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Convince me I need a Smoke Vault 24

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    Convince me I need a Smoke Vault 24

    Ok folks, now, you know I am just window shopping here, but at some point this summer, I am going to add a "budget" smoker to my kit, as I have FINALLY cleared 3 cookers out of the backyard and off to the various kids houses as they got married and/or got houses all this year. I'm on tap to do pulled pork and pulled chicken for 200 folks on September 12th, for what will not be my youngest daughter's wedding so much as a big party for all our friends and family, to celebrate the wedding that was just for immediate family on May 16th.

    I've seen a lot of love for the Smoke Vault from texastweeter and his description to me of the copious capacity - he says it will hold a LOT of your typical 8# butts - has me thinking I need this smoker, maybe with 2 extra racks, so that I can get 4 levels of butts going in it. I've also seen pictures at bbqguys.com showing how it holds full steam table trays, so it could be really handy for keeping stuff warm in foil pans.

    I also have a natural gas hookup at the end of the house, so while I might keep it propane based for portability until I get past the September 12th event, I think longer term I would just get the kit from Camp Chef, hook it up, and be tethered to the hookup outside my fireplace at the end of the house, for the convenience of unlimited fuel.

    Soo.... where I need convincing is in flavor/results of smokes on this. I smoke all the time on my Performer with the SNS, and I've been smoking for over 30 years on an offset. I've gone round and round over smokers like the Grilla or a WSM 22", but it seems the Smoke Vault 24 beats both of those on capacity, and with the ability to handle 4 full size steam table trays, its got a lot of heating/warming/smoking capacity. It just seems like the best bang for my buck.

    I just have never ever smoked with propane or natural gas, so I don't know that it will give me the bark or smoke flavor I am used to with charcoal and wood chunks. I know I will still be using wood chunks, but I won't have the "charcoal" flavor I am used to.

    So how about it - those of you with a Smoke Vault, how does it compare to your other cookers on flavor, bark and results?
    Last edited by jfmorris; May 22, 2020, 09:17 AM.

    #2
    You NEED a Smoke Vault 24.................how's that?

    Sorry, couldn't help myself!

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      Haha, right!

      I am more looking for those who have one to tell me how smoke flavor, bark, etc, compare to food cooked on their other smokers.

    #3
    I have had a Smoke Vault 18 inch for going on 3 years, if I remember right. As along as the weather stays reasonably calm and dry, the temp will stay fairly consistent once I manually get the temp dialed in. I like cooking in the SV (Smoke Vault, not sous vide ) because of this consistency, given mild, calm weather.

    I think I've seen propane cookers similar to the SV that have automatic temp control. For more set-it-and-forget-it type of control, they might be better choices, although I've not tried any to know.

    As far as smoke flavor, I'd say on the average the SV produces a light to medium smoke flavor. Thinking back to the smoke flavor my SIL gets from her Traeger pellet cooker, I'd say meat smoked in the SV has a more smoky character. I don't think the SV can produce a heavy smoke flavor like my friend Keenan can get with his offset, however.

    There's a wood pan above the burner where you can put wood chips and/or chunks for smoke and a water pan right above the wood pan. In my experience, sometimes the wood burns well and produces decent smoke, and sometimes it's a struggle. I've tried wood chips, small wood chunks, and a mix of both, with variable results.

    If I'm cooking around 300F or higher, the SV is pretty good about producing plenty of smoke. If I want to cook around 250F, it can be tough to get reliable smoke output. For lower temp cooks, I've resorted to using an Amazen pellet maze. My troubles with getting the wood to burn nicely may be as much due to operator error as anything, however, so keep that in mind.

    I have to say now that I've been using a Hasty Bake charcoal cooker, that I like the smoke flavor from the HB a little better than from the SV. But for the convenience of propane, reasonable temp control, and large food capacity, a propane cabinet smoker is a nice choice.

    Comment


      #4
      I've not used one myself, but one of my (now sadly passed away) co-workers used to bring in truly amazing brisket that he did in his SV24. I do think something like that would also work really well as a warmer...

      Comment


      • jfmorris
        jfmorris commented
        Editing a comment
        The ability to double as a warmer or oven, plus the really low price, is what has me looking at it. Fact it can turn out some amazing brisket is a bonus!

      #5
      I have had the 24” for years. It can be finicky but does a good job cooking larger quantities of food. It is susceptible to wind, and the temperature control knob leaves a lot to be desired since millimeter adjustments are necessary to dial in the temps, otherwise you will always be chasing temps. You have to be careful with your valve on the propane tank because too high a flow will trigger its safety mechanism and it will suddenly reduce your gas flow. Still, once you learn its little tricks it can produce some good food. I mostly use mine as a bread and pie oven nowadays since I have several other cookers that also handle large quantities, but it still gets it turn in the rotation with meats when I’m cooking for larger get togethers.

      Comment


      • jfmorris
        jfmorris commented
        Editing a comment
        All of my gas grills have had that issue with going into low flow shutdown mode if you open the tank valve too quickly, so I am very familiar with that. Use as an outdoor oven connected to my natural gas hookup would also be an attraction, especially in summer, when the house oven sees little use because we hate heating the kitchen up.

      • IowaGirl
        IowaGirl commented
        Editing a comment
        I've encountered the low flow shutoff thing too. And I second Donw's observation that eeny-weenie (1-2 millimeter) changes in the temp control knob will make big differences in the cabinet temp.

      #6
      so i can't vouch for the SV24, but i have an older masterbuilt propane smoker and i have been very happy with the smoke flavor that comes out of it. my father in law has said on some things i make it's almost too smokey for him (i think it's fine. he's a wimp). i think it really depends on what your fuel source is. i use chunks and i try to keep the smoke rolling for at least 3 hours at that start of the cook. it's worked out for me so far.

      Comment


      • jfmorris
        jfmorris commented
        Editing a comment
        Good to know. My son in law has a Masterbuilt electric smoker, and I am NOT impressed by the food coming off it, but I think that is a problem with all electric smokers.

      #7
      It's not as much smoke as my stickburners, but much more than my dads pellet popper, and if done right as much as my charcoal verticals. The trick is very seasoned wood CHUNKS. About the diameter of a soda-water and half as long. I load up the tray completely, and let her rip. Smoke is fine low temps for me. Have 12 racks of ribs going at 205° right now in the pic below. Once you get the trick of dialing in the temp it holds well. I sleep with the maverick alarm on, and rarely have to ever get up. Wind does pose a problem though. Harder to keep temps consistent. Keep the waterpan full to act as more thermal mass and it helps a lot. Full pan of water lasts about 6 hours and tray of wood about 4 or 5 at 225°.
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • jfmorris
        jfmorris commented
        Editing a comment
        That is what I wanted to hear - if you can get a smoke profile similar to your charcoal verticals, that would be good for me. Knowing you have a wide assortment of smokers I value your opinion on this greatly. Seeing as you are cooking on it right now is another solid endorsement!

      #8
      I've had a smoke vault for two years. I've only used it 5 or 6 times.

      I do not need to cook for a lot of people very often but it comes in handy when I do. I bought two extra racks.

      In my experience the Vault can differ by 20 degrees from top to bottom. Just make sure you rotate the the food if you are cooking on diffrent levels.

      I've done 8 racks of ribs on it twice and both times they have come out great. Like others have said you are not going to get a big smoke profile but I get plenty of flavor from it.

      I did 4 - 8# butts and they came out great.

      I also used it to reverse sear 10 2" ribeye steaks once for a beef and beer get together I had. I used my Blackstone to sear the steaks off once they were to temp.

      I remember someone on Amazing Ribs posted once they took the racks out and hung sausages in the vault to smoke them. I haven't tried this yet but sooner or later I will.

      I actually craft two angled cardboard vent covers and stick them to the over the side vents with magnets when I use mine. It blocks air from blowing into the sides but allows it still to be drawn into the vault. Imagine a dryer vent hood, that's what I used as my inspiration.

      Like the others have said the gas control knob can be touchy but once you get it dialed in it runs like a champ.

      I use a combination of chips and chunks in mine to achieve a decent smoke. The chips for smoke right away and chunks so I do not have to replenish the chips every 45 minutes or so.

      Plus if you have a bunch of people over at a BBQ and they see something that looks like a Vault and you open it up and they see 8 racks of ribs, its pretty cool. That along with dangling chicken halves in my PBC are always a conversation piece. LOL

      Comment


      • jfmorris
        jfmorris commented
        Editing a comment
        I think it was Jerod Broussard that was hanging sausages in one, but I might be wrong...

        I get the picture of a vent cover, and will make that tweak if need be.
        Last edited by jfmorris; May 22, 2020, 12:28 PM.

      • IowaGirl
        IowaGirl commented
        Editing a comment
        I've hung ribs in the smoke vault rather than lay them flat on the racks. That works pretty good and it's kinda fun.

      #9
      The only negative I've seen on them is that the flame can blow out easily IF it is set on low temp AND it is breezy. Otherwise, it is a pretty good buy!

      Comment


        #10
        Ok, I think this is enough testimonials, plus some advice on how to do the wood chunks, to where I feel like its an excellent buy for the $250 it is going for at both amazon.com and lowes.com - My next choice would be a WSM 22, and that is going to be about $200 more, and I don't think it will hold as much as the Smoke Vault 24. According to texastweeter, I can probably cram 12 or more butts in there, with 3 or 4 per level if I buy 2 extra racks.

        The key is that I am looking for something that will give me capacity when I need to smoke more than the 2 butts I can cram onto my Performer, or the 6 to 8 I can cram onto my old offset, and without the staying up all night that use of the offset entails. The fact that it can double as an outdoor gas oven, and can hold steam table trays, makes this look like a winner. I just don't want to bother if it doesn't give at least as good a result as I get with the kettle + SNS, and if loading the wood pan down with wood chunks does a good job, I can deal with shielding it from the wind. I would most likely be at the end of the house, where there is 10 to 15 feet between the house and a privacy fence, along with large oak trees, so I should have somewhat of a wind break.

        I will probably push for this as a combined Father's Day (June) plus birthday (August) present from the family, with support from the wife on the use for the wedding party in September. If I can find pork between now and then!

        Now, I just got back from a lunch run to Sam's Club, and there was not a butt to be seen anywhere today. I got ONE last week and plopped it not the deep freeze. I just need to accumulate a dozen between now and September... . Walmart had some Tyson butts, but I tried one of those once and was not a fan. Tyson is a chicken company, and the times I tried their butts or ribs I wasn't impressed.
        Last edited by jfmorris; May 22, 2020, 12:31 PM.

        Comment


          #11
          Get it early so you can learn it before the big cook.

          Comment


            #12
            Do it for your country!

            Comment


              #13
              I've done sausage and it does run hotter close to the top. We hung the sausage a little lower to compensate. I may need it in June for a 3 brisket - 1 pork butt cook. The pellet is going to be a little too crammed.

              Comment


              • jfmorris
                jfmorris commented
                Editing a comment
                Being hotter up top is not really different than the vertical gradient in my kettle, or the left to right gradient in my offset. If I put meat at the end next to the firebox, I end up having to rotate things several times during the cook.

              #14
              Curious did you look at the Masterbuilt?

              Comment


              • jfmorris
                jfmorris commented
                Editing a comment
                The issue is capacity. I don’t want to spend money on a smoker that will do less than 8 butts minimum. The MB gravity fed is more than double the price of the SmokeVault, and has limited capacity.

              • DavidNorcross
                DavidNorcross commented
                Editing a comment
                Not the gravity feed, their propane smoker . https://amazingribs.com/ratings-revi...temp-xl-review

              • jfmorris
                jfmorris commented
                Editing a comment
                Ah! Ok, that has more capacity than the gravity fed, but in the review, Max still had to cut ribs to fit. I think the capacity for steam table trays and the ability to hook up to my natural gas has the Camp Chef edging out the MB, even though I admit that thermostatic control would be super nice.

              #15
              *waves his hand* You will purchase the Smoke Vault 24. Move along.

              Comment

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