Smoker - what to purchase?

I have a cookshack electric smoker and it works great. Have had it for 10+ years. Downside is you wont get any smoke rings.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

har har

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)

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 :slight_smile:

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.

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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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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Thanks!

Go with CookShack, USA made, as opposed to the copy made in China.

I have a Meadow Creek box smoker I like very much. Built well enough to last a couple of lifetimes.

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.

+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.

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.

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.

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.

Made in China. Copies of CookShack. I cannot emphasize this any stronger: https://amazingribs.com/smoker/smokin-tex-residential-bbq-smoker-model-1400-review

My CookShack is ~15 years old by now, and works like a charm. Buy the real deal.

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.