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Electric Smoker pros and cons

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I set up in different parts of town on the weekends and use a reverse flow wood smoker,  I am getting tired of staying up all night snoking only to go sell all day saturday and sunday,  Looking at getting an electic asmoker so it can so it's job all night while I sleep,  What are the pros and cons on them?  Does the meat taste as good as a wood box smoker? Which brand?   Thanks

post #2 of 16

They are a "set it & forget it" type smoker.  The only drawback I have read about is that the electronics go bad -- leaving you with pricey repairs.  Another option is a UDS; I hear tell they'll run up to 14 hours on one stoke of coals without any maintenance.  Simple to make and cheap to build.  And nothing to fail along the way.  I am planning on making one this winter, so we'll see...

 

A third option would be a pellet-fed smoker with an auto-feed hopper; however, I think you might run into the same type of problems that an electric smoker might bring to the table.

 

As far as brands go, others will have to chime in with their thoughts.

post #3 of 16

I know the MES smokers have had some issues with failures. I have had a SmokinTex 1400 for almost 3 years with no issues. I do not use the chunk box at all. I feel like I am taking the best of the smoker and improving it by using the AMNS and AMNPS to provide a quality smoke.  Yes it is 2X the MES but like the Cookshack models this is designed to be used in a restaurant.  Very happy with mine 

post #4 of 16

I am not a watt burner.

 

As I get older, a set and forget unit sounds better for long smokes.

 

I honestly believe that any smoker, just like any motor vehicle, is a compromise.

 

I love charcoal burner flavor.  For long smokes and sausages, the watt burners have their advantages.

 

Let the good times roll on this one!

 

Good luck and good smoking.

post #5 of 16

OK as a MES smoker i love the freedom of smoking and sleeping.  few things you must remember 

it is easy with A-MAZE-N , you must check you temp the build in one is not Accurate  and you will lose the smoke ring.but you will also  lose the black  rings around the eyes biggrin.gif

post #6 of 16

The other option would be to get a BBQ Guru for your present smoker. It will hold a constant temp as long as there is fuel to burn.

post #7 of 16

I built an electric UDS. It gives me te option of a long smoke and holds a lot of meat. If also keeps everything moist and does not need any basting.

post #8 of 16

Electrics are great for what you are looking for.  I'm an MES owner but advise you to forgo the MES for a Cookshack or Smokin Tex.  They are far superior in construction and because you can use chunks instead of chips you don't have to feed it wood every hour or two.  You can safely load it and go to sleep and be rewarded in the morning.  If you are looking to save money then the MES with a smoke generator like the AMNS will work.  If you're selling and this is your business go for solid equipment.

 

Just remember that if a smoke ring is important to you, you won't get it with an electric.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks all. As far as the ring goes, no it is not important since I am selling to the public.  But the bark is important

post #10 of 16

My first 3 years smoking were in an electric and I made some fantastic foods from it...including pizza and such.  I had a Cookshack and thought it was super simple.  Sold it only because I moved and couldnt take it with me.  Here electricity is very costly, and now I'm a Weber Kettle guy.  Sure miss the CS, but wouldnt like the bills here (.45 kwh versus .11 kwh in the states)

 

My only con for the electric was no smoke ring

 

 

John

post #11 of 16

i have a bradley and i love the digital controls  for the smoke and heater,,, i don't  think you can go wrong

had my  for 5 years now and no problems,, and the bradley company people are very friendly

if you do have questions or problems...but i found the more  you smke you finally decide to built

something bigger to hold more meat  to smoke.. and i love propane and ams.. works great.. for

contrl af  heat and smoke...

post #12 of 16

http://www.handymath.com/cgi-bin/electric.cgi  This link will take you to a calculator that will show how much it cost to run a electric smoker.  The MES40's I believe are 1200 watt.  Remember the element will not be on 100% of the time so the number of hours will be a guess, cold vrs. warm climate etc.

 

Gary

post #13 of 16

  I currently use, and started with, an electric smoker because I didn't want to have to babysit for a long smoke.  That was before I found this site! Still I like it for the long smokes. Add wood chips every 30-45 minutes for the first half of smoking time, then go to bed. However, I recently purchased an AMNPS  that really makes a difference! Load it, light it, forget it. And you can use your electric smoker for cold smokes in cool weather with it.

  That is what I know. Now, what I read. The WSM properly equiped is wonderfull. Checking into that one. And still thinking about a reverse flow wood burner! 

  I guess what I am saying is, there is no CORRECT  answer! Take what you have and make the best of it. When you can, get something else and learn how  to use it .Just remember, when smoking meat, if YOU like the results, it was a succsessfull smoke!

 

 

Mike

post #14 of 16

  So I got a little carried away! The wood chips you use in the electric smoker will detirmine the flavor in the meat. Same as a wood burner, though maybe not as strong.

 

 

Mike

post #15 of 16

WSM with a Guru its best of both worlds... icon14.gif

post #16 of 16

I also have a Bradley and I love it. Now I know all their issues as well as Master built. The more advanced a smoker gets the more problems you'll have ,hey that's just life in general. I bought the OBS (original Bradley) Not the digital. Nice thing about them is there is so many modifications you can do your self. So it's a matter of what you want. I'm adding the extra 500 watt element some add a thousand. I use a Auber PID to control temps to +- 1-2 degrees.Great for sausage. They also have excellent service. The bad elements were a bad bunch and they changed suppliers.

 I have also heard great things of the Master built models in fact my neighbor and friend just bought the extra wide model. He's waiting for it to get here.I was also between the two when I bought mine. So I sat down and considered what I wanted and what I was going to make. So that told me what i needed to get. The main reason I went with Bradley is they have a Auber PID that's plug and play and makes it better then their digital. Now looking back I could have down the same probably with the Master built. With a PID you can ramp temps and control cooking also keep warm or shut off when done. Which I never do, Why because no matter what smoker you use or who makes it they will have problems. Unless your using a simple charcoal. No Smoker even a Bradley is start and forget! Unless you don't value your life or property.

 

Just my opinion.

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