Hello. Brand new to the site and hope my level of detail will be ok.
We have a Kenmore electric vertical. Haven't used it in a couple years; it was stored indoors. We were basically
successful with it back in 2010, which only means when smoking ribs or chops, they were smoky. It was fall and the temp was around 50, maybe a bit less.
We got it out last week and smoked some thick chops and ribs, and though the meat was cooked and dried out, there
was not one iota of smoke taste or ring anywhere. The chips were about half charred (from bottom up of holder) and we had smelled smoke coming out of the unit. We were only using the door thermometer that time.
We tried again, smoking ribs for about 5 hours (sadly, the first three were completely useless; the wood never caught.)
At that point we hung a regular meat thermometer from a rack, discovered that the compartment was about 35 degrees hotter than the door said. (So it was maybe 170.) Then we played with it and realized the wood still didn't catch. We were keeping the compartment at around 225. We live in NJ and the ambient temp was around 65, in shade. We realized that the first attempt must have had a cooking temp of around 260-270, too hot for the food to pick up smoke as I understand it.
Then we experimented with the empty unit, having found our smoker thermometer with probes. Yes, there's a 35 degree difference when ambient is 65 or so. The wood catches when we turn it up to high initially (325 degrees in unit), but stops when we reduce it to around 225. But the burner isn't actually on very much with these parameters.
SKIP THE HISTORY:
So we deduced that in the cool fall, the heat dissipates much more quickly and the burner can stay on, and so the wood gets
that heat, and actually provides smoke, but not when it's more pleasant weather (above 60 degrees or so).
The Kenmore either won't light the wood, or will become too hot for smoking. We
need more heat dissipation, basically.
a burner just for the wood, and b. a digital model with presumably a better controller, or c. the Auber to attach to the non-digi, and finding much better pricing available, I was leaning toward just replacing the Kenmore.
I had researched some other smokers back in 2010 and decided against Bradley because at the time they appeared to be only available close to list price. But now, realizing there was a.
But there appear to be some, uh, situations out there with Bradley. Even Customer Service said yesterday on the phone that their manufacturing problems, which started, pretty much, when they offshored, are not fully resolved. We were explicit on the phone.
SO. What other smokers have a separate burner for the wood? (any?)
And who is CHARD? I found chardproducts.com using Bing (not Google!!) searching for 'chard smokers' after seeing it for sale on meatprocessingproducts.com (sadly, with no detail about it, but they responded quickly to an email and said they'd provide me with info today) It's a very good-looking unit, actually reminiscent of Cajun Injector in appearance (could be a merger?)
And how in the world do other people successfully use single-burner electric smokers in summertime?