Barbecue supplies and equipment do not have to be top notch or expensive in order to smoke great meat!

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Amateur smokers sometimes feel they have to have the big stainless steel smokers and a big trailer to pull it on and all of the fancy gadgets and other miscellaneous barbecue supplies that go along with it to produce good smoked meat.

The truth is… the smoker and all of those gadgets play a very small part in the process. Sure that stuff is nice to have but it will not affect the taste of your meat. I have produced some of my best stuff in some "run of the mill" home-built barrel smoker with the bottom rusting out of it.

If you can afford the nice barbecue supplies and equipment then by all means Go For It but never feel like you cannot smoke a good brisket or slab of ribs without these things… YOU CAN!

When I started smoking years ago I had found an old Brinkmann water smoker at a flea market…I brought the thing home, cleaned it up and I learned to smoke on that thing.

The temperature guage just said WARM, IDEAL and HOT so I figured if I kept it on the very bottom end of ideal then it was around 200 degrees. You can still find these brand new and they work great believe it or not.

Here is a similar one I found at Amazon:


Char-Broil 4654301 Charcoal Water Smoker I have smoked many a turkey on one of them things and I had lots of fans too.


My Favorite charcoal smoker of all time is a Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5

Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5


Some other barbecue supplies and equipment that I recommend are a Taylor meat thermometer for safety purposes and to let you know whan the meat is at the perfect temperature.

I have 4 of these babies so I can monitor the temperature of the meat in all areas of my smoker. I have these set up on a special rack that I made for the top of my smoker… my favorite sister-in-law says my smoking area looks like a "lab" ;-)

Taylor Digital Oven Thermometer/Timer


Here is my newest favorite remote meat thermometer. It is the Maverick ET-732, has a 300 foot range and dual probes. One for the ambient smoker temperature and one for the food. I have had one for a while now and I love it!

Maverick ET-732 Remote Meat Thermometer


Fingers are not meant to be smoked… wear cooking gloves and be kind to the precious digits attached to your hand.

Eastman Outdoors 13-Inch Cooking Gloves


I have a barbecue tool set that I have been using for years. Cooking outdoors is so much better when you have the RIGHT tools. This item makes a great gift!

Charcoal Companion 19-Piece Stainless-Steel Barbecue Set


A rib rack is a must have item for anyone who wants to get more ribs in their smoker. It allows the ribs to stand vertically. As you can see by the picture, it can be used for other meat items as well. I just happen to be the very proud owner of 2 rib racks…would not live without them!


rib rack loaded


…and here is some wood chips/chunks so you can experiment with different smoke flavorings.


  1. Tim Smith January 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    Jeff, I’ve been receiving you newsletter for more than a year now, I have enjoyed your recipes, tips, tricks and advice. (Thank you) I have ordered and used your cookbook, rub and sauce and we have enjoyed it. On your advice I have been using the maverick ET-732 meat probe and I wouldn’t use anything else, it works great. I have learned a lot through your cookbook, web site and newsletter. I use a small COOKSHACK electric smoker and love it. I know you talk about a lot of different types and brands of smokers and I was curious, have you ever used a COOKSHACK smoker and if so what is your opinion? THANKS AGAIN,


  2. Paul Thomas January 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    forgot to tick the boxes below

    • Jeff Phillips January 9, 2014 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      See my reply to your previous comment..

  3. Paul Thomas January 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    Just recently came across your website and found it to be a very nice resource.  My son and I have done much the same as you tinkering with rub and sauce recipes which have a Eastern NC influence.  I think ours is pretty good, but may just pop for yours to compare.  My comment is about your suggestions for thermometers.  I can agree with the Thermopen and have two which are work horses.  I thought about the Maverick until I read the Amazon reviews which have more than a few "worthless junk" comments related to calibration and reliability.  You might want to take that into consideration when recommending.  We use an Auber/Bradley unit and a 22.5 Weber bullet depending on time of year and mood. My son likes messing with the Weber.  I like to sleep at night and the Bradley is great for a long, controlled run.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

    • Jeff Phillips January 9, 2014 at 1:28 pm - Reply

      Feel free to compare my rub/sauce with yours and take advantage of my guarantee if it is not up to par ;-)

      I have been using the Maverick ET-732 for a couple of years now and have discovered the the only problem you will ever have is if you wash the probes under running water or immerse them. They are not waterproof. I quickly destroyed one of my first probes, ordered a replacement and have had no problems since then once I changed my method of cleaning them.

      I simply wipe them down with a antibacterial wipe and a damp paper towel and have had no problems whatsoever. This leads me to believe that the folks who are having issues, are not heeding the warnings to not get the probes wet.

      I do think the company should seek a way to make the probes at least water resistant but you won't find a better remote digital probe meat thermometer in my opinion than the Maverick ET-732. I haven't tried every one out there so I can only base this on what I have used to date.

      My smokers are  250+ feet from my home and it is the only unit I have found that will maintain a good signal that far. I have not changed the battery in more than a year and it always reads dead on with my thermapen and when tested in boiling water and an ice bath.

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