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Smoker for a Newbie?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey All,

I just bought my first house and will be moving into it in June. I have always been interested in smoking and was looking to buy a smoker + grill (separate) for my back yard. I would like to be able to Hot and Cold smoke so I can make ribs and smoked salmon/cheese. After browsing the forums for quite a while I have decided on one of two ideas....

1) MES w/ Smoke Daddy for Cold Smoke
2) Self Designed Box w/ Smoke Daddy and 1800 Watt Element w/ PID Controller.

Anyone have any tips on either of these two options? or other options? My budget is ideally below $300 to $400 so I have money left to buy a grill. Thanks....

post #2 of 14

Wellcome aboard

I have the 40" MES with the 1200 watt heater and I absolutely love it. For cold smoking, I use the soldering iron and tin can with wood chips method. The MES with a 2 year warranty is $335 at Sam's Club. The cold smoker method I use will set you back $10.

If you haven't already, stop by and introduce yourself. You will be able to access all the members and their wealth of knowledge that you will share with you. Sign up for the 5 day smoking class that Jeff offers and you will headed in the right direction.

May the Smoking Gods bless you with Thin Blue Smoke and perfect results.
post #3 of 14

what is the wattage of soldering iron????PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
would sardine can work????
do u use sawdust or chips???PDT_Armataz_01_06.gif
post #4 of 14


Welcome to smf, and good luck with your new smoking adventures, and please go to roll call and properly introduce yourself
post #5 of 14
Welcome! Where we live the 30" MES is still available for about $200. The 40" is more but has a 1200 watt element which is nice if you want to smoke below 30 degrees. The recovery time is greater with the lower wattage. Cookshack makes a great unit but about 3 times more cost.
Electrics are so much easier than other fuels and a more constant temp.
Good luck!
post #6 of 14
MES from Sam's. 339 with 3 year warrantee.
post #7 of 14

Larry, looks pretty easy ... looks like you could use what ever you want
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Where are these smoking classes?... And who is Jeff?
post #9 of 14

Answers to all

When you come on to the site, on the left there is a 5 day Ecourse that you should click on to get a wealth of info.

Jeff started this site and is our grand PoBah. Go to Youtube and go to smoking meat.

What is the wattage of the soldering iron? Have no idea, cost me $7 at Walmart.

I use a can of Bush's Grilling beans because it has a seam on both sides. I used a can opener to cut the lid so that I could lift it up an and down. I put 3 half can opener holes in 3 spots around the can. The 4th opening was just enough to fit the soldering iron. I fill the can with dry wood chips. Usually I will get 45 minutes of smoke time.

Hope this answers all question, if not PM me.
post #10 of 14

What Ron SaidPDT_Armataz_01_37.gif


No Creosote! A-Maze-N Smokers

post #11 of 14
I too have used the soldering iron/tin can method to cold smoke. I did my own lox over the winter, and it came out great! I just put the fish on a cookie cooking rack, found a clean cardboard box that was just big enough to go over the rack.....and put my soldering iron/tin can inside.....took awhile for the smoke to get going, but it did the job.....fish had a nice flavor!
post #12 of 14
I would buy a 40" MES at Sam's for $299.00 and get the additional 3 yr Warranty for $39.00.

I recommend the A-MAZE-N-SMOKER Cold Smoker to use for cold smoking. I recently acquired an A-MAZE-N-SMOKER Cold Smoker to use for cold smoking. I had thought of getting a Smoke Daddy but kept putting it off because of their price.

Well on the first use of the A-MAZE-N-SMOKER, I loved it. It is cheap, well made and lasts 6-8 hours on the 6"x6" model I got. They also make a 6x8 size which the maker says lasts 8-10 hours and if I had it to do over again I think I would get that one because it allows longer time or as short as you like depending on how much sawdust you use.

The unit uses hardwood sawdust which is available from various sources and is extremely cheap. The cheapest I found is at Butcher and Packer for $5.25 for 5# of Hickory. A person should be able to get at least 4 complete fills per pound on the 6x6 unit.

I might also stress that the use of this cold smoker requires NO DRILLING or MODIFICATIONS to your smoker, you just place the smoker on a shelf or somewhere else in the smoke box and light the dust.

I used mine the first time to smoke cheese and it was awesome, it did not raise the cabinet temperature at all so it is truly a cold smoker device.

I would recommend this to anyone wanting a cold smoke device and not wanting to spend $100.00. The 6x6 unit is $29.95 and the $6x8 is $34.95 from their website http://www.amazenproducts.com .
post #13 of 14
I have a Original Bradley with a pid. And also a smoke hollow electric and a few charcole smokers. I think the bradley is an awsone smoker, very well insulated, and trouble free. If you do not like baby setting, the bradley is the way to go. As for cost, well the other day I did some ribs, and some chicken thighs. I smoked them for three hours, which cost around 3 dollars. Now compaired to the smoke hollow that would be costly, sure. But when compaired to the use of lump, and wood.. It's around the same cost. If useing char I would have used about 1/3 to 1/2 bag at a cost of about 6-7 dollars, plus the cost of wood.
Plus the smoke is clean, TBS from start to finnish, so that's good, and most importantly I was able to get the smoker ready, put in my food, then pull when done. It just doesnt get easyer.
Sure there are times when I might use something else to smoke, if time permits. But if guest are comming over, or if I am just busy with other stuff. The Bradley rocks! It's all about the right tool for the job. With the bradley I am able to concentrate on the food, and not have to worrie so much about if the smoker is going to hold temp, or adding wood, ect...
post #14 of 14
The MES is the way to go for ease of use. I have the 30" model and am very happy with it. If you want to go charcoal, look into the bullet type smokers. Easy to use and easy on fuel. Almost all of the charcoal burners require modifications of some sort, if only to upgrade to a reliable therm.

Whatever you decide on, you've found a good place to learn. These gals and guys are great!
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