School me on smokers

fabricator21

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I am wanting to make my own pepperoni and sausage snacks this year. What should Iook for when buying a smoker, there are so many styles. Chips, pellets, offset, cold smoker....
I would like to keep it under $500
 

Chadp82

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If you want easy and affordable, it’s hard to go wrong with the Masterbuilt Electric ones. If you watch, usually around X-mas, you can get them for $150 or less at times.

I used one for years. Recently went to an offset. Although I like the flavoring better from the offset, much more monitoring is needed than the MB electric.

Here in a year or two I will likely go to a pellet smoker, but they are a little spendy. They work great, and have pros/cons also. I have plenty of friends with them. I am leaning toward the camp chef one at the moment.
 

Recon$$

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I run a camp chef I got on sale for $400 at sportsman's. We love it. I'm smoking a brisket as I type this. You can run any pellet and it's quick and easy to clean. We smoke everything on it, worth every penny.
 

just_jon

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Pit Noss pellet grill here as well. It‘s nice having one unit that can smoke low and slow at 225 and sear steaks at 600. Downside is surface area. If you‘re smoking large quantities, a vertical pellet smoker probably makes more sense.
 

dfanonymous

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I have a traeger and a big *** offset smoker. The traeger is really easy to use and things always come out great. The offset requires skill and attention. I like doing large back straps on it in the winter.
 

Recon$$

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I have a traeger and a big *** offset smoker. The traeger is really easy to use and things always come out great. The offset requires skill and attention. I like doing large back straps on it in the winter.

Agree, if you want easy and the push of a button go pellet. I'm no master smoker but I cook my meats to the degree and don't mess anything up. You do pay for real estate though.
 

59FLH

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Mid Atlantic
I am wanting to make my own pepperoni and sausage snacks this year. What should Iook for when buying a smoker,

The ability to smoke cold, on a heat smoker snack sticks will over cook before their smoked.

Consider a smoke machine and adapt it to a/your gas grill.
 

martinakl

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I am wanting to make my own pepperoni and sausage snacks this year. What should Iook for when buying a smoker,

The ability to smoke cold, on a heat smoker snack sticks will over cook before their smoked.

Consider a smoke machine and adapt it to a/your gas grill.
You can buy smoker tubes to cold smoke on a regular smoker.

Something like this should work for cold smoking your beef sticks:




I like Rec Teq smokers. I have a 700 and a Bullseye.
 

74honker

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Apr 18, 2020
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Illinois
On our PitBoss, on the smoke only setting its sits right around 180ish degrees. The sticks come out really good for us. With any of them there will be a learning curve as far as timing, temp settings, the hot/cold spots (they all have these just like your oven).
 

muleystalker

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Apr 21, 2014
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Bay Area, Ca.
For what you want to do go with an electric smoker. For what you are doing snack sticks, jerky, smoking fish, cold smoking cheese one of the best and reasonably priced is the Little Chief or Big Chief. They are probably the oldest comically sold smokers made. I learned on one I bought when I was 12 and that was 44 years ago and I am still using that same one I bought back then. I have over $4000.00 in smokers sitting here from consumer based to Commercial smokers and the Little Chief and Big Chief do just as good as the more expensive ones.

You have to remember there is a big difference between the smoking you can do with an electric and say a pellet smoker or wood smoker, the latter 2 are doing hot smoking , BBQ smoking per say. they are not the best at making jerky and smoking fish, they actually cook the meat.
True smoking you are not trying to cook the meat you are smoking and drying to preserve it, there is a big difference. The Little Chief style smokers are made to do the later. And they are fool proof no temp control just plug in , put in wood chips and go.

I would recommend starting with one of those and refining your skill and if you think later you have out grown it then you can buy another. I smoke at least 1500lbs of tuna a year, 400-500lbs of salmon, multiple deer for jerky and snack sticks, also elk and deer sausage and the Big chiefs work great for it all. At times I am using multiple smokers just for volume to make it go faster but they do everything my more expensive smokers do.

The one thing the Little Chief and Big Chief don't do is smoke BBQ, like Brisket and Ribs or Pork butt. Its not a BBQ. Its a true smoker for smoking fish, jerky and such. In my experience you get a way better and a true smoked product out of this type of smoker, the BBQ Smokers are smoking/cooking the meat and you don't get the same outcome. Its not to say you can't make some decent products on they you can but it its not true smoking in the sense we are talking about for fish and jerky, you won't get the same shelf life of the product.

Is you are looking for something more versatile where you could smoke brisket and ribs and such with it also the best unit I have found is the SmokinTex, but they are not cheap and will require a little bit of a learning curve compared to the Little Chief Anand Big chief smokers. I recommend using the Little Chief or big Chief first and learn on them, it will make your learning and understanding of smoking process so much easier by eliminating so many bad variables the other units have and you will progress to great results so much faster than the others. Their instruction book is great too and really explains the whole process of what's taking place and why and they y have some great recipes. Their jerky and fish recipe is still the main basis for my brines to this day, I have just modified a tweeked them a bit.

Good luck with your journey into smoking your own snack sticks and jerky, with the right unit it can be very fun and rewarding. I say journey because if done right you will be hooked and want to smoke everything.

Dave
 
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