I am a Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) fan. This smoker does a great job at keeping temperature steady and has really made BBQ fun and easy. I have spoken to many people who have bought low end offset smoker who are displeased with the ability to sustain constant temperatures for prolonged periods of time. With the WSM you can really keep the temperature at the sweat spot (225-250) with very little care.
THE CHIMNEY STARTER
Regardless of the smoker you are using you really need to have a chimney starter. The campfire stacking of wood or briquettes just takes way too long. I prefer the Weber Chimney starter. If you want to save $5-10 go and get yourself a generic brand.
THE FIRE STARTER
Smoking up the neighborhood when you fire up your chimney starter with newspaper? Skip the smoke and the angry mobs buy going with these Weber FireStarter Lighter Cubes. It is completely odorless and reduces your startup time significantly. These might help you get an additional 15 minutes of precious sleep when you are getting up at 5AM to fire up your Q!
THE BBQ GLOVES
Planning on catching a falcon in your backyard? Well that’s what my wife thinks I am doing when I put these bad boys on. You really need a pair of heat resistant BBQ gloves. Without these gloves you will not be able to make mid-BBQ adjustments to anything metal in your BBQ. I opted for the non-Weber brand, you can pick which you like.
I really like Kingsford Blue. These briquettes burn nice and steady and they are easy to find and cheap. The image below links to Amazon but these bags are readily available at Home Depot and Lowes at large discounts. This past summer both stores ran deals for 4th of July and Labor day. Wait for one of these sales and stock up. If you can’t wait until next summer, click below!
Here is the deal. DO NOT BUY CHIPS. Chunks are the way to go. Chips burn too quickly, they don’t offer that consistent smoke and don’t really participate in the “fueling” of your heat. If you live in an area where you can buy local smoking wood do so. This is going to be your cheapest and best option. I also think you can use the bark with the chunks. I smoke with apple and cherry wood frequently with bark and the flavor I get is fantastic. NO NEED TO SOAK. If you want to, do it. I skip soaking my wood because I find it an unnecessary process. If you have some nice softball size chunks they will provide a nice steady smoke stream during your entire BBQ. One trick I like to do is add some additional smoking wood if I introduce a new meat to the smoker. Example: Smoking a Butt for 8+ hours and you add 2 racks of ribs halfway through, toss some more wood on your briquettes.