" You're gonna need a bigger boat" (or bigger smoker)

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by rob sicc, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I started making smoked jerky recently and my little offset smoker just isn't cutting it.  I can't keep the temp down.  I have 6 small grates but the bottom 3 closest to where the fire box connects and the smoke and flames come in are not usable because the meat nearest to it normally burns. I was thinking about building a smokehouse but I really don't have enough room.  Because of this I decided to buy a bigger smoker and came here for suggestions.

    I am looking to spend around $500.  I want to burn all wood or charcoal with wood chunks.  The biggest feature I need is cooking space.and the ease of getting little pieces of meat in and hot with continuing burning myself.  

    So I come here to ask for suggestions.

    One last think.  I haven't thought about electric.  What is the advantage and disadvantage?
  2. your really asking for it if your wanting everyone to compare electrics and charcoal smokers but with your budget you could do a 22.5 WSM 

    i think the OK Joe Longhorn is pretty close to that range or you could build you a UDS or offset if you wanted to take that route. you have alot of options in the charcoal dept. as for the electrics i think a MES 40 in in that price range but i guess its really up to what you want. Both the WSM and the MES can be "set and forget" style the OK Joe requres quite a bit more attn from what i hear... 
  3. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Thank you very much for you reply.  It was very helpful

    How much do you think I would need to increase my budget to get a better model?  I ask because everything I'm reading about the OK Joe says it's not made as well as it used to be.  The comments are that the sheet metal is very thin.  If I'm going to buy, I want something I can count on and that will last.  If I bump my budget about $300, would that get me better quality?  As great as the WSM is, I want a vertical with lots of big trays that I can slide in and out. or a big A$$ horizontal with a warming tray.  I will be making beef jerky so I need a lot of flat space.  As great a unit as I've read the WSM 22.5 is I think it will be to small for what I need to do.  Again, thank you very much for taking the time to reply and offer great suggestions.
  4. have you looked at a backwoods smoker? they are a bit more expensive but very nice 
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm thinking any wood fired smoker will be almost impossible to keep temps at or below 170.... Unless you have a HUGE smoke chamber and a small fire.... OR you have a cold smoke tunnel and detached fire box.... I heated my 12 x 20 tent, in 25 below zero weather, to a comfortable 80 degrees....

    Think about the AMNPS and a cardboard box for starters.... Many folks have done that with great success... works for smoking salt, butter, etc... If the weather is right, the ambient temp and heat the AMNPS gives off, temps in the 150 ish range are possible....

    Also a Big Chief smoker ~ $160 smokes at 160 ish degree temps.... The AMNPS will work in it and you can use the element, on a dimmer switch, for heat control....

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
  6. mfreel

    mfreel Smoking Fanatic

    I'm going to vote electric with a Gen 1 MES 40.  It comes with a remote so you don't have to go outside to adjust your temps in Jersey.  Add a Maverick probe and some pellets and you're good to go.  I have one Gen 1 40 and two Gen 1 30s.  Love them for consistency and staying at low temps when needed.  I strictly use an AMNPS instead of the chip tray.  I don't even know where it's at anymore.
  7. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    How low of a temp can you run the Mes 40?  I will say it is very high on my list right now but I just found this.

    Cajun Injector Extra Large Double-door Electric Smoker

    Have you ever heard of this?  It's about the same price as the MES 40 but it looks to have a much larger capacity.  

    Any thoughts, comments or reviews?
  8. mfreel

    mfreel Smoking Fanatic

    The digital controller starts at 100 degrees.

    I've had no problems doing sticks and starting around the 100-120 mark and then going up from there.  The reading on the controller and probe that comes with the smoker is WAY off.  I rely on my Maverick.  However, once I dial it in, it's pretty consistent.  Fluctuates a little.  If I get it set to 225, it might move from 220 to 230s, depending on wind, weather, etc.  But it will stay close to what I want.
  9. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I've been reading about cold smoking.  It seems like Jerky would be best done with a cold smoke.  I think 100 might be to high but on the flip side this electric smokers might be a better and faster idea rather than building a cold smoke house right now.

    Do you have an opinion about the electric Bradley smokers?
  10. mfreel

    mfreel Smoking Fanatic

    Rob, respectfully, I'd disagree.  I smoke jerky at around 160-180, leaning more to the low side.  I constantly check the jerky as it gets done at varying times due to the thickness of the slice, position in the smoker, wind, etc.  Usually takes around 4-5 hours.  I cold smoke cheese and fish when weather permits.  I don't want the IT to get much above 80.  So...I do a lot more in the fall and winter.

    I have a good friend who has a Bradley with the wood pucks.  He loves it.  Same problems as the MES, though, with a variance in what the controller says vs. what my Maverick says.  I go with the Maverick.  He's done some excellent foods in his.
  11. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    No offense taken.  I actually have always dehydrated my jerky at 160.  I read that cold smoking it changes the flavor completely and I wanted to try it to see the difference. I am always looking for way to make it taste batter.  I think I am going to go with the largest electric smoker in my price range. (500 - 800).  I normally dehydrate then throw the jerky in the smoker to give it that smoke flavor.  My friends went crazy for it the first time I did it.  Now I have several friends and friends of friends asking for it and asking me to turn their deer s into jerky.  With deer season coming up, I need to figure this out fast.  thanks for the reply.  If you want to recommend a large electric smoker, please feel free. I think I am going to look at the Cajun injector (double wide). 
  12. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Meat Mopper

  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think I am going to look at the Cajun injector (double wide).

    I looked at them yesterday at my local "North 40 Outfitters"...... looks like a good unit.... ALTHOUGH Masterbuilt may be building them...

    Not sure what technology may be in them.... Cajun Injector "should" stand behind their products.... still, if I was buying, I think I would buy it...

    I think it was $277... a really good price...
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
  14. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic

    That sounds like a REAL good price. Do you know how many watts the element is? My brother has a Cajun Injector, actually he's on his second one, as his door fell off after about a year & a half on the first one. It was a smaller one like my MES30, though. He has had no problems with the second one now for two years.

  15. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Dave,  you saw the double wide for $277 at North 40 Outfitters?  I will check their site.  For $277, I'll take the chance.
  16. tumbleweed1

    tumbleweed1 Smoking Fanatic

    Cal Ranch has it too for $279, it looks like.

    Wally World wants an extra $100?

  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Found the flyer...... Scanned it...... prices good thru Aug. 9th..

    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
  18. mfreel

    mfreel Smoking Fanatic

    With regard to the jerky, hands down better in the smoker.
  19. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Dave, just to let you know the Double wide comes with glass doors and solid doors.  The glass is more expensive.  I tried north 40 outfitters (thanks for the suggestion) and they only have the glass doors for $349. then $60 for shipping.  I'll keep looking but I like this baby a lot.
  20. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead


    However i competed in a jerky contest this past weekend.  It was my first time.  i submitted 4 flavors.  My smoked is all of my families favorite by far and it had the lowest score.  Go figure.  It is awesome.

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