Skip to main content

Okay, of recent, I have really begun cooking/bbqing more after buying my first book, How to Grill by Steven Raichlen. It really showed me what I was doing wrong on the grill...which made grilling more of a chore for me instead of enjoyable. I've done ribs, chicken and steaks with much success over the past 4 months and have loved doing it. Here's my question...

I already have a decent, 4 burner, gas grill which works fine for what I am doing (direct and indirect cooking). For Christmas I got 2 Bass Pro gift cards. I'd like to get more "stuff" to take my cooking to the next level. These are some of the things I am thinking about...

1. A smoker (electric or charcoal). Or could my gas grill suffice with wood chips in foil? Is there that big of a difference? Use the money for something else?

2. A meat grinder for burger and sausage. I have a nice food processor which can grind meat. Although I've heard you can over grind and turn meat into mush with a food processor. I'm sure it takes practice but have heard of many who do it. Again, save the money for something else...making the food processor suffice?

3. A sausage stuffer and set up, casings, etc. to make sausages. This is a big interest for me. I'm not sure of the difficultly of it though.

Any comments/suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated. I am new to this and don't want to make a poor, uneducated decision.

Thank you!!
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Originally posted by BLeeber:...I'd like to get more "stuff" to take my cooking to the next level...

The best grill/Que cooks I know (me not included) can outcook me with tinfoil and a fire pit. Fancy pro tips and more 'stuff' is fine but eventually 'you' have to cook it. Sound basics, practice, and common sense is the quickest way to great bbq.

Oh... and a COOKSHACK smoker of course!! Big Grin
Depends on what you want to be making, if you want top do sausage and items like that I would go for the stuffer, I never tried to smoke anything on my gas grill, but don't see why it wouldn't work once you get the heat and smoke thing worked out.

I would not go for the grinder myself, unless I do lot of wild game. The store I normally buy my meat at will usually grind butts, or whole sirloin tips for making sausage or beef sticks, for 10 cents a pound, I usually do 25-30 pound at a time. I can't clean my grinder for $3.00

just my 2 cents
I really can't see how a grill can do the slow smoke BBQ like a CookShack type smoker does. I have both and each does meat completely different than the other. I can smoke a (brined) 20 pound turkey in my smoker in less than 3 hours, do the same bird in a conventional oven in 4 to 5 hours or rotisserie on my grill in about 3 to 4 hours. Each has a completely different flavor and I don't see how one could be made to produce the final product the others can.

Meat grinders cause friction which warms up your meat as it grinds. It's pretty important to not have any grinding take longer than needed. Some folks even use dry ice while grinding to keep the meat temperature low. Find a grinder that will make small work out of grinding.

A powered stuffer is the only way to go here; frees up a hand to handle the casing as it comes out. I never could get a hand/mechanical stuffer to do squat for me.

With the basics; a quality smoker, grill w/rotisserie and an oven, my next recommendation would be to get a quality slicer or a stuffer. I went with a slicer from Cabela's in the $300 to $400 price range and have used it at least a couple times a month. It really helps produce proper portion sizes. I've made plenty of bacon, jerky and even take smoked turkey breast and slice it into lunch meat.

Oh, a good vacuum sealer is pretty important for packaging. There's just the two of us at home now, so a packer brisket isn't gonna be eaten fast enough to not waste any. I slice it and put it in vacuum bags to be reheated later by dropping into a boiling pot of water. Tastes almost as good as it does right out of the smoker.

Get a good quality dual probe thermometer. Two probes will ensure you are right with the temperature of the meat and save you from opening the door more than needed.
With that, also get a Thermapen or other equal quality instant read thermometer. My thermapen reads within 2 or 3 seconds, saving that open door heat loss issue from being any worse than needed.

A good log book and camera. Write everything you do down and take pictures!
Well, guys I really appreciate the comments and suggestions.

I really think I am going to start with a smoker. As much as I use my grill, I think I'll get the most use out of that. I'd hate to spend all kinds of money (well, not's giftcards) on something and come to find that I only use it a few times a year. Might as well start with what I know I'll do regularly. Plus, after the smoker purchase, I'll still have some room left over on the giftcards.

Homemade sausages do sound great, don't they? I have been wanting to do that for years. But, I think I'll smoke more often.

Thank you all and glad to be here.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.