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josh, a long smoker (horizontal pit with fire box on one end and chiney on the other) is the best. the water smokers like the brinkman are pretty lame. years ago i went through 2 of the Mr. Meat brand water smokers. they worked great but the company went belly up.
i'll find some makers of the long smokers for you but not tonight
In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!
My brother has a smoker. Great for brisket! 2 Thanksgivings ago we smoked one turkey and fried the other. The smoked turkey tasted like ham
My other brother kept calling and telling us about all the people coming into the ER with burns from turkey fryers So it was decided that Rick was the most expendable and therefore put in charge of monitoring it's temp It was a lot of work and you are left with 5 gallons of oil.
I got a Big Green Egg several years ago and love it. Especially now that you can get a DigiQ temperature regulating device. I use the BGE mainly for pulled pork and beef briskets. Haven't tried fish yet, but its on the agenda. They're quite a bit pricier now than when I got mine, but its ceramic and HEAVY so it should last forever. They have a great web site with a forum that is very useful.
When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.
Thanks for the answers everyone. I am going to start keeping my eye out on craigs list. I really want to start smoking steelhead in the spring from the streams around here. Brisket and turkey will be an added bonus.
I've got a small smoker, a stand-up type that has the charcoal in the bottom, then a place for the water pan (utterly useless, except it's good for holding the wood chips and water), then on top is the grill where the meat goes. As noted, I dispensed with the whole water idea and just use charcoal and soaked wood chips. Chunky charcoal is best, IMO. Any kind of wood is good for smoking. So far, cherry, apple, and oak are my favorites with hickory as the backup.
If you go for the linear type (firebox on one end, then the meat section, and a chimney stack at the end), definitely get one with a separate, external firebox. This way, you can stoke up the fire as much as you like, and you can open the smoker section where the meat is without having to worry about temperature variations. Since the firebox is external, you can stoke it before you open it, and your temperatures won't drop dramatically.
I also like to use a magnetic stick-on, digital probe thermometer with a relatively long metal braided cord. The kind with an internal temp probe and an external temp sensor. This way, you get the temperature of the meat itself, along with an ambient temperature of the smoker. The magnetic part is so that you can just stick it on the outside of the smoker and keep an eye on it whilst sipping your beverage of choice. And you're still "working". You can actually say, "Yes, Dear, I'm working on dinner. The meat's at 115 degrees and climbing, and the smoker's putting out 225 degrees." All this from the comfort of your favorite lounge chair.
I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.