I'm looking at starting up a local smoked meats business. I've done some initial financial analysis ad it appears Smoked Salmon may be the most profitable (I can source it cheap here in Seattle). But I also like to smoke ribs, pork butt, and briquette for personal consumption. I'm also considering doing some jerky as that can be profitable and know that means the smoker has to go down to 130.
I want to risk as little cash as possible initially. I already know smoking basics and have produced competition-quality ribs with my Napolean Gas Grill. I want to start with an experimental stage to dial-in my techniques and recipes for the Salmon and Jerky and produce a moderate quantity of samples to hand out to friends and family.
My guess is that an Electric Smoker is the way to go although I do have a Natural Gas hookup on my deck. SO I need something of decent quality that won't fall apart in a year or two, and is easy to operate and maintain that provides a moderate capacity. I really don't want to spend more than $300 at first. If things go well, I'll put more money in and get a higher-end, larger model. I suppose ideally I should stick with the same manufacturer and design so if I upgrade to a larger model, I don't have to re-tune my recipes?
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.