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Hi

I have a charcoal smoker , I enjoy it very much , more work than a gas or electric. I purchased it at Bass Pro not very expensive , so far all the food I smoked turned out very good.

Thanks :beers:
 

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The cheap smoker that's around from Walmarts is fine.

I use charcoal and any wood that I think tastes good..

Hickory, fruit woods like Crab Apple or Wild Cherry. For a hot bite try Hedge, (i.e., Osage Orange) and don't forget S/W Mesquete for a slightly sweet smoke.

Guys up north talk of Alder smoke or whatever it's called for a delicate smoke for fish..........

Theres a bunch to use so play around..

Have fun b/c I figure it will all taste good!!

pdq67
 

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We've always used the "little chief" smokers, have been for many years. They are real simple, and inexpensive. My dad had one for probably 30 years and smoked massive amounts of salmon and beef jerkey in it, so they can last a long time. They are the electric type, that slowly burn wood chips in a pan. Heres the one we use Little chief smoker
The biggest factor in smoking really is the brine you soak the meat in, and how long and what temperature, those factors make all the difference. Wood is important too. Thats another reason I like the little chief (or big chief if you want to smoke more), they are easy to use once you've used them a couple of times.
But, the best smoked salmon I've ever had was alder smoked, in a home made 50 gallon drum smoker, also plank barbecueing with alder produces incredible salmon.
Actually making your own smoker is pretty easy, all you need is something to contain the smoke and heat, a good hot plate and a frying pan with wood chips of choice, there are probably 1000 ways to do it shown on the internet, if interested.
Wow, now I'm wanting some good fresh smoked salmon, I feel sorry for you poor landlocked folks that can't catch your own fresh seafood, mmmmmm :D
 

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The best grill I've ever used or ate off of was a Traeger grill.

http://traegergrills.com

My bro-in-law is a dealer for these. They are pellet grills. They use small, compressed wood pellets to smoke with. The heat source is electric. You plug them in, put pellets in the hopper, put the grill on smoke, and let it be. My bro-in-law cooked some boston butts with a rub only. That was the best bbq I've ever had. He smoked them for 10 hours. He checked on them once. New years, we smoked some chickens with a rub, and injection sauce. Absolutely the best chicken I've ever had. I highly recommend looking into one. They are pricey. But if you enjoy grilling, and you want something EASY to use. And I emphasize, easy. Just like cooking on the stove with the option to smoke. They can't be beat in my opinion. The only problem I see with them is they require an electric source.
 

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Found this thread in the archives and the only one going way back, and thought to revive it as considering buying a smoker this week.

I usually research a product, but also check it out with you guys before making a purchase, eh?

This time around it's the 30" electric Masterbuild, with the window, digitally controlled and some kind of RF thingy...remote? As not to disrupt the quaffing of cools ones will on the deck?

The thing seems to have a pretty fav profile with 50 outta 76 liking with thumbs up...but ya never know about those so called "reviews". I can pick it up for $250 +13% tax.

Anyways, was wondering if anyone has had any experience with this unit or has a bud who uses one and give me feedback on it...or any other smoker worth mentioning.

If I hadn't been to the deep south last month, I wouldn't be buying the thing as I've become addicted to the smoky taste and love it! The reg grill just doesn't do the job the same way.

Any smokers out there? Meat-wise?

Thanks,


capt
 

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Charcoaol all the way. I also add some Jack Daniels smoking pellets when cooking to add that liquor flavor on the meat and chicken or whatever your cooking. Only thing is when you own a smoker, the whole neighborhood knows when your having a BBQ, smoke is everywhere, lol ..
 

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Thanks for the input to date, Lex...I also understand that the JD sometimes goes in the mouth as well, but in liquid form?:)

As far as the "smoke"...did others in the area find it annoying? Is there that much smoke? Never had one so far or seen one work.

I hear the draw back to the "charcoal" is the constant need to monitor the amount of bricks/pucks and the varying temps...true?


capt
 

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There's not really a whole lot of smoke that escapes so it's not annoying to people nearby. The smoke stays inside the smoker for the most part and helps season what you're cooking. You do need to check the charcoal every so often but not constantly. I usually checked mine every 3 hours or so.
 

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First off you didin't state a budget that makes a huge difference. I have listed my opinions below for what they are worth.

Cheapo upright water smoker - decent results, pain to keep temps steady, but a decent result for the price.

Okie Joes (or other) offset smoker. If you get one dont get the cheapest one or temps will be hard to maintain. Pros are excellent results lots of room for lots of meat. Cons are they need to be tended to on long smokes like brisket and pork buts. This means waking up throughout the night on a overnight smoke.

Electric (cookshack or Masterbilt) I had the cookshack. Pros are simple set and forget and uses very little wood. Results are excellent flavor wise. Cons are room for meat, and the appearance of the product (no smoke ring).

Traeger Pellet easy to use, appearance of product is fantastic, decent room for meats. Con to me is that they do not impart as much actual smoke flavor as the other 3 listed above. For some that is a plus but I actually like the smoke flavor.

I have listed them in the order that I have used the products. Currently I still have the Cookshack and the Traeger and use them for different things.

My personal favorite was the old fashioned offset. It just became to much of a hassle to have to stay home or wake up to keep wood in the fire pit. There is nothing like starting a 14 pound brisket at 10pm and it being done sometime the next afternoon without having to monitor it.
 

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In reference to the Masterbilt (I have a cookshack) my BIL has the masterbilt. He was able to produce some excellent results with his. The drawback to the masterbilt is that you do use a little more wood and will need to add some on long smokes.

As far as too much smoke. If you are smoking on any smoker and the smoke is too heavy you are ruining your food. You should just have a little stream of lovely smelling white smoke pouring out. The electric and the traegers take care of this for you.

Load up the smoker, set the temp, grab a bud, and relax.

One thing I can't empahsize enought when smoking is that there is no perfect time as to when something is done! IT's DONE WHEN IT's DONE! Get some temp probes and run them through the vent in the top and pull your items when they are to temp not to someones time! I have literally had identical weight briskets get done 4 hours apart!
 

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In reference to the Masterbilt (I have a cookshack) my BIL has the masterbilt. He was able to produce some excellent results with his. The drawback to the masterbilt is that you do use a little more wood and will need to add some on long smokes.

As far as too much smoke. If you are smoking on any smoker and the smoke is too heavy you are ruining your food. You should just have a little stream of lovely smelling white smoke pouring out. The electric and the traegers take care of this for you.

Load up the smoker, set the temp, grab a bud, and relax.

One thing I can't empahsize enought when smoking is that there is no perfect time as to when something is done! IT's DONE WHEN IT's DONE! Get some temp probes and run them through the vent in the top and pull your items when they are to temp not to someones time! I have literally had identical weight briskets get done 4 hours apart!
Thanks for the valuable personal experience that you've had, and the important check points along the way....I'm a complete newbie at this smoke thing, eh? That point about "too much smoke" make sense.

If you can, would you explain the "smoke ring" and the "bark" as they call it on the finished product. Have read about it, but still not sure?

Your question on "budget"? Still not sure what you meant. I think the price of this smoker seems to be pretty good for an upper ender model.

capt
 

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Thanks for the valuable personal experience that you've had, and the important check points along the way....I'm a complete newbie at this smoke thing, eh? That point about "too much smoke" make sense.

If you can, would you explain the "smoke ring" and the "bark" as they call it on the finished product. Have read about it, but still not sure?

Your question on "budget"? Still not sure what you meant. I think the price of this smoker seems to be pretty good for an upper ender model.

capt
The bark is nothing more than the outside layer of the meat that turns almost black and sometimes slightly crunchy. I believe part of it is natural when smoking but a lot of the flavor in the bark is the product of the rub you put on the meat itself. I use very heavy rubs on Brisket and Pork Butt's.

The smoke ring is nothing more than an appealing precense to the eye that the meat was smoked. It has no flavor and is nothing more than a pinkish/red ring 1/8 inch or so around the outer edges of the meat. Again, it is nothing more than candy to the eye.

The point on budget was nothing more than saying you can spend $200 to thousands of dollars on a smoker. That being said for simplicity, price, and product you really can't go wrong with the masterbilt. The window is kind of useless as it will eventually just turn black anyway.

My suggestions if you end up with it are as follows.

Plug it in, load it with wood, turn it on high, and let it smoke for about 3-4 hours.

Buy a 6-8 pound Pork Boston Butt, rub it with mustard or oil and smother it some type of pork rub. I mean cover it with as much as you can get to stick to it.

Pop it in the smoker at 225 and let it go until it reaches about 195 internally. Pull it wrap heavily in foil for at least 30 minutes (will stay good much longer just wrapped in foil) the just shred it and make sandwiches. It's kind of like a boneless rib! Reason I suggest this for your first smoke is that it is the easiest cut out there to cook. If you don't like/eat pork l can offer some other suggestions.

Here is a prime rib I did in my cookshack a while back. You can see the bark but a pork but will be a little heavier as I did not put much rub at all on this.

[/img]http://mjlepak.smugmug.com/Food/Cooking/DSC4098/551847051_YA888-M.jpg
 

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Thanks for the input to date, Lex...I also understand that the JD sometimes goes in the mouth as well, but in liquid form?:)

As far as the "smoke"...did others in the area find it annoying? Is there that much smoke? Never had one so far or seen one work.

I hear the draw back to the "charcoal" is the constant need to monitor the amount of bricks/pucks and the varying temps...true?


capt
Yes that mouth type JD is really goooood in liquid form. My first time i had no idea you were only suppose to put in a few pellets, so there was too much smoke. I never got any complaints from the neighbors about too much smoke, but then again i live on a corner house, so the smoke is going out towards the street and up. Thats actually a good question. I'm sure my neighbor to the left does get some smoke here and there. Maybe thats why one day he said to me " Boy, you sure do like to BBQ allot " Lol .. But i don't BBQ that much any more, that is when i purchased my home a few years back, i threw many BBQ parties, lol. The one i purchased has a mini smoker attatched to the right of it, to make even more food, but its optional. I have the same one Joe Harrison has right above, this one rocks !! But i don't have the one on the right, you have to buy it seperately.
http://www.google.com/products/cata...X&ei=-iB6T6WzFaec2AWz1aSFAg&ved=0CIUBEPMCMAk#
 

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Thanks guys for the smoker input. :thumbsup: Sure helps to lean on others who have beaten the path before ya. Nothing like other peoples' experiences.

This is what is so great about this site...there's a host of "experts" out there, ready to lend a hand when in need.

capt
 

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I found mine online when looking and i still lived in Arkansas (moved to Tucson AZ just few months ago) and I lived in such a small town not much was availble at the local stores.

I found mine on Walmart.com and had shipped from site to store, so the shipping was free and just paid tax. It turns out this was way for me to go...the first one was crushed in shipping. Walmart had the next shipped via next day...which took almost 3 days where I lived at the time...LOL!!!
 

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I use my gas BBQ....for hot smoke and cold smoke.
We dont use hickory here a natve hardwood tree called manuka
I have a small metal box I throw the wet coarse saw dust in, put that over the low flame, while that starts, setup the meat/jerky fish what ever.
Close the lid and good to go.
For cold smoke 1 element on low gives a constant 120/ 130 degs for 6 to 24 hrs
for quick hot smoke 160/180.......or instead of chips, place on a wood slab and let smolder.
I have modded the bbq slightly resisticting and redirecting the flow of smoke/heat....before hand lost too much heat and smoke, and was difficult to control.

We use the bbq all yr round, hence the hood ...12v with an elecric car radiator fan replacing the mains fan...lights already 12v powered by an old powersuplly out of a computer
 

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Well guys, thought to bring yas up to snuff on this "smoker" thingy.

Have use the "Masterbuilt" a few times, and it does take a kinda trial and error approach to using the unit. For example, the invited folk were late in coming over the first time, and I sort overcooked the ribs, but with pork, it's better overcooked than under, right?

As time went on, I experimented with the different types of wood chips, and found the hickory the best for beef/pork, and used mesquite for the salmon. In the resulting efforts, I had the people come early, and started the cooking at a later time. Next time I intend to use apple chips, as I hear it gives yet another twist to the flavour, eh?

Also, I have tried several types of liquids in the pan to see if they would enhance the taste...the jury is out on these trials.

I do like this Masterbuilt as it attains the desired temps, hold them well, and uses little in the way of chips...yet, the smokiness is quite intense in the meat. Also, the biggest plus, is the no need to keep replacing the charcoal or propane if it runs out, which I know runs contrary to the purists that claim that coals are the only way to go. But, if messing with the smoker, I just leave it, and it does it's thing.

As per the "bark" that was mentioned in the previous posts...I think I create this when, in the final stage of the cooking process, when I put the ribs on the BBQ (grill in Amer), add some sauce to the meat, and this stage adds the crispiness to the outside of the meat.

Again, I do thank Mike and others for their suggestions and comments since they helped me out in this new...manly endeavour. :)

Happy cooking and motoring, m'8s.

capt
 
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