Smoker Advice

802-603hunter

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Decided to upgrade to a new smoker. The one I have now is a 30 year old Little Chief that was given to me and has been cobbed together with a hot plate, some fire bricks, and wire. It works, but not without some backwoods engineering.

I have done some research and am looking at a couple options, including whether to go electric or propane. I haven?t done alot of smoking to date so I am looking for others experience with electric vs propane. Pros, cons, etc. One thing I would like to have regardless is access to the chip tray without opening the chamber and losing heat/temp. This seems like a no brainer but most aren?t set up this way.

For reference I usually smoke about 15# of summer sausage a year and would like to start doing a few roasts and maybe dabble in some smoked cheese as well.

Thanks in advance!
 

Mainewoods

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Travis,

I upgraded my set up about two years ago with a propane smoker. I searched around a lot but ended up going with with the Dyna-Glo regular size (36"), offered by amazon. So far I've been really happy with the set up and the only mods I've made is adding gasket material to the door, to make a bit more air tight, and another thermometer to make sure of the accuracy of my smoking temp. It also has two doors, one just to add chips.

When I so sausage, I remove the grates and use apple wood branches as racks to hang the meat, and there's plenty of room to do ribs or brisket. It's definitely a lot easier to control the heat than my old charcoal set up but you still cannot just leave it and take off for a few hours. if you want to do that, electric is probably the most convenient. I haven't tried cheese yet, but need to mod the heat source if I wanted to do that.
 
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I decided to "dabble" in smoked cheese about 10 years ago. I have always called it "the experiment that went wrong" LOL! I had gotten the smoker way to warm,ain my homemade mozzarella was tied up in cheesecloth bags. I opened up the smoker after 20 minutes. The cheesecloth was empty but the strings of cheese hung in the smoker like sticky cobwebs. It took a day and a half to clean everything out and get ready to go again! I'd do it differently if I was to do it again!


Decided to upgrade to a new smoker. The one I have now is a 30 year old Little Chief that was given to me and has been cobbed together with a hot plate, some fire bricks, and wire. It works, but not without some backwoods engineering.

I have done some research and am looking at a couple options, including whether to go electric or propane. I haven?t done alot of smoking to date so I am looking for others experience with electric vs propane. Pros, cons, etc. One thing I would like to have regardless is access to the chip tray without opening the chamber and losing heat/temp. This seems like a no brainer but most aren?t set up this way.

For reference I usually smoke about 15# of summer sausage a year and would like to start doing a few roasts and maybe dabble in some smoked cheese as well.

Thanks in advance!
 

rustyg

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A couple of years ago, I was looking for a smoker. Same questions as you. I settled on a Masterbuilt Sportsman Elite 30" Black Electric Smoker.
I also bought an attachment for cold smoking.
I have done ribs, brisket, chicken, sausage, and salmon. I have also cold smoked bacon and a lot of cheese.
I am starting to consider getting the equipment to make venison summer sausage and pepperoni.
The pros on my choice were:
Electronic digital thermostat, so I could set and keep it at a temperature for even smoking
Side loading of wood chips (door does not have to be open)
Easy conversion for cold smoking.

Some of the drawbacks are:
Wood chips have to be loaded every couple of hours.
With electric, as opposed to propane or charcoal, you have to be where you can plug in.
Wood chips for this smoker need to be smaller "chips" and not "chunks", due to it being electric elements and size of box for chips.

All in all, I like it a lot. I hate the cleanup, but the food is delicious.
I have used apple, hickory, and mesquite. I am planning on chipping up some alder, as that is supposed to be the most mild of smoke flavors.
 
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shawn_in_MA

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A couple of years ago, I was looking for a smoker. Same questions as you. I settled on a Masterbuilt Sportsman Elite 30" Black Electric Smoker.
I also bought an attachment for cold smoking.
I have done ribs, brisket, chicken, sausage, and salmon. I have also cold smoked bacon and a lot of cheese.
I am starting to consider getting the equipment to make venison summer sausage and pepperoni.
The pros on my choice were:
Electronic digital thermostat, so I could set and keep it at a temperature for even smoking
Side loading of wood chips (door does not have to be open)
Easy conversion for cold smoking.

Some of the drawbacks are:
Wood chips have to be loaded every couple of hours.
With electric, as opposed to propane or charcoal, you have to be where you can plug in.
Wood chips for this smoker need to be smaller "chips" and not "chunks", due to it being electric elements and size of box for chips.

All in all, I like it a lot. I hate the cleanup, but the food is delicious.
I have used apple, hickory, and mesquite. I am planning on chipping up some alder, as that is supposed to be the most mild of smoke flavors.
We have the same one and are very happy with it
 

802-603hunter

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Thanks for the detailed feedback rusty. I will look into those again. I haven’t found a good photo or destoption on the chip loading on those sidefeed versions. I’ll do some more digging.
 

802-603hunter

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I ended up purchasing this smoker a couple weeks ago:
https://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-COS-244-Vertical-Propane-Smoker/dp/B01GFLYWVK

Pretty similar to the one Nate mentioned but the current price difference made the final choice. I smoked a pork butt last weekend to get the feel for it, knowing that would be more forgiving than venison sausage until I get the heat control dialed in. Came out awesome! I?ll likely add a gasket to the door. Only other minor issue is the temp gauge on the door is inaccurate but I run a remote digital, so no worries there. Might try some summer sausage this weekend.

4DD1F4B1-F463-43D9-9253-1E4EBE921AE5.jpg
 

Gwlambo

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That looks great - I run the Green Egg. It is not easy and too me almost two years to learn it. But I love that thing now. I cook brisket, ribs, sausages, chicken, steak.... love it. When you get used to it - I can cook for 10 hrs without checking. the insulation qualities are phenomenal. I do wish there was a wood/chip feeder - only downfall.
 

Mainewoods

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Nice smoker and that pork butt looks awesome! I need a digital set up myself, what model are you using Travis?
 

802-603hunter

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