better than masterbuilt? please?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by susieqz, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  2. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    somehow, i missed the cookshack smokette elite, which is more or less afordable. thanks sarge.
  3. In the grand scheme of things you get what you pay for . If you just want a OK smoker and don't want to pay a lot for it the MES gen 1 is a great place to start. Let's face it they got real cheap this holiday season. Some will say they still are over priced but not me. There are other choices out there where you don"t have to spend a lot of money. Only you know your financial restraints. Others  have given you great advice. The botton line is what do you want and what are you willing to spend. You won't get a Corvette for a Malibu price. I am not being judge mental but as honest as I can be. But in my own mind if your price point is under 6 or 7 hundred dollars check out the SI line particularly the # 3. If you want to spend a couple of hundred to get into a  hobby look hard at the MES.  

  4. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    looks like i found the love of my life. the smokeshack elite 025 is  perfect for me. it won't cold smoke, but i ordered that amazin smoker anyway.

    american made is cool.
  5. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Doubtful the amazin will work in the Cookshack.  Too air tight.  There are a few posts where folks had to drill additional holes in their smoker just to get sufficient air flow for the amazin to work.  The CS, the SI and the St are all roughly the same construction.  Doors have a compression fit; no gasket. Here is a link with multiple posts regarding the Amazin  products and peoples work arounds to get a harmonious connection.   In all likelihood, the smoker's warranty was voided.  Read them carefully.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
  6. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    thanks, sarge. i hadn't really thot of vents but i sure want them. not gonna drill holes n void the warrenty on a $500 unit either.
  7. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    All  of the smokers are vented.  In the floor, there is a drain hole for grease and drippings and a corresponding hole in the top where the smoke exits.  Convection brings in air from the bottom through the drain hole and this small amount of air allows a chunk of wood to smolder/or burn with no flame and smokes your food with the smoke filling the chamber and exiting thru the top. CS, SI and ST all work in the same manner and work well with SI and ST being analog/not digital. 

    The MES GEN1 smoker is very popular, and is less money, and pretty much flawless in its operation.
  8. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    off topic, i have a new reason to hate traeger. they told me the lowest setting, ''smoke'' would do 160 degrees. wrong at 30 degrees outside it's 95-100, whith a great deal of white smoke billowing out.

    next, i tried the 180 setting. this holds around 200.

    this pellet thing is only good for high temps. 225-400. i mostly smoke at 225. that works, but i wanted to use dave's low tem smoking for my  xmas ham.

    well, at least i can keep it under 212.
  9. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Never seen the traeger off that much unless the temp sensor is bad or needs a good cleaning. May"be a bad connection or cut in the wire. If its cold and windy and you haven't put a gasket around the lid it will screw up temps also. Also have you cleaned out the firepot of ashes?
  10. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    thanks, gee. no i haven't cleaned the ashes but i shall.

    thing is, it does hold around 225 when set for that.

    have you used lower settings?
  11. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  12. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    here's something weird. since i was testing the smoker, i threw on some johnsonville brats. they cooked 1 hr at 100, then 2 hours at 200.

    i didn't expect this, but they are better than those smoked at 225 which is my usual. in both cases i smoked to 165.

    i know people get upset when you say low temps are better but it's easy to check this if you like johnsonville brats. i'm just reporting.
  13. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    great tip, gee. thefire pot was1/2 full of ashes, plus thewhole bottom was  full. i probably cause my own problems with sloppy maintenence.i cleaned it out. i hope this isn't like a fireplace n works better with a bed of ashes?

    anyway, i'm pretty happy, because of those brats. my new theory is that you can get most of the benefits of low temp smoking just by staying under 212.

    gonna check that out.
  14. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I run my MES 30 Gen 1 with absolutely no mods and it's been working fine for over two years. The only thing I added was the A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker because I never use wood chips.
  15. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    rick, do you only use pellets?

    have you tested them against wood chunks?

    i kinda thot chunks would give better flavor.
  16. red dog

    red dog Smoking Fanatic

    If you get good quality pellets like those Todd sells with the AMNPS you won't notice any difference.
  17. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    great to know.i just ordered a bag of todd's pellets.
  18. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Susie, I started out using wood chips because I didn't know about wood pellet smokers like the A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker. I didn't put wood chunks in my MES 30 because my understanding was that the wood chip loader and tray were designed for just that; wood chips. I found loading wood chips every 20-30 minutes too much of a hassle which is why I changed to using wood pellets. I think for a propane or charcoal grill or a charcoal bullet smoker, wood chunks would be fine. For the MES, I'd go with wood pellets.

    Actually, wood is wood. Any good quality wood used for BBQ will impart great flavor. Red Dog is right; Todd Johnson sells top quality pellets. Wood pellets are essentially sawdust compressed under heat and pressure with a binding being applied to keep the pellet together. A number of manufacturers will add resins and other stuff as binders so that the cheaper pellets aren't 100% wood.

    Todd also sells pellets in every "flavor" you'd ever need. I have Oak. Hickory, Mesquite, Pecan, Apple, and his own Pittmaster's Choice, which includes cherry wood in the mix. For my purposes and the flavor profiles I'm after, those are sufficient. In addition to using one wood pellet type, you can also mix oak and pecan or pecan and apple for smoking pork ribs or pulled pork, or any combo you want. That's part of the fun of home smoking.

    In another thread I copy/pasted an article on how a company made their wood pellets because after editing out the company proprietary stuff, it told you how they're made and why among many smokers they're preferable. I took a BBQ class last summer and the instructor said he used wood pellets in his home smoker.

    Here's that partial article below. Note that it says wood pellets are clean burning and don't leave much creosote behind, which is not the case with wood chunks.


    - FLAVOR = Wood pellets provide more flavor and offer a variety of flavors

    - SMOKE = Wood Pellets provide more smoke with more consistency

    - HEAT = Heat source is 100% natural wood pellets, no fuel or hot coals etc.

    - CLEAN BURNING = Wood pellets product very little ash with very little creosote build up

    - SAFE = Danger of fire from removing hot ash and embers is eliminated, unlike log burning units


    Pellets are easily obtainable through the U.S. [The best are made from] 100% wood, food grade barbecue pellets specifically produced for use with food.  Barbecue pellet are made from hardwoods that contain fewer resins and are produced in a controlled process to ensure a food grade product.  (Heating pellets, on the other hand, are produced specifically for heat stoves and do not meet food grade requirements.)  Barbecue pellets are made by pulverizing hardwood sawdust and extruding to a uniform density through a rotating die under enormous heat and pressure (400 degrees F @ 10,000 PSI).  Naturally occurring lignin in the wood binds the pellets into their shape.  Pellets are then cooled and placed in...bags."
  19. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    rick, thanks for all the details. looks like i was wrong about pellets.

    mind you, i started with traeger pellets. they  were awful. since then, i've tried both cheaper pellets n more expensive ones.

    all were better than traeger.

    i have some of todd's cherry pellets coming because everyone here speaks so highly of him. got his smoker coming.

    giving that much detail is very helpful for those with little experience. kind of you, rick.
  20. I had a hard time keeping the pure cherry pellets to burn.  I read that I was not the only one. It had ben suggested to mix hickory or oak to keep them going. I contacted Todd At Amazen and he told me not to try and mix them but place them on top of the other hard wood pellets. It works, I start hickory and about 3/4 of a inch latter I layer the cherry.

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