Here is my take on this. I have been smoking, grilling, cooking out, BBQing or whatever you want to call it for a long time. Since I was a kid basically, watching my Dad and pitching in where I could in those days. I have cooked on almost every type of commonly found cooker that is meant for home use. Gas grills of varying quality, water smokers, bullets, Webers, offset smokers, Kamados, pellet grills. You get the idea.
I have gotten pretty dang good at what I do and I am very competent with my skill set on whatever I choose to cook on. I currently have a Traeger Pellet grill, 2 Big Steel Kegs (Kamados), a Natural Gas drop in gasser AND..............A Smokin-It #3 ELECTRIC smoker, lol.
You may be wondering why I bought an electric smoker since I already had 2 Kegs and a Traeger. My Wife wondered the same thing to be honest with you. I like to experiment, plain and simple. You see, I used to be in the "Electric Smokers suck!" club. I would see people that had Masterbuilt smokers and my thought was "Well, that's nice" but not in a good way. Think of it more being annoying, somebody telling you that with no sincerity at all :P
I thought that there is NO WAY that a cheapo electric TOY could make real BBQ. I needed WOOD, not electricity! So, when I decided to get rid of my old sidebox offset style smoker and move over to the Kamado side of things (which I absolutely recommend BTW) I chose the Kegs for portability and versatility. I use ATCs on them (Automatic Temperature Controllers) to keep the fire stoked and I can sleep knowing that it's doing what it needs to do. No babysitting, no running out of lump and worrying about keeping a steady temp. I had enough of that on the old offset!
I had it made my friends, no worries, but the thought of electric began creeping into my brain. I had turned my nose up at them for years but never cooked on one. How could I form an opinion on it if I had never used one or eaten food from one? They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but yet I had done just that for YEARS!
Short story long, I began to think more and more about electric but I didn't want a MES, no offense intended to anyone. I wanted something a little more robust. I found a Cookshack on Craigslist and that intrigued me. I began researching that style of electric smoker and that lead me to price inquiries which lead me to one of my favorite places on the entire world wide web. Yep, AMAZON! :)
I saw Cookshack, Smokin' Tex and that lead me to Smokin-It smokers. I read and read and then read some more. I spent a week comparing all three of these smokers and to be honest, they all look EXACTLY the same, like they all used to work together and then branched off and created Smokin' Tex and Smokin-It after leaving Cookshack. These are commercial grade smokers, built like a friggin' tank! These are not your flimsy little $99.00 smokers found at Home Depot. These are not your windowed dorm fridges (that cracks me up BTW). I've never understood the window anyway, after a few smokes it would seem that the window would get gunked up and you're not seeing what's going on inside anyway. I personally see no need to look inside while doing a low and slow. I'd rather not look at it until it's time to eat but I digress.
As you know, I pulled the trigger and bought a Smokin-It #3, hated the shipping costs but even with that as part of the deal, I came out better off than if I had chosen a Cookshack or a Smokin'-Tex. Much more bang for the buck. One thing to know about electric smokers, you will NOT get a smoke ring. I don't care what people tell you, it's a fallacy. It just doesn't happen. It can't happen in that environment. It's scientific, I'll let you do the research. I've typed a book already, not going into the explanation here, lol. You CAN fake it though, a faux smoke ring makes people feel better but taste is where it's at. I can tell you that the food off of my SI smoker is as good as anything off of my Keg or Traeger. The very first thing I smoked on it was a butt for some friends. I helped them move and took it for lunch on moving day.
Sorry for the long read, but I don't half ass anything :P
** It looks like someone edited my post to remove links that showed comparison cooks that I did on my Keg/SI/Traeger. Not sure why a moderator would take that out as it's very informative. What a shame. The SI held it's own.
Edited by Regular Guy - 6/25/15 at 4:17am