Choosing A Good Electric (CookShack vs Bradley vs Traeger?)

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by ben franklin, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. I'm in a townhouse where rules limit me to electric. Have a couple of years experience with a Masterbuilt and looking to move upscale. Was ready to pull the trigger on a Bradley Digital when I came across Cookshack (Elite) and the Traegers on this site. Anyone got any advice???

    Thanks folks!
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hmmm, if you want to upscale from an MES, I wouldn't go to a Bradley, unless you're only talking about "more money".

    Others will have to help you with the Cookshack & Traeger comparison.

  3. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    I'm with bear..mes is the way to go in my book!!!
  4. shtrdave

    shtrdave Smoking Fanatic

    I have a Cookshack Smokette, have had it for 11 years never a problem with it.

    Only drawbacks on the little smoker are temp only to 250 so yardbird skin doesn't crisp up well, it really only hot smokes, I have done several hundred pounds of cheese in it but have had some mishaps also, I think the Amazin-Smoker would be a great buy to go with the cookshack.

    I would love to step up to one of the Ameriques but it is only me now and I justify the cost, not that it will stop me one day.

    Cookshacks are awesome and they have a great forum over there like this one with a bunch of terrific people and information.
    ben franklin likes this.
  5. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Here is my opinion,  I have had both Bradley 6rack digital and the MES 40",  My Experience with the Bradley was terrible...

    I would say go with the MES 40" if it were me...

    Get one at Sam's with the 3year Warranty. In the long run you would be happier...

    My Bradley Experience:
    • Purchase Bradley 6 Rack Digital $599.00
    • Shipping: $ 56.00
    • Purchase Bubba Pucks $ 24.99
    • Purchase Bradley Pucks: $ 19.99
    • Total Cost: $ 700.97
    • Use Twice, took 14 hrs to cook a butt on first try and had to finish in Oven
    • Took 23 hrs to cook butts on 2nd try completed in Bradley.
    • Sold Bradley on Craig's List For $350.00
    • Net Loss $350.97
    My MES Experience:
    • Purchased MES 40" @ Sam's $299.99
    • Added 3 year extended Warranty $39.99
    • Buy AMNS: $29.99
    • Buy AMAZING DUST: $4.99
    • TOTAL Outlay $374.97
    • Absolutely NO PROBLEMS...  
    With MES 40" The Ability To Use Smoker PRICELESS.

    Personal Opinion: BRADLEY IS P.O.S.
  6. Thanks everybody. Looks like you folks have saved me from a big potential mistake. Looks like if I'm going to trade up -- it will be all the way up to the cookshack.

    But now that I've got to looking -- those wood pellet grill/smoker combos sure sound interesting. Been reading that the Traeger has lost a lot on the quality side since moving manufacturing to China. You folks agree? Got any other suggestions on that front?
  7. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    We are all different and like many tools so this is my opinion of my uses with this equipment.

    Had 4 MES POS

    IMHO they are garbage. But hey what works good for some may not for others.

    My net loss on MES was over $1000 and not much help from their customer service. (Keep in mind i do allot of low temps 140-170) and never abused the MES

    Bradley I have had only 1 issue with a smoke generator gone out.

    Cust service replaced no questions asked.

    Bradley is great for low temp sausage.

    I rarely do butts and brisket in it.

    Pucks (wood) are kinda pricy compaied to chunks or dust.


    Good for sealed commercial smoking, venting is a joke.

    Sold mine after 1 year

    Junk for brisket and chicken


    Well its a good pellet pooper.

    I still use my Lil'Tex

    Hot rods go out allot.

    Keep in mind with a Traeger, At times it puts out allot of smoke.

    Turns out some great butts, brisket and snacks.

    Thats all i gotta say about that and wont go into my other tools.

    Good luck on whatever you choose.
  8. lookwow

    lookwow Smoke Blower

    If your looking at a pellet i would go with a GMG(Green Mountain Grills). Everything I have heard is they are a much better pellet grill.
  9. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    See how different we all are on our likes/dislikes.

    Used all the pellet poopers and my MAK beats them all hands down.
  10. dons9999

    dons9999 Newbie

    No question about it! Cook Shack is THE way to go! I had the Bradley electric and it was terrible! Temperature would swing 80 plus degrees! No joke. I was using an industrial temp controller just to monitor the actual temp versus the set temp on the Bradley and was shocked to see it swinging 80 plus degrees! Also I read the reviews before I purchased the Bradley and I am embarrassed to say that many warned of this problem. They also warned everyone that there were problems with the wood biscuit feeder jamming. Guess what. I had a huge July 4th party and woke up early to check on the meat and not only was it 77 degrees less than the set point but the wood feeder had jammed during the night and had only used three biscuits of wood! Keep in mind that this thing is BRAND NEW! This was the first and LAST time I used this smoker. Sent it back and ordered the Cook shack the next day. I LOVE THE new smoker! NO REGRETS NOW! If anyone reads this, NEVER PURCHASE THE BRADLEY ELECTRIC! After all, there are hundreds of articles on how to upgrade the Bradley with a PID controller to make it hold a constant temp. WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO PURCHASE A NEW SMOKER AND THEN HAVE TO UPGRADE IT SO IT WOULD HOLD TEMP!!! Doesn't make ANY sense to me at all!
  11. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    Look at the memphis pro hear good things from cowgirl you can look at her threads or blog.You can see one at big papa smokers and many more.
  12. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I kinda like my drum smoker.  [​IMG]

  13. bbqhead

    bbqhead Smoking Fanatic

    In my opinion  , cookshack all the way ! quality cooker , great customer service, quality product .  walk away from the chinese ones .
  14. nozzleman

    nozzleman Smoking Fanatic

    If cookshack interests you try looking into the smokin tex it has the same quality at a cheaper price. My buddy has one and he loves his, I use the MES and I love it and a cheaper cost.
  15. miamirick

    miamirick Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    did none of you notice BEN FRANKLIN asking advice on an ELECTRIC smoker?    gotta love that

    i had a bradley for 7 years before i wore it out   i enjoyed it it was a good learning smoker, my only complaint was it didnt hold enough so i upgraded to the GOSM

    I say for a townhouse the bradley would be perfect   go to bass pro they have em there
  16. billrigsby

    billrigsby Newbie

    What is the venting problem you mention, why no good for brisket and chicken?

    I just trashed my MES and am just about set on the Cookshak.

  17. shtrdave

    shtrdave Smoking Fanatic

    I am not sure about brisket I have never done any other than commercially corned ones for pastrami, as for chicken it seems you need 300+ on the temp to render the fat for the skin to be crisp, I make wings in my smokette they are very moist but not crisp, most add them to a hot grill afterwards to crisp up. I think the amerique goes to 300, not sure, they have an excellent forum over there at cookshack also, a lot of great info like here, maybe check it out.
  18. billrigsby

    billrigsby Newbie

    I would think low and slow for brisket (I am usally at 225-250) so it should be fine,

    I see your point about chicken tho.

  19. I too have been considering a pellet pooper.  I got a real eye-full when I went to the Green Mountain Grill web site and read their comparison chart.  The comnpared their grill and components to the Traeger.  I'll let you draw your own conclusion.

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