What electric smoker do I get?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by smokin mama, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. I have been using a UDS that I made...but I hate dealing with it in the winter.  Looking to get an electric smoker but I am totally confused.  There are so many out there and most have decent reviews.  I would love to get a SI 3 but don't want to put out that much $$ right now. Also I want to smoke primarily chicken and am concerned about max temps of 250.  What electric smoker do you guys recommend for chicken?
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
  2. lyricalchaos

    lyricalchaos Newbie

    Same question here, my father-n-law would like one for his birthday, leaning towards the Smokin-It #1 but would love suggestions in the 250-350 budget range.
  3. This might not be the direction you're wanting to go, but I'd get myself an electric smoker element kit and a thick blanket. Install the element and you're off to the races. You've spent $40 and now you've got tons of $$$ for more MEAT :)
  4. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    If your budget is around $250 I would go with the MES 30" and if its around $350 the MES 40". They both go to 275 which is high enough for chicken (at least for my liking). They are also well insulated so they should work well in the cold (but I can't attest to that since it is never truly cold in Florida). I also like the ease of use with the digital controls. If you get one of the models without a window the price will be lower but I like having the window.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
  5. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Don't know where you're located but a few members here have gotten online or in-store deals on Masterbuilt 30" electric smokers for under $150--some for less than $100 on closeout sales. I recommend a Generation 1 (you can get more info on "generations" of MES models if you ask). I bought a MES 30 Gen 1--basic model, no window or remote control--from Amazon about 3 years ago for $189--and that's a high price these days. I love my MES; you can cook plenty of chicken on its four racks. Some special Cabela's and Sportsman's Warehouse MES 30 Gen 1 models come inexpensively with a with a window, remote control, and 6 racks.

    The MES also comes in a 40-inch model which of course is more expensive. There's also a new Bluetooth model in both 30 and 40 inch sizes which seems to be based on the Gen 1 design.
  6. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Winter will not last forever so that gives you time to research and save up for the smoker you truly want. Those who own the MES, or a Smokin-it, or a Cookshack for that matter, will swear by their choice, as it should be. Tax time is around the corner and if you are getting a refund, and have nothing pressing that needs serious attention, that could be applied towards the smoker of your dreams. As for poultry, they will all do a credible job of introducing smoke. If it is crispy skin you are looking for, you may need to finish it off on a grill or in the oven at a high temperature for a few minutes, depending upon what you are trying to achieve.  
  7. Here is a Youtube video I created just for the purpose of identifying the differences in the GEN I and GEN II

  8. tigerregis

    tigerregis Meat Mopper

    Well done. That should help a lot of smokers. Thanks for your effort.
  9. mojavejoe

    mojavejoe Newbie

    Over the past 5 years I've had a total of four electric smokers. I started with the cheap bullet-style and worked my way up to a nice modified vertical electric that I thought I'd have for a while. 

    About two months I go I was on Craigslist and I found an ad for a Cookshack SM008 (slightly older residential model). The guy was offering it for a price I couldn't refuse. Since then, I've come to realize that the Cookshack will be in the yard until it falls apart (which, by looking at how it's constructed, won't be for a very long time). I got rid of the other electrics and when the time comes, I wouldn't hesitate buying one of these things brand new. 

    This thing is built like a tank, very well insulated, uses significantly fewer chunks than any of my previous smokers and requires little attention.  No water pan to mess with, the wood smolders and never catches fire and consistently puts out great chicken, ribs, brisket and pork butts. 

    If you're looking for something that will last, doesn't need any modifications and puts out great food, I'd go with a Cookshack. It's a little more up front, but from what I've read, people have these units for a very long time. Great domestic customer support and parts availability from their headquarters in Oklahoma too!
  10. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You are so correct, sir.  Among my smokers, I have two Cookshacks, a 066 and a 002.  Best money I spent on smokers.

    Enjoy yours,

  11. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Old Sarge, a friend of mine on SMF, has a Cookshack Amerique and really likes it. If you have the money for a Cookshack that would be a good brand to buy--and it's made in the USA.
  12. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Some time ago Cookshack was offering no interest via paypal for 6 months,  You might want to give them a call (toll free) and see if it is still in effect.  On the SI side of the house, there is a social store on the SI Facebook page which is good for 5% off. As for other electric smokers, you just have to watch for sales and jump when a bargain price is advertised.
  13. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is a really fun video, Joe. I like the way you added the crawl correcting your verbal misstatements. I've got the Gen 1 and to me the Gen 2 is a whole other animal. Even the racks are different. It's amazing seeing the inside of a Masterbuilt so...clean. 
  14. Thanks for the kind words Rick! I don't want to take myself too seriously and while your taking the video nerves cause you to say things you don't catch until you review it. You watch and then roll your eyes not believing you just said that! lol My favorite "goof" was when I said, "the materials are the same size!" I was like did I really say that? lol Now that it has had its seasoning cook it has a nice amber color throughout the inside so I think the silver color is lost to history. I'll be ordering my MB Cold Smoke Generator within the week and weather permitting I hope to do a video on its operation and how it connects to the MES. To show how bad I got the "smoking bug" I just called a local meat processor and ordered a whole hog! The owner asked it I wanted the hams and sides as they would not be cured and then gave the option of grinding them into sausage. I quickly replied that I just purchased a smoker and he laughed and said he know how I wanted my hog cut based on that comment! lol The MES 30 GEN II put out a good amount of smoke "as is." I've seen some reviews stating that owners have had a hard time getting them to produce an acceptable amount of smoke but my did fine. I wasn't overly concern since I'm getting the smoke generator but it does make one feel better when their new purchase preforms as expected.
  15. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Joe, I was really impressed by the production qualities of the video. You put some work into it. Did you use any special program for the rolling graphics? I've never tried making a You Tube video and now I just might try one.

    You've found out that when you buy a smoker you join a club and suddenly in meat departments and other places you're meeting other smokers. That local guy is a find--I wish I had a local butcher who offered service like that. And it looks like you've gone "whole hog"! Jeez, a whole pork shoulder is a lot of meat; I can imagine what having a whole cutup hog is like. What's the size of your freezer?

    I'm salivating thinking of all the ribs you're going to be smoking. Since you'll have an abundance, you should look up You Tube videos which demonstrate how to trim ribs St. Louis style and how to pull the membranes off the backs of any ribs you're going to smoke. It's all great fun.

    Yes, I've read a number of bad reviews about the Gen 2. However, I've read a couple of reviews from guys who claim the MES is a piece of junk. Every product has its justified critics and critics who don't know what they're talking about. I've had my MES 30 Gen 1 and the only time I had a problem with it was from user (me) error. I think I told you I use the A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker and wood pellets because together the give outstanding smoking results. However, the AMNPS was designed for the MES 30 Gen 1 but Todd, the inventor and company owner, has other smokers that work with the Gen 2. I also like the AMNPS because I can both hot and cold smoke with it.
  16. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I thoroughly enjoyed the video.
  17. Thank you too Sarge! Rick, I use Windows Movie Maker to edit my videos. There are more elaborate programs out there but this one is free to download if your running Windows as your OPS. It does all I need for the production of decent videos. It allows you to add captions, insert music, add animations, and use both vids and pics. I've been using it for a couple of years and have learned how to use it by trial and error. I'm about to get a belated gift with my tax return and will be doing a video review on my new Colt Government Model .45ACP pistol soon! Hence my user name YankeeJoe1911 lol! I'll leave a link to the Microsoft page that allows the download of Movie Maker at the end of this post.

    Yes I'm looking forward to picking up my whole hog once it is processed. The owner of this family run business told me that they wait until they get several orders and then source their hogs from local farmers. He said my order gives them enough to order the hogs and just prior to processing he will contact me to verify cuts. I have a larger upright freezer that was given to me so I don't know the cubic foot size? I will say that it is empty and needs to be filled! Yesterday I was at a budget grocery store (Aldi's if you've heard of them) where I usually don't expect cuts of meat that are right for smoking. However when I got to the fresh meat case their were about 6 slabs of SLC ribs marked down for quick sale. Soooooo a few slabs came home with me last night! Be looking for a 3-2-1 SCL rib in the MES 30 video somewhere in the near future now! lol

    Here is the link to download Windows Movie Maker :


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