pellet smoker or not???

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by seapro220, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. seapro220

    seapro220 Fire Starter

    Hello all,

    Stranger and newbie here - so please don't stomp me too bad. 

    Experience includes, but not limited to ..anicient history with charcoal but mostly the last 10+ with gas grills and using smoke from a bag (soaked wood chips in foil packs)  

    Decision time - I want a new or better way of smoking some meats and making my own sausages and processing some of my own venison, turkey, and hopefully some hogs. 

    Choices or options -

    1. pellet smoker - really like these units and would be probably the easiest method of getting into more smoking.  .

    2. charcoal - nah..not really where I want to go now

    3. wood smoking - even though there are many products out there, I do enjoy all the 'monitoring' needing to be done, but don't really want to devote 'most' of my time into getting/storing/monitoring the cooking process.

    4. keep doing what I'm doing - and add a better method of smoking by adding/replacing the 'smoker bags' with the a-maze-n-tube products.  I've been reading a lot about different smokers and grills, and even though a lot of them do 'a lot' this seems like a pretty good and inexpensive additional item to have as it would allow me to 'cold smoke' some items and even 'pour' the smoke to some items that I want more smoke on.

    So, the questions and thoughts comes down to this -

    should I keep doing what I'm doing - and add the a-maze-n products to my environment?  with this solution I have no additional costs associated with another grill/smoker and don't loose any more floor space on my patio.  I probably would do more smoking whether it's bacon, sausages, or even cheeses by adding the a-maze-n products and since my 'commercial' 4-burner grill is still working fine - I save a pretty $$ right now.

    should I buy a smoker/grill ?

    I've been looking and reading a lot of forums around the net and even though there are some really good products, and would love to buy American - the choices are limited.  I don't know how much I'd enjoy the 'box' units and the 'specialty' units like the Yoder and  Rec Tec are really expensive for a 'starter' unit.

    Even though I almost bought a Traeger last fall, If I purchase now, and because there's a $100 rebate going on - I think the best bet might be the Green Mountain Grills.  It seems to have a higher range of temp adjustments than other grills and not have issues like 'weak' casters, etc.

    any thoughts??

  2. Buy a AMNPS or AMNTS. Now to do you add another smoker? Probably! You didn't say what your price range is. Spend some time reading the reviews here. You left out the electric smokers. 

    I see this is your first post. When you get a chance will you drop by roll call so everyone can give you a proper SMF welcome?

    Happy smoken.

  3. seapro220

    seapro220 Fire Starter

    Thanks for the reminder about saying hello on the roll-call board - just posted some info there.

    As far as 'electric' smokers - don't think I'd be interested in those models considering what I've seen/read from these and other forums. 

    As far as pricing - geez .. any of these are a real price shocker to me.  that being said, and I don't understand what the costs are so much - I'd hoped to try and stay between $450 to about $800 for a decent smoker.  As I don't have any real experience with this environment I still don't understand why the approximate (or seemingly) cost of a few hundred $$ in materials suddenly turns into a $1000 + smoker.  Guess it's just 'sticker shock' like any other market..

    David -

    Are you suggesting that I should start with just the ANMPS and see how things go .. then upgrade to a smoker down the road?
  4. Your going to want a AMNPS with almost any smoker. As for propane I haven't used a propane smoker in 15 years. The propane smokers that I did us I didn't like. I couldn't get low enough temps.

    I like a stick burner but that is hands on.

    I haven't used any of the pellet smokers. They do usually require something to make smoke. Like the AMNTS.

    For charcoal you didn't want but the BGE does a good job down to about 200°

    Happy smoken.

  5. I'm not sure why you've ruled out electric smokers. Outside of the MES Gen #1 line (which BTW many people here love!), there's also the Smoken-It line along with other slightly pricier non Masterbuilt products that have great reviews. If $400 is the bottom of your price range, you could get yourself a great electric model along with the AMNPS and be set for all types of smokes.

    Here's just a few things I've produced in my MES 30 right out of the box!

  6. Seapro it really depends on what you want to smoke and how much $$$ you want to spend. An electric smoker is great for sausage but has limitations, you can't do a full rack of ribs on it for one.

    For someone new I would recommend a propane smoker, very easy to use and maintain, I have no trouble with mine getting the temps low enough for jerky or sausage. You can get one anywhere from $125 to $400. My Smoke Hollow 44 was $250 at Sams Club.

    My son has a RECTEC pellet and he absolutely loves it. If you have the $$$ I would lean in that direction. Good Luck!
  7. I know I can't in my MES 30, but I'm sure someone will be along to post you can do full racks and full packers in an electric. An electric is great for all meats, and combined with the AMNPS it's truely hands free. But like you say, it comes down to what seapro is looking to get out of the experience. Lots of great advice here. 
  8. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    What is wrong with charcoal?
  9. seapro220

    seapro220 Fire Starter

    Wow - thanks for all the replies and it was/has been more than I thought.  Is it possible to believe that I might be able to purchase a single device that I can do 'everything' on at a reasonable cost?  I guess the key is reasonable cost also - huh?  :)  Although my thoughts are to start off making bacon and sausages, I want to also have the ability to do roasts, ribs, whole chickens and brisquits also down the road.  Also, don't misunderstand me - I don't think there's anything wrong with charcoal or propane - but just don't think I want to 'have to' monitor the charcoal that much, or add the additional cost of the propane to my cooking.  
  10. Then from what your saying it sounds like a pellet popper or electric model smoker is in your future. In your shoes, I'd go with the MES 40 with either the AMNPS or the MES Cold Smoker Attachment. You'd be under the $400 and have $$$ left over for meat and beer! BTW, here's a picture I found online of someone's MES40 with full rack ribs and other stuff. 

    Disclaimer...this isn't my smoker!

  11. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    You need to do some reading. I have a charcoal drum smoker that I built for 100 bucks that will hold 225 degrees for 18-20 hours without opening the lid. Weber makes the Weber Smokey Mountain which will do the same. If you need a smoker that can go low for sausage and stuff you will need an electric. I have not seen an electric that will do more than 275 degrees though so if you want to do chicken well you would need to have something that goes a little bit hotter. But you already have the grill right? I can't figure out how to advise you when you don't want electric, charcoal, gas, or a wood burner. Pellet grills are just that, grills. They burn the pellets so efficiently that not much smoke flavor is imparted into the meat so then you would need an auxiliary smoke generator which to me is about as much fidddling around as loading a charcoal basket and lighting it. I suggest you take Jeff's E-course and learn about this craft. It might give you some insight you didn't have before. Also the search bar at the top of the page is one of the best I have ever seen on any cooking website. Just type in what you want to know and chances are you will get several hours if not days of reading. Good luck. timber
  12. I take back what I said about the full rack of bad!
  13. BBB ribs

    Full packer brisket

    Beef ribs

    cheese cold smoked


    snack sticks


    Cornish hens

    I thought I had a pic of 6 racks of ribs somewhere. this is in a MES 40.

    I also have other smokers that I use. 

    Happy smoken.

  14. seapro220

    seapro220 Fire Starter

    I wanted to let the MB people know that I have looked at the MB line of products and almost purchased 1 during the black Friday ho-haa a couple of weeks ago.  The reasoning that I didn't was due to the fact that there are so many different models, and generations and even is Gen2 -there are so many problems.  It seems that a lot of people also have to make several 'mods' to keep the temps correct, constant pellet adds for flavor, etc that I just got confused and rejected the units 'as a whole'.  Maybe I've been wrong, but just don't know. 

    back to 1 of my original questions - if anybody is doing this.  What's wrong with just adding a AMNS (either tube or tray) to my current propane grill and using it like that?  Do I 'have' to buy a smoker to get or accomplish what I'm wanting? Can't I make smoke bacon, chickens, sausages, etc with this combo? Am I missing something here?  I'm not opposed to purchasing a smoker but can't I just use my gas grill to accomplish the same thing ?? what would I be 'missing' if I 'smoked and cooked' this way?  is this too much like a KISS method?

  15. You can smoke in a cardboard box. So yes you can use what you have. No it won't be the best setup. You said you didn't want propane but now your back to your propane grill.

    Any smoker is a vessel that uses fuel to make heat and a wood product to make smoke.

    Happy smoken.

  16. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Hahahaha...... well said.
  17. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I have a Weber genesis gas grill. It works great for hot dogs and steaks and whatnot. I also have a Weber kettle that serves as a daily go to smoker for my one man meals. Then I have a homemade UDS that I can throw a whole hog's worth of Butts and ribs on and it will smoke for hours and hours at whatever temp I want it to. Finally I have a little chief I use for fish and jerky and stuff. I cold smoke in any one of these with a soldering iron and coffee can device.  I use each one for a different purpose because each one has it's own attribute. How can you regulate the temperature that well in a gas grill? You can't. You are winging it. When you smoke sausage for instance you start out sometimes at like 110 degrees and then increase temperature 10 degrees every hour until you reach the correct finish. If your temp is not right the end product might just suck. This can not be done in your gas grill period. One wisp of wind and the temperature fluctuates in a gas grill. Smokers are designed to be able to accurately and reliably cook foods at a given temperature for a long period of time. Some are better designed than others. Is this just a I love my grill post? This craft that we of SMF obsess over is an art. I would myself rather paint with a paintbrush rather than an old sock on a stick.
  18. seapro220

    seapro220 Fire Starter

    Thanks for all the good info. Perhaps I hadn't given the electric smokers a through look and it sounds like trying to utilize my existing grill won't necessarily give me what I'm wanting to do - in the long run. Again, you'll have to excuse my ignorance about smoking as I just don't have the experience yet that other do. I know that people smoke and cook with propane, but funny that it seems to use a 'grill' as a smoker, by adding an AMNS unit to it - isn't a good choice, but that you should buy a propane smoker. ha ha ..

    . Found this MES 40" on sale for $299 ..sounds like a good price. Is this one of the models that are 'good' or that i should stay away from? I can't tell if their item number (20070311) means that it's one of the Gen1 or if it's a Gen-2 that users are reporting to have so much trouble with.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  19. That is the 1st generation. The 1st has the control on the top back. This is the better model and that is a good price. I have this model and have it in use as we speak.

    Happy smoken.

  20. seapro220

    seapro220 Fire Starter

    Thanks -

    I guess I should pull the plug - but just can't decide whether to ..

    1. try and use my existing 4-burner grill and either add the AMNS or wedge (

    2. get the model mentioned above and save some serious $$

    3. bite a little bit more and get the Daniel Boone model with WiFi from GMG

    I'll think about it more and try to make a decision.

    Probably the most that I've learned from this site, and others in relation to 'smoking' is maintaining the temp at the correct 'temp' for the duration it takes (correct meat temp) for what your cooking.  Whatever best product you can afford or make, that does this - is the perfect unit for you.  You'll always have to 'mod' something as time goes by - so don't stress about that .. just start the journey and enjoy the ride.

    thanks again to all ..

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