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Need Advice For New Smoker

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    Need Advice For New Smoker

    I have a Masterbuilt 40” electric digital smoker . It has four shelves and a window.It’s about three years old- gift from the kiddos/ grand kiddos. Recently, it wouldn’t turn off. I unplugged it, waited a day and plugged it back in. Wouldn’t start. I contacted Masterbuilt and asked for trouble shooting advice. Because it was no longer under warranty , they didn’t want to speak to me . Instead, they sent me a price list of parts. I don’t know what parts it needs. I’ve put off calling an electrician, because that could cost more than buying a new one . Having experienced that company’s customer service and lack of, I ‘m ready to just chuck the smoker and buy something new. I could use suggestions on a small footprint smoker. I did like the digital aspect, but open to ones without that. My first smoker was the Masterbuilt little two shelf box. I felt as if I couldn’t walk away, always trying to keep the temp constant . Liked the ease of digital , but I’m open to suggestion. Any advise for a new smoker would be greatly appreciated.

    #2
    If you like the vertical cabinet style smokers, and like digital, I see three ways to go:

    1. Another electric smoker. My advice is against this however, as they tend to be mediocre at best, and cannot reach higher temps (325 to 350) needed to do chicken or turkey with truly crisp skin. As a data point, my son in law had a Masterbuilt electric smoker that also died after just a couple of years.

    2. An upright propane smoker. Not digital, but most tend to be reliable. You will use wood chunks or chips (chunks preferred) to generate smoke, like with the electric smoker. I like the Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18" and 24" smokers. Quite a few folks on the Pit have that smoker and like/recommend it. Masterbuilt makes a thermostatically controlled propane smoker, but I've seen a lot of folks complain about it breaking down. I don't have much confidence in Masterbuilt quality or reliability.

    https://www.campchef.com/smokers-gri...-vault-24.html

    3. An upright pellet smoker. This is digitally controlled, burns wood pellets as the heat and smoke source, and they make upright versions. I think it will be bulkier than the propane smokers, due to the presence of a pellet hopper on the side or back, but it takes less patio footprint than the pellet smokers that have the style of a wood burning offset smoker. Several folks make these - I think Camp Chef, Pit Boss and a few others. I see the Pit Boss vertical smoker at my local Lowe's all the time. This is the one I see all the time:

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Pit-Boss-Pi...ker/5001563923

    Just my 2 cents. I've toyed with getting one of those Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24" smokers for several years, as they easily convert to burning natural gas, and I have a hookup outside, behind my fireplace, and it would give me a smoker with unlimited fuel and no electricity requirement. Also would double as an outdoor gas fired oven or warmer.
    Last edited by jfmorris; December 13, 2021, 11:25 AM.

    Comment


    • Dewesq55
      Dewesq55 commented
      Editing a comment
      Just for another perspective, I love my Master built ThermoTemp XL propane cabinet.

    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank- you so very much for your help. I will look into your suggestions. This was my first time using a plug in, as I was trying to avoid adding a tank to an already tight space, but it appears that might be my best option. Thanks for taking the time to help me out!

    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      The comment below , for Dewesq55 was actually meant for you. Not sure why it went below. Thanks so much !!!

    #3
    I'm not familiar with your cooker but have some questions that might help with getting your old one working.

    Did you try a different extension cord?

    Did you try something else in the same outlet to see if that works?

    I see in a picture on-line that there is a control unit on top. When plugged in do you now see anything? A light or display that would show it has power to it?

    Is the door correctly closed? Some have a power off type switch on the door.

    Comment


    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      Door is closed tight
      I don’t use an extension cord. It is plugged directly into outlet.
      Have plugged other items in outlet- outlet works.
      Unit on top lights up, but pressing buttons next to temp and time do nothing .
      Thanks so much for asking and replying!

    #4
    Welcome to The Pit.

    OK - so you want something that doesn't require constant tending. That describes a lot of people here. Do you have any preference as to fuel type? Your choices are electric, gas, pellet, charcoal, and wood. I listed them in the approximate order of of smoke flavor they provide - starting with no smoke flavor to the most smoke flavor.

    How many people would you possibly be cooking for? The more guests, the bigger the cooker you will need. What's your budget? Costs can go up to many thousands of dollars. A 22" kettle of some type with a Slow N Sear and a digital thermometer can be practically hands free for hours for several hundred bucks, and should feed a family of four.
    Last edited by RonB; December 13, 2021, 11:32 AM.

    Comment


    • Draznnl
      Draznnl commented
      Editing a comment
      "OK - so you want something that doesn't require constant tending. That describes a lot of people here" - @RonB

      I don't know about that Ron. It seems most of us could stand some constant tending.

    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      I feed from 2-6, depending on what the food is.I like your last comment about the kettle. The last two smokers I’ve had, I used wood chips. I’ve never used pellets, but I guess they must be okay, as they seem popular . I’m dealing with a small footprint , which I know limits types of smokers. I’d be willing to go up to $400, but would prefer to not spend that much if I could find a quality smoker for less. Thanks so much for your help.

    #5
    jfmorris I agree with Jim above. I have a Smokin-It model #2 electric. It was my first true smoker. While it works well and has been completely reliable over about 9-10 years, I moved to a pellet grill just under 2 years ago for more range and versatility. I still have and occasionally use the electric, but not much. I have 10 outdoor cookers now but the pellet cooker is the star here.

    I have the RT-700 from Recteq. I love it. However it has a very big footprint and from what you said probably too big for your situation. There are a variety of vertical pellet smokers out there as Jim points out. I have no experience with any of these but plenty of info out there.

    Comment


    • bbqLuv
      bbqLuv commented
      Editing a comment
      Pellet grilling--good on you.

    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      I’m used to wood chips. I’ve been wary of pellets , as I couldn’t imagine pressed wood being as good as natural , but I know they are popular, so maybe it’s something I should consider .

    #6
    Not sure what your budget is but I have a Grilla OG pellet smoker and I couldn’t be happier. It has a smaller footprint, can be moved around on flat, smooth surfaces and is about as set it and forget it as they come. The company has great customer service and it has cooked incredible food for me so far.

    It does have a bigger price tag than some of the other suggestions. About $1000 with a few accessories and some pellets.

    Good luck in your search. I’m sure you will get lots af suggestions here.

    https://store.grillagrills.com/products/grilla-alpha

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    Comment


    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      Wow. I’ve never seen that before. It’s probably right on the edge of how big I could go. I was hoping for a price about half that. But you all have me seriously thinking that maybe I’ve been too closed minded to pellets . You all seem happy with them as opposed to wood/ chips.

    #7
    Nannylori - A lot depends on three things... your budget, how you want to use the smoker and what capacity you need or want. For example, if the OG above is too much money, the Chimp from Grilla is cheaper... but it's got less capacity. Probably not an issue if you cook for 2-6, but if you want to have big summer parties (or winter parties!), it wouldn't do.

    Things like the Camp Chef Smokevault are probably the most direct replacement for your current smoker and are under $400.

    Comment


    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      The four shelves in the Masterbuilt was the perfect size. I could smoke up to 8 small briskets . I used it for 2-6 people mostly . It’s also the small footprint that worked too. I will look into your suggestions. Can’t thank you enough for taking the time to help!!!

    #8
    You mention small footprint and digital. Jfrosty27 mentioned the brand of electric smoker that I have. Smokin-it. I Have a #3D, a decent size that fits whole racks of ribs and full packer briskets. It is also a digital unit, which provides higher temps up to 325*, which is nice to have for poultry. It is also lazy q cooking at it’s best, set it and forget it. I’ve had mine for 5 years now and love it. I have a Weber Kettle when I want fire cooks/smokes, so have a great combination for what I am looking for.

    The Smokin-its are not cheap, but when compared to other units that are similar to them (Smokin-Tex, CookShack) they are cheaper than those. All stainless, easy to use.

    Take a peak at them, see what you think and feel free to ask me any questions. My #3D puts off great bbq. My dad liked what I was making so much and the ease of use, he bought himself a #2 (smaller size and analog).

    But you will get a number of suggestions here, all that will be good. It will just come down to what you want for what your needs are.

    Comment


    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      Looking into it!! Thanks so much!!!

    #9
    Are you looking to stay within the footprint of your Masterbuilt? How much is too much to spend? A Yoder YS480S https://www.yodersmokers.com/pellet/...s-pellet-grill is a small pellet smoker, but larger than what you have now. It also starts at $1969. Not cheap, but Yoders have an excellent reputation. It has a great temp control system, programmable via wifi. And is truly set it and forget it easy. Just my two cents worth.

    BTW, welcome to the Pit from the Gulf Coast.

    Comment


    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello to a fellow Floridian - I live in Key West, in Old Town, where we fight for every inch. A small footprint is essential . I admit to being surprised as to how many people are using pellet smokers, something I wasn’t even considering. I will look into your suggestion, but size is an issue.

    #10
    If you're open to switching to charcoal, then a cabinet style like these would fit the bill nicely. You can read Meatheads reviews of the Backwoods smokers here. Perennial favorite of Pit members, Lone Star Grillz also has a line of cabinet smokers.

    Comment


    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      I thought about charcoal , but I don’t think I could walk away from wood. I’ve just gotten to love it so much.

    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      Nannylori charcoal smokers use wood chunks as the source of smoke, just like with electric or propane smokers.

    #11
    Hello from NW Oregon, the origin of the pellet grill.
    Traeger started it all. Love my Timberline 850. Very versatile temps from 165 to 500.

    Comment


    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      While channel surfing , I happened upon one of those half hour commercials for Traeger. I admit to being fascinated by it, but at the time, I couldn’t imagine using pressed wood instead of wood chips. You all are prying open my closed mind about it now. Can you really not tell the difference between pellets and chips? I know it’s still wood, just pressed, but still….

    • bbqLuv
      bbqLuv commented
      Editing a comment
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERBlWwDvzc8
      This is the YouTube review that sold me on the timberline 850.
      I also talked with a Traeger owner who has been using the same Traeger for over 14 years.

      There are some wood pellet experts on Amazing Ribs that can go into the science of wood pellets.

      I prefer Traeger pellets as recommended by Traeger. 33lbs. $20 at Costco, plus the sawdust particles appear to be smaller/finer and work well in my Traeger 850.
      Last edited by bbqLuv; December 16, 2021, 08:17 AM.

    #12
    The advice you have received so far has been great. Cannot add a thing. Welcome to the Pit.

    Comment


    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks so much for taking the time to say hello!! This is the first rabbit hole I’ve so enjoyed falling into . Already spent hours trying to learn as much as I can.

    #13
    I'm still very new at this, and got my first smoker this past summer. I opted for a Pit Boss Copperhead 5. Reasonable footprint, absolutely dead simple to use, great and consistent results. Super glad I went this way.

    Comment


    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      My small space is definitely limiting. But I will look into your suggestion. All these suggestions have been an incredible learning experience. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    • DaveD_SpaceBBQ
      DaveD_SpaceBBQ commented
      Editing a comment
      Before I became a full-time bureaucrat, my career was in lab science working at high temperatures and pressures, controlled atmosphere compositions, and so forth, so I am always looking for highly controllable, very reproducible conditions, just wired that way. The vertical pellet rig with T controller is remarkably consistent (I've measured at 4 spots inside the box), so I can concentrate on the food and not the gadgetry.

    #14
    I’d second the recommendation for the Grilla Chimp as it would seem to meet your needs for a set and forget grill plus relatively small footprint. Capacity could be an issue depending on how many you cook for but the upside is their customer service is simply outstanding. They will love to help you out.

    https://store.grillagrills.com/produ...d-pellet-grill

    Comment


    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, I need to start with the small footprint and go from there . I usually smoke for anywhere from 2-6 people . I rarely cook for just the two of us , as I like to share with friends. Pastrami is my favorite, so being able to smoke 3-4 corned beefs at once, ( the most would be 6), would be great. The 4 vertical shelves configuration,in the Master built ,worked well for this.

    #15
    Haven’t read every word of every post but I did see a kettle mentioned. SnS with charcoal would be great & to throw a monkey wrench, consider a PBC, reall simple to use & you can cook a fair amount on it.

    Comment


    • Nannylori
      Nannylori commented
      Editing a comment
      I haven’t thought about a kettle. Not sure why. But maybe it’s something I need to consider. Thanks!!!

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