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Grill and/or Smoker Recommendations

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Finally moved out of our condo last fall, so now we're able to have a real grill and/or smoker that uses real flames and all that jazz. I'm no grillmaster by any means, but I trust my HuskerBoard family more than most people so I'm hoping y'all can help me out here.

 

What type of grill should I get? Gas? Charcoal? Brand/model recommendations would be awesome as well.

 

I have also thought about getting a smoker of some kind. Nothing huge since I don't foresee making enough for the whole block.

 

My parents love their Traeger, but I'm not sold on using it for grilling. Also, the Traegers are pretty pricey.

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I absolutely love my Traeger.  It can do do the grilling aspect quite well, and I actually like a Traeger burger/steak/chicken breast far more than a propane one.  Basically you get the cook and flavor of a wood/charcoal grill with the control of your indoor oven.  That and if you want to use it as a smoker, you can.  For me, it was whether I would buy both a smoker & a grill, or just the Traeger. It is pricey, but I don't think I would/could go back at this point.  That said, there are off brand which supposedly are just as good.  I know that Cabelas has a good selection of pellet fueled grill/smoker combos.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Husker NoNo said:

I absolutely love my Traeger.  It can do do the grilling aspect quite well, and I actually like a Traeger burger/steak/chicken breast far more than a propane one.  Basically you get the cook and flavor of a wood/charcoal grill with the control of your indoor oven.  That and if you want to use it as a smoker, you can.  For me, it was whether I would buy both a smoker & a grill, or just the Traeger. It is pricey, but I don't think I would/could go back at this point.  That said, there are off brand which supposedly are just as good.  I know that Cabelas has a good selection of pellet fueled grill/smoker combos.

 

 

 

I think my drawback on the Traeger is that it doesn't sear the meat like a regular grill. My parents have made tons of different stuff on their Traeger (salmon, walleye, steaks, burgers, chicken, sausage, etc) and it all turns out really well, but I still miss that good sear

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Smoker wise, My masterbuilt electric lasted me 6 years and did well. It was in my price range when I bought it and with little kids was easy to use and not have to monitor much. I previously had propane,  but was a pain when I didn't check the tank and ran out halfway through. Element went out on my masterbuilt so now looking to upgrade and have a little more to spend this time. For just your basic, affordable smoker the black plain masterbuilt served me well.

Edited by obert1
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I'm not a big fan of Traegers...but, then again, I'm a BBQ purist.  To me, it seems no different than putting meat in the oven and adding a little smoke.  If you are going to BBQ, I would much prefer charcoal off set cooker of some kind.  I made a homemade barrel cooker a few years ago that I love for ribs, chicken....anything that needs low and slow.  I have one like that....all the way to a cooker I've cooked 800lbs on.

 

For steaks or anything that you just need to throw on and cook quick, gas will do.  There are a wide range of types of gas grills.  Study before you buy.

 

I recent purchased a Masterbuilt electric smoker because my son and I are getting into making sausage and I want to smoke fish...etc.  It works, it's made some good stuff......still not wild about it.

 

Here's some reading.  This is THE BEST grilling/BBQ site not the web.  It has a very large ratings and reviews section that really educates you on all this stuff.  Then, use their recipes.  They are great.

 

Amazingribs.com

 

I've done a hell of a lot of BBQ and grilling.  Any questions....ask away.

Edited by BigRedBuster
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I'd suggest a good quality gas grill to cover most needs. I guess it depends if you're trying to get one unit that will do everything or you wouldn't mind having a grill and a smoker. My only advice is that stainless steel will last longer but it costs more and some of the ones that have the showy stainless exteriors are built on a cheap painted steel frame. If the guts and frame are stainless then it may be worth the extra $$'s but if it's just a few of the big panels, it probably won't last much longer than a cheap plain black one.

 

The other thing to look for is the cooking grate. I prefer cast iron grates but there is really nothing wrong with a stainless wire rack type either. Just depends on what you prefer. I would probably shy away from the wire racks styles that have a coating on them but I'm not that familiar with those. My current grill has stainless wire racks but I've bought some ManGrate cast iron jobs that I set on top. Love those things. Cast iron will really even out your heat once you get used to it and you can make some crazy good sear marks if desired.

 

I have a gas grill, homemade wood smoker and am very near adding a Green Mountain pellet grill. You're correct that pellet grill won't sear like a gas grill but they seem to be very versatile and produce good results. I think they would be very good for doing chicken and you could get decent smoking results. Ive never had one but have done a lot of research on them. I think Green Mountain is built a little better than Traeger plus they have a WiFi control option that could be handy in many situations for monitoring and changing temp without being in front of the grill. Saunders has a Green Mountain and knows a bunch about them.

 

I will say that I can't imagine not always having a traditional gas grill at my disposal. IMO smokers and pellet grills are secondary items but the standard grill is a must have.

 

I'll 2nd BRB's AmazingRibs suggestion. Best resource on the web.

Edited by Comfortably Numb
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About every 5 years I buy the cheapest grill I can find...I look at grilling as just that, grilling.  Make meat not raw.

 

I would love to get into smoking but I really don't think I have the patience for it.  Years ago a buddy that lived with me got really into it and had a smoker out back, he would smoke his meat, drink half a case...finish the smoking...finish the other half.  He was good at smoking and drinking.  

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+1 for the Amazing Ribs website. Lots of good myth busting backed by evidence.

 

Whatever you end up doing for a grill, get a high quality quick-read meat thermometer. Getting the internal temp right will do way more for your grilling than anything else. No more under or over cooked chicken!! Always juicy!

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Inexpensive, well made, and can do just about everything with the right setup: Weber kettle

 

Best smoker if you're not looking to spend an arm and a leg: Weber Smokey Mountain

 

Possible other option: Char-Griller Akorn kamado. Not quite as well made as a Weber and can be finicky to control, but incredibly fuel efficient and has a much broader temperature range.

 

Get some lump charcoal for fuel, or search Craigslist for BBQ wood suppliers.

Edited by Toe
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9 hours ago, RedDenver said:

+1 for the Amazing Ribs website. Lots of good myth busting backed by evidence.

 

Whatever you end up doing for a grill, get a high quality quick-read meat thermometer. Getting the internal temp right will do way more for your grilling than anything else. No more under or over cooked chicken!! Always juicy!

 

Yes, absolutely get an accurate quick read thermometer. I picked up a Thermopen MK4 about a year ago, not sure how I got by without it prior.  Absolutely vital for reaching safe temperature on poultry without over cooking and for hitting the perfect temps for smoking things like brisket and pork butt. 

 

Another thing about thermometers....most grills have one built in to monitor the temperature of the grill. Useless, they are all useless and inaccurate. So don't think that is any kind of valuable feature. There are some useful devices for this but you must purchase them separately and you won't find a good built-in.

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Ha! Here's yet another endorsement of AmazingRibs.  Meathead and the gang are excellent sources of information, they respond very quickly, and they really want to help you grill better.

 

I had never made a prime rib before, but I got tasked with making one for my sister-in-law's prenuptial dinner. They walked me through it, and I ended up with a fantastic meal.

 

I see BRB & JJ & RD have already talked about them, but I copied this link and I'll post it here. It's the direct link to their grill review page.  https://amazingribs.com/ratings-reviews-and-buying-guides

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, GSG said:

 

I think my drawback on the Traeger is that it doesn't sear the meat like a regular grill. My parents have made tons of different stuff on their Traeger (salmon, walleye, steaks, burgers, chicken, sausage, etc) and it all turns out really well, but I still miss that good sear

I do agree, when cooking things like steak that I want a sear on...I have an old cast skillet that I heat up with a bit of oil in it on the highest setting.  Put the steak/burger in the skillet for a couple minutes per side, then just cut down the heat and cook normally.

 

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1 hour ago, Husker NoNo said:

I do agree, when cooking things like steak that I want a sear on...I have an old cast skillet that I heat up with a bit of oil in it on the highest setting.  Put the steak/burger in the skillet for a couple minutes per side, then just cut down the heat and cook normally.

 

Nothing beats searing in cast iron skillet for texture and flavor. But I usually don't because I'm lazy and just use the grill.

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1 hour ago, Husker NoNo said:

I do agree, when cooking things like steak that I want a sear on...I have an old cast skillet that I heat up with a bit of oil in it on the highest setting.  Put the steak/burger in the skillet for a couple minutes per side, then just cut down the heat and cook normally.

 

 

I did a little more research on the Traegers and they (Traeger) claim that you can get a good sear and even have directions for it. I like the cast iron as well. My gf (who doesn't even eat beef) does a damn fine job of cooking a steak in the cast iron. I was also checking out how to make jerky on the Traeger and then I found their cocktail recipe book. I'm super conflicted still :lol:

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