School me on smokers

JimFromTN

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I have a masterbuilt electric with a cold smoker box I recently purchased. The only thing I don't like is that you have to add chips every 45 minutes or so. Also, right about the time the cold smoker box arrived, the element went out after using it for 2 years, Not hard or expensive to replace. Just annoying. I have friends with pellet smokers and their only complaint with them is that its hard to keep a consistent temperature.
 

Deputy819

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We've had several in all different configurations including home made. All have their good and bad points. We now have a PitBoss which is pellet and can't say enough good about it. It just makes everything so easy.
^^^^THIS^^^^
After buying (and using) my Pit Boss I set my Masterbuilt electric smoker out on the street and it was somebody else’s “headache” in about 10 minutes.

What should Iook for when buying a smoker, there are so many styles. Chips, pellets, offset, cold smoker....
You won’t go wrong with a ‘Pit Boss’ (pellet smoker/grill) or something similar. You don’t have to baby-sit those things/add wood chips every 30-45 minutes for hours on end.
The model I have (PB850 PS2) has Bluetooth/WiFi which allows me to make temp adjustments, adjust auger speed/timing, etc on my phone (there’s an app for that). While this particular feature is not absolutely necessary it does simply things quite a bit. Check it out…


 

wasskeet

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I have friends with pellet smokers and their only complaint with them is that its hard to keep a consistent temperature.
I don't have a brand name or link, but there are combo fan & temp probe units made to add-on to GTG, Traeger, etc. that seem to be better at temp regulation. Another option that works very, very well is the Memphis Wood Fired pellet grills. They will hold for hours +/- 3 degrees with no problem as long as you keep the pellet hopper full. Very quick recovery if opening the lid in the winter also. But the Memphis is not in the ballpark price-wise with the others either.
 

muleystalker

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Bay Area, Ca.
As
^^^^THIS^^^^
After buying (and using) my Pit Boss I set my Masterbuilt electric smoker out on the street and it was somebody else’s “headache” in about 10 minutes.


You won’t go wrong with a ‘Pit Boss’ (pellet smoker/grill) or something similar. You don’t have to baby-sit those things/add wood chips every 30-45 minutes for hours on end.
The model I have (PB850 PS2) has Bluetooth/WiFi which allows me to make temp adjustments, adjust auger speed/timing, etc on my phone (there’s an app for that). While this particular feature is not absolutely necessary it does simply things quite a bit. Check it out…


^^^^THIS^^^^
After buying (and using) my Pit Boss I set my Masterbuilt electric smoker out on the street and it was somebody else’s “headache” in about 10 minutes.


You won’t go wrong with a ‘Pit Boss’ (pellet smoker/grill) or something similar. You don’t have to baby-sit those things/add wood chips every 30-45 minutes for hours on end.
The model I have (PB850 PS2) has Bluetooth/WiFi which allows me to make temp adjustments, adjust auger speed/timing, etc on my phone (there’s an app for that). While this particular feature is not absolutely necessary it does simply things quite a bit. Check it out…


The beauty or the electric smokers for making jerky, snack sticks and smoking fish is you only have to use wood for the fist hour or so after that you are just drying the product. The smoke only realy takes for the first hour and it isn’t just flavor it is coating the meat to help inhibit bacteria growth. The pellet smokers can’t smoke as low as electric smokers and cook the product instead of drying it which is what you want with jerky and smoking fish, there is a big difference.
The electric smokers also can keep a constant heat unlike other smoker/bbq’s. The term ”smokers ” gets thrown around loosely the days and when most people say smoker they really mean BBQ. You can not get the same results as far as true smoking and preserving of food out of a BBQ/ smoker. You can make some good product but it differs and is more tedious to do. There is a reason there is no temp adjust on the Big Chief style smokers, that’s so you don’t get it too hot and cook the product. One pan full of wood chips and that’s it, just monitor the progression of the product every so often that’s it, it’s that easy.
 

Deputy819

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The pellet smokers can’t smoke as low as electric smokers and cook the product instead of drying it which is what you want with jerky and smoking fish, there is a big difference.
Sounds like your electric wood chip smoker serves you well. However, my pellet smoker begins to start throwing smoke at 80 degrees (I’m sure the heating element is hotter than that) and has yet to dry my food out. I do my jerky in a dehydrator and don’t eat fish much.
In my opinion (and the other hungry carnivores in the house) this pellet grill/smoker does a better job than the electric Masterbuilt I gave away.
 
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Bob Wright

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I feel old or just "old school". Many friends have Traeger, Rec Tec, Pit Boss.
I just have a side fire box which feeds the heat and smoke into the BBQ cabinet, Texas style. It's a pain to feed that monster charcoal/wood chips all day long. But, the guys with the auto pellet feeder grills don't seem to produce what this old clunker can do.
I bought a Traeger online, wouldn't produce "smoke", just heat. Boxed up and sent it back.
I'm still slaving over that Char Grill and it is a lot of work. But I smell really good according to my wife and friends.
 

Ol' Red

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Wyoming
I feel old or just "old school". Many friends have Traeger, Rec Tec, Pit Boss.
I just have a side fire box which feeds the heat and smoke into the BBQ cabinet, Texas style. It's a pain to feed that monster charcoal/wood chips all day long. But, the guys with the auto pellet feeder grills don't seem to produce what this old clunker can do.
I bought a Traeger online, wouldn't produce "smoke", just heat. Boxed up and sent it back.
I'm still slaving over that Char Grill and it is a lot of work. But I smell really good according to my wife and friends.
The first smoker I remember was a smokehouse. It looks just like an outhouse, so you make sure they are in different locations. I use an electric smoker now with chips. I just stepped up from the charcoal. (I think)
 

wasskeet

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Old school around here is a fire barrel to burn down coals, a couple cinder blocks, a piece of wire grate or expanded metal, some large sheets of cardboard and ample water to keep the cardboard wet. Pork shoulders on the grate with coals added underneath as needed, keep the cardboard atop the shoulders and about 8 hours later you have Lexington BBQ. Little more to it, but that's the short version anyway.
 

338 dude

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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
I have a master built ,I’ve been very happy with it for many years. I prefer electric as with a woodfired unit you were constantly stroking up the fire or trying to cool it down I also don’t like pellets or anything proprietary that you must buy from a certain company ,I get any old wood chips and they work fine
 

74honker

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Illinois
Y
Old school around here is a fire barrel to burn down coals, a couple cinder blocks, a piece of wire grate or expanded metal, some large sheets of cardboard and ample water to keep the cardboard wet. Pork shoulders on the grate with coals added underneath as needed, keep the cardboard atop the shoulders and about 8 hours later you have Lexington BBQ. Little more to it, but that's the short version anyway.
That is old school hog roasting right there. YUUUUMMMY!
 

Rick Richard

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North Carolina
Sounds like your electric wood chip smoker serves you well. However, my pellet smoker begins to start throwing smoke at 80 degrees (I’m sure the heating element is hotter than that) and has yet to dry my food out. I do my jerky in a dehydrator and don’t eat fish much.
In my opinion (and the other hungry carnivores in the house) this pellet grill/smoker does a better job than the electric Masterbuilt I gave away.
I have both a Pellet grill and an electric Masterbuilt. I never use the Masterbuilt anymore. That should tell you my preference.
 

Hugnot

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Sep 26, 2020
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Montana
I have a Big Chief smoker, probably 1500 watts, used for fish fillets, & big enough for a suspended turkey. Works great with apple shavings/thin chips but not quite hot enough for pellets at lower temps. I built a plywood enclosure for winter use. A previously owned Big Chief smoked up many salmons before it quit after 5 years of so of use - I probably could have replaced the heat coil but I bought a new smoker. I use bottled water, C&H sugar, & Kosher salt as a brine.
 
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mongo4567

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Feb 27, 2020
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Pflugerville, TX
For jerky I have a smokey mountain, it is a propane vertical smoker that I put on the lowest setting with wet wood chips. It isn't ideal in that it doesn't fully remove the moisture before the meat is done. I'm likely going to plug up about half the holes in the heating element. I previously had an early electric smoker (I think it was a masterbuilt), but it didn't have an external vent....had to open it every hour or so to pour out the water tray (I should have just cut a vent).

For BBQ I use a heavy offset fire box smoker.
 
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