Shopping an Outdoor Smoker. Advice needed! (1 Viewer)

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HD MM

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Nov 2, 2006
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Believeland, Ohio
I've been looking into getting a new toy for the summer. An outdoor smoker!

Currently I have a natural gas Weber Genesis 3 burner with a side burner that I use to do most of the outdoor cooking. I also have a small tabletop Weber charcoal that I use infrequently. But it is time to add another outdoor option for some serious cooking/smoking of ribs, chicken, turkeys and such......

Originally I was looking into a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. I am drawn to Weber products as I've had nothing but great experiences from using their stuff in the past. Clearly Weber seems to be a step ahead of everyone in the game of outdoor grilling.

A few negatives that were brought to my attention from smoker folks is that keeping the charcoal going and getting inside the little charcoal access opening is a pain. Another drawback can be cooking time. (Although some would debate this as an art form). Some friends even recommended an eclectic smoker instead.

My search continued and this lead me to stumble upon the Orion Cooker! (I read part of the Orion Thread a few topics down). The Orion's outdoor convection cooker that uses three cooking processes simultaneously: convection, steam and smoke (if desired). This greatly reduces cooking times and the fire is easier to tend to since it's on the outside. According to their cooking time chart, you can do 6 racks of ribs in 1 hour and 15 minutes or a 20lb turkey in 2 hours and 15 minutes!

Here is an overview on the Orion.....

Orion Outdoors Products - Orion Cooker

Here's how it works. I recommend watching the video. This is truly a genius concept!

http://orionoutdoors.com/produ...ow-it-works.php


So, as I try and make a decision, I must ask for the much valued advice from the more experienced smokers out there. Which smoker do you prefer? (Traditional, Electric or Orion type). Why do you prefer this and what is your personal experience with smoking? Thanks in advance.......
 
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dfergie

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After fighting a traditional Brinkman cooker and spending hours keeping the fire going... I have had an Orion for a year and won't go back to the Brinkmann... no smoke ring but... ;)If you will notice Orion1 is one of the developers and has posted in the Orion Thread...
 
Last edited:

NightRyder

1978 Y88 T/A 6.6 4 spd 1978-2020 RIP
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Sep 9, 2003
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I've had a Smokey Mountain Cooker for several years and love it. A full load of charcoal will last for about 18 to 24 hrs at 250 degrees so access to the charcoal chamber isn't a big deal (if you should need to add charcoal just use a pair of tongs). Real BBQ is low and slow, because the Weber maintains temp so well I can cook foods like pork shoulder and brisket overnight without worries. :hungry:

NightRyder
 

dfergie

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The quickness of the cook the quaility and moistness of the meat and usually after pulling meat you can get another cook out of the coals... haven't tacked a Turkey yet, my Deep Fryer is quicker for Turkey's or Chicken but uses 4 gallons of oil and a lot more set up...
 

HD MM

SatelliteGuys Master
Nov 2, 2006
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Believeland, Ohio
Looking at the specs of the Orion vs. the Weber Smokey Mountain and I can see a few advantages/disadvantages for each.......

Weber= Less cooking space, $100 more than the Orion, longer cook times, although it is more typical of a real smoker.

Orion= More cooking space, owners claim to have smoked a 20lb+ turkey in it, $100 less than the Weber, quicker cook times.

*Q: Weber owners: Have you had success cooking a whole Turkey in the Smokey Mountain? Does it fit? What type of hangers/racks are included?
 

HD MM

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Nov 2, 2006
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Believeland, Ohio
Alright. A new smoker has entered the equation!

The Big Green Egg as seen: HERE.

Owners swear by it and I like the fact that it has a temperature gauge on the outside.
 

HD MM

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Nov 2, 2006
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Believeland, Ohio
With the Orion, I use conventional charcoal and lighter fluid instead of a chimney which speeds up the process a little and having the rib racks allow me to cook ribs and other meat at the same time...

dfergie: How do you know what temperature the Orion is internally?
 

NightRyder

1978 Y88 T/A 6.6 4 spd 1978-2020 RIP
Supporting Founder
Sep 9, 2003
3,545
8
NW Oregon
*Q: Weber owners: Have you had success cooking a whole Turkey in the Smokey Mountain? Does it fit? What type of hangers/racks are included?

I've cooked several 25 lb+ turkeys in mine over the years. The last couple I have done vertically. I have a ceramic stand that I use (like beer can chicken) works really well. My last cook was 2 large briskets and 2 pork shoulders. The Weber has 2 18" round cooking grates, no other racks/hangers come with the unit.

NightRyder
 

navychop

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I recommend going with the Weber bullet as a first unit. I have. Later, you can decide if you want to move on to side smokers, BGEs, Kamados or other types. Cheap to start, to learn, and to see what features and styles you value.

I think I want to go ceramic with one of the kamado style units. Pretty. And pretty expensive. My concern with the bullet is that I have to monitor it carefully and almost invariably need to add charcoal. Ceramics, I understand, hold temps better and require less charcoal. Maybe someday, after I've gained more experience. And money.

Of course, one of the best cooks I know- ok, make that two of the best cooks I know, both use electric smokers. Just doesn't seem right....
 

HD MM

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Nov 2, 2006
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Believeland, Ohio
I bought this one a couple of months back and have great luck with it. I have done chicken, jerky and a brisket. With the brisket I will turn down the heat a little and cook longer to get a thicker smoke ring. Otherwise everything has (by what other say) has turned out great.

Cabela's -- Bradley® Digital Smoker and Accessories

Shawn

I'm sure the digital electric smokers work fine and may be more precise and under control, but IMO, there is just something not right about using electricity instead of fire and coals to perform a smoke.
 

HD MM

SatelliteGuys Master
Nov 2, 2006
15,837
0
Believeland, Ohio
I recommend going with the Weber bullet as a first unit. I have. Later, you can decide if you want to move on to side smokers, BGEs, Kamados or other types. Cheap to start, to learn, and to see what features and styles you value.

I think I want to go ceramic with one of the kamado style units. Pretty. And pretty expensive. My concern with the bullet is that I have to monitor it carefully and almost invariably need to add charcoal. Ceramics, I understand, hold temps better and require less charcoal. Maybe someday, after I've gained more experience. And money.

Of course, one of the best cooks I know- ok, make that two of the best cooks I know, both use electric smokers. Just doesn't seem right....

Yeah, I'm leaning towards the Weber or the Orion. Apparently the EGG's (ceramic style) range from $359-$700+!
 

HD MM

SatelliteGuys Master
Nov 2, 2006
15,837
0
Believeland, Ohio
After fighting a traditional Brinkman cooker and spending hours keeping the fire going... I have had an Orion for a year and won't go back to the Brinkmann... no smoke ring but... ;)If you will notice Orion1 is one of the developers and has posted in the Orion Thread...

How does the charcoal fire hold up in the Orion? I ask this since the charcoal (by design) is on the outside of the cooking chamber. How does wind effect the flame and coals from going?
 

stimpson

Miller Lite Tester
Oct 2, 2006
4,701
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Benton, Arkansas
I too am struggleing between getting the Orion, or the electric Brinkman smoker. I had a the Brinkman for a few years untill a Tornado relocated it and half my house. Ready to get back into smoking and have a few concerns about the orion. I know it says to use a 15 pound bag of charcoal, but how do you know by how much to vary the cooking time if you don't need to use the full bag. Lets say I want to smoke some salmon fillets and some shrimp. I don't think I'll need 15 pounds of charcoal for that. I'm sure I would just need to play around with it. If it had a thermometer that would help out a lot. The last thing is the fact that I can't smell up the whole neighbor hood with smoke from the Orion like I could with the Brinkman.
 

dfergie

Proud Staff Member
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HERE TO HELP YOU!
Unless it is very windy I don't worry about the temp inside
Orion said:
If your looking, you ain't cooking ;)
I go by the suggested times and check with a digital thermometer... my last cook a 7-1/2 lb. brisket I gave about 3 hours(about :45 to long as temps were approaching 190)but it still came out pretty good as the drip pan with 24 ounces of liquid to start with kept it moist. I did have to add charcoal as it was a longer cook, but unless it is windy I do not add for a normal 1:15- 1:30 cook. I did one mid-winter cook and had to cook a little longer... Normally you light the coals, check to be sure they are going and don't worry until the cook is over. My old cooker took 7-8 hours with constant adding of charcoal and liquid.
 

HD MM

SatelliteGuys Master
Nov 2, 2006
15,837
0
Believeland, Ohio
I too am struggleing between getting the Orion, or the electric Brinkman smoker. I had a the Brinkman for a few years untill a Tornado relocated it and half my house. Ready to get back into smoking and have a few concerns about the orion. I know it says to use a 15 pound bag of charcoal, but how do you know by how much to vary the cooking time if you don't need to use the full bag. Lets say I want to smoke some salmon fillets and some shrimp. I don't think I'll need 15 pounds of charcoal for that. I'm sure I would just need to play around with it. If it had a thermometer that would help out a lot. The last thing is the fact that I can't smell up the whole neighbor hood with smoke from the Orion like I could with the Brinkman.

The Orion won't give off the smoke smell? I want to smell up the entire neighborhood! :D
 
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