A quick-n-dirty look at what I am using for my cooking platforms (with a couple of crucial accessories to boot!) this summer:
Louisiana Grills CS-680 Smoker:
This is a “pellet-feed” smoker that uses a hopper full of 100% hardwood pellets and an automated feed system to keep a low fire cooking along for extended periods of time (12, 18, even more that 24 hours depending on what you are cooking) at a user-controlled temperature. The “granddaddy” brand of pellet-feed machines is Traeger, and they make wonderful products, but I went with the Louisiana for reasons of capacity, technology, and price (being built in Canada is a handy cost advantage, taking duties and tarrifs out of the equation). The random beagle there gives you an idea of the size of this thing.
Big Green Egg XL:
The Egg is a triple threat – it lets you grill (on what is possibly the best grill in the world), it lets you smoke, and it lets you bake. The ceramic construction and design means that heat is even and that food moisture stays in the cooking area and therefore in the food. It uses charcoal and has a draft-and-damper system that lets you manage temperature with 5-degree accuracy and get up to cooking temperatures well over 1200 degrees (F) if needed.
Char-Griller Super Pro (with side firebox):
Char-Griller makes inexpensive but servicable charcoal grills, and their tubs have the ability to add a side firebox for offset cooking and smoking. They are less than ideal for cook times greater than an hour or two, but for large-capacity grilling surfaces, easy use, and sheer bang for the buck they are hard to beat.
Weber Smokey Joe: This is the traditional Weber kettle grill, scaled down for portable use. Anything you can do on a big Weber, you can do on a Smokey Joe. Just not as much of it.
Charcoal Chimeny: This is a must for starting charcoal for any sort of kettle or barrel grill. The coals are fired and ready to cook on in 10 minutes, and you dont get that nasty benzene aftertaste that comes from lighter fluid or “easy light” charcoal. Cheap, simple, and a must have.
Welding Gloves: The single most important accessory for any barbeque cook. I like the ones from Lincoln. Get good ones, they are worth every penny, and a quality pair will last you pretty much forever.
I will expand this out with pictures in a couple of days, and will be posting more in-depth discussions of each item as we move through the summer. Until then, if you have any questions, just ask.