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How good *is* an electric smoker?

chef jimmyj

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Welcome VA Gentleman. It would be EXTREMELY unusual for a 10 pound Butt to cook in 8 hours at 200 degrees! And, you Mopped 3 times? Are you measuring the cabinet temp with a Tested Accurate Thermometer? I been Roasting and Smoking Butts over 40 years, and the ONLY time I got a 10 pound Butt done in 8 hours, was Roasting at 400°F. Even at an MES max temp of 275 and No Mopping or Opening the Door, it should have taken, at least, 10 to 12 hours.
I Believe you, as Butts can do some strange things, but your result is either an anomaly or there is something way off...JJ
 
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Welcome VA Gentleman. It wpuld be EXTREMELY unusual for a 10 pound Butt to cook in 8 hours at 200 degrees! And, you Mopped 3 times? Are you measuring the cabinet temp with a Tested Accurate Thermometer? I been Roasting and Smoking Butts over 40 years, and the ONLY time I got a 10 pound Butt done in 8 hours, was Roasting at 400°F. Even at an MES max temp of 275 and No Mopping or Opening the Door, it should have taken, at least, 10 to 12 hours.
I Believe you, as Butts can do some strange things, but your result is either an anomaly or there is something way off...JJ
Thanks for the warm welcome JJ, I appreciate it. I can assure you that my entire cook WAS somewhere between 8-9 hrs long, low and slow cabinet temp of 235-240 degrees even after opening the door 3 times. I pulled it from my MES 40 when my, very reliable, duel probe thermometer reached 200 degrees. I wrapped my butt as stated at 165ish. That's a fact with my hand up! If you're having trouble believing in anomalies, then follow the link below to Malcom Reed's YT channel "How to BBQ Right" and watch him do the same thing with a 10lb butt...and he didn't even wrap his!!! Welcome to the world of wonders friend. Congratulations on 40 years of smokin', always something more to learn.

Cheers!

P.S. I think your cornfusion may be that I said I smoked it at 199-200 degrees. I meant that was my internal meat temp when I pulled it, not my cooking cabinet temp of 235-240. My mistake for not making that clear.

 
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chef jimmyj

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" I think your cornfusion may be that I said I smoked it at 199-200 degrees. I meant that was my internal meat temp when I pulled it, not my cooking cabinet temp of 235-240. My mistake for not making that clear. "

That makes more sense but that is still a fast cook. I will take a look at the Video to discover the secret...JJ
 
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I bought a used Cookshack #105, converted it to a PID/SSR controller and use it all the time. It is really plug and go. Mostly I smoke briskets (overnight), chickens (whole and thighs), Bostons and have experimented with all kinds of things (vegies, whole garlic, etc.). I have had some luck with small fish (for dip). I don't like the way it does ribs, I prefer indirect heat on the charcoal. Never had a complaint! My 2 cents.
 

Bearcarver

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" I think your cornfusion may be that I said I smoked it at 199-200 degrees. I meant that was my internal meat temp when I pulled it, not my cooking cabinet temp of 235-240. My mistake for not making that clear. "

That makes more sense but that is still a fast cook. I will take a look at the Video to discover the secret...JJ

I have to agree that Smoking a 10 pound Butt to 199° in 9 hours, using 240° Smoker Temp is pretty fast, but also quite possible, especially if you're measuring the Smoker Temp somewhere other than right close to the Meat itself.

Below I have a 9.2 pound Butt that I got to 200° IT in 10 hours, using an "At Grate" Temp of 265°.
Pulled Boston Pork Butt (265°)

Bear
 

zwiller

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You are gonna have to bring some serious game to best the MES + AMNPS. I was VERY apprehensive when I first got mine but I have not looked back since my first smoke. Some stick burner owners and WSM owners simply don't believe that set and forget works, but it does. That being said, you need to learn your craft and that takes time and experience but if you stick to it and hang around here and learn, you WILL get good.

Having done 7 back to back butts in the past, I averaged around 15hrs for 8lbs per @ 275F to 205IT.
 

chef jimmyj

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Having done 7 back to back butts in the past, I averaged around 15hrs
Interestingly enough, at that weight and temp, the Butts were taking their Sweet Time Cooking. I've found 275 to go just shy of 1.5 hours per pound. I would have estimated 11 to 12 hours for that Smoke...JJ
 

zwiller

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Injected with 10% apple juice, STPP, etc. Takes 8lbs to almost 9 LOL

I think some people would freak out how little "juice" there was. Just fat. I only measured 1 time but the yield was near 80%. No doubt an affect on smoke time.
 
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I'm certainly not a liar and I was present during the cook. My only other guess is that I smoke my meats inside my garage, no wind, temp outside was in the 50's and I wrapped the butt with double foil at 165ish. Clearly it's not an impossible scenario. I can point you to several other videos that show the same/similar results. What would I have to gain by making up my cook time/temp? (Shakin my head) I don't understand the point in calling me out in front of the forums. If you don't agree with me then don't agree. As a group leader/moderator I would have expected a little more integrity. You can bet your sox I'll be smoking many more...we'll find out one way or another.
 
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chef jimmyj

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NO ONE IS ACCUSING YOU OF LYING!
You had a Butt go UNUSUALLY Fast, based on THOUSANDS of Posted Cooks here and GENERATIONS of Experience! A couple of guys on YT don't Trump that. CALM yourself and accept that if something out of the Ordinary Happens and YOU Post in the Open Forum, one or maybe Dozens of members will inquire about it... If you Expect Integrity, NEWBIE? EXERCISE some and don't Jump to Conclusions!...JJ
 

bregent

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Malcom's cooking a Duroc butt, which IIRC are known to cook faster because the fat melts easier. Other heritage pork is probably similar.
For me a standard 8-9lb butt takes about 12 hours in my Memphis - and pellet cookers typically cook faster than other smokers due to the higher convection.
 
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NO ONE IS ACCUSING YOU OF LYING!
You had a Butt go UNUSUALLY Fast, based on THOUSANDS of Posted Cooks here and GENERATIONS of Experience! A couple of guys on YT don't Trump that. CALM yourself and accept that if something out of the Ordinary Happens and YOU Post in the Open Forum, one or maybe Dozens of members will inquire about it... If you Expect Integrity, NEWBIE? EXERCISE some and don't Jump to Conclusions!...JJ
Well, I've got nothing clever to say so...very well.
 
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dr k

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Missing variables can cause confusion so if it is a unique butt then that would be something to consider. I've cooked two 8lb butts at 275 in 12 hours till 203 IT and a 20lb whole packer brisket trimmed to 17lbs at 275 in 14 hours till 203 IT. Both smokes naked the whole time but my variable is holding a steady 275 with a PID controller with no hysteresis. With a stock Mes controller that would be coasting from 260-290° to average 275 and I know would have a different result especially with a harder bark from sugars in the rub getting to 290. My stock Mes controller set to 275 never coasted up to an actual 265 with calibrated therms so my average actual temp was 250ish. I believe my Mes controller spent more time below and at my actual set point vs at actual set point and above so the steady PID set point is a faster cook. Don't forget your variables. Lol
 
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Missing variables can cause confusion so if it is a unique butt then that would be something to consider. I've cooked two 8lb butts at 275 in 12 hours till 203 IT and a 20lb whole packer brisket trimmed to 17lbs at 275 in 14 hours till 203 IT. Both smokes naked the whole time but my variable is holding a steady 275 with a PID controller with no hysteresis. With a stock Mes controller that would be coasting from 260-290° to average 275 and I know would have a different result especially with a harder bark from sugars in the rub getting to 290. My stock Mes controller set to 275 never coasted up to an actual 265 with calibrated therms so my average actual temp was 250ish. I believe my Mes controller spent more time below and at my actual set point vs at actual set point and above so the steady PID set point is a faster cook. Don't forget your variables. Lol
Thanks for the information. I apologize for hijacking this thread, it was never my intention, especially to Nwin23. I was just trying to say that this is what I do to keep the smoke rolling on my MES 40 as it was one of their concerns. I don't usually pay any attention to the time, more so the internal temp of the meat as long as the cabinet is holding the desired temp. I felt like my integrity was being challenged and I wanted to defend it. I can't explain why it was so short, I don't know why, but it is what it is. My family, my neighbors and my coworkers all enjoyed my Carolina style BBQ, it was a huge hit! so...JJ, take from it what you will, lets put this smoke behind us and see what happens with the next one.

Cheers!
 
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chef jimmyj

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No hard feelings here. It's unfortunate that the written word can be so easily misinterpreted. Face to Face, there would be no issue...JJ
 

Nwin23

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Hey so one other question-how do you guys deal with finishing chicken? 275 degrees isn’t enough to crisp the skin. I can use my grill during the summer, but I’d rather not do that in the winter.

im guessing maybe the oven inside for a while or put it under the broiler?
 
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Hey so one other question-how do you guys deal with finishing chicken? 275 degrees isn’t enough to crisp the skin. I can use my grill during the summer, but I’d rather not do that in the winter.

im guessing maybe the oven inside for a while or put it under the broiler?
Here're my two cents if I may...I have not had good luck with smoking a chicken in my MES. Both times they came out like they were wearing a wetsuit...rubber skin. BUT...I did learn a few things. I rinsed my chicken and didn't dry it prior to putting it in the smoker which creates a LOT of moisture. In other words, I steamed it at the highest temp that my smoker could provide. Steam and chicken do NOT create a crispy situation. I have read where others have had great success but I have not. I smoke chicken wings on my Weber just about every weekend to have while watching football...GO HAWKS! My wings come out so amazing, that I have been told that I should sell them. Anyway, the dryer the wing the crispier the skin. After cutting up my wings into drummettes, and whatever the other is, I dry them with a paper towel and put them on a sheet pan to place into the refrigerator that further dehydrates them for a few hours. It makes a huge difference! I don't know if this would work for a whole chicken but it may be worth a shot. I'm not even gonna try as I have a rotisserie that makes the BEST chicken around. I cook my wings on a Weber using a Vortex. It's not fried chicken but it works! I hope that this helps in some way.

Cheers!
 

chef jimmyj

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Plan ahead so the Skin can dry in the refer 12 to 24 hours. When the IT in the Breast reaches 145. Move to your Oven at 425°F. Finish cooking. I pull Poultry out of the oven at 155 and counter rest it...JJ
 

2008RN

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I built an electric smoker from a fridge last year. I love it and my wife loves that I am cooking some good stuff. It is great with a PID being able to hold tight temps. I have tried everything from Cold smoking to Pizza. OK, the Pizza was kind of a Pain in the Arse, but everything else came out great. I use either a ANMPS or a ANMTS with a mail box. I just got done with 22# pulled pork and a 17 hour smoke.

The only negative besides pizza is finishing chicken. I have finished the chicken on the grill to get that crisp chicken skin instead of rubber chicken. I have done beef, chicken, fish, pork, nuts, spices, cheese,...

If you want something you need to tend, get a stick burner. but I like being able to program the smoker to do certain things. ei: cold smoke, for 1hr, the raise temp to 225 until meat is above 140, then kick it up to 275-325 for the finish depending on what I am doing. I no longer feel the need to open the door to check the food, Just to turn/flip the food 1/2 way through the cook. I have got some of the best tasting and looking salmon, by slowly raising the temp up.
 
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I built an electric smoker from a fridge last year. I love it and my wife loves that I am cooking some good stuff.
You just brought back some great memories of my uncle and his refrigerator converted smoker. I think his was a stick burner though (can't remember). He would smoke various game, salmon, he would make his own sausage and smoke it...everything. He was my inspiration for wanting to learn how to smoke. Unfortunately, he passed long before I got started and I never really learned any of his techniques. He was such a rustic person, I would have learned a lot from him. He kept it in this shed and I remember how amazing it smelled in there. It's why I use my smoker in my garage. The garage is all wood and it takes in all of that aroma for a few days.

I'm going to follow JJ's advice above on the whole chicken and give it another shot, it's been a few years and I'd like to get it right.

Cheers!
 

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