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redrider's picture
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Location: NE Kansas
Joined: 03/20/2006
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Smoker info

Wanting to buy a smoker. Any advice on what to get?
Electric, Charcoal, gas....? Any tips on how to use them?

Was looking at something like this: http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/product/standard-item.jsp?_D...

Any info would be great thanks Big smile

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Location: Eatonville, Wa
Joined: 08/26/2007
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Smoker info

I do a lot of smoking and I myself prefer the charcoal. do your self a huge favor if your not familiar with it an buy a cheap $80 brinkman smoker. I started out that way and do every thing with it. Now 5 years later I bought a new one its waybigger. but charcoal is simple and cheap. Let me know if you have any questions I think of smoking and bbq as more of a hobby than hunting

redrider's picture
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Location: NE Kansas
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Smoker info

One of the things I liked about the one in the link was that you could use it as a camp stove, fryer, and boiler.

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Location: Eatonville, Wa
Joined: 08/26/2007
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Smoker info

I can see the uses for the other options but, I am a firm beliver in using something for its intended use. I like using my smoker for smoking. Im not sure how much experience you have with a smoker but start slow. I like the charcoal mostly for the ease of control. As a beginner its easy to over heat everything and charcoal is very forgiving. Truthfully I dont even use a gas grill. Ive found thaat you get a lot better flavor with charcoal then the gas options. I started out using duck breasts and doing jerky with them, then moved on to other things. my vote is for a charcoal their cheap, easy to clean and simple to operate with little error.

cowgal's picture
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Location: Colorado
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Smoker info

For the last 3 years I've been using a Big Chief, an electric smoker. Its probably not the best or fanciest, but it does the job. I like it because it does not get too hot. The previous smoker I had was charcoal and I had a hard time keeping the temp consistent. With this electric one I can load it up with at least 30-40 lbs of meat or fish and let it go all day without having to think about it. The only big drawback is that you can't really use it when its cold or even chilly outside. The walls on the smoker are uninsulated. They make special blanket to cover the smoker, but I haven't tried it.

My next one if this one poops out will be another electric one, but most likely one with thicker walls.

If you get one, get a front loader, much easier to load up than a top loader. Our last one (the charcoal one) was a top loader and I didn't care for it.

Here is a link to the one I have now:
http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/product/standard-item.jsp?_D...

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Location: Eatonville, Wa
Joined: 08/26/2007
Posts: 610
Smoker info

the nice thing about the charcoal is that you can cool it instantly by dumping some water on the coals. It wont get too hot if you keep enough wood chips on the coals. A lot of people soak their chips in water before using them. I usually dont. I do use the lil cheif wood chips due to avalibility(you can buy them at any walmart for $1.50 a bag) and the fact that they are like sawdust so you will almost smother the coals.

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Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
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Smoker info

I had a Little Chief electric smoker. Very easy to use. Smoked up a whole bunch of Salmon with that one.
Several seasons back I had a very productive salmon trip. With all the work I had. I took it down to the shop so I could work while smoking. The shop smelled like smoked salmon for six months.

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Location: Eatonville, Wa
Joined: 08/26/2007
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Smoker info

sounds like a good reason to work in the shop to me, Ive been debating building a smokehouse from an old restruant walkin freezer, I just need the time

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Location: Nova Scotia
Joined: 08/17/2002
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Smoker info

I have the same product as cowgal and I do love it as well. I also have her same issues with trying to smoke in the cold weather but I have found that even an extra large box over it is all it needs to for the cold.

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Location: Eatonville, Wa
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Smoker info

the problem with an electric smoker is that they dont put out the smoke that is required for jerky, I like to see that smoke rollin out of the smoker all day long as with an electric smoker you occansionally see wisps coming out.

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Smoker info

Until it finally rusted away, we used an old fridge(all plastic etc removed) and a two burned gas stove(outside tank) a couple of holes in bottom for air, and a heavy steel pan for chips. The second burner can be used if extra heat is warranted. The do0r was secured with a hunk of 2x4.
When you have your burner setting where you want them, turn your gas off/On from outside(propane Bottle) as the controls knobs will soon seize up.
If cutting your own chips, the bigger the better,(lasts longer)
A spray bottle of water is needed as when you open the door to check the cooking, the air will ingnite the chips quite often.
When removing finished products remove lower racks first as particles off the racks etc will fall onto what is under it.
Rubbing the racks with a vegetable oil prevents sticking
No top or side vent holes required, The smoke will find its way out.
This is for HOT Smoke . Never did the Cold smoke

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