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Comparisons/reviews of electric smokers

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    Comparisons/reviews of electric smokers

    Howdy all,

    In the other sections, there are multiple sub-sections based on brand. Here, there is just one single lonely section. Is that because "real bbq'ers" don't use electric? Or is it because I'm from Noo Yawk? (LOL)

    I've had a charcoal smoker, electric smoker, and a pellet smoker, and I think electric is the way to go based on ease of use and control of smoke (by adding the wood chips at will). Also costs less to run.

    Any easy way to find reviews of various brands and models?

    Thanks in advance.

    #2
    https://amazingribs.com/ratings-revi...moker-reviews/

    Comment


      #3
      Or here: https://amazingribs.com/grill-and-sm..._type=electric

      Comment


        #4
        New York City?!?!?!
        "Get a rope"

        Some folks will get it haha! It's a line from an old Pace Picante Sauce commercial.

        I have nothing against Noo Yawk

        Comment


        • smokyYank
          smokyYank commented
          Editing a comment
          Nah, not the city. I'm out on Lawn Guyland!

        • texastweeter
          texastweeter commented
          Editing a comment
          Now the commercial is playing in my mind.

        #5
        Thanks Donw and Murdy. will do.

        Comment


          #6
          I have an electric smoker and I use it for sausage and fish. It is not an expensive electric smoker and the temp is just controlled by turning the dial - up for hot, down for cold. I gotta keep an eye on it, but again it's great for sausage and fish.

          I don't use chips, but shavings. They smolder better.
          Last edited by TripleB; September 17, 2021, 05:42 PM.

          Comment


          • smokyYank
            smokyYank commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks. Where do you get shavings, or do you make them yourself with a hand plane (I save mine for the fireplace)

          • TripleB
            TripleB commented
            Editing a comment
            smokyYank - A friend of mine gave me a large bag of Alder savings. I purchased hickory shavings (or sawdust) from Sausagemaker.com. Just type in sawdust in the search field. They have Hickory and Cherry.

          • smokyYank
            smokyYank commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks!

          #7
          Used one for years for fish, pasta, cheese, and jerky. Never tried anything g else in it, but I'm sure it can turn out some tasty queue, just not for me.

          Comment


          • smokyYank
            smokyYank commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah, mine were great, but started rusting through.

          #8
          I had an electric for a few years. A SmokinTex. It was fine. My problem with it was it only got to 250 max so it didn’t work well for poultry. So, if you want to cook birds you probably want to find one that can get to 325-350. There’s also Cookshack and Smokin-It that do similar stainless double walled electric smokers.

          However, I’m not sure if these are the same kind you’re looking at as you usually use a couple chunks in them versus chips. I have not hands on with the Masterbuilt and CampChef electrics.

          Real BBQ’rs sling logs, so I never joined the club either Or at least that’s what all the offset owners down south say.
          Last edited by glitchy; September 17, 2021, 08:37 PM.

          Comment


          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            smokyYank a reverse sear on a different grill is the only way you will get crispy skin for chicken smoked at 225F.

            I have an offset and for years smoked chicken low and slow the same way I did pork or beef, not realizing that was why the skin was always rubber. Now I smoke chicken at 325 to 350, and its great. Juicy meat, crisp skin, much better than my low and slow days.

          • smokyYank
            smokyYank commented
            Editing a comment
            Great, thanks.

          • Debra
            Debra commented
            Editing a comment
            I bought a CookShack SM066 this past Spring and absolutely love the results I get from it.
            We previously owned an Amerique for years and made the mistake of donating it to our So
            n. Regretted it for about a year and then broke down and bought the SMO66.
            Absolutely love the results with ribs, brisket, pork butts and chicken.
            Chicken does require a bit more heat but we just finish on the CookShack PG500.
            I will say I produce results as good as my Husband and his stick burners.

          #9
          I have a Smokin-it Electric smoker. It is set it and forget it cooking. They have a website/discussion board that has a sheet discussing the differences of a few similar types. But, it truly is a set it and forget it - brisket, pork butt, turkey, wings, sausage, fish…..you name it.

          I have a digital version, called the 3D. It has an integrated Auber controller. They also have WiFi versions now, but the interface app is not very good from what I’ve read. The analogs work great as well - my dad has a smaller sized #2 and he loves that as well. where he lives, he is limited to what he can use due to fire restrictions. So this fits the bill perfectly. ONe difference between digital and analog is the temp range. I can cook up to 325 or 350 I think with my Digital, the analogs are limited to 250, maybe 275 but that’s not recommended if I remember correctly. These are also chunk wood burners, like Glitchy mentions above. over the time I’ve had mine, the owner has developed a number of add on accessories as well, things that let you cook at lower temps, use chips, etc.

          I’ve had mine for almost 5 years and it’s great. I love the ease of use and when I want to play with fire, I have my kettle grill for that.
          But check out their website, have a peak at what they offer and If you have any questions on the Smokin-it, please let me know. Happy to help any way I can.

          Comment


          • barelfly
            barelfly commented
            Editing a comment
            smokyYank - I usually use about 6-8oz of chunks, and this is what will last for the cook. Shorter cooks, the chunks aren’t fully turned to charcoal, but the longer cooks for ribs, pork butts, brisket, those are charcoal or even down to ash. For fish, I don’t use as much wood, since its a shorter cook and i want a lighter smoked flavor.

          • barelfly
            barelfly commented
            Editing a comment
            smokyYank - and I usually cook at a higher temp than 225. It’s faster to cook at a higher temp, especially for the long cooks. I usually smoke at 250-275 with my Smokin-It.

          • smokyYank
            smokyYank commented
            Editing a comment
            Great, thanks!

          #10
          I have an Smokin-It analog model #2. It was my first true smoker which I bought in about 2012ish. Still have it/use it although sparingly since I got my pellet pooper. Works great and as noted a set it and forget it cooker. I'll keep.it until it dies most likely.

          Comment


          • smokyYank
            smokyYank commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks, jf. Nine smokers? Wow! So let's say you're doing a typical low-and-slow cook. How do the 2 compare? I have a 3-burner propane Weber that I love for the fast cooking stuff, so I only want to buy ONE smoker for the low and slow.

          • Jfrosty27
            Jfrosty27 commented
            Editing a comment
            smokyYank Firstly, I only use the pellet cooker for low and slow. Some mfgrs, including RT, claim you can do hot searing. Nope. The smoke profile from both are similar. Lighter than say a stick burner etc. But that’s how I like it. The electric can get bitter if you load too much wood though. The RT is smooth and consistent. Would you like it? Depends on your taste.

          • smokyYank
            smokyYank commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks @jfrosty27,

            By "stick burner" is that the small wood chunks, e.g. like the size of a pinky finger?

            Tell me about the pellet "pooper"!

          #11
          Two new questions:

          1. Can you tell me about how many pounds (or fraction) of pellets you use at about 225F? Please also mention the brand and model of your unit as well as which pellets.

          2. How does one go about messaging somebody directly? I clicked on their nickname, but that only brought me to their profile page.

          Thanks in advance!

          Comment


          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            Most pellet smokers average about 1 pound of pellets per hour at 225F.

          #12
          smokyYank If I'm following this correctly, you are throwing pellet grills back into consideration? If so, what are you hoping that a different pellet grill will give you over the MAK you had? The reason for asking is see if there's any info I can share having had a few too many pellet smokers so you get a cooker that won't frustrate you?

          The general rule on pellet consumption is 1lb/hour @225. Every pellet grill I've had has run pretty close to that rate. Cold ambient temps and winds can easily cause pellet grills to burn up to double that. I've had a couple that could run at 3/4lb per hour when it was warm and calm outside, and some that might use a little closer to 1.5lb/hour as they leaked a lot of air.

          The end result after 11 pellet grills is that the cooking results at smoking temps are all pretty much the same. A couple had a better smoke profile than the rest, but for 7 or 8 of them, you wouldn't be able to tell a difference in the results between them. Most of the differences come in construction quality, high temp grilling capabilities, and various features (pellet dumps, burn pot clean out systems, WiFi, etc.).

          Comment


          • smokyYank
            smokyYank commented
            Editing a comment
            that they are made of thin metal that will easily rust. So I'm looking at all stainless steel models, but unfortunately they can be quite expensive.

            I am interested in the Char broil line, both electric and pellet. Also the new Weber pellet, although the review says you MUST use Weber pellets because of the smaller diameter. Oy, I'm getting a headache!

            To summarize: I want relatively "set and forget", good flavor, and not to have to buy another one for 20 years. Smoker only (I have a grill).

          • smokyYank
            smokyYank commented
            Editing a comment
            The MAK seemed to consume about 2 lbs/hour or more and didn't have as good a smoke flavor as my prior Masterbuilt electric. It is also very large; has the low temp box that I'll probably never use, and expensive. I also don't like having the grease pot outside, as we have dogs and don't like to attract insects. Hope that's enough info; again, I very much appreciate your concern.

            I don't know if this is allowed; can we follow up with a phone conversation???

          • glitchy
            glitchy commented
            Editing a comment
            smokyYank I just saw your last comment now :-) I probably could have saved the book. That’s so odd, my MAK is so efficient I have a hard time remembering to check the hopper. Anyway, I’d be happy to talk to you sometime, just not tonight, I haven’t felt the best today, so don’t want to have to drop and reconnect multiple times.

          #13
          If you want set and forget and are willing to consider pellets instead of electric for flavor reasons, I would suggest something from Grilla.

          https://grillagrills.com/

          If the MAK is too expensive and has too many features that you won’t use, Grilla has a few options that you can consider with a lot of stainless steel components. Their customer service is among the best in the industry in my view so they are definitely willing to help you out.

          The MAKs are one of the few offering that internal grease tray, which can be hard to find with pellets. Still, a simple tin foil liner and disposal after every cook makes it pretty easy with the Grilla.

          There are also plenty of ways to add more smoke to pellet smokers from using different types of pellets, smoke tubes, Heavy D device from Smoke Daddy, running it at 200 for a few hours before turning it up higher and so on.

          I have a Masterbuilt Gravity 560 that it looks like you have been considering. It is a really good smoker/grill but I wouldn’t expect it to last more than 5 years being used on a weekly basis. It is pretty innovative but I think the components and body will eventually wear down. Still, it is very fun to use and cooks great so it can be worth it if you know what you are buying.

          Comment


          • smokyYank
            smokyYank commented
            Editing a comment
            IFindZeroBadCooks thanks so much. i do use a stainless steel mesh "bag" for a touch of smoke on my grill. that gravity unit looks interesting! quite a different twist by using charcoal and lumpwood. it appears that the chamber is rather small; can you fit an 8lb butt and a couple of racks of ribs at the same time?

          #14
          You could also consider the new pellet options from Yoder and LSG if they meet your budget constraints. You are always gonna have trade offs with smokers/grills.

          Comment


            #15
            smokyYank I don't recall the problems you were having with the MAK? Was it just that it was older and the upgrades you would have wanted are pretty costly? If so, I can understand that as doubling the price of a used grill could be a hard pill to swallow. Or were there other issues with it? I just hate to see you venture down the road into another pellet grill only to have similar results.

            Unless you have TONS of patience, I would recommend staying away from the Weber. When it works it produces great food, but it's still a work in progress IMO. I think the firmware/software is better than it was at the beginning of the year when I dumped mine, but there's some design weaknesses to the hopper and a lot of parts that aren't likely to last 10 years, let alone 20. It's key benefits over other pellet poopers are also more on the grilling side than the smoking side, there's a lot more reliable pellet grills if you're only going to smoke with it.

            I didn't realize that Char Broil made pellet grills, you have a link to what you are looking at? I also love to check out new cookers.

            What you mentioned about electric is what I didn't like about them. It was too easy to get too much dirty smoke for my tastes with the lower temps and limited air flow. However, just like anything, you have to learn your cooker and they can produce very good results. I think a lot of restaurants use Cookshack electric cabinet smokers. Like a couple others have mentioned, some of the models will get to 300-350, but the airflow is still going to be low. I've enjoyed the easier consistency of other types of cookers since moving on.

            Masterbuilt and Chargriller gravity grills look like a lot of fun and convenience. However, neither brand every makes me think of quality and longevity. I've almost bought a MB several times, but have kept resisting. I'm at my optimal cooker count to not start completely neglecting some of them. I do think they are going to last longer run solely at smoking temps than if they are also used to grill at 600-700 degrees.

            As far as stainless, I don't know that there are really that many options in the pellet world that are made from quality stainless steel. MAK and Cookshack are the first two that come to mind. Memphis does as well, but they moved their manufacturing overseas and have had a lot of reported quality problems since, plus have likely cheapened the steel they use. However, these are pretty pricey grills and not investments everyone can or wants to make, but the most likely to have a chance at lasting 20 years.

            Most of the imported pellet grills probably will last 5-10 under heavy use would be my thoughts. I haven't seen a Grilla or RecTeq personally, but in reading their specs and reviews I think they do use thicker metal than most of their competitors and have quite a few stainless parts. I think RecTeq has a stainless cook chamber and both might have stainless drip pans, grates, etc.

            Another to consider might be some of the non-stainless American made pits like Smokin Brothers, Lone Star Grillz, etc. There's several of them out there starting around $1200 going up to a few thousand. I've always thought Smokin Brothers appeared to be very well made, but I couldn't get past their appearance myself.

            Another thing is, we're kinda talking about two extremes, the lowest airflow versus the highest and one is easy to over smoke while pellet grills are generally a very light smoke. If you had any thoughts food smoked on your MAK wasn't smokey enough, you're probably not going to be satisfied with another pellet grill. My experience is that the MAK puts out towards the top end of the pellet grill smoke profile.

            What have you had for a charcoal smoker? Have you thought about an insulated cabinet smoker or gravity feed smoker? If you hook up a Fireboard and a fan or a BBQ Guru, they should be just about as hands free as a pellet grill once it's lit. Or a Kamado (ceramic or steel like Weber's)? The benefit to charcoal smokers is that they are the most tunable for flavor. You can use different charcoals, chunks or even small splits of wood for flavors, etc. to dial in exactly what you like. However, charcoal smoking is still kind of a choked fire type of smoking, but somewhere between insulated electrics and a pellet grill for sure. These would have the best odds of lasting 20 years, the ATC might need replaced in that time, but a quality IVC or GF should be built like a tank.

            Sorry for the book, just love to try to help people find the 'perfect' grill or smoker for their needs, especially when they've already been trying several to get there. I'm sure there's something out there you'll really enjoy.

            Finally, to PM someone, you click on Messages->Go To Message Center and there is a "Compose New" button, if that's what you were asking earlier.

            Last edited by glitchy; September 20, 2021, 04:36 PM.

            Comment


            • IFindZeroBadCooks
              IFindZeroBadCooks commented
              Editing a comment
              smokyYank I haven’t really hear anything about electric smoke being unhealthy compared to pellet smoke but the flavor is subpar for sure.

              See this for more:

              https://genuineideas.com/ArticlesInd...ctricfuel.html

            • CandySueQ
              CandySueQ commented
              Editing a comment
              Years ago I had a Cookshack Smokette. I found that it oversmoked food because the smoke hung around inside the cooking chamber longer than in any other cooker. It was great for warming precooked bbq at tradeshows though.

            • glitchy
              glitchy commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks @CandySue I’m glad I’m not the only one that felt that way about that style of cooker.

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