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Best, Entry-Level Smoker for Poultry?

swesch

Newbie
18
10
Joined Sep 4, 2010
I'm looking for an electric smoker, under $300, that would be good for chicken and turkeys under 15 lbs.  Suggestions?
 

ecto1

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Group Lead
2,133
28
Joined Feb 22, 2010
Masterbuilt Electict Smoker from Sams Club is 299 and will do just about everything.  You can get the 30 inch version for around 200 and it is good for chicken but you may have trouble getting a whole turkey in there.  Look at the electric smoker section and see how many member here use them.  I have 4 smokers and use all of them through out the year if I need an easy smoker that day I use my MES of UDS but if kids are around always my MES.  It uses very little electricity and when used properly it put out great smokes.
 

chainsaw

Smoking Fanatic
538
11
Joined Aug 5, 2009
Have to agree with ECT01 plus they have very good customer support IMHO.

Be sure to research the 30" vs. the 40" there are differences. Lots of discussion on this topic here.

Good luck!
 

swesch

Newbie
18
10
Joined Sep 4, 2010
Thanks!  I went ahead and bought the MES 30".  I got it for $170 on Amazon.  Hopefully, this will be a good introductory smoker for me.  Thanks for your feedback.  I'm sure I'll be back soon with more questions.  Wait--I have one right now.  I was going to contact an apple orchard to get some wood.  Does the wood need to be chipped up in small pieces, or cut in slices?  How does that part work?  I'm trying to remember what my father used to do.
 

chainsaw

Smoking Fanatic
538
11
Joined Aug 5, 2009
I have better luck with chips in my 30" but you can experiment. We have pecan trees and I had good luck yesterday with small pieces & twigs.

The heater isn't very big in the 30".
 

ecto1

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Group Lead
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Joined Feb 22, 2010
yea chips work the best in the MES.  once you get a good bed of smoldering chips going I will add chunk in there and it will go for a lot longer.
 

dale5351

Smoking Fanatic
456
14
Joined Jun 20, 2010
One caution on buying wood from an orchard -- If the wood has been sprayed with insectisides, etc.,  that might give it an off taste.

If they can chip it for you, then great.  If not, I'd say to cut it into medalions and then chop those up into chips.  Try and save the sawdust also.
 

swesch

Newbie
18
10
Joined Sep 4, 2010
I just remembered that we cut a plum tree down last year.  I still have it (cut into logs for firewood.)  Would it be any good for chipping up and using the smoker?
 

swesch

Newbie
18
10
Joined Sep 4, 2010
Okay, so I've got my Masterbuilt Electric Smoker and I've preseasoned it.  I just put two chickens in to cook, with a combination of apple and hickory chips.  I had a question about the vent on the top.  It's not mentioned in the manual (that I can find.)  Does it need to be opened at all?

Thanks!
 

jacobss914

Fire Starter
37
10
Joined Sep 10, 2010
All the way open, sorry for the late post.  Not sure why they even give you a choice really.  Thou I am glad they did as I will use it when I cold smoke.
 

eman

Smoking Guru
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
5,300
100
Joined Feb 3, 2009
The only time you need to close the vent on your MES is when preheating. Also, It will cook great poultry but it doesn't get hot enough to crisp up the skin. It usually comes of the smoker a little rubbery. All you need to do is throw it on a good hot grill for a few min. or run it under the broiler in the oven to crisp it up.
 

dale5351

Smoking Fanatic
456
14
Joined Jun 20, 2010
What we do with the limp skin from the smoker is to peel it off and then use it as a flavoring in a crockpot of beans, e.g. black eyed peas.  Wrap it in cheese cloth to be able to lift it out easily when done.  I do the same thing when I make my smoked chicken and pepperoni gumbo. 
 

swesch

Newbie
18
10
Joined Sep 4, 2010
Well, oops!  I left it closed the entire time.  I was trying to cook it on high heat, per a recipe that I found online.  It was great--very crispy skin--very smokey flavor.  I set it at 275, had the vent closed.  It ran around 264. 

So, next time I need to open the vent?
 

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