Smoking Meat Questions and Discussion

dmclone

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That's been my struggle finding any kind of new, WiFi enabled charcoal/pellet rig. I love smoking ribs/shoulder/brisket/etc but I probably only do it maybe 2-3 times a month. I grill easily 3-4 times a week. Once my current charcoal grill dies (getting close) I think I may just end up getting a nice big Weber kettle for grilling and then a separate pellet smoker for smoking.
Feels weird to say this, because I have a combo type unit, but I think for your use case it would make the most sense. I rarely grill anything.
 
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Nader_uggghhh

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That's been my struggle finding any kind of new, WiFi enabled charcoal/pellet rig. I love smoking ribs/shoulder/brisket/etc but I probably only do it maybe 2-3 times a month. I grill easily 3-4 times a week. Once my current charcoal grill dies (getting close) I think I may just end up getting a nice big Weber kettle for grilling and then a separate pellet smoker for smoking.
Get yourself a 26" weber and buy a temperature controller. Best of both worlds.
 
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Nader_uggghhh

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Yeah the idea behind the pellet/Wifi set up is to avoid being handcuffed to the smoker trying to regulate the heat manually for 5-12 hours. I've done it manually for years, am getting about ready for a set-it-and-forget-it smoker.
That's true. If you really want to stay with your charcoal then something like a gravity-fed Old Country smoker paired with a controller would be awesome. That's what I've had my eyes on.
 
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BACyclone

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Advice needed. My in-laws are looking at getting a Traeger pellet grill. They are considering the PRO-34 ($499) or the Pro-780 ($890).

Is the WIFI on the newer models worth the higher price?

If you truly want Wi-Fi plus the highest quality, Green Mountain is probably the best brand name, along with a higher price.

If you're more budget minded, I'd strongly recommend you consider the Pit Boss line. Available in most big-box hardware stores.

I believe most of the recent Pit Boss models have added digital temp controls (PID) and have WiFi (app) control.

Honestly my ~5 year old Pit Boss model has classic temp controls and no Wifi, it's fine. I bought my own wireless thermometer that has Bluetooth + app monitoring, which is pretty sweet, but only within range of the smoker. It would be nice to monitor/control long cooks from a distance. But pellet grills are so stable, I can live without it. I won't upgrade until this smoker dies, which hopefully is long into the future.

My last cook was on a Sunday. I started it, left for ~3 hours and came back to no issues at all. Early in a cook, there's not much to do anyway. Just make sure the hopper is full enough and feeding okay, you're probably good.

If I was going to be gone most of a day, I just would not plan on smoking something! I kind of want to be generally around when I've got meat on the smoker.

Thermometer
 

hiltonisheaven

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That's been my struggle finding any kind of new, WiFi enabled charcoal/pellet rig. I love smoking ribs/shoulder/brisket/etc but I probably only do it maybe 2-3 times a month. I grill easily 3-4 times a week. Once my current charcoal grill dies (getting close) I think I may just end up getting a nice big Weber kettle for grilling and then a separate pellet smoker for smoking.
I have the same issue with my Recteq Pellet Smoker. I use a Weber Kettle for burgers, chips, steaks, etc, basically anytime I want a sear. Pellet smoker is great for set and forget long smokes or can use it like an outdoor oven in the summer to bake anything. If I could do it over, I’d get the 26” Weber Kettle instead of 22” like @Nader_uggghhh mentioned.
 
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dmclone

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I have the same issue with my Recteq Pellet Smoker. I use a Weber Kettle for burgers, chips, steaks, etc, basically anytime I want a sear. Pellet smoker is great for set and forget long smokes or can use it like an outdoor oven in the summer to bake anything. If I could do it over, I’d get the 26” Weber Kettle instead of 22” like @Nader_uggghhh mentioned.
Are you happy with your RecTeq as a smoker? I've heard a lot of good things for the $$.
 

SouthJerseyCy

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There is no flame, so it's not the same. It works fine as a grill but I think most of the problems people have with it is using it as both a smoker and grill. If you use it as both, you need to line everything in aluminum foil, other wise you'll struggle with grease fires. I think running it to 700+ degrees is another reason.
I have had a Masterbuilt gravity for a few years and love it. Use it frequently for both grilling and smoking. There is a manifold that funnels the heat underneath the grates for searing. As someone else said, it does run the risk of flare-up if it's not meticulously cleaned. That said, this can be overcome by installing some custom mods that include a searing manifold, heat shield and drip trays that you can customize depending on your cook.

As a matter of fact, my lone complaint about the gravity series is some of the parts are pretty cheaply made. I'd highly recommend installing as many of the LSS mods as you can if you want it to last a long time. Of course, that ups your price point pretty considerably. Also, bypass the switches as they wear out quickly and are just a nuisance.
 

dmclone

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I have had a Masterbuilt gravity for a few years and love it. Use it frequently for both grilling and smoking. There is a manifold that funnels the heat underneath the grates for searing. As someone else said, it does run the risk of flare-up if it's not meticulously cleaned. That said, this can be overcome by installing some custom mods that include a searing manifold, heat shield and drip trays that you can customize depending on your cook.

As a matter of fact, my lone complaint about the gravity series is some of the parts are pretty cheaply made. I'd highly recommend installing as many of the LSS mods as you can if you want it to last a long time. Of course, that ups your price point pretty considerably. Also, bypass the switches as they wear out quickly and are just a nuisance.
I had the 560 and did a few of these mods. I put aluminum foil over the manifold and that prevented flare-ups for me. I installed the LSS mod, but it was too late and most of the damage was done. For the money, those masterbuilts are great smokers. I do think that if I had only used it as a smoker and limited it to sub 400 temps, if it would have held together better. It would have probably lasted me 10 years, which is pretty good at that price point.
 

zarnold56

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How does everyone do a giant pork loin on the smoker? Inject with some marinade or just dry brine overnight?
 

Jer

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No. And don't buy a Traeger.
I find the wifi control very handy. Between the Signals with multiple remote measurements and the ability to adjust temp from inside is huge for me personally.

While there are arguably better values and/or products for similar or lesser price than Traeger, they are still really good machines. And they're dependable for us casual smokers.
 

Gonzo

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I have had a Masterbuilt gravity for a few years and love it. Use it frequently for both grilling and smoking. There is a manifold that funnels the heat underneath the grates for searing. As someone else said, it does run the risk of flare-up if it's not meticulously cleaned. That said, this can be overcome by installing some custom mods that include a searing manifold, heat shield and drip trays that you can customize depending on your cook.

As a matter of fact, my lone complaint about the gravity series is some of the parts are pretty cheaply made. I'd highly recommend installing as many of the LSS mods as you can if you want it to last a long time. Of course, that ups your price point pretty considerably. Also, bypass the switches as they wear out quickly and are just a nuisance.
Do you use wood chunks or splits in the hopper instead of charcoal when smoking?
 

Gonzo

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How does everyone do a giant pork loin on the smoker? Inject with some marinade or just dry brine overnight?
I don't do much with pork loin but a buddy does and he brines and injects his. I'd think you pretty much have to since loins have literally zero fat.
 
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Stormin

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I don't do much with pork loin by a buddy does and he brines and injects his. I'd think you pretty much have to since loins have literally zero fat.

The Hormel Always Tender Center Cut Boneless Loins have been injected with a solution. A couple hours before cooking I put a little pure virgin olive oil rubbed in. Then I use some Cookies All Purpose Seasoning lightly. Then Sexy Pig rub. Cook at 225 to 250 on pellet grill. Wrap in foil for at least half hour to rest after removing from grill. Easy.
 

JM4CY

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I find the wifi control very handy. Between the Signals with multiple remote measurements and the ability to adjust temp from inside is huge for me personally.

While there are arguably better values and/or products for similar or lesser price than Traeger, they are still really good machines. And they're dependable for us casual smokers.
I agree, I just didn't think it was worth hundreds of dollars more in the scenario given.

Also, I still have a traeger and use it all the time. I'm sure you could buy one and find it good. But given my experience for their price points, I can't recommend them at all based on the experience I've had since I've had to literally replace everything but the metal pit itself, and their customer service was useless.
 
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dmclone

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Do you use wood chunks or splits in the hopper instead of charcoal when smoking?
You're not asking me but I had one. I would add a few chunks of small pieces of wood mixed with the charcoal. In reality, it really didn't do anything . Charcoal is wood.
 
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Nader_uggghhh

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How does everyone do a giant pork loin on the smoker? Inject with some marinade or just dry brine overnight?
I like to cut them in thirds and do a separate dry brine for each one. I'll season and vac seal, and let them sit for a day or 2. You can either cook them all or you can freeze a couple and have basically marinated loins ready to go.

Above all, don't cook them over 145. I've cooked them hot and fast, low and slow, injected, brined, that's the main thing.
 

BACyclone

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How does everyone do a giant pork loin on the smoker? Inject with some marinade or just dry brine overnight?

Honestly my favorite is to cut it into really thick chops. Slather with a little BBQ sauce and rub. Cook at 200-225. At ~135 IT, slather with more BBQ sauce and increase heat slightly, 250-275. Try to take off at 145 IT.

1715960045451.png

Doing a loin whole, I'd consider the same input as already given, but you can't go wrong picking a nice marinade and injecting also. Just make sure you take it off at 145 IT.

Doing a whole pork tenderloin this way is pretty fantastic.
 

JM4CY

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Honestly my favorite is to cut it into really thick chops. Slather with a little BBQ sauce and rub. Cook at 200-225. At ~135 IT, slather with more BBQ sauce and increase heat slightly, 250-275. Try to take off at 145 IT.

View attachment 129188

Doing a loin whole, I'd consider the same input as already given, but you can't go wrong picking a nice marinade and injecting also. Just make sure you take it off at 145 IT.

Doing a whole pork tenderloin this way is pretty fantastic.
I’m so doing this this summer
 
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