Meat Smoker Information

Searching for info from area people about purchasing a meat smoker.  Would like to do my own wild game, birds, fish as well as beef, chicken and turkeys.  New to this venture - but eager to learn.  Want a quality smoker that holds temp in our winters.  Electric, propane?  Grateful for any tips for those of you with experience.  Thank you!

FBO TROLL's picture
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Masterbuilt 40inch electric digital smoker at Sams Club, $300 has remote control and works great


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 I have a propane one and my dad has a Masterbuilt Electric. I use his when I do a pork butt for a party every year. The reason that I use his, is if it's windy his will hold temp, where my propane has a tendency to get blown out. If I was going to buy another one, I would get the one at Sam's that FBO Troll mentioned.

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 I also have a Masterbuilt 40" electric, this is my first year with it and I've used it all winter regardless of temps.  It does a fine job.

Don't practice until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong.

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go as big as you can for ease of rotation and size of batches - and put the electric digital smoker inside a little "garden closet" by Rubbermaid or some such. It will keep up in any weather.

Put a couple bricks on bottom rack for thermal mass in deep winter so the temp rebound is faster after you open it to inspect/rotate your meats/cheeses.

thusly....

a 6-4 inch reducer acts as the collection "bell" just above the smoker's vent
when the doors are closed ALL smoke exits the shed - helped along by a Menard's assist fan (just outside of view on upper right of the ducting) - a cheap brown plastic dryer vent keeps the rain/snow out

Image result for 4" duct fan menards

power strip inside shed powers a nice light on the door (installed after this pic) for checking at night - also supplies power to the Auber dual PID controller for trouble free temps and controls - I used the Auber for the "digital" part and put it on an old school bradley smoker - should have bought a six rather than a four rack

An old fridge or freezer would also be awesome - or just build a shed and insulate it if you don't care how it looks to neighbors. Smoke pans, smoke generators and old-school heaters would supply heat/smoke.


 

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This looks like a fantastic idea. I think I have a new project to work on.

guywhofishes Said:
go as big as you can for ease of rotation and size of batches - and put the electric digital smoker inside a little "garden closet" by Rubbermaid or some such. It will keep up in any weather.

Put a couple bricks on bottom rack for thermal mass in deep winter so the temp rebound is faster after you open it to inspect/rotate your meats/cheeses.

thusly....

a 6-4 inch reducer acts as the collection "bell" just above the smoker's vent
when the doors are closed ALL smoke exits the shed - helped along by a Menard's assist fan (just outside of view on upper right of the ducting) - a cheap brown plastic dryer vent keeps the rain/snow out

Image result for 4" duct fan menards

power strip inside shed powers a nice light on the door (installed after this pic) for checking at night - also supplies power to the Auber dual PID controller for trouble free temps and controls - I used the Auber for the "digital" part and put it on an old school bradley smoker - should have bought a six rather than a four rack

An old fridge or freezer would also be awesome - or just build a shed and insulate it if you don't care how it looks to neighbors. Smoke pans, smoke generators and old-school heaters would supply heat/smoke.


Don't practice until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong.

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TON Staff Davis Said:
This looks like a fantastic idea. I think I have a new project to work on.

guywhofishes Said:
go as big as you can for ease of rotation and size of batches - and put the electric digital smoker inside a little "garden closet" by Rubbermaid or some such. It will keep up in any weather.

Put a couple bricks on bottom rack for thermal mass in deep winter so the temp rebound is faster after you open it to inspect/rotate your meats/cheeses.

thusly....

a 6-4 inch reducer acts as the collection "bell" just above the smoker's vent
when the doors are closed ALL smoke exits the shed - helped along by a Menard's assist fan (just outside of view on upper right of the ducting) - a cheap brown plastic dryer vent keeps the rain/snow out

Image result for 4" duct fan menards

power strip inside shed powers a nice light on the door (installed after this pic) for checking at night - also supplies power to the Auber dual PID controller for trouble free temps and controls - I used the Auber for the "digital" part and put it on an old school bradley smoker - should have bought a six rather than a four rack

An old fridge or freezer would also be awesome - or just build a shed and insulate it if you don't care how it looks to neighbors. Smoke pans, smoke generators and old-school heaters would supply heat/smoke.


Guy shared this idea last year with me, I put my 6 rack Bradley in the garden shed rigged up the exhaust vent and fan, and use it all winter. I only struggle when its below zero keeping heat towards the top racks, so I then put my sunflower head propane heater in the shed and warm up the ambient temp in the shed a few degrees.

Works awesome.

Thanks again Guy

Neat

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if you want to avoid the propane hassle you can maybe do "mods" to your Bradley - a dual element (which I did) or a circulator fan (which I SHOULD do)

www.susanminor.org/forums/forumdisplay.php

not sure if you can mod the new digital version's heater like you can the analog OBS?

my biggest problem is jamming too much crap in - even go so far as to "stack" extra racks I bought which I saw in this pic - this is why a 6 rack is better IMO
 photo candiedsalmon030.jpg

 

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 That is a great set up for an electric smoker. Good idea! 

I'm of the mindset that two smokers would be preferred for the tasks you have in mind. However I did start out with a Bradley 6 rack using it for both game processing and BBQ. I got  frustrated with the Bradley and it got moved to game processing only, however building a "smokehouse" for it would eliminate a lot of that frustration. I now use an Egg for my BBQ. Been smoking BBQ all winter and it just spits in Mother Natures face. 

FWIW, I would go Masterbuilt 40" over the Bradley if set on an electric do all smoker. Check Amazon for prices and free shipping. I know at one time they were $100+ cheaper then the likes of Cabelas/Scheels. 

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I have a electric smoking it smoker. Go to smoking it .com. Bradleys work but don't last long.way over priced junk.You can set  this smoker and walk away and forget about it.customer service is awsome also.

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guywhofishes Said:

if you want to avoid the propane hassle you can maybe do "mods" to your Bradley - a dual element (which I did) or a circulator fan (which I SHOULD do)

www.susanminor.org/forums/forumdisplay.php

not sure if you can mod the new digital version's heater like you can the analog OBS?

my biggest problem is jamming too much crap in - even go so far as to "stack" extra racks I bought which I saw in this pic - this is why a 6 rack is better IMO
 photo candiedsalmon030.jpg

Even with a 6 rack the size can be a pain. If you're doing many pounds of jerky at once, or salmon, you will be filling the smoker up multiple times. With jerky I've put smoke on them for a bit and rotated to the oven to finish, while filling up the smoker again, repeat. 

Someday I'd like to either retrofit an old fridge or have a dedicated meat processing smoker built, but I currently don't do enough to justify that. 

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I Still old school wood and coal fired smoker. i love it but it takes tending too

Ya cant grill it Till ya kill it

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Thanks some much for sharing your idea. I have an old school bradlay smoker and gave up on using in cold weather. I was going to make the smoke stack like you did but use it in the garage. This looks to be a better idea.

Redmist

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Redmist Said:
Thanks some much for sharing your idea. I have an old school bradlay smoker and gave up on using in cold weather. I was going to make the smoke stack like you did but use it in the garage. This looks to be a better idea.

Come on. nothing like addng logs to keep a brisket at 200 degree for 16 hours in neg 20 lol.

Ya cant grill it Till ya kill it

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Thanks guywhosmokes, that is a great setup. I've been borrowing a smoker for awhile trying to decide which one to get.

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4570killer Said:

I Still old school wood and coal fired smoker. i love it but it takes tending too

you'll no argument from me - NOTHING beats old school taste/quality! The true "blue smoke" that comes from slow-burning logs is unbeatable and Bradley is close but not ideal - not even close IMO for top notch competition BBQ quality

it's the babysitting of the old school approach that I can't do - some guys (especially down south) make the babysitting of it part of the fun and "zen" of it  - and I could see that if a guy didn't have other interests or weren't impatient like me

 

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Redmist Said:
Thanks some much for sharing your idea. I have an old school bradlay smoker and gave up on using in cold weather. I was going to make the smoke stack like you did but use it in the garage. This looks to be a better idea.

the wind is an electric smoker's big enemy - any closed area - no matter how crude - makes a huge difference

 

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T-ROY Said:
I have a electric smoking it smoker. Go to smoking it .com. Bradleys work but don't last long.way over priced junk.You can set  this smoker and walk away and forget about it.customer service is awsome also.

those do look pretty well built (sturdy)

I suspect the Bradley's life cycle depends on moisture/care (cleaning door seals once a year - yadda) . I've not found mine to be junk - but I agree Bradley's are certainly not "bullet-proof".

But I also noticed the smoke and heat are controlled with just one rheostat on the smokin-it? And you simply plunk a single block of wood on the heater? Maybe you have different model? If not - how do you do any long (overnight) smoking with unattended continuous perfect smoke and independent heat for pork butts, etc? I can set my system up and walk away (even sleep) for 16 hours if need be - and it shuts it off when the butt gets to 190 IT or whatever I choose. Continuous proper smoke levels for first 1-8 hours... or whatever I desire and with a mix of woods if I want to get complicated. And I can ramp my temps at whatever times or when the meats hit certain temps (Auber).

Your "walk away and forget about it" doesn't seem to apply for any long term smokes... and some of the very best are your 14-16 hour butts. Again - maybe you have an advanced model?

 

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one last post - if you put the smoker in a shed or some such attached or against your home it's CRITICAL you keep it clean! Accidents can happen especially with an inch of caked on old skanky grease which has a lot of BTUs if it ever gets going! So don;t let them get nasty fat buildups - this prevents most problems.

All smokers have the potential to do this:
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-O81gK_kQi_8/Tj6oAuHTwFI/AAAAAAAAACQ/mN07ceK1Hxc/s800/BradleyOnFire.jpg

 

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guywhofishes Said:

4570killer Said:

I Still old school wood and coal fired smoker. i love it but it takes tending too

you'll no argument from me - NOTHING beats old school taste/quality! The true "blue smoke" that comes from slow-burning logs is unbeatable and Bradley is close but not ideal - not even close IMO for top notch competition BBQ quality

it's the babysitting of the old school approach that I can't do - some guys (especially down south) make the babysitting of it part of the fun and "zen" of it  - and I could see that if a guy didn't have other interests or weren't impatient like me

I dont mind babysitting it at all. Ill be doing yard work, working on my old pickup, or just have all my ( 2 ) friends over and just have some drinks and watch the smoker. I have modifed mine to have a remote digital temp sender. i keep the moniter on me. and i have 3 analog gauges. 1-750 degree on the fire box, and 2 300 degree in the smoke box. Once you learn ho to control your temps the old school smoker is not hard to use. its just a labor of love lol

Ya cant grill it Till ya kill it

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i have a cookshack smoker that i have set up in my garage with a duct vent to a window above the smoker. i run a fan to help blow the smoke out of the window and there is very little smoke buildup in my garage. one thing i have struggled with is finding out the amount of smoke that it produces at different temps and when using different wood sources(pellets, chips or chunks of wood). i have only had mine for about 5months, so i am still learning about my smoker, but i suspect that comes with any brand.

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Chargers Said:
i have a cookshack smoker that i have set up in my garage with a duct vent to a window above the smoker. i run a fan to help blow the smoke out of the window and there is very little smoke buildup in my garage. one thing i have struggled with is finding out the amount of smoke that it produces at different temps and when using different wood sources(pellets, chips or chunks of wood). i have only had mine for about 5months, so i am still learning about my smoker, but i suspect that comes with any brand.

also be careful using to much of some types of wood. Mesquite for example can get overpowering very quick. I use it very sparingly and only on more robust meats

Ya cant grill it Till ya kill it

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guywhofishes Said:
one last post - if you put the smoker in a shed or some such attached or against your home it's CRITICAL you keep it clean! Accidents can happen especially with an inch of caked on old skanky grease which has a lot of BTUs if it ever gets going! So don;t let them get nasty fat buildups - this prevents most problems.

All smokers have the potential to do this:
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-O81gK_kQi_8/Tj6oAuHTwFI/AAAAAAAAACQ/mN07ceK1Hxc/s800/BradleyOnFire.jpg

Yes regular clean up is part of being a responsible smoke master...haha.

The drip tray puts most of the grease into the little wood biscuit bowl, I clean the drip tray when I notice it has a build up, otherwise its pretty easy to maintain

Neat

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By the way - I do not necessarily advocate the Bradley. I just decided on that one quite a few years back and then tried to optimize for its pros/cons. There are better smokers out there!

And the new smoke generators they are making now (smoldering wood dust "fuses" basically) make it so that you can deliver continuous smoke to any shed, fridge, freezer, or whatever much cheaper than the Bradley "bisquette" way.

If I was to do it over I would probably build a custom shed, insulate it, and put a heater element in it, a digital heat controller (www.auberins.com/), and a fan it it... and use a smoke generator like this brand
www.amazenproducts.com/Default.asp

or others that have come out in last few years.

 

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This thread is making me hungry..... I might have to fire up the ole girl this weekend

Ya cant grill it Till ya kill it

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4570killer Said:
This thread is making me hungry..... I might have to fire up the ole girl this weekend

that's what I was thinking

brisket is my fav of fav's - and I can't get my Bradley dialed in on that

 

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 my tummy is talking to me after reading this

 Adn

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guywhofishes Said:

4570killer Said:
This thread is making me hungry..... I might have to fire up the ole girl this weekend

that's what I was thinking

brisket is my fav of fav's - and I can't get my Bradley dialed in on that

Ive got a briskets figured out. took awhile. they are a very hard meat to figure out if you smoke them whole. Once it warms up im gonna try a new way. 20 hours from first smoke to served. i need a good stockpile of apple and a few other woods. everybody down wind of my place is gonna smell that ... How long and what temp do you smoke them at? The least i go is 12 hours. also briskets "stall" at about 140-150 they ill stay this temp for an hour or more. . you gotta let them go through this. i got for a interal temp of 180 before i let it rest. Briskets take time. but they are worth it

Ya cant grill it Till ya kill it

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 Have any of you avid, addicted smokers ever used manuka wood to smoke any sort of food?

Don't practice until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong.

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4570killer Said:

guywhofishes Said:

4570killer Said:
This thread is making me hungry..... I might have to fire up the ole girl this weekend

that's what I was thinking

brisket is my fav of fav's - and I can't get my Bradley dialed in on that

Ive got a briskets figured out. took awhile. they are a very hard meat to figure out if you smoke them whole. Once it warms up im gonna try a new way. 20 hours from first smoke to served. i need a good stockpile of apple and a few other woods. everybody down wind of my place is gonna smell that ... How long and what temp do you smoke them at? The least i go is 12 hours. also briskets "stall" at about 140-150 they ill stay this temp for an hour or more. . you gotta let them go through this. i got for a interal temp of 180 before i let it rest. Briskets take time. but they are worth it

drool

yep - familiar with "the stall" - foil wrap vs nofoil wrap debate, etc. great debate topics on smoking forums!

yes - I do loong smokes like yours - they turn out "OK"... just not great like I've had at many shacks across the country - I LOVE hitting odd bbq joints wherever I travel

 

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What all meats does everybody smoke?  Haven't ever tried it but would like to in the future.

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