In my opinion, you can’t beat an oil drum BBQ.
This one has a side smoker, but they are big enough that you can buy one without it and you can smoke using indirect heat. The grill is really far away from the coals, so you can make things like BBQ pizza without burning it. You can buy homemade ones for around 100-150 dollars in the right neighborhood.
Make sure you get one with a side-vent, so you can control airflow and add charcoal if needed.
The only drawback is when you want to cook one chicken or 5 burgers, and you have to fire up the behemoth.
I suggest everyone have 3 grills:
1. a Weber kettle for those 5 burgers,
2. The oil drum for smoking, ribs, and get-togethers
3. The Santa Maria style for Tri-tip and BIG parties. It is made for cooking with a wood fire, and it has a crank to raise and lower the grill over the flames. You can get them about 1/3 the size of this one for home use:
MikeSh: I am truly in awe of the PolderSpud idea. That is absolutely the most brilliant solution to the question of where the thermometer should go that I have ever seen, and I’m going to be stealing it immediately.
Late reply but what the hey.
I have over ten Webers scattered about (two w/ wooden handles still new in the box, Target was closing so I bought all they had left) between my office, pool, patio and shop. If your want to do ONE or TWO shoulders or butts they are fine but for more buy something bigger or do what we Tarheels do and build a pit.
By the way, only one gas Weber, the suitcase one which basically is used to warm beans and vegies on picnics.
So what did you decide????
This is the Weber Grill with hinged sides to add charcoal.
Mike Sh: Can you post shots of the cut outs that you describe?
You can usually find after-market grates that have flip-up sides for adding charcoal/wood.
Here is some shots of my grill and tonight’s dinner.
My Patio Classic has cut outs on both sides next to the cooking grate handles. I can drop in more wood chunks or briquettes as needed.
MikeSh, et al: How do you add charcoal and/or wood to the fire on a Weber style when the meat is already on the grate? Can you get under the grate or do you pick up the grate, meat and all, to get at it? Or am I missing something?
Just my two cents, but for someone with limited experience, a Weber kettle (I think the 22.5 inch silver is $89.95 on Amazon) is hard to beat. No, you won’t get competition level ribs or butts, but it will do a great job doing the occasional slow BBQ with a small fire built to one side and the ribs, butt, or brisket, on the other.
Moving up a step, for smoking I truly think that you can’t go wrong with a WSM. The ability to control the temps is much better than with the other bullet-type smokers you see on the market. It really is hard to mess up, and does not require constant tinckering.
Combined, the purchase of these two will cost you under $300. If you hate them, you could probably recover $200+ on ebay. I would really hate to see a beginning griller/BBQer spend TONS of money for an offset that really works, only to discover he doesn’t like to tend a fire for 10 hours…
My 3 cents worth! I’ve been doing low n slow BBQ for 30 some years now and grilling for longer then that. I’ve won a few cook-out awards along the way too. But better then winning those is having the family and friends pester me to do some Q again. So I’m doing 1 large shoulder and a slab of ribs right now. I had the BBQ (grill is what I call it) up to speed at 10AM and am planning dinner for between 6 & 7 PM. The grill is right now holding steady at 206 degrees. I’ll have to add some more charcoal in about .5 hour.
Steve, In my Not so humble opinion, yes, I’m full of myself today [:D] What you need is a Weber style grill. If you want/prefer a circular shape then get a Weber and not a knock-off. If you have the room go for the 22" model. If not get the 18" one. I have owned both sizes over the years and each was great. With Weber you can’t beat the quality and there is a large selection of accessories available for these. I went to the 22" size when I had 3 adults and 2 kids in the house and needed more room.
For the past 10 or so years I’ve used an oval shape grill made by Patio Classic. http://www.patioclassic.com
I had one for about 8 years before it rusted out, my fault; I left it out year round. I’m on my 2nd year of my second one now. Don’t know if I’ll ever buy another brand of grill again. This one suits me just fine.
Why? You ask. For grilling of steaks, burgers, chops, hot dogs, sausage and fish you want direct heat. Especially for steaks you want a lot of heat to sear the meat. Most grills will have hot and not so hot spots. With use you will find where these are on your grill.
Not only does it handle all my direct grilling work but it does a great job with indirect cooking too. I do pork, beef and lamb roast using indirect.
Like I said I’ve got some low n slow BBQ going right now. With this unit I can easily control the air flow. I’ve been running about 210 degrees for almost 2 hours now. I put 12 briquettes on each side and fire them off. When they are about half ash covered I add 2 large well soaked chunks of hickory to both sides I add a Polder type probe thermometer thru a potato onto the grill for a more accurate gauge of what the temp is at the cooking area.
For a couple years I owned a New Braunfels smoker with the side fire box. I found that this didn t work as well for me and that I didn t use it much. It was actually too big for what I needed. I was going to turn it into a planter (oh Gosh, what a horrible thought!) But fortunately I sold it to a co-worker who uses it.
Summation; for general all around cooking get a Weber or Patio Classic or that style grill. You will be able to do the whole range of cooking from direct grilling to indirect cooking of roasts or with practice the low n slow of real wood BBQ.
Don t expect to do GREAT Q the very first time. It will take a lot of practice and experience to get to know your grill and how it works. Plus, I believe that all BBQs need time to season in.
One of these days, I’m gonna try a Weber. For now, I have a small weber dome lid that I found on the side of the interstate. I use it to cover my propane tank for my log lighter. BTW, logs are what big cookers use for fuel…lol.[V]
I’m sorry, guys and gals. I just had to. I hope you all know that I poke fun that way.[:D}
That’s it. [:D]
Which is part of the reason I spent a few bucks more on a heavy cast iron grill from Lodge.
The other part of the reason is it has a cast iron grill which retains heat and browns my burgers better than the flimsy chromed steel grills on lesser models. You can also buy a cast iron stand for it to get it 3.5′ off the ground if you don’t want to just sit it on a table.
But this isn’t what Scott wants because he wants to do indirect heat as well and for that you need a bigger cooker with a lid. The "Portable Kitchen", which is cast aluminum (and therefore rust-free) rather than cast iron, is the closest thing in a larger cooker that I’ve seen.
You can always buy a cast-iron grill for a Weber. They’re available from a number of sources. The last place I saw one was in a Williams-Sonoma catalog, but I’ve also seen them at Toledo-based The Anderson’s General Store..
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