Early Retirement & Financial Independence Community

Early Retirement & Financial Independence Community (https://www.early-retirement.org/forums/)
-   Life after FIRE (https://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f29/)
-   -   Recommendation for Electric Smoker (https://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f29/recommendation-for-electric-smoker-104292.html)

kannon 06-16-2020 09:24 AM

Recommendation for Electric Smoker
 
Good Morning All. With this lockdown I have been enjoying grilling on a Craigslist procured 3 burner Weber (great deal, elbow grease and a few parts). Been enjoying the grill but lacks for doing a long slow smoke.

Looking for an electric smoker, something that can fit on my patio, work all year road, reliable, able to do long slow cook.

Appreciate anyone's experience on a smoker they use and any recommendations for my first trial at smoking.

Thanks

braumeister 06-16-2020 09:30 AM

Nothing electric here; like others I've been delighted with my Big Green Egg for many years. Kamado Joe is another great choice there.

For a pure smoker, the most popular brand is Traeger and I have several friends who love theirs.

audreyh1 06-16-2020 09:58 AM

I very much love my Traeger pellet smoker. The wood smoke flavors are fantastic. I use it for lower temp long smokes. But don’t get the cheapest, smallest model. The pro temp controller, larger hopper, etc. are important.

Once ignited the burning wood pellets provide the heat, but an electric fan controls the temp, plus there are knobs, digital display, temp sensors, etc.

Dalmore 06-16-2020 10:21 AM

Traeger here also. Very satisfied with it.

Red Badger 06-16-2020 11:01 AM

Here's a guide for a wide range of choices

https://amazingribs.com/ratings-revi...-buying-guides

timo2 06-16-2020 11:05 AM

We are on our second Masterbuilt electric smoker. We like the brand. The newer ones have improved on drip trays, digital readouts, and wood tray.

DektolMan 06-16-2020 11:11 AM

not electric but we just bought a RecTec pellet smoker and couldn't be happier. Their customer service is fantastic.

CardsFan 06-16-2020 12:14 PM

Masterbuilt Electric here. Very happy with it, but if I had to replace it I would upgrade to the automatic temperature control. The manual is OK, but it does take some time to dial in the temp to start, and then it can creep up as the day warms and the the meat starts rising in temp.

A load of wood chips lasts about 2-3 hours, so you do need to reload once or twice, unlike the Traeger with pellet feeder.

A couple of hints on the wood chip:
- they are half the price at my grocery compared to the grill store or even Lowes.
- No need to soak the chips

nvestysly 06-16-2020 01:03 PM

6 Attachment(s)
Okay, I'm going to hijack the thread a bit. Not really, but maybe another point of view about smoking on a gas grill. Give that Weber grill a chance...

We have a 35+ year old, two-burner Kenmore grill. Nearly 15 years ago I decided to try some low and slow smoking after watching a segment of Steven Raichlen's BBQ University. I was impressed with the results. I've been successful smoking pork butt, pork ribs, pork loin, pork chops, whole chicken, chicken legs/wings/thighs/breast, and many other things. I've not been happy with my results on brisket.

I realize chicken is not low and slow (250 F for hours), but high and fast (375 F for about an hour) but it's easy. My favorite is pork butt at 1-1/2 hours per pound or so to a delectable 205 F internal temperature.

Here are a few pictures from a recent chicken leg smoke-off! I usually make my own dry rub but used Bad Byron's this time.

pacergal 06-16-2020 02:33 PM

Looks good!

Z3Dreamer 06-16-2020 03:32 PM

I use an electric smoker to convert cheaper meats into tasty meals. I buy pork-boston butt, whole chickens and whole turkeys. Some times, I brine the birds. Some times not. To smoke these I purchased a cheap electric smoker at my local big box chain hardware store. This was 20 years ago and the thing still works. It is bullet shaped, but has no controls. Just plug it in. 2 racks. I use a thermometer with a remote readout to track the temperature. It works just fine. If what I do is your vision then you could go to Home Depot, Lowes or Sam's Club and buy their $150 electric smoker by Masterbuilt or whomever. In most of the cheap ones, you can also add some flavor wood. I find that it is a waste of time. I can smoke a lot of stuff on two racks. I keep my smoker in the garage so I do not have nor do I need an insulated smoker, although I have some r-4 aluminum wrapped around it.

There are those who are very serious about the smoker. They want more controls and more options on the box. They will smoke more expensive cuts of meat. They want to smoke more than 40 pounds of meat at a time. They want to smoke outside in the dead of winter so they need a heavily insulated smoker (I keep mine in the garage.)

You have choices based on your vision.

Red Badger 06-16-2020 03:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nvestysly (Post 2443540)

We have a 35+ year old, two-burner Kenmore grill. Nearly 15 years ago I decided to try some low and slow smoking after watching a segment of Steven Raichlen's BBQ University. I was impressed with the results. I've been successful smoking pork butt, pork ribs, pork loin, pork chops, whole chicken, chicken legs/wings/thighs/breast, and many other things. I've not been happy with my results on brisket.

I realize chicken is not low and slow (250 F for hours), but high and fast (375 F for about an hour) but it's easy. My favorite is pork butt at 1-1/2 hours per pound or so to a delectable 205 F internal temperature


+1.
I smoke with my gas grill when I'm too lazy to fuss with my smoker. I put apple wood chips in a fire box and place it over the burner. Give that Weber a try before buying another appliance.

We live in Georgia. There are deputized patrols looking for folks smoking with gas grills. I could end up in a reeducation camp any day now.;D

Sunset 06-16-2020 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nvestysly (Post 2443540)
Okay, I'm going to hijack the thread a bit. Not really, but maybe another point of view about smoking on a gas grill. Give that Weber grill a chance...

We have a 35+ year old, two-burner Kenmore grill. Nearly 15 years ago I decided to try some low and slow smoking after watching a segment of Steven Raichlen's BBQ University. I was impressed with the results. I've been successful smoking pork butt, pork ribs, pork loin, pork chops, whole chicken, chicken legs/wings/thighs/breast, and many other things. I've not been happy with my results on brisket.

.....

I'm really impressed... a 35+ year old BBQ.

You must have replaced the burners and grills on it a few times ?

I feel lucky if I can get 10 years in the City, then my grills start rusting off along with everything else.

CardsFan 06-16-2020 04:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Z3Dreamer (Post 2443610)
I use an electric smoker to convert cheaper meats into tasty meals. I buy pork-boston butt, whole chickens and whole turkeys. Some times, I brine the birds. Some times not. To smoke these I purchased a cheap electric smoker at my local big box chain hardware store. This was 20 years ago and the thing still works. It is bullet shaped, but has no controls. Just plug it in. 2 racks. I use a thermometer with a remote readout to track the temperature. It works just fine. If what I do is your vision then you could go to Home Depot, Lowes or Sam's Club and buy their $150 electric smoker by Masterbuilt or whomever. In most of the cheap ones, you can also add some flavor wood. I find that it is a waste of time. I can smoke a lot of stuff on two racks. I keep my smoker in the garage so I do not have nor do I need an insulated smoker, although I have some r-4 aluminum wrapped around it.

There are those who are very serious about the smoker. They want more controls and more options on the box. They will smoke more expensive cuts of meat. They want to smoke more than 40 pounds of meat at a time. They want to smoke outside in the dead of winter so they need a heavily insulated smoker (I keep mine in the garage.)

You have choices based on your vision.

This got me thinking.

To OP:

The easiest thing in the world to smoke is a pork butt (Boston butt, pork shoulder, all the same, some just have bones). All you need is low heat (about 225F), smoke and time. BUT, make sure you get the final temp to above 200F. This is a cheap way to start, and really hard to screw up (IF you get to temperature). I normally use the "Texas Crutch" and wrap them in foil at about 165F. Add some apple juice, and wait. FYI, this can take over 12 hours.

If you want something faster, chicken and turkey can be cooked a little hotter, and come out great.

I always spray everything with apple juice, every time I open the smoker (which should not be often)

By all means DO NOT start out thinking you will make a brisket. Unless you are extremely luck, your first couple of briskets will be a disappointment and turn you off from smoking.

What I have found works with brisket:

- get a whole brisket ($$$)
- inject with beef broth and/or apple juice
- Make sure you get it to the right temp (I forget off hand, but not as high as pork, maybe 190F?)
- It is OK to wrap any meat in foil after 6-7 hours. It is not going to get any more smoke flavor, and might actually get a little harsh if smoked longer.

Lastly, have some fun with it. We tried a meatloaf. Came out good. Some folks smoke chicken wings for a while before deep frying.

In the beginning, not everything will turn out GREAT, but most will be better than just grilling.

FWIW, I have only used apple wood for smoke. It has turned out so good, I am afraid to try anything else.

ENJOY.

Edit to add: also try a chuck roast, to make pulled beef. Just as easy as pork butt, and just as tasty.

braumeister 06-16-2020 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CardsFan (Post 2443634)
The easiest thing in the world to smoke is a pork butt.

That is certainly true, but the one part many forget about is the finish. Once your butt gets to temperature (I always go to at least 205F), you want to use the FTC technique.

Wrap it in foil, then wrap it in a couple of towels, then put it in a cooler (any kind, cheap styrofoam is fine) and let it sit there for a couple of hours. That's FTC (Foil, Towel, Cooler) and it makes a world of difference.

If you try to shred it when it comes off the smoker (pulled pork), much of the moisture will be driven off as steam and you will have drier, less flavorful meat.

Letting it sit, insulated, in the cooler will allow the butt to reabsorb those juices and you will get a moist, juicy load of meat when you pull it.

A very simple, but very useful tip.

Incidentally, the one thing I don't like about Costco is that their butts are boneless. I've found that the bone-in butts I get at my Kroger come out better.

One more tip: When you look at pork shoulders, you'll see both butts and "picnics". Skip the picnic IMHO.

CardsFan 06-16-2020 04:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by braumeister (Post 2443643)
That is certainly true, but the one part many forget about is the finish. Once your butt gets to temperature (I always go to at least 205F), you want to use the FTC technique.

Wrap it in foil, then wrap it in a couple of towels, then put it in a cooler (any kind, cheap styrofoam is fine) and let it sit there for a couple of hours. That's FTC (Foil, Towel, Cooler) and it makes a world of difference.

If you try to shred it when it comes off the smoker (pulled pork), much of the moisture will be driven off as steam and you will have drier, less flavorful meat.

Letting it sit, insulated, in the cooler will allow the butt to reabsorb those juices and you will get a moist, juicy load of meat when you pull it.

A very simple, but very useful tip.

Incidentally, the one thing I don't like about Costco is that their butts are boneless. I've found that the bone-in butts I get at my Kroger come out better.

One more tip: When you look at pork shoulders, you'll see both butts and "picnics". Skip the picnic IMHO.

I forgot about the cooler. I do it all the time. You are right. It makes a difference. I don't use a towel, but have a small cooler, just the right size for a butt.

I have done both bone in and boneless. Usually bone in is a lot cheaper, even taking in to account the weight of the bone. And, as with most meat I cook, there is something about bone in that makes it more flavorful

Ronstar 06-16-2020 04:41 PM

I recommend a Traeger pellet smoker. Ive had mine 8 years. Do mostly brisket or ribs. My home smoked meals taste as good or better than any bbq I get from a restaurant or bbq place.

CardsFan 06-16-2020 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ronstar (Post 2443649)
I recommend a Traeger pellet smoker. Ive had mine 8 years. Do mostly brisket or ribs. My home smoked meals taste as good or better than any bbq I get from a restaurant or bbq place.

Any advice for brisket? I find them the most touchy one to smoke. Last one was fantastic. Previous 2 were, meh. Last time was a whole brisket, in the cryovac bag, and injected with beef broth. I think that makes a difference, but open to ideas.

audreyh1 06-16-2020 04:52 PM

I finally got brave enough to do a brisket on the Traeger, and I couldn’t believe how good it was and with a gorgeous bark! DH, who grew up in West Texas with lots of BBQ, gave me the thumbs up and said it was delicious.

One I wrapped it in butcher paper I finished it in the oven because I didn’t want to burn all those pellets once I didn’t need smoke anymore. The bark continued to develop and turned almost black.

We use whole packers, not the flat. Look for flexible meat that bends nicely. Plenty of fat. I somehow found smaller ones but still 11-13 hours.

I watched a bunch of Franklin videos to figure out how to go about it, trimming, rubs, timing, temps, wraps etc.

Simple salt and pepper rub. I had a water dish in the smoker, and occasionally sprayed it with apple cider vinegar, I think.

OldShooter 06-16-2020 05:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kannon (Post 2443419)
... Appreciate anyone's experience on a smoker they use and any recommendations for my first trial at smoking. ...

One of life's lessons for me is "Don't buy cheap tools." But sometimes I forget it, so for smoking I started with a two-chamber New Braunfels smoker that leaked so much air into the fire chamber that it was impossible to control. I ditched that an bought a cheap "tin box" Camp Chef propane smoker. It was a step up, but low and slow was difficult because the low propane flame didn't keep the wood smoking. I now have a good Traeger L'il Tex at the lake place and a Camp Chef DLX at home. Both excellent pellet smokers.

There are electric smokers of the "cheap tin box" variety. Buy one and get the experience that will teach you what you really want. There are also high quality commercial electric smokers aka expensive smokers that might work for you. I have never tried one.

I think you'll end up with a pellet smoker. Might as well start there. Our local CraigsList always has a few. In new, I would suggest the Camp Chef DLX (https://www.amazon.com/Camp-Chef-Smo.../dp/B06WVCR6FP) with a sear station: https://www.amazon.com/Camp-Chef-Smo.../dp/B01DTLYUZW

Quote:

Originally Posted by CardsFan (Post 2443652)
Any advice for brisket? ...

Go here: The BBQ BRETHREN FORUMS. - Powered by vBulletin and read threads until your eyes glaze over. The most important thing to know is that a brisket is done when it probes tender like butter, regardless of temperature. Mine typically go for 10-14 hours at 225deg. The brisket will tell you when it's done. The clock won't and the thermometer won't.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:43 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.