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NEED YOUR ADVICE on purchasing smoker or dehydrator for jerky/meat stick making

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I want to purchase an electric smoker or stainless steel dehydrator to make jerky/meat sticks, but just not sure which one to buy. I've read alot of posts on here and still not sure which direction to go in. I own a Cookshack Amerique smoker which is an excellent piece of equipment, but very difficult to make jerky and meat stcks in. I've seen numerous threads with pictures of the amazing jerky and meat stick all of you have made and would love to be able to produce the same quality if possible. I would appreciate any input from all of you on what manufacture you use and pictures if possible. I would like a produce pounds at a time if possible without paying  thousands for a unit. Of if theres a decent unit out there that works great for cooking jerky and sausage that would even ne better, but baby steps first i quess. Thanks again for the help.

post #2 of 18

Sounds like a MES ( masterbuilt electric smoker) or a bradley might be right up your ally.......






Good luck and happy smoking



post #3 of 18

Hey BugsyDog, welcome to the forum!  Have a question for ya.  Are you dead set on another electric for jerky/sticks?  You already have a great electric unit with the Cookshack and I've made (at least what my friends consider) some really good jerky in non-electrics.  The only reason I bring this up is since you already have an electric, maybe going LP, charcoal or pure stick burner might give you a lot more versatility - not only to make jerky but butts, ribs, brisket, ABTs, sausage... well, I think you get my drift. 


Just my very humble $0.02



post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

HI GreyStratCat, I'm just thinking is would be easier to have an electric to regulate the temp and smoke. I have a largec harcoal bbq with smoker drop box, but living here in las vegas its very very difficult to regulate temps during the summer months with it. I've never thought of using LP, even though a have a gas grill, As you can tell i have love to cook on everything and can never have to many toys smokers.

post #5 of 18

Well Bugsydog, the reason I bring it up is I just picked up a Master Forge LP smoker about a month ago.  I have a handful of other smokers (charcoal and stick) but this was/is my first gasser.  I've been messing around with smokers, grills and stuff for years.....What I'm finding with the Master Forge is it's pretty much set and forget.  It can hold decent low temps (110 - 150) with no problem and taking it up to 220-250 isn't a problem either.  I have a batch of beef jerky in mine as I type this and I've had no trouble today holding it at 140... ambient here is around 60 right now.  So far I am really liking the thing.  There are a couple mods that should be done to it to get the most out of it, but they're simple mods.


Here's the link to my current jerky smoke going on:




Let me know if you'd like to know more about it.  There's also a ton of stuff on this forum about the Master Forge LP smokers. 



post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

That meat looks great, have you made any meat sticks yet? if so how did they turn out? Have you had any issues with the flavor of the meat using LP, i've heard some people taste the gas in the food? i'll look into this more, what mods are needed?

post #7 of 18

BugsyDog, morning...If you think you want to dehydrate stuff like cherries, garlic, tomatoes, onions, grapes, apples, pears, cilantro, chives, basil,  and make jerky.......


I have the Sausage Maker D-10 dehydrator... it works very well...  Pricey, but can be had for less on Amazon etc.... Dave 



post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

HI DaveOmak, morning to you too..... ive read up on the D-10 and think its one of the best dehydrators on the market for the price, then i started thinking about making meat sticks along with jerky and now im a little lost. I'm looking for a unit that will allow me to make jerky and or meat sticks without any fuss. Something that will hold pounds of product at one time.

post #9 of 18

Bugsydog, I haven't made meat sticks in the Master Forge but I have done kielbasa and andouille.  Here's some pix of the sausage:




I don't see why you couldn't do meat sticks in this smoker.  As for the taste of LP - no, I haven't noticed that at all.  There is a difference in taste of stuff that comes out of the LP gasser as compared to my stick burner, but I would be fairly sure that stuff coming out of my stick burner would taste different than anything coming out of an electric smoker.  I think the product that comes out of an LP gasser is a lot closer to stick burner than electric.


The 2 mods for the MF that I think are pretty much mandatory are; 1. Using fiberglass rope gasket insulation around both doors.  This mod really cuts down on smoke/heat loss.  Real easy mod to do when you're bolting the smoker together.  2. Don't even think of using the thermometer that comes with the smoker (the one in the door).  I replaced the factory analog in the door with a commercial grade Ashcroft analog.  I also run at minimum 2 digitals in addition to the analog on the door.  One digital probe goes in the smoke chamber to monitor inside temp and another goes into the product I'm smoking.  That gives me at minimum 3 temps for monitoring.


Shout out if I can be of further assistance.





post #10 of 18

I have a gosm and love it.

post #11 of 18

Here's my 2 cents;

On the gas taste issue. a gas smoker is no different then a gas grill or stove in the home.  Do you get a gas taste from them? NO, enough said. 


A guy at the lake kept giving me crap for using my WSM. Kept telling me you gotta burn sticks to do real Q. I finely had herd enough and told him I turn out good just as good or better Q on this or my Gasser as you can on that stick burner. He presided that there was no way I could do that. I told him OK buddy put up or shut up, next weekend when I'm here well do a cook off. Well each take some pp to the camp host and let them decide. The next weekend we took some pp to the host and the host could tell no difference in smoke flavor, as an added bonus they liked my pp better said it was more moist. This goes to show its not what you smoke on its how you do it. 


I say buy a master forge 2 door they are cheap and a good unit. If you use chunks you can get smoke for over an hour. They are  virtually set it and forget it units. 

post #12 of 18

A dehydrator maybe what you need, I have a cookshack also and do all my jerky and sticks in my 80l cabelas dehydrator.

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

SPRKY, thanks for replying, but as stated above i dont have any issues with bbq'in or smokin as my cookshack will perform flawlessly, my issue is producing quality jerky and sausage, its difficult with a cookshack.

SHTRDAVE, thanks also for replying, what size cookshack you own? its looking like i might have to go the route of a dehydrator, GreyStratCat has some positve feedback on the LP unit he owns, ill wait and listen to more responces as theres alot of members here that own different units and setups and have alot more knowledge than i do when it comes to jerky.

post #14 of 18

I have the smaller smokette had it for about 12 years and still works great, I just learned what I can do in it and I can't. The 80Lmodel will hold about 20 pound of meat. I have a 48" SS gas smoker from cabelas what I use when I do sausage and bologna because I can't get anything like that in the cookshack. I have never tried jerky in my gasser.

post #15 of 18

Check out sausagemaker.com.  All his product get great reviews and are used from Alaska to Texas.  Can't hurt.

post #16 of 18


I would recommend a smoker and that smoker would be the Smoke Vault 24" you'll love it Now for dehydraters I have one from Gander Mtn and it plastic and works but it works is about all I can say good about it.

post #17 of 18

for  you masterbuilt guys...what do you think about the cheaper model?



i've been making jerky for  awhile now on my WSM but i've contemplated getting one of these for ease of use for jerky?

post #18 of 18

Another thought - I have a middle of the road Dehydrator that does a TERRIFIC job. I got the 5 tray, it can easily do 5 pounds of meat, it is a quality piece that makes GREAT meat sticks and Jerky





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