I need a new smoker!

  • Team Blue

    crismccarthy Even though I’ve had some issues with my new Masterbuilt 40 I’d still recommend them. The company has been very easy to deal with and more than willing to send replacement parts. I just received a new cabinet yesterday. I have enough extra parts now that I might be able to homebrew an entire new smoker or rebuild one of my dead soldiers

    7DC00819-A094-4316-8678-E96526F901B8.jpeg


  • Joe Hell That side cold smoking attachment is worth its weight in gold. Really completes the unit.

  • Team Blue

    rdab I absolutely agree! When I got the smoker put back together I did the initial break-in and used the tray only. It almost felt clunky using that method and it seemed to take quite a while to start producing smoke. With the cold smoker attachment it is nearly instantaneous. It’s really easy to add small amounts for gentle smoke additions. It is perfect for cheese! Masterbuilt has a new smoker just released that also has a broiler built-in. That would come in handy for crisping chicken skin.


  • I have owned three smokers. One bullet charcoal smoker, one cabinet smoker that’s electric and charcoal. Then one I have now is a gas cabinet smoker. This last one is the most I had ever spent on a smoker. $150.

    If I was to do it over, I’d buy a pellet fed smoker. My local Walmart has them. Not sure on the brand. It’s all electric, you fill the hopper with pellets, set the temp (it’s digital), let it heat up and drop food on it. It’s a like an oven that smokes.

    https://wisepick.org/best-smoker-grill-combo/ - also a nice source about smokers combos


  • Ok… A lot to unpack here. What do you want this for? Just smoking? Grilling? Roasting? Baking? Pizza oven?

    For your first smoker, the easiest and cheapest options are electric or propane. Those are smokers you don’t need to constantly babysit to get good results. You can get plenty of smoke flavor with electric, BTW. You won’t get a “smoke ring” with electric, but you’ll get flavor. I started with a Masterbuilt 40" propane smoker that I bought for about $150, and the main reason I got it over the electrics was capacity. Most of the electrics are not as wide or large. But both options are great for learning.

    If you want something BGE-style but don’t want to pay those prices, pick up a Char-Griller Akorn. It’s every bit as good functionally as the more expensive ceramic kamado grills. Being metal, it has the chance that it might eventually have rust problems, and I’ve heard their build quality may not be at BGE levels. But for the price, you get a great Kamado. FYI I say that as someone with two Kamado Joe’s, one Big Joe and one Joe Jr. I have no disdain for the Akorn as a “cheap knockoff”; the Akorn is a solid grill at a great price point. The learning curve of a kamado is steeper than an electric or propane smoker, but they’re also more versatile. You can sear the hell out of a steak. You can use it as a pizza oven.

    I like the idea of a pellet smoker if you already have another grill (for searing) and if you’re okay spending the money. They’re definitely “set and forget” and will produce good food. But again, typically the starting price point is a lot higher, especially if you want to be cooking larger quantities of food – you can fit more in a typical “box-style” electric or propane smoker than the smaller, less expensive pellet grills. And when you start getting into the bigger pellet grills, you get up into the $700-1000 range. And they still can’t sear. That said, a good pellet grill is a long-term purchase, whereas an electric or propane smoker might be a “learning tool” smoker; at least it was for me.

    What you probably want to avoid are cheap smokers. The build quality usually leaves a LOT to be desired, they are hard to temp control and both get a hot enough fire to burn off volatile compounds while also not getting the cooking chamber well over the desired temp. And you’ll have to babysit them constantly. I know the allure of “cooking with a stickburner” is strong, but IMHO it’s not worth it at these price points.

  • Regular Contributors

    I do over 200 lbs of smoked sausages and 100 lbs of smoked fish a year and have found that the five most important considerations in purchasing a smoker are #1 The temperature control range and stability, #2 The size of batches you want to do at a time determined by the physical size of the smoker, #3 The smoke Generator mechanism, I like using the A-Maze-N 12" and pellets, #4 The cost of fuel used to operate the smoker, I just converted mine over to Natural Gas, and last but not least how much money or time and energy you want to spend to get a good smoker

    Dave

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