Masterbuilt or Cookshack?

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Original poster
Apr 18, 2007
Hi all I have been going round and round with this.

I was really leaning toward a gas for a short while but now that I have spent more time researching I have come to the conclusion that it is way to windy here and we really have no place to put it out of the wind zone around our house so I have decided to go with electric and I also think it will probably be a lot easier for me to deal with if I want to try my hand which I plan to.

Anyway I have for now unless I find another that is in the class of these, I have narrowed it down to the Masterbuilt and the Cookshack.
The Masterbuilt having the pro of being about 1/2 the cost but not sure that it lives up to the reputation of the Cookshack though.

I have searched through all the post on these two and haven't really found anything to sway me one way or the other so I was hoping to get first hand experiences from you all that own these two.

Anything you really like or don't like about them.
Any problems with them.
Just anything at all .

I know the Masterbuilt has just come out with a newer model so its kind of hard to get a good perspective on this one cause of that.

Anyway I would appreciate any advice and info on these two that could help me in my process of figuring these out.

I am finding the more people I talk to the more I am able to make a much more informed decision on this.

Anyway hope I am not bothering you all to much while I am in my decision making process.
Thanks so very much
Good night!
Hi Melh
The new MES is no different in operation or design from the old unit....just a door latch, top vent and new seal on the door.....the threads you have read are relevant to the new model

Good luck in your pursuit
I purchased a masterbuilt smoker at Cabelas. Before that I was using a homemade smoker I built from an old refrigerator. Not sure about other brands but the masterbuilt does everything I need from a smoker. It is able to maintain the temp setting within a degree or two even when the temperature is very cold outside. I have no problems so far with mine. I wish I could buy Jerky Screens that fit the smoker but can't find any. The masterbuilt should serve you well.
Well melh, what I did was I read a bunch of posts on the forums. There is a long list of current and archived posts there. For about 2-3 days I read the posts there and then I bought one. Too many people were so very happy with their Cookshack smokers. I asked plenty of questions of the owners and got quick and great responses to my questions. Most times on a product's forum, you will no doubt read about some people being unhappy with the product because it doesn't work as advertised, or it breaks down or craftsmanship is not very good, etc., etc. But on the Cookshack forum, I could not find any negative comments. Not ONE!!! Nothing bad said about the smokers or Cookshack's customer service. Folks have used the Cookshack smokers from Maine to Alaska in extremely cold weather. And they are so well insulated, cold and/or windy weather has no affect on how they smoke the foods. It is really a set it and forget it smoker. So I bought the SM50 model and just got it two days ago. I just did the required smoke seasoning, which took about 5-6 hours using only 2-3 small chunks of wood. Now I'll be smoking a pork butt along with about 3 racks of ribs starting tomorrow. I'll be sure to post photos and comments on how my Cookshack performed.

So melh, do yourself a favor and do some more research by visiting the forum.
I think that my money was well spent on a great smoker. I still have my Chargriller with a side fire box for my lump/wood burning BBQ which I will always continue to use. But when it is too windy or too cold or when I just don't feel like tending to maintaining temps in my stickburner, I can just put some meat in the Cookshack along with a couple of chunks of wood, close and latch the door and just let it do its thing. No help from me will be required at all for great wood smoked food.
Both are good smokers, cookshack makes a good quality product. I personally use the masterbuilt myself and LOVE it, if I had money flying out my rear I'd probably buy the cookshack....but instead I choose to support them by buying their cookbooks instead
which I highly recommend, lots of great recipes in them. for what it's worth, the masterbuilt does an awsome job, just as well as the cookshack........oh yea, and you don't have to open the door to add wood on the masterbuilt!!!

also a word to the wise, when looking at a manufacturers forums, you would expect to find more praise for the product then otherwise, I personally think it's best to look several places for honest opinions on the product......not saying cookshack is not good, fact is they are great, but so is the masterbuilt unit and it's price mark is better.....
Well my momma didn't raise a foolish person that jumps at the first thing comin' down the pike. I did my research from not only the cookshack forum but many others as well. The only, the only, the only thing derogatory about the Cookshack smokers was the price. They are solidly built and have a loyal following of satisfied owners of their products for years. Some Cookshacks do need replacement parts such as thermostats or heating elements. And after people contact Cookshack customer service, parts are shipped quickly and the problem is fixed. So I stand guilty as charged with paying a nice sum of money for a product built with quality and great customer service.

From what I've read about other electric smokers, parts break or just breakdown, gaskets wear out and need replacing, it seems with much more frequency than the Cookshack products. Made in the USA.

Also, this little safety recall article didn't give me much assurance or confidence of the Masterbuilt product line's quality. I'm sure this issue has been corrected, but I still was not confident about the manufacturer's build processes or quality control. By the way, where is the Masterbuilt made?

[font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular]NEWS from CPSC[/font]

[font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular]U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission[/font]
Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2006
Release #06-173 Firm’s Recall Hotline: (800) 489-1581
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908
[/font][font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular]Masterbuilt Manufacturing Inc. Recalls Electric Smokers for Fire Hazard[/font]

[font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular]WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. [/font]
[font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular] Name of Product: Electric Smokehouse Smokers[/font]
[font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular] Units: About 10,700[/font]
[font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular] Manufacturer: Masterbuilt Manufacturing Inc., of Columbus Ga.[/font]
[font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular] Hazard: Smoldering wood chips used in the wood chip box can ignite into flames when the door of the unit is opened, posing a risk of burn injuries to users and property damage to nearby combustibles.[/font]
[font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular] Incidents/Injuries: Masterbuilt has received two reports of units that were damaged as a result of wood chip flare-ups. No injuries or property damage were reported.[/font]
[font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular] Description and Models: The smokers cook food slowly at lower temperatures and use wood chips to produce smoke inside the unit for flavor. Wood chips are placed inside the smoker and heated using an electric burner element to produce smoldering coals. The electric smokehouse model ESQ30B has a black powder coated outer shell with the Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse logo on the front door. The electric smokehouse model ESQ30S has a stainless steel outer shell with the Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse logo on the front door. The model number is located on a metal plate on the back of the unit.[/font]
[font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular] Sold at: Sporting goods stores sold these smokers nationwide from July 2005 through May 2006 for between $200 and $250.[/font]
[font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular] Manufactured In: China[/font]
[font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular] Remedy: Consumers should stop using these smokers immediately, and contact the firm to receive free repair kit.[/font]
[font=Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular] Consumer Contact: For more information, call Masterbuilt at (800) 489-1581 anytime, or visit the firm’s Web site at[/font]


that recall is very old, they fixed those units and the NEW units that are and have been available don't have that issue. Keep in mind the Bradley units also were recalled for a nasty habit of shocking people......
You get what you pay for. The mes is built in China because Americans won't build one for $250.
I've never been asked where the smoker was made when somebody's munching on my bbq!
I have a co-worker who swears by his Cookshack. He uses it almost every weekend, and tells all of us what he smoked when he returns to work. If his testimonial is any indication of the units quality you would not go wrong with getting the smoker.
I'd say sey are both darn good smokers from what I've read. Don't have either but I am just timid about the electrics and outdoors. Plenty of folks here have them and they still here to brag about them!

If I could have either and someone else was writting the check (
) I'd go for the Cookshack. If I'm paying it's the Masterbuilt
I'm not familiar with the Cookshack, but I can tell you that the Masterbuilt is a piece of cake to operate. It seems to hold a pretty constant temperature, it's easy to get the food in and out, and just as easy to add wood chips/chunks. It looks well built and the problems from the recall have been corrected admirably.

I paid $199 CDN for mine (normal retail here is $249) last month and love it. My first smoke (ribs and turkey breast) turned out really good, and my second smoke (pulled pork) took about four hours longer to cook than I'd planned on - not the smoker's fault, just the vagaries of the method.
and fact is all of masterbuilts stuff is made in china, but all designed here in the us. Now I could also jump on my tirid about how I find it stupid that some folks believe that the only way they can get high quality is to buy "made in usa"...... just because it's made here don't mean it's made well or high quality and same goes for made in anywhere...... sad thing is most all of these types of units are 98 percent made by an automated machine.......
Hey folks,

New around here but I'm looking into the Masterbuilt (Centro) model from Crappy Tire. My 30th birthday's coming up and my wife asked what I wanted. I've been smoking some meat on my gas-fired bbq using soaked ships wrapped in foil and thought it might be time to step it up a notch. I live in a subdivision and thought an electric model might be the way to go so I don't tick off the neighbours. I've only recently started looking into electric smokers and would appreciate any assistance. From the posts I've seen on this site it appears that it is a decent model so I'll likely end up picking it it's on sale right now. :)

...phew a little long-winded....

This looks like a new place that I'm going to be frequenting a lot in the future. Thanks in advance for any help.


Well, here it goes. I have a Cookshack 008 and I love it. Works well, great quality product that makes awesome Q. Another nice feature is how well it is insulated. I use it in Ohio during the winter and there is no difference in cooktimes.

I would recommend it to anyone, but I also admit it is one of the pricier units out there.

Just my .02

Here's a pic of how I have mine set up. And no, it doesn't get hot enough on the outside of the unit to affect the plastic closet in anyway.

I recently ordered a smoker and choose Masterbuilt over CookShack. Don't take this wrong I know CooKShack make some excellent smokers and I realize that MasterBuilt usually gets a raw deal of an opinion because of that mistake they made on their last model and had to do a recall. But I know of several people that have the new model and have read tons of reviews on the new model, and everyone agrees, it is an excellent smoker. Once realizing the MasterBuilt Electric was a good smoker, three things help me make my decision.

Three of the reasons I choose the MasterBuilt is:

1.) It's abitlity to keep a constant temperature

2.) It's capablity to set the temp & time and not have to watch it so closely.

3.) It's ratings, the MasterBuilt is UL Listed & ETL approved (equal to NSF), these rateings are necessary to use cooking utilites in my city commercially. CookShack only has both these ratings on their commercial equipment, the prices on their commercial equipment are astronomical compared to their non-commercial equipment. I spoke with both MasterBuilt and Bradley (who carry both ratings) they say their equipment is being used commercially by lots of owners. As a matter of a fact I'm almost sure I was told by both companies that they were in the commercial business long before the home market.
Tonio dont get me wrong but I will take an all wood smoke over the rest. Seems everyone these days are going with the commercial cookers just set and forget. I like a little adventure and there's nothing like setting out by the smoker while the world passes by and reaping the benefits afterwards. That's just me though.
Jazzspot ............ Sounds like you are offended by other folks testimonies. How righteous are you? Do you read every label to find out what was made in China and make all decisions by that label? Or is it just based on Customer Service? Is Mexico, or Hong Kong OK for anything? What about folks that drink an imported beer? I am just thinking of the question that was originally asked .......... What are your thoughts good or bad (on what you use, how can you comment on what you dont use?) ......... Is it all customer service ? Read your link above where it mentions ........ Remedy: CONTACT FIRM FOR A FREE REPAIR KIT. That sounds like service to me. No one is claiming you payed too much or that your mamma raised a fool. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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