Smoker recommendation?

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Thomas Mitchell, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. Thomas Mitchell Active Member

    Posts: 826
    Western, WA
    Ratings: +175 / 2
    Finally going to do something I've been thinking about for a couple year and buy a smoker but I have no clue where to start. Any recommendations on specific models, or better yet sites with general information would be awesome.

    TIA!
  2. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,581
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +579 / 5
    Big thing is how much do you want to spend and what exactly do you plan to smoke with it. Very few smokers can do it all. If you are looking to more cold smoke (like cheeses and some fish) or beef, pork, and chicken under a low heat? Or are you looking for more of a grill/smoker? Traegers and Webers come to mind (and some of the ones with an offset firebox but still can toss coals in main compartment for grilling).
  3. Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

    Posts: 761
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +254 / 5
    My $0.02: Avoid electric smokers at all costs. Go with propane or wood/charcoal. Electric smokers are inefficient (i.e. expensive to operate) and not effective. Propane is easier to use (less time consuming, less need for constant attention) than wood/charcoal, but wood/charcoal give you better smoke flavor/processing.
  4. Eric Tarcha gear whore

    Posts: 1,067
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +12 / 0
  5. Thomas Mitchell Active Member

    Posts: 826
    Western, WA
    Ratings: +175 / 2
    Excellent. Thanks Eric.

    I'm such a friggin hypocrite. I didn't bother to use the search function first...

    Mea culpa!
  6. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,581
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +579 / 5
    Well, one thing about that thread, it was talking about a specific smoker, but did give some good ideas as well. Basic criteria I gave above AND how much you want to cook for (like me, my big 24" smokevault is not enough, seriously). Why I'm building a smokehouse on my property. :)
  7. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,079
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +106 / 0
    A bit of a wide net Dan. Purchased a Masterbuilt 20070910 electric a couple of weeks back. Electronic touch pad control so (save for adding chips) its 'set and forget.' 4 racks so you can actually put quite a bit of material in side. Purchased same via Amazon.com and paid $191.00 delivered.

    Fred
  8. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,581
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +579 / 5
    Hopefully it's got a better element Fred. Didn't realize you got the electric one. All the electrics I've worked with have left me wanting more (including the Bradleys). Just never got the heat I wanted, and bad when you're running full bore and barely getting 200. Which isn't bad for cold smoking all the time, but I like that extra 20 degrees and LOVE to crank it up if need be. Say it this way, I've doubled up my Smokevault as an oven. Have baked in it at times (did baked beans for 150 people in my smokevault). :)
  9. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,079
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +106 / 0
    The Masterbuilt recommendation came from the other thread noted above. The heat range on the one I have runs from a low of 100 to 275 degrees. And when I've been using the unit I've stuck a meat therometer down the top vent and it appears (at the top) to get even hotter than that. Last couple of smoking batches I've actually had to back off on the heat so I don't over cook (in case chicken thyes (sp?)).

    Only 'assembly' needed was the attachment of the touch pad on top. That took about 3 minutes; actually took far longer to get all the wrapper material off the racks, etc., than the set up.

    Good eats!
    Fred
  10. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,581
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +579 / 5
    Yeah, you always have more heat at the top vent (why you should rotate your meats). I have a remote thermometer I use in my meat while it's in the smoker. That way I have a constant temp.
  11. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,079
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +106 / 0
    Roger that on the rotation, will keep that firmly in mind. But what type (brand) of remote thermometer do you use? I think that's an important thing to have, especially if you're smoking chicken. Even thick cuts can cook far too quickly if you're not paying close attention. But I'm still at the very beginning of my learning curve.

    fae
  12. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,581
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +579 / 5
    Well, I use the Camp Chef version (of course). I will say I'm biased, since I'm a prostaffer for Camp Chef. But I have/currently use alot of different products from other outdoor manufacturers. So get around a bit. But have most exposure to CC, so why I spout out about them most. There are a lot of keys with cooking them. Like pulling them out just before the core temp you desired and letting it rest in foil to bring it up naturally (to avoid overcooking).
  13. P.Dieter Just Another Bubba

    Posts: 682
    Seattle.
    Ratings: +103 / 0
    As fred points out the dis on electrics is a bit broad. I suspect it's residual from use of a big chief or such which are very rudimentary. I've had my masterbuilt for over two years now and still find it perfect for my needs which are no where near Jerry's. I'm about 95% fish, ribs, wings and a couple whole chickens. Very rarely (5%) something like a roast or butt.
  14. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,079
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +106 / 0
    A 'you just got to try' Mac 'n Cheese' for the huddled masses in your smoker. Truth be told, it was seeing the following that got me to buy my Masterbuilt.

    (From a Smoker Forum)

    Prep time is 30 minutes and cooking time is 1 ½ hours @ 250 degrees.
    Feeds 10 – 12 people.

    Ingredients:
    1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream (1/2 for cooking and ½ as a finishing sauce)
    ¼ cup Butter
    1 can Cheddar Cheese Soup
    3 Eggs
    8 oz Pepper Jack Cheese
    32 oz Extra Sharp Cheddar (2- 16 oz. packages)
    1/2 cup Sour Cream
    16 oz Elbow Macaroni
    3 Greens from 3 stems of Mexican Green Onions
    1 lb Sirloin Steak (cut into thin strips)

    back in a minute!

    As the whole (original thread is a step by step, here's the link: http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/v...&start=0&sid=b260a799abef205a5a6f7cba5162f996
  15. Dave Evans Active Member

    Posts: 510
    E. WA / N ID
    Ratings: +95 / 0
    I started out with an electric bullet smoker for under $100. Really liked it for 3-4 people and it was nice because you could buy a bag of wood chunks and it would last several meals. Meat was fantastic. Traded that in for a bigger pit style smoker, and then gave that away and bought a custom Klose that will feed many. I miss the electric bullet though for smaller meals. The bigger wood smokers are an event to operate and make a meal, the electric I just through some chunks of wood in and plugged it in and it always turned out great.
  16. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,079
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +106 / 0
    Reading the up-dates here as I munch on a chunk of 'beer can' cooked whole chicken. Went and bought a 16 oz can of Bud, dumped same and half refilled the can with a strong dark beer ....LORDIE! LORDIE!! LORDIE!!!!!!

    Oh, I drank the other half of the bottle. :>)
  17. Warthog New Member

    Posts: 7
    Kirkland, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Okay, I don't get on here as often as I would like and have never posted on this forum before. But I wanted to offer one alternative view for smokers. I purchased a Big Green Egg about 4 years ago and have cooked everything from hotdogs and hamburgers to pizza and steaks. I have also done brisket (16 hrs) and once, 22 lbs of pork butt (20 hours!). It is touted as "the world's greatest smoker". The basic premise is that this is a 9000 year old chinese cooking method using a thick ceramic oven. You basically fill it with lump charcoal, light it, set the air intake at the bottom and top, load your meat and close the lid. If your looking, your not cookin'. There is a forum just like this one called greeneggers.net. You will get the same level of support on smoking that you get from the guys on this forum when it comes to all things fishing! I have heard of guys who have smoked cheese on these, but I have never done it. As for smoking fish, the lowest temp that I was ever able to maintain, was about 200 degrees. Not sure what temp you smoke fish at.

    Big Green Eggs can be purchased from most fireplace specialty stores. They just had the NW eggfest last weekend in Kent. If you can wait until next year, you can "pre-order" a large egg. They basically cook on it that day at the eggfest, and you take it home that night at a substantial savings. These things are not cheap. A large (they come small, med., large, extra large) will run you about $1000 once you get all the add ons. You can usually pick one up at the eggfest for about $850 that will include a stand, side tables, and a few other parts.

    Happy smokin'

    Warthog
  18. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,079
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +106 / 0
    Thumbs up Warthog. Have yet to read a 'thumbs down' review (and I Google the hell out of everything before I comment) of the BGE's. And I mean that truly; only 'down side' is they're about as portable as a dead Packadurm (sp? Elephant) if you want to do a 'cook out,' save for our back yard.
  19. Dave Evans Active Member

    Posts: 510
    E. WA / N ID
    Ratings: +95 / 0
    X2! I have looked at them and have read and been told nothing but positives.