My Propane Master built smoker is a few years old now, the burner area is starting to rust out (my fault for leaving it outside), and there's a few reasons I'm thinking of pulling the trigger on buying a new smoker.
For the Master built, although it can hold a good amount of meat with it's 4 shelves, they are square and fairly small - Ribs, for example need to be cut in half in order to fit. The wood chips tend to start on fire once in a while, the water pan is kind of a pain, and most important (for me) is the temperature regulation tends to be really difficult.
I'm not complaining about the Masterbuilt. I've used it for a few years, and have had great results. It is, by anyone's standards, the low end of smoking equipment - I paid a lot less than $200 for it.
But, like I said, I'm thinking of moving up to something else.
I've watched a lot of you tube video reviews on pellet smokers and with the price range of around $600 to $700, it seems to me like the 'Camp Chef' brand has a whole lot of options that make it a better choice than Traeger.
But, I'm not sure about moving into a pellet option - in general.
One thing about my Masterbuilt, you definitely get a nice, smoke flavor. I've heard that pellet smokers are not a 'real'. Not as tasty from a smoke perspective. And I've also heard that the brand of pellets make all the difference in smokey flavor.
I'd like to know if anyone can respond to that concern.
Also, I understand that although they advertise pellet smokers as something that can do everything, I know not to expect it to perform as a 'gas grill'. But I wouldn't expect it to. However, it seems like dumping pellets in a hopper, putting the meat on, and setting the temperature would be a nice change to the challenges I've had with the Master built.
Look. I like to smoke. I've certainly learned that the art of smoking meat is much more than just, uh, smoking meat. And I've learned so much from this forum that I appreciate. But I'd like to hone my skills at technique in preparing the meat/food, recipes, and finishing the cooking with results of things like - ribs falling off the bone, pulled pork that's really 'pulled pork' and not sliced because it's too tough, and things like that. I've achieved all great results for the food I like to smoke, but I'm not planning on signing up for a 'Pit Master' BBQ contest. I just want to get great results for dinners that I prepare for me, my family, and my guests.
To that point, what are the thoughts on using a pellet smoker, and does this Champ Chef seem like a good option?