Smoker - what to purchase?

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Todd F r e n c h
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Smoker - what to purchase?

#1 Post by Todd F r e n c h » April 6th, 2020, 8:35 am

After seeing Phil Franks' band-less Flannery Hangers from his Camp Chef smoker, I was pushed over the edge and need to get myself setup with one, pronto. I've wanted one for a while, but looking to find what is recommended on all those fake review sites just makes it even more confusing. I've searched WB for brands, and for me, I'd prefer a standalone cabinet-style smoker, rather than a 'grill and smoker' combo.

I'd love some wifi/smartphone control, but not so sure that's all too effective, as most of those I see don't have true 'controls' over the box, just monitoring.

I do have a natural gas hookup, but that's currently used for my grill (which will be replaced soon as well), so I assume I'd need LP gas tank on it, unless I can affix a splitter to the outdoor gas line. Seems like I'd rather do electric as I hate dealing with those LP tanks. A neighbor has a Smokin-It Electric grill, with the wifi option.

Any suggestions are welcome
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#2 Post by Scott G r u n e r » April 6th, 2020, 8:51 am

I just did a brisket in a camp chef smoke vault last night. Great results, but none of that electronic stuff and certainly not a “set it and forget it”. For long smokes you have to check back and tend/add wood, but once you get a feel for it, it is pretty easy. Yes- it is LP gas tank- there might be a nat gas conversion kit- not sure- I have a natural gas hookup but use LP for my grill too since it predated my current house and as a Weber has years left.

You expressed reservations about the bogus review sites, which is true, but the meathead site is worth a read, at least to understand differences between electric, gas, etc for combustion sources, etc. plus I would trust the product reviews a bit more there.

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Last edited by Scott G r u n e r on April 6th, 2020, 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#3 Post by ClarkstonMark » April 6th, 2020, 10:09 am

I like my electric Bradley puck smoker. I know it is not a "real" smoker. But it is pretty close to set it and forget it ... mine has ~9 hr max on oven so after a few hours I need to go out and add more time. Not sure if recent product is same.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#4 Post by GregP » April 6th, 2020, 12:37 pm

Depends on what you are really looking for in terms of ease of use, how much meat at same time, etc.

I have been using a small CookShack model for almost 15 years now. Up to 20 pounds of meat, plenty enough for us, and the unit is small enough not to be obtrusive. Yes, electric, and yes, been used in many commercial kitchens as well as on pro smoking circuit, WITH GREAT RESULTS. Its a set and forget type, add wood chunks of your choice, set the temp and walk away. The only "con" for me, so far, is that it only goes up to 250F, so really a smoker and slow cooker, and at times I do want to go to higher temps (whole chicken or duck). Forces to smoke/cook for a longer time, but that's it. Can't think of any other negatives, well, save for requiring an electrical outlet :-)

That said, and wanting at times higher temps, been looking at wood pellets fed smokers. Key to them, and pretty much the Acchiles Foot, is the electronic unit that controls the temps. Found only 2 companies that provide a solid one, as well as great overall build (metal quality, etc). One is RecTec, and the other one is Yoder. RecTec is about half the price, body made in China (though of great quality components) and electronic control unit made in USA. Yoder is made in Texas, incredible in all respects, a heavy duty unit for the long haul. Price independent Yoder is the way to go, especially if one doesn't want Chinese made. Price dependent, RecTec is it. The only other one I'd consider, having a good quality control unit, solid but still not up to par with these two, is a Nevada made Green Mountain Grills, and the price is right as well. Most others are a crap shoot not delivering a peace of mind.

For wood only type smokers, be aware that unless you go for some higher end model with higher build tolerances most of them leak smoke like crazy. You can buy one for under $300, I like vertical main boxes, but first thing you'll need to do is apply sealing tape and such, and replace it probably once a year. Not an issue, really, should take you an hour, or two, and a beverage of choice to complete :-) They also need a more hands on approach when smoking, checking/adjusting temp, adding more wood, etc.

So, depends, really, on what is the preferred cooking experience. Ease of use, set and walk away is for electrical units. Wood only requires more hands on. And pellet fed are in the middle on this scale.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#5 Post by Milton Hudson » April 6th, 2020, 2:20 pm

Todd F r e n c h wrote:
April 6th, 2020, 8:35 am
After seeing Phil Franks' band-less Flannery Hangers from his Camp Chef smoker, I was pushed over the edge and need to get myself setup with one, pronto. I've wanted one for a while, but looking to find what is recommended on all those fake review sites just makes it even more confusing. I've searched WB for brands, and for me, I'd prefer a standalone cabinet-style smoker, rather than a 'grill and smoker' combo.

I'd love some wifi/smartphone control, but not so sure that's all too effective, as most of those I see don't have true 'controls' over the box, just monitoring.

I do have a natural gas hookup, but that's currently used for my grill (which will be replaced soon as well), so I assume I'd need LP gas tank on it, unless I can affix a splitter to the outdoor gas line. Seems like I'd rather do electric as I hate dealing with those LP tanks. A neighbor has a Smokin-It Electric grill, with the wifi option.

Any suggestions are welcome
Todd,
The gas line splitter is easy. Any plumber can handle this for you for probably their minimum trip charge. When we put in a gas fireplace, i had to run gas line from one side of the house to the other, about 110'. Fortunately my bricks are the color of aged copper and once it went through a season of rain etc. you can't see the line unless you know to look for it. If it is a short run, you won't have to go through any calculation as to size etc. If a long run then there is a formula to use.

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#6 Post by J0seph S c h e n c k » April 7th, 2020, 6:46 am

Todd,

What fuel source do you want to use? Pellets? These really can be set and forget and utilize WiFi controllers.

Then I’d recommend MAK Grills from Oregon. USA made, the 2 Star General is awesome. It does have grilling capabilities, but like you, I have a gasser and salamander for those purposes. Avoid Yoder as they have tremendous rust problems.

https://makgrills.com/

If it’s wood, (stick burner) there are tons of options. Shirley Fabrication smokers are legendary. Custom units have 30 month waits. Off the shelf unit can be had in 2 mos. most of the quality stick burners are made in the SE USA: be prepared for significant shipping costs.

Charcoal? Weber kettle. Easy. The OG still prevails.

Checkout bbq brethren q talk. There are tons of brands argued here.

https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=5

Myself? I’m getting a MAK 2 star when the ship stabilizes. Maybe a stick burner at some point, I just don’t have time now to add wood every 45” or so to maintain a fire.

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#7 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » April 7th, 2020, 8:33 am

Electric box with wood (not pellets , which are limiting)..as a fuel has served us just fine for last 20 years...I have a Smokin Tex https://www.smokintex.com/?gclid=EAIaIQ ... t...others are similar. Great for cold smoking, too...like salmon, mussels....

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#8 Post by MBerto » April 7th, 2020, 9:11 am

You don't want a grill/smoker combo, but as a Big Green Egg owner, I would say: Don't get a BGE.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#9 Post by Brad S c h i e r » April 7th, 2020, 9:17 am

I was gifted a Weber Smokey Mountain for Christmas and I love it. I am running it 2-3X a week right now from chickens to pork to brisket. I am just using B&B charcoal briquettes and throw in some pecan or post oak logs. Throw a brined chicken on at 250 degrees for 3-4 hours and it will changes your impression of chicken.

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#10 Post by Scott G r u n e r » April 7th, 2020, 9:49 am

MBerto wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 9:11 am
You don't want a grill/smoker combo, but as a Big Green Egg owner, I would say: Don't get a BGE.
I feel that is the first BGE NON-recommendation I have ever seen- Would love to hear more on the subject if you are willing to elaborate?
//Cynic

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#11 Post by J0seph S c h e n c k » April 7th, 2020, 11:01 am

The food I have had multiple times off of multiple Eggs with multiple different chefs etc has been dirty smoke. I don’t see how thin blue smoke is achieved with these. The temperature stabilization however is awesome.

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#12 Post by John Webber » April 7th, 2020, 11:38 am

Another vote for Mak 2 star. They are the very best in quality, design, and service. It's what i'm buying when my Cookshack box dies.

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#13 Post by Chris Johnson » April 7th, 2020, 3:12 pm

Scott G r u n e r wrote:
April 6th, 2020, 8:51 am
I just did a brisket in a camp chef smoke vault last night. Great results, but none of that electronic stuff and certainly not a “set it and forget it”. For long smokes you have to check back and tend/add wood, but once you get a feel for it, it is pretty easy. Yes- it is LP gas tank- there might be a nat gas conversion kit- not sure- I have a natural gas hookup but use LP for my grill too since it predated my current house and as a Weber has years left.

You expressed reservations about the bogus review sites, which is true, but the meathead site is worth a read, at least to understand differences between electric, gas, etc for combustion sources, etc. plus I would trust the product reviews a bit more there.

AmazingRibs.com
I have a vault and the conversion is drilling out the orifice to 1/8”. Over long cooks it stays within 3 degrees on natural gas. I like it so much I’m down to two smokers. I have a Weber that is modified for when I’m feeling like a charcoal/stick burner. I had an egg and agree that it’s hard to keep clean smoke. My vault looks like it has about a year left, but I got it on sale from amazon for $147 four years ago.

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#14 Post by Milton Hudson » April 8th, 2020, 6:30 am

J0seph S c h e n c k wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 11:01 am
The food I have had multiple times off of multiple Eggs with multiple different chefs etc has been dirty smoke. I don’t see how thin blue smoke is achieved with these. The temperature stabilization however is awesome.
I have an egg clone and patience is the key to clean smoke. They over temp on the initial lighting stage and then you dump the lid down, choke off the fire and it fills with dirty smoke. A novice will think since the fire is down, go ahead and dump the meat. Nope. Burp it half a dozen times, let the temp come down as you get the vents adjusted. After about 15 minutes or so, you will get the thin whispy almost clear smoke you're looking for. The advantage is that the initial charcoal/wood load will then burn without interruption for 8 to 10 hours easily. So you can do a couple of pork butts easy and still have enough heat left in the coals to sear a couple of steaks. All on 2 lbs of wood chunks and 2 lbs of charcoal. And only have to clean the ashes out once a month. And i use my egg 4 to 6 days a week.

But i still want a gas grill, a double fryer, an offset cooker and a pizza oven. Just don't have space or a covered area for them. (yet) j So my egg has to do duty as all of the above except the fryer.

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#15 Post by ERPark » April 8th, 2020, 10:46 am

If you’re busy and not the OCD type that wants to monitor a smoke for hours and hours, get a Traeger. Even my kids know how to operate it with flawless results.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#16 Post by Lee Short » April 8th, 2020, 10:47 am

Brad S c h i e r wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 9:17 am
I was gifted a Weber Smokey Mountain for Christmas and I love it. I am running it 2-3X a week right now from chickens to pork to brisket. I am just using B&B charcoal briquettes and throw in some pecan or post oak logs. Throw a brined chicken on at 250 degrees for 3-4 hours and it will changes your impression of chicken.
I've had my WSM for more than a decade, and it's still going strong, and I love it as much as ever. Once you get dialed in on it, it's really close to a fire-and-forget smoker. Well, unless you're doing a smoke longer than 12-14 hours.

That said, I think Greg had it right up thread -- the right smoker for you depends on how you use it and how often.

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#17 Post by dteng » April 8th, 2020, 5:05 pm

I’m a big fan of CookShack too...set it and forget it.
Uses real wood chunks, no pellets.
Stainless steel, made in USA, solid.

So for long smokes like brisket, I just set temp, then go to sleep, and wake up the next day with it almost done.
Usually pull out of smoker around noon, and wrap in aluminum and place in cooler.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#18 Post by p. raghib » April 8th, 2020, 7:31 pm

Pellets=glue.

I don’t know anyone that is serious about bbq that would recommend a pellet smoker.

I don’t want to eat glue, nor do I want to have to have it as my fuel source.
cheers'

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#19 Post by p. raghib » April 8th, 2020, 7:35 pm

Milton Hudson wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 6:30 am
J0seph S c h e n c k wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 11:01 am
The food I have had multiple times off of multiple Eggs with multiple different chefs etc has been dirty smoke. I don’t see how thin blue smoke is achieved with these. The temperature stabilization however is awesome.
I have an egg clone and patience is the key to clean smoke. They over temp on the initial lighting stage and then you dump the lid down, choke off the fire and it fills with dirty smoke. A novice will think since the fire is down, go ahead and dump the meat. Nope. Burp it half a dozen times, let the temp come down as you get the vents adjusted. After about 15 minutes or so, you will get the thin whispy almost clear smoke you're looking for. The advantage is that the initial charcoal/wood load will then burn without interruption for 8 to 10 hours easily. So you can do a couple of pork butts easy and still have enough heat left in the coals to sear a couple of steaks. All on 2 lbs of wood chunks and 2 lbs of charcoal. And only have to clean the ashes out once a month. And i use my egg 4 to 6 days a week.

But i still want a gas grill, a double fryer, an offset cooker and a pizza oven. Just don't have space or a covered area for them. (yet) j So my egg has to do duty as all of the above except the fryer.
Milton is correct. I think a lot of bge users put the meat on too soon. For a low/slow cook I think you need at least 90min+ from initial light to put meat on. I usually light about 2hrs in advance.
cheers'

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#20 Post by ERPark » April 8th, 2020, 9:56 pm

p. raghib wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 7:31 pm
Pellets=glue.

I don’t know anyone that is serious about bbq that would recommend a pellet smoker.

I don’t want to eat glue, nor do I want to have to have it as my fuel source.
Citation for this, please?
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#21 Post by Sebastian C. » April 9th, 2020, 5:30 am

I have a cookshack electric smoker and it works great. Have had it for 10+ years. Downside is you wont get any smoke rings.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#22 Post by JDavisRoby » April 9th, 2020, 5:38 am

I have a Bradley elective that uses pucks and a smaller Traeger. The Bradley only gets used if I’m doing a lot of meat. Or, I’ve even baked in it.

I love the Traeger. Maybe I’m just not an aficionado but I’ve had great bbq off it and have impressed many a friend.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#23 Post by b. c@stner » April 9th, 2020, 6:29 am

Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 8:33 am
Electric box with wood (not pellets , which are limiting)..as a fuel has served us just fine for last 20 years...I have a Smokin Tex https://www.smokintex.com/?gclid=EAIaIQ ... t...others are similar. Great for cold smoking, too...like salmon, mussels....
Stuart, what kind of control is on these? Need to tend to it often? The little 1100 looks like it might be right up my alley. I need something small for a deck, this will be in salt air and looks to be all stainless. Neighbors are a little close and seems these don't leak much. My first foray into a smoker so price seems attractive.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#24 Post by MBerto » April 9th, 2020, 7:40 am

Scott G r u n e r wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 9:49 am
MBerto wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 9:11 am
You don't want a grill/smoker combo, but as a Big Green Egg owner, I would say: Don't get a BGE.
I feel that is the first BGE NON-recommendation I have ever seen- Would love to hear more on the subject if you are willing to elaborate?
It's a fine grill, although that's a fairly low bar (is it ~$600 better than a weber kettle? No). You can't efficiently do direct/indirect cooking on it. It's also an OK smoker, although I've never had as much luck with the ultra-fine temperature controls the thing supposedly has (could well be user error). I do my temp control by starting with more or less coal. If you think you've messed something up, you can't really go in and mess with the fire or wood. Most of these complaints would apply to any kamodo style cooker so it's not necessarily BGE specific.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#25 Post by Mattstolz » April 9th, 2020, 7:55 am

Milton Hudson wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 6:30 am
J0seph S c h e n c k wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 11:01 am
The food I have had multiple times off of multiple Eggs with multiple different chefs etc has been dirty smoke. I don’t see how thin blue smoke is achieved with these. The temperature stabilization however is awesome.
I have an egg clone and patience is the key to clean smoke. They over temp on the initial lighting stage and then you dump the lid down, choke off the fire and it fills with dirty smoke. A novice will think since the fire is down, go ahead and dump the meat. Nope. Burp it half a dozen times, let the temp come down as you get the vents adjusted. After about 15 minutes or so, you will get the thin whispy almost clear smoke you're looking for. The advantage is that the initial charcoal/wood load will then burn without interruption for 8 to 10 hours easily. So you can do a couple of pork butts easy and still have enough heat left in the coals to sear a couple of steaks. All on 2 lbs of wood chunks and 2 lbs of charcoal. And only have to clean the ashes out once a month. And i use my egg 4 to 6 days a week.

But i still want a gas grill, a double fryer, an offset cooker and a pizza oven. Just don't have space or a covered area for them. (yet) j So my egg has to do duty as all of the above except the fryer.
same here, have a Weber Akorn. Have had it for 5 years and still very stable temps and clean smoke. I do have to add: made a significant enhancement to the convenience of smoking last year with the addition of a $100 pitmasterIQ. literally light the fire in a chimney, set the temp on the pit master, put the meat on when its up to temp, and come back when the thermometer goes off. Since I got the pit master I have not had to readjust the temp of the grill yet, even on 14 hour brisket smokes.

its about as close as I can imagine to set it and forget it, especially since there isn't even reloading of charcoal or pellets in the process.

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#26 Post by Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow » April 9th, 2020, 10:42 am

b. c@stner wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 6:29 am
Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 8:33 am
Electric box with wood (not pellets , which are limiting)..as a fuel has served us just fine for last 20 years...I have a Smokin Tex https://www.smokintex.com/?gclid=EAIaIQ ... t...others are similar. Great for cold smoking, too...like salmon, mussels....
Stuart, what kind of control is on these? Need to tend to it often? The little 1100 looks like it might be right up my alley. I need something small for a deck, this will be in salt air and looks to be all stainless. Neighbors are a little close and seems these don't leak much. My first foray into a smoker so price seems attractive.
Just a temperature setting from 100 to 250. Put in a chunk of wood into the firebox and turn it on. See and smell the smoke. Come back when it's done....foolproof. Capable of coldsmoking (fish) if you buy a thermal plate. Use that a lox. Stainless should hold up to the salt air. Good luck. You can also buy a cover.

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#27 Post by MBerto » April 9th, 2020, 11:30 am

Stuart BeauneHead Niemtzow wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 10:42 am
Capable of coldsmoking (fish) if you buy a thermal plate. Use that a lox.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#28 Post by GregP » April 9th, 2020, 1:14 pm

No need for a cold plate (had one and now can't recall what happened to it), actually not really cold smoking. I have a CookShack. Using A-Maz-N smoke box, original one, though they did come up with tubular versions lately, even an adjustable one. Load with pellets, light up, place on the bottom (in place of the smoke box that I simply pull out), leave the smoker door cracked open a bit for proper air movement (otherwise internal air will eventually burn out and process stopped), and 8-10 hours later you have cold smoked fish. I do mackerel and lox, though any fish or meat will do. Same technique can be used for cheese and anything else. Way easier, IMO, and actual cold smoking.

Problem with "cold smoke" plate in these units is that no matter what, you will exceed the 90F max temp. I only do cold smoking in winter/spring/fall months when night time temps are below 60F, internal temp even with the above A-Maz-N products will still rise 10-15F or so, though below the 90F max recommendation. Anything else is not really "cold smoke".

Usually load up and start the process around 10PM, its all done by the time I have morning coffee.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#29 Post by Scott G r u n e r » April 9th, 2020, 1:30 pm

GregP wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 1:14 pm
No need for a cold plate (had one and now can't recall what happened to it), actually not really cold smoking. I have a CookShack. Using A-Maz-N smoke box, original one, though they did come up with tubular versions lately, even an adjustable one. Load with pellets, light up, place on the bottom (in place of the smoke box that I simply pull out), leave the smoker door cracked open a bit for proper air movement (otherwise internal air will eventually burn out and process stopped), and 8-10 hours later you have cold smoked fish. I do mackerel and lox, though any fish or meat will do. Same technique can be used for cheese and anything else. Way easier, IMO, and actual cold smoking.

Problem with "cold smoke" plate in these units is that no matter what, you will exceed the 90F max temp. I only do cold smoking in winter/spring/fall months when night time temps are below 60F, internal temp even with the above A-Maz-N products will still rise 10-15F or so, though below the 90F max recommendation. Anything else is not really "cold smoke".

Usually load up and start the process around 10PM, its all done by the time I have morning coffee.
Thanks for this- I have one of the A-Maz-N boxes (actually two) so I will try this with a cold smoke salmon. What do you use for a cure? (THREAD DRIFT)
//Cynic

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#30 Post by GregP » April 9th, 2020, 4:08 pm

I do 3 parts Kosher salt to one part sugar. Have a large tub at the ready as I go through this pretty quickly. Salt/sugar mix applied, plenty of freshly ground black pepper, then generous application of fresh roughly chopped dill, make sure to use stems since they add a lot of flavor. Salt/sugar, pepper and dill on ALL sides of fish, I usually cut side of fish into 2 and stack one on top of the other. Tightly wrapped in aluminum foil (then zipper bag to protect against leaking) and stored in refrigerator for 3 days. Then washed off, left to dry on paper towels, for an hour or 2. Overnight in smoker using A-Max-N box.

I use salt/sugar mix on whole mackerel as well, but just that, and no pepper nor dill. Coated with salt/sugar mix all over and inside the stomach cavity. Overnight in the fridge, then washed off. Works for both hot and cold smoke. For cold smoke set up as above and overnight. For hot, I do 190F for 42-45 minutes using apple wood chips, length of smoke depends on size of fish. I use whole, head and tail. Cold smoked one is ridiculously good, not that hot smoked is worse, just a different texture :-)

Used to buy cold smoked mackerel in Brighton Beach shops, eons ago, these days they mostly sell hot since its a lot easier to make (time wise, 45 minutes versus 10 hours) and not season dependent (that 90F max again).

I also buy salmon belly parts since they are fatty and normally shops trim them off and throw out. But that fat works wonders. Same salt/sugar mix overnight, washed off, hot smoked for 40-45 minutes, then strip the meat off skins and bones, chunks blended with room temp cream cheese, chopped scallions, white pepper and some lemon juice (to taste, play with the additions as you feel like). Blend a little or a lot, per preference or, rather, how chunky or smooth you like it. I do cheese and pepper first, to soften it up and blend, then add salmon meat and lemon juice to blend in. Makes any store bought version taste silly. And one can also try cold smoking belly parts as well, should be good to go for the cream cheese spread. Again, weather dependent.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#31 Post by b. c@stner » April 9th, 2020, 5:47 pm

Stuart, what kind of control is on these? Need to tend to it often? The little 1100 looks like it might be right up my alley. I need something small for a deck, this will be in salt air and looks to be all stainless. Neighbors are a little close and seems these don't leak much. My first foray into a smoker so price seems attractive.
[/quote]

Just a temperature setting from 100 to 250. Put in a chunk of wood into the firebox and turn it on. See and smell the smoke. Come back when it's done....foolproof. Capable of coldsmoking (fish) if you buy a thermal plate. Use that a lox. Stainless should hold up to the salt air. Good luck. You can also buy a cover.
[/quote]

Thanks!
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#32 Post by GregP » April 9th, 2020, 6:39 pm

Go with CookShack, USA made, as opposed to the copy made in China.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#33 Post by jeffmazen » April 10th, 2020, 5:50 am

I have a Meadow Creek box smoker I like very much. Built well enough to last a couple of lifetimes.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#34 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » April 10th, 2020, 7:05 pm

p. raghib wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 7:31 pm
Pellets=glue.

I don’t know anyone that is serious about bbq that would recommend a pellet smoker.

I don’t want to eat glue, nor do I want to have to have it as my fuel source.
You need to get out more. Plenty of serious people use them. And quality manufacturers like Traeger do not include glue in the pellets, they are typically 100% wood. They are extruded under high pressure, which cause the natural lignin in the wood to "glue" the wood particles together.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#35 Post by J0seph S c h e n c k » April 10th, 2020, 7:17 pm

+1 on natural lignin. No binders. No additives in the premium brands.

Lumberjack pellets are the best. 100% wood. No oils etc. Traeger notorious for adding oils to an alder wood base in their fruitwood-labeled pellets.

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#36 Post by T. Altmayer » April 11th, 2020, 5:48 pm

MBerto wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 7:40 am
Scott G r u n e r wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 9:49 am
MBerto wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 9:11 am
You don't want a grill/smoker combo, but as a Big Green Egg owner, I would say: Don't get a BGE.
I feel that is the first BGE NON-recommendation I have ever seen- Would love to hear more on the subject if you are willing to elaborate?
It's a fine grill, although that's a fairly low bar (is it ~$600 better than a weber kettle? No). You can't efficiently do direct/indirect cooking on it. It's also an OK smoker, although I've never had as much luck with the ultra-fine temperature controls the thing supposedly has (could well be user error). I do my temp control by starting with more or less coal. If you think you've messed something up, you can't really go in and mess with the fire or wood. Most of these complaints would apply to any kamodo style cooker so it's not necessarily BGE specific.
We use the BGE as both a grill and a "smoker." I like it better than the Weber Kettle (which I also own and almost never use) because I can really get the heat up when cooking pizzas, etc. Getting the BGE to the right temp takes some time and experience, but I held my BGE at 250 degrees all night for a brisket without making any adjustments. All that said, if you really want a true smoker, the BGE is probably not what you want.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#37 Post by b. c@stner » April 13th, 2020, 12:22 pm

So keeping with the small inexpensive electric smokers think I’m down to the SmokinTex 1100 and the Smokin-it #1. Look pretty similar in construction, slight nod to Smokin-it on warranty and price.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#38 Post by MBerto » April 13th, 2020, 1:53 pm

T. Altmayer wrote:
April 11th, 2020, 5:48 pm
We use the BGE as both a grill and a "smoker." I like it better than the Weber Kettle (which I also own and almost never use) because I can really get the heat up when cooking pizzas, etc. Getting the BGE to the right temp takes some time and experience, but I held my BGE at 250 degrees all night for a brisket without making any adjustments. All that said, if you really want a true smoker, the BGE is probably not what you want.
There are grill aspects I like, especially the ability to get it really hot, but I feel like across the board, I got better results with a weber electric water bath smoker that a co-worker gave away to me while moving. Thing was impossible to keep hot, which is precisely WHY I got good results. That said plenty of people get fantastic results smoking on the BGE so I'll chalk it mostly up to user error.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#39 Post by GregP » April 13th, 2020, 2:58 pm

b. c@stner wrote:
April 13th, 2020, 12:22 pm
So keeping with the small inexpensive electric smokers think I’m down to the SmokinTex 1100 and the Smokin-it #1. Look pretty similar in construction, slight nod to Smokin-it on warranty and price.
Made in China. Copies of CookShack. I cannot emphasize this any stronger: https://amazingribs.com/smoker/smokin-t ... 400-review

My CookShack is ~15 years old by now, and works like a charm. Buy the real deal.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#40 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » April 13th, 2020, 4:17 pm

MBerto wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 7:40 am
Scott G r u n e r wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 9:49 am
MBerto wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 9:11 am
You don't want a grill/smoker combo, but as a Big Green Egg owner, I would say: Don't get a BGE.
I feel that is the first BGE NON-recommendation I have ever seen- Would love to hear more on the subject if you are willing to elaborate?
It's a fine grill, although that's a fairly low bar (is it ~$600 better than a weber kettle? No). You can't efficiently do direct/indirect cooking on it. It's also an OK smoker, although I've never had as much luck with the ultra-fine temperature controls the thing supposedly has (could well be user error). I do my temp control by starting with more or less coal. If you think you've messed something up, you can't really go in and mess with the fire or wood. Most of these complaints would apply to any kamodo style cooker so it's not necessarily BGE specific.
I'm sorry to hear this is your experience with a BGE. I've had mine for around 12 years now and grilled and smoked everything you can imagine, including Texas brisket, arguably one of the most difficult cues to manage. I find the BGE extremely forgiving - my experience has been it's difficult to overcook something and the meat is always juicy and tender. If you don't already have one, I'd suggest getting a remote temp monitor which will help you to check temps more precisely. Lots of great videos out there on techniques as well.

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#41 Post by J a y H a c k » April 14th, 2020, 8:10 am

Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
April 13th, 2020, 4:17 pm
MBerto wrote:
April 9th, 2020, 7:40 am
Scott G r u n e r wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 9:49 am


I feel that is the first BGE NON-recommendation I have ever seen- Would love to hear more on the subject if you are willing to elaborate?
It's a fine grill, although that's a fairly low bar (is it ~$600 better than a weber kettle? No). You can't efficiently do direct/indirect cooking on it. It's also an OK smoker, although I've never had as much luck with the ultra-fine temperature controls the thing supposedly has (could well be user error). I do my temp control by starting with more or less coal. If you think you've messed something up, you can't really go in and mess with the fire or wood. Most of these complaints would apply to any kamodo style cooker so it's not necessarily BGE specific.
I'm sorry to hear this is your experience with a BGE. I've had mine for around 12 years now and grilled and smoked everything you can imagine, including Texas brisket, arguably one of the most difficult cues to manage. I find the BGE extremely forgiving - my experience has been it's difficult to overcook something and the meat is always juicy and tender. If you don't already have one, I'd suggest getting a remote temp monitor which will help you to check temps more precisely. Lots of great videos out there on techniques as well.
I'm with Scott on this one. I just finished smoking a 15-ish pound whole brisket pastrami and it is outstanding. I also have a large Weber Kettle that I bring to tailgates but I have not used it at home since I got the BGE 10+ years ago. Sounds to me like there is a problem of user error combined with user lack of creativity. neener I even used it recently as a Tandoori oven with two long rotisserie spits resting on an old ceramic casserole sitting directly on the coals and threaded through the top.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#42 Post by RyanC » April 14th, 2020, 8:15 am

Good thread. I have a BGE that I love but am thinking of taking the next step and also getting a real offset smoker -- something like Yoder or Shirley makes.
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#43 Post by J a y H a c k » April 14th, 2020, 8:20 am

RyanC wrote:
April 14th, 2020, 8:15 am
Good thread. I have a BGE that I love but am thinking of taking the next step and also getting a real offset smoker -- something like Yoder or Shirley makes.
Are you married? That is the only thing stopping me from doing that!
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#44 Post by J0seph S c h e n c k » April 14th, 2020, 11:09 pm

Beware of rust/pant issues with Yoder

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#45 Post by MitchTallan » April 15th, 2020, 10:09 am

I would love a Shirley too. Or a Jambo.
But let's get real for a minute.
Is your priority to have fun cooking the meat or to get a good result.
If it is the former, go for the offset.
But even good backyard Q'ers are not going to get consistently good results with brisket on an offset.
Wind conditions, outdoor temps, the sun being out or not, the wood being burned, how the fire burns, and any number of other things, tangible and intangible, seen and unseen, will work to F up your cook.
I still want one. What the hell, life is short. Having an insulated fire box helps but nothing beats a BGE or a vertical insulated smoker with a DigiQ or similar heat regulator/fan for consistency.
I have a 270 vertical insulated. It is OK. To do it over again, I would spend more and get a Stumps.

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#46 Post by Magnus Solhjell » April 15th, 2020, 10:21 am

p. raghib wrote:
April 8th, 2020, 7:31 pm
Pellets=glue.

I don’t know anyone that is serious about bbq that would recommend a pellet smoker.
Amazingribs is pretty much as serious as they come..
https://amazingribs.com/ratings-reviews ... llet-grill

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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#47 Post by Nola Palomar » April 15th, 2020, 10:26 am

I have the Smokin Tex 1100. Love it!! Not super expensive but works well for me!!

https://id34137.securedata.net/smokinte ... hp?cPath=2
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#48 Post by b. c@stner » April 15th, 2020, 11:00 am

Nola Palomar wrote:
April 15th, 2020, 10:26 am
I have the Smokin Tex 1100. Love it!! Not super expensive but works well for me!!

https://id34137.securedata.net/smokinte ... hp?cPath=2
Thanks!
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#49 Post by Anton D » April 15th, 2020, 11:23 am

We have a Green Mountain Grill "Jim Bowie" and love it to death.

It doesn't cold smoke, we use A-Maze-N accessories for that, as well!

The Green Mountain can hover at 160 and up.

So easy to use.

I have used "manual" smokers and also liked a propane "Masterbuilt," but got seduced by the ease of GMG (very similar to Trager.)

The GMG makes it so I can smoke stuff so easily, that I do it more!

Mine is an older model, but the newer ones have WiFi!
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Re: Smoker - what to purchase?

#50 Post by Andrew S. » April 15th, 2020, 9:33 pm

Klose.

Like this: https://bbqpits.com/wp-content/uploads/ ... f_2016.pdf

Love to hear from folks who know Klose and like something else as we're in the market for another.

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