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Deciding on a new smoker

DaleDoback

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currently have a Charbroil electric smoker. It works OK, but is a pain to maintain temperature with it, and the recovery time when opening the door to put meat in, glaze, etc, is horrendous. In the summer it can take up to 30 minutes sometimes, in the winter, it may never recover to full temp again. Plus it won't go over 250 degrees ever, and I can only achieve that if it is hot outside, and I don't have a lot of meat in it.

Looking at a Pit Boss vertical electric smoker to replace it.

One major question, am I going to be plagued with this slow heat and recovery time with every electric smoker, or will it work properly with a good smoker? I noticed that most of the pit boss smokers have an element twice the size of the one in mine, and I'm hoping that would cure the issue I have.

I like electric due to the "set and forget", but hate the slow warm ups and slow recovery times. I want to make the correct purchase this time.
 

DaleDoback

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I should also add, I'm not looking to spend a ton of money on a smoker, not buying a rec-tec, etc. Looking in that $400-$600 range.
 

jcam222

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I should also add, I'm not looking to spend a ton of money on a smoker, not buying a rec-tec, etc. Looking in that $400-$600 range.
In your range I’d consider the new gravity feeds from MB or Charbroil. Set and forget functionality with improved taste via the charcoal
 

Winterrider

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jcam222 jcam222 makes a valid point.
Almost all electrics have a tough recovery time. I "very rarely" ever open mine after loading for that reason. Not so bad summertime doing jerky and such, but I don't spritz, mop, or wrap any meat in the MES 40.
 

TunaciousBBQ28

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currently have a Charbroil electric smoker. It works OK, but is a pain to maintain temperature with it, and the recovery time when opening the door to put meat in, glaze, etc, is horrendous. In the summer it can take up to 30 minutes sometimes, in the winter, it may never recover to full temp again. Plus it won't go over 250 degrees ever, and I can only achieve that if it is hot outside, and I don't have a lot of meat in it.

Looking at a Pit Boss vertical electric smoker to replace it.

One major question, am I going to be plagued with this slow heat and recovery time with every electric smoker, or will it work properly with a good smoker? I noticed that most of the pit boss smokers have an element twice the size of the one in mine, and I'm hoping that would cure the issue I have.

I like electric due to the "set and forget", but hate the slow warm ups and slow recovery times. I want to make the correct purchase this time.
The gravity fed Charbroil looks like a good unit with a lot of features. I'm looking at it closely. It is insulated and that will help conserve fuel.
Not sure where you live, but here in Kalifornika, electricity rates are so high that an electric smoker running hours on end will drive a person's bill into the stratosphere. Top rate is 0.46 per Kw h. Look at the wattage on any electric unit before you buy. Slow heat buildup and loss of heat when you open the door are draw backs that are eliminated with other types of smokers.
I own a Traegar Texas model and it has a fan to control temp, but that is a modest electric draw. A bag of pellets is $20. It is not expensive to run.
 

bigfurmn

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Maybe a vertical pellet smoker? Pit Boss has nice ones. I also like the gravity feed charcoal option. Just know they both use very little electricity compared to an electric smoker. The vast majority of electric use is starting the grill, after that it just adjusts feed rate of fuel, be it pellets or charcoal/wood.
 

chef jimmyj

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For the best Smoke flavor, the Chargiller 980 Gravity Feed gets my vote.
For a highly rated Vertical Pellet Smoker, the Pit Boss Pro Series 4 version 2 is the way I would go. Not quite as big as the 5 or 7 Series, but has the best controller and the burn pot design looks like clean up would be easy...JJ
 

Chasdev

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To me it comes down to what you are after meat flavor wise.
If you want offset stickburner flavor profile in the meat then you have to burn wood, so upright offset or straight up offset stick burner.
If you don't want to deal with sourcing and storing seasoned wood/s (AND deal with the spiders, roaches, snakes, mice and rats that come with wood storage), plus spending entire days (and into the night) of baby sitting a smoker (plus learning how to maintain a proper fuel feeding schedule) then a charcoal gravity cooker will get you 90% of where you want to be flavor wise without the negatives listed above.
Only one comes in your price range and that's the Masterbuilt unit.
Is it perfect, perhaps not but it's a great little smoker that allows you to set it and forget it, maintains rock solid cook chamber temps, and in my experience comes with great customer service if and when an issue arises.
 

chef jimmyj

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The Char Griller 980 is $539 to $599 at Lowes, depending on location.
The Masterbuilt 1050 is $799 at Ace, Walmart, Home Depot and from the manufacturer.
The smaller Masterbuilt 800 is $699 in most stores...JJ
 

ammjr

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I have a Louisiana Grills 7 series vertical pellet smoker I picked up from Costco for around $400 delivered to my house. I'll be honest with you, I LOVE it and it has a TON of room. The hopper holds like 40 or 50lbs of pellets, cleanup is a breeze and it's easy to use. Temps run from "SMOKE" which on mine runs from about 140 on up to 180 depending on the weather conditions to HIGH which will get up between 400-420 again depending on weather conditions. I put a welding blanket over mine. I also just got a Char-Griller 980 about a week or so ago. Ordered it from Lowes and had shipped to store so I could refuse it if the box was damaged - saw a LOT of horror stories on line about home delivery... the price was $599 but they have a deal to get 20% up to $100 off if you apply for the credit card, so I did. Came down to $532 after tax. I'll tell you what, the 980 is an absolute BEAST. The thing weighs around 250lbs and has a TON of room. I've only done a few smokes at 225 ( a butt and a couple eye of the rounds reverse seared) and a grilling session at 650 degrees and it worked well, no issues with the fan or anything. The heat shield is actually easy to cover in foil - just cut slits in the foil where the slots are. Cleanup is pretty simple, the grates are porcelain coated cast iron. I looked at the Masterbuilt as well and to me, there was no competition. The MB felt cheaply made compared to the CG.
 

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chef jimmyj

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D DaleDoback There is some variation among brands. Some Pellet grills have Smoke Setting that run around 160 to 180°F, to make some smoke. You start there for a couple hours and finish the cook at a higher temp. The higher the temp you run the pellet grill the Less Smoke flavor you will get. To offset this, many add an additional Smoke Generator like a Pellet Tube or Smoke Daddy Smoke Generator.

Electric smokers will make smoke at temps of 225°F plus but you need to add chips every 30 minutes. To get around this the AMNPS Pellet Maze was created to load with pellets, light and get 10 hours of smoke, no fuss. Flavor wise, Pellet Smokers with supplement smoke or Electric with a Maze, make virtually identically tasting Smoked Meat.
The advantages of each. A Pellet smoker can start at 225 to smoke Chicken low, then crank the heat, 400°F for crispy skin. Same way for Reverse Seared meat. Get your smoke on at 180-225°F to an IT of 115, then crank the smoker to its highest temp to Sear the meat and finish to your desired temp.
Electric Smoker are great Cool Smokers. Example...Start Raw Cured Sausage, like Kielbasa, for an hour at 120°F to dry the casing, then raise the temp10° every hour to 170°F to finish the cooking with an IT of 150-155°F. No Way a Pellet grill can go that low. Electric smokers top out at 275°F so no Searing but great Low and Slow Smoking.
So what are your plans, what will you make most often? More Crispy Chicken and Reverse Seared Steaks?...OR...Lots of Cured Smoke Sausage and Low and Slow smoking below 275°F?....JJ
 

DaleDoback

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I meant a vertical pellet smoker like this.


How would the smoke flavor compare to a traditional electric smoker like I have now with wood chips? Is it the same, or is this more like a pellet grill in how it works?

Also would recovery time be better with something like this?

And then lastly, am I better off going with a propane smoker to eliminate the recovery time issues of an electric?
 

chef jimmyj

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Vertical or Horizontal, the info above applies. Pellet Smokers are a Burn Pot that burns Pellets. At very low temps they make more Smoke. At high temps they are Fast and Efficient at generating Heat but No Smoke. Pellet Smokers are much faster at recovering after opening them, compared to Electric Smokers. Pellet Smokers have Fans to provide Oxygen to the Burning Pellets and Circulate Heat.
Your Electric has a 750W Coil. Lowest power I have seen in a smoker that size.
 

chef jimmyj

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Propane Smokers are a PITA. They have to be fed chips or use a Generator like an Electric. Require a needle Valve Mod to get temps below 225 and can be finicky. A Fart in their direction can Blow out the Flame. Pellet Smokers recover as fast or faster because of the Fan convecting heat...JJ
 

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