calling all little/big chief users.......

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by tasunkawitko, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    hey, guys - looking for some experiences here to see if they dovetail with mine...

    i am a huge fan of the little and big chief smokehouses. i have one of each and have discovered that as long as i use them within the parameters of what they are designed for, they are top notch for things such as jerky, fish, "cold smoked" birds, nuts, cheese, sausage-type stuff, cuts of meats and, most recently, venison "dried (chipped) beef" and romanian pastrama (not pastrami), where a little drying is necessary and/or desired; moisture CAN be added to the whole experience, but in general, for things it was designed for, the "chief" doesn't need or want moisture. they are intended for cooler smoking and work well for that - as long as someone doesn't try to smoke-cook ribs or a brisket or something like that, these things are the way to go.

    anyway, i wanted to ask the other "chief" users about their experiences and the other ways in which they've used them. one thing i've noticed is that when a pan of chips is "used up," leaving blackened chips, the "charcoal" still gives off a great amount of really nice, sweet smokey essence, so i usually keep the chips in the pan until they have pretty much transformed into white ash - how about you?

    also, has anyone ever calculated an "average" running temperature on these things? i know this is one heck of a loaded question, because wind, weather and so many other factors play a role - but i was hoping we could find a median range, if that's possible. the only thing i know for sure is that the big chief tends to run hotter than the little chief, and that using the cardboard packaging box as an insulator really does raise the temps dramatically, if that's what you want.

    anyone else? any other points of discussion?
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Tas, evening.... I have smoked on mine for about 20+ years.... It is a Totem, the big chief version.... I have some sort of rug/blanket thing I wrap around it.... Tied in the front for easy access.... hole in the rug and door for therm access.... I quit using chips years ago 'cause they burned up too fast... I went with "cookies" cut from alder or big leaf maple... about 3-4" dia and 1" thick on my miter saw....  they last several hours.... that smoker smokes fish better than anything else... hands down.... maybe cause I smoked fish on it for 20 years I got it down pat...

    When I moved to Omak, the heating element wasn't hot enough... I put in one of those table top single burner elements from W-M for $9 back then... Installed the burner in the bottom of the smoker, installed the thermostat knob thru the front of the lower panel, installed the thermostat under the element somewhere to regulate the heat...  It works really well.... If you want pics let me know... Dave
  3. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    hey, dave - thanks for the reply.

    when we get closer to spring, i might see if you can't show me some pix of your modifications. i love those chief smokers for fish, and it will be about time to get cranking up with that. i'm liking the "cool" smoking that these provide, with the lower temps and the smokehouse atmosphere. it's perfect for the projects i mentioned above, and a few others as well.

    thanks again, and happy new year!

  4. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    p.s - forgot to mention it, but i really like the "cookie" idea ~ i am betting that works like a charm!
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  6. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    awesome - thank you, dave!

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