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on November 23, 2017
Wow, what a great device. I was really skeptical when I placed the order especially with the price but a friend said he liked his. It is just my wife and I and we don’t need a big smoker or one of the expensive eggs. I was very concerned with maintaining a good temperature but boy I was pleasantly surprised. I did a test run as the directions said and I found that I was having a hard time keeping the temp below 300. I was running 350 for a while before I started figuring out how my dampers worked with the ambit temp and winds. I felt pretty good and I fired it up for a Thanksgiving prime rib roast. I just didn’t know how long it would take with colder temps today and less wind. I was able to maintain 300 dome temp and held steady temp around 220 at the roast. Just after 3 hours my digital wireless thermometer in the roast reached 130 degrees and I removed it. I then dumped a chimney full of hot coals in the center of the Weber and browned/crisped up the outer part then let it rest for 20 minutes. Oh my goodness! It was fantastic with just the right charcoal grill flavor! I am so impressed and excited to use it again. I am attaching a photo but it is not a scratch and sniff photo. Sorry!
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on April 9, 2016
It might be a little early to review this since I've only used it one time, but I just had to gush about the meal I just had. I skipped the recommended dry runs due to lack of time, though I might do that when I have more time. I followed the instructions -- about 50 briquettes and wood in the Smokenator, and about 15 briquettes in my chimney starter. Once all the coals were in the Smokenator and the water pan was on, I placed a 3-4 lb loin pork roast on the grill. I rubbed salt, pepper, and brown sugar on the roast the night before, so it was good to go. With only a little bit of stoking, the Smokenator held 220-250 for about five hours. The internal temperature of the pork was about 145-150 when I took it off to let it rest. I guess I was expecting something like pulled pork, but what I got was so much better -- 1/2 inch slices of the juiciest, most tender pork roast I've ever had! It was unbelievable. That's my review for now, but I can't wait to try a whole chicken and a brisket with this.

It was easy to install, though due to the uneven angle of my backyard, the Smokenator looked like it wanted to pull away from the side of the kettle there for a moment. It seems a little expensive for what you get, but if I continue to get the same results as I got the first time, It'll be the best BBQ investment I've made since I got my Weber kettle. You can tell from the manual that the creator of the Smokenator really did his homework.
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on June 24, 2013
Please see the photos I uploaded. I inaugurated my Smokenator 1000 the other day after getting my grill scrubbed clean and my applewood chunks soaked and all that. I used a commercial rub which I wouldn't advise doing, too salty. One other thing you want is a DRIP PAN, some kind of disposable aluminum pan to go underneath whatever you're smoking.

The Smokenator 1000 arrived in four days, not the three weeks quoted as the outside delivery date, so that was great news. It's really sturdy. YOU OUGHT TO ORDER THE HOVERGRILL WITH IT. That's the "upper deck" grill that can greatly expand your grill's capacity. I had a Steve Raichlen Non-Stick Rib Rack so I used that Steven Raichlen Best of Barbecue Nonstick Ultimate Rib Rack, and it worked great! I could have smoked two MORE racks if I'd been inclined!

It took about four hours from when the coals were lit until the ribs came off the grill, then I rested them for an hour. They were outstanding! I've never tasted better! So much better than my earlier attempts at building and maintaining an offset fire to smoke ribs.

I can hardly wait to try other cuts of meat and fish and chicken. If you own a Weber 22.5" grill, you NEED one of these! A brilliant solution which works GREAT.

One other thing you want to have is a GOOD thermometer or two! A $60 grill, a $70 smoker, $50 in thermometers.. it's worth it! I need to find a thermometer or two to use with this device. I like instrumentation. I want to know what's going on, and from what I've read you want a thermometer at about grill height, but a few inches away from the food itself.

NO COMPLAINTS WHATSOEVER. You will not believe how good these ribs were. Amazing! I can hardly wait to try some salmon or a chicken.

...

Regarding thermometers, my idea now is to buy a couple of $20 dial BBQ thermometers, drill a hole through the grill wall just above the charcoal grate and the food grate in order to be able to tell what the temperature is like at those two locations -- where the food is, not the dome!
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on September 29, 2017
I’ve been grilling out for close to forty years. I’ve owned MANY grills and numerous smokers. I don’t fire up my PRESENT smoker much anymore because it's gas. I MUCH prefer the flavor of food cooked with charcoal.

I’m no pit master, but I know what’s good or what’s bad in a grill’s performance. I won’t go into detail on that, though. This is no GRILL review. I WILL say that’s I AM cheapskate. That’s why it took me a few minutes to invest $70 in this Smokenator.

I’ve experimented with various ways of smoking using my old Weber Performer. I’ve fashioned aluminum foil in some IMAGINATIVE ways to comprise a setup that offered some formula of heat supply and burn rate of the coals which suited me. No matter what contrived method I’d attempted, temperature regulation and how long the charcoal lasts was always a concern. I got pretty good at that, but it was still inconsistent and tedious.

So this evening, I monitored my first SHORT smoke using this Smokenator. Just some pork chops and chicken cuts. Off and on, I monitored the dome temperature and the smoke emanating from the Weber for well over an hour. I must say: This Smokenator worked VERY well. The kettle temperature remained near my 225-250° desired temperature for longer than I’d expected it would. The smoke kept coming for longer than I’d anticipated too.

AGAIN: Small cuts. No pork butt, brisket, whole chicken…or turkey. Just 8-10 pieces of chicken and pork chops. Now I’m tempted to smoke a larger cut of meat…for the first time EVER in my Weber. If it’s NOT so great, then I’ll update this. Meanwhile, I DO approve of the Smokenator’s performance.

For those who are new to smoking meats - bear in mind that the water in the pan (and the air you let in) are KEY factors of temperature regulation. The water absorbs a huge amount of heat at its 212° boiling point. Of course, the steam it gives off is also 212°. This helps to keep the grill’s temperature roughly in the desired 225-250° temperature range for smoking.

I’ll note that the water pan is small, so it needs refilling after an hour or so. The hint that I got was when I saw the grill’s temperature rising to above 250°. I popped the top and saw the water was getting low. I added more water and…fifteen minutes later - the cook temp settled back down closer to 225°.

All in all, I think the Smokenator is a worthwhile purchase if you own a Weber dome grill and you want to infuse that smoky flavor into your cookouts. Even if you actually own a full-sized smoker, this device allows an opportunity for a MUCH scaled-down smoking session - VERSUS the compulsion to go buy a hundred dollars of big hunks of meat merely to justify firing up the big smoker.
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on May 3, 2013
I made my first smoked ribs today using the Smokenator 1000 on my weber kettle, using the tips from the amazing ribs website I cooked a pair of st. louis racks from costco for 5.5 hours at 200-230 using kiawe (mesquite) wood. The temperature stayed constant in between me refiling the water pan and adding coals/wood, the lowest the temperature got was 200 flat, and the highest was 236. The resulting ribs were simply the best I've ever had, now I know that doesn't mean much to a bunch of strangers but I feel that anyone who's looking to smoke on the cheap should look into the smokenator, the result is not cheap by any means. The ribs were very juicy and they had a real good smoke ring which I was very excited about, I shared the ribs with everyone I could and everyone was very impressed.

I did notice that the coals were getting eaten up pretty quick, I figure I added about 5-10 coals every hour to keep the fire going, according to the instructions this isn't really necessary inside of a 6 hour cook, but I was paranoid the heat would start to drop off if the coals got any smaller. Pushing the coals and wood into the middle of the smokenator would result in higher temperatures and a thicker smoke, I did not learn this until near the end of my cook, I was kinda just mushing the coals straight down but it's better to shuffle them into the middle under the water pan. During the first two hours the water pan dried up and the temperature flared up to 236 pretty quick, so keep refilling the water pan and it will stay steady. Oh and make sure you have something to cut the wood with (table saw would be nice) since you can't put large chunks in the smokenator without removing the water pan, it's best to cut them down into little cubes.

Anyhow if you have a weber kettle you should get one of these things (with the hinged grate) and try it for yourself, it really does work as advertised.
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on August 17, 2015
I hate to sound like a broken record but like many others I bought this with doubts as to whether it would work. It does and it is great! I was surprised how long it can go and how steady the temperature can be with minimum attention. Definitely worth the money.
I have done so far chicken, pork shoulder, lamb and brisket. All were great in flavor and succulent although the 10-hr brisket was the absolute best! The smokenator is easy to use (instructions are not very well written) but you got to pay attention to figure out how it reacts to everything - charcoal, vent opening, weather etc. A bbq thermometer for the kettle is a must.
If you don't want to invest in a stand-alone smoker or don't have the space this is it. A great product for the Weber.
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on June 10, 2017
It works really well... but that story for charcoal to last 6 hours in the array with out adding more is superstitious, maybe a spirt feeds more charcoal or maybe it's fairies and gnomes... because with perfect ventilation setup one has to feed the unit after 3 hours.
But other than this the thing is great! I love it and I recommend it.
Tested it with a brisket (9 hours)... and the result was impressive. I was thinking about buying a Smokey Mountain, which would have taken up space I don't have... but now I can survive at least another full year.
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on January 14, 2011
This thing is amazing! There is no other way to describe it. I didn't even bother with the "test run" that the manual recommends. Right out of the gate I tried a pork shoulder. Aside from not doing the test run, I followed the instructions perfectly (bottom vent open full, top vent open to the width of a pencil). The grill held at the 210 to 220 range the entire time (feeding it about 8 coals an hour - it was only 18 degrees and windy outside while I was doing this). I put the shoulder on the grill for about 6 hours (until it reached 140), then covered it in foil for the remaining 8 hours (until it reached 190). You can also remove it and put it in a standard oven after the first six hours (I've done that on another attempt). In both cases, the pork was perfect and just fell apart. I did feel silly about spending this much money on what is basically a piece of bent sheet metal and a steam pan, but it was totally worth it. I can't wait to try smoking my first brisket come Spring! If you or someone you know likes BBQ, has a Weber 22 grill, and likes the taste of smoke - this is a must-have!
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on March 4, 2013
Like other reviewers, I was skeptical of what a piece of bent sheet metal could accomplish, but this thing really does work. By cordoning off a side of the grill with the Smokenator, you accomplish 2 things; first, you take away the direct heat from the food, which is rule #1 in barbeque. second, you limit air flow to the fuel as to maintain a long, slow burn and achieve that critical "thin blue smoke" necessary for superior flavor. If you've ever seen someone smoking something on their grill, and there were giant gobs of thick white smoke billowing from every crevice, then you have seen how NOT to smoke meat. You want a smolder, not a burn, and that is all about temperature. The Smokenator takes a lot of the guesswork out of maintaining 225-230 degrees for long periods of time. If you're serious about barbeque, then also consider an airflow device such as the Party Q (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009AZ21VC/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img) - with this combo, you can easily maintain temperature for 90-120 minutes without touching the grill.
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on September 30, 2014
Smokenator 1000 is awesome! Won't write review on product itself since there are plenty of those out there. Instead will offer some tips and advise on how to use it that helped me out a lot. I saw somewhere on a review on another site to try a couple different things. Get rid of the water pan that it comes with and use a larger one. Then you can add more briquettes in the space where pan goes. It makes big difference.

Here is how I use smokenator. When I start it I fill the smokenator up with charcoal and poke and prod at it until i can fill as full as I can. Then remove 12 briquettes and light them in the chimney starter. Then obviously place coals back in Smokenator. Add some wood chips to coals. Bottom vent is open all the way and so is the top. Place drip pan below meat, place grill on, then place bigger water pan filled with water next to coals on grill not on top of coals. Then put meat on grill. Put lid on so vent is opposite coals and over the meat.

In about 30-45 min bbq temp will be about 250-275 on dome. (I use a candy thermometer in top vent pointed right above where meat is). Then I close top vent to just past half and leave bottom vent open all the way still. About 1.5-2 hours the heat kicks up another notch to about 300 on dome as more of the coals get lit. That's when I close bottom vent 3/4 and top 3/4. This for my grill keeps things steady at 250-260 for hours. With bigger water pan you don't have to add water every 20-30 min like you do with the one the Smokenator comes with. I may have to add water once an hour or hour and a half. With larger water pan and using standard Kingsford coals, I consistently get 6-7 hours cook time. Using original Smokenator method that the directions came with I would only get 4 hours maybe before adding coals.

This is the way to go for a Weber. I have the 2 baskets for indirect grilling and tried those. Tried the snake method also and it worked ok. Also tried Minion method before we got Smokenator. Again it worked ok. Nothing works as good as Smokenator for Weber kettle. The beauty of it is when most of the coals are lit and is about 3/4 full. It can go for hours without adding coals. I don't add coals until after 5 hours or so. Did I mention Smokenator is awesome?

Again one of the best tips I found with Smokenator and use every time is get larger water pan and fill Smokenator with more coals. Longer cook time with coals and less fuss with water pan. We just did a Chuck roast and made pulled beef and had French Dip. Turned out great. Try the Smokenator. It is one of those things you wish you had years ago. You wont be sorry.

Only gave 4 stars because size of water pan is small. If it was bigger than would have been 5 stars for sure. Still the smokenator is awesome and use it all the time. Definitely a must have if you have a Weber kettle.

Use 24 unlit coals. Light 24 coals = 48 total coals. Leave bottom vent open and top vent open until heat reaches 400. Turn top vent half open leave bottom vent wide open. Spatchcock a chicken and cook breast side up for 1 hour or until done.

Update: 5/14/16 Works just as good two years later as the day I bought it. Not only good for slow and low but can also use higher heat indirect cooking.
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