turns out. The only downside is that it eats alot of charcoal, probably because its not sealed up real tight and is somewhat on the bigger side. Hope that helps!

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Have you considered building a UDS -Ugly Drum Smoker. They work great and you can save a few bucks. Here is some info:

http://www.theqjoint.com/forum/showthread.php?3941-Building-a-basic-drum-smoker-(UDS)

They don't have to be ugly as some of these pics show:

http://www.theqjoint.com/forum/showthread.php?8998-Drum-Smoker-Photo-Gallery!!!

Ed,

Thanks for the links. I was not aware off the UDS Cult. The pics are fantastic. I like the mini and the camo paint job. So far this is in the running of possiblities, just not sure how to grill on it too. I think it is worth investigating.

Tom

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The nice thing about UDS's is the ability to control the temps. They work best with lump charcoal which you can get at Gordons and some other places. Lump charcoal burns hotter then briquettes when given lots of air but will burn low and slow and long when you reduce the air.

You can really cut the air back with a UDS and have a bucket of lump coal burn a long time. Most people will fill the bucket with coal and then put in 2-3 soaked chunks of wood on top to get the smoke going. You can smoke low and slow this way and keep temps in the low 200's based on the air vent controls. Note some people use gas valves on theirs but some just use magnets over the air holes to control air flow.

If you open up all the vents and get the air flowing, you can raise temps high as needed to grill with it. If you put in a water pan or even just a pizza a pan above the charcoal basket, you never have to worry about drippings from your meat flaring up. Makes grilling easier when you don't have to worry about fire buring up your food. Lot of good info on this at the QJoint forums. You can also goggle the smoked meats forum for more good smoked foods info

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