My First Cook With The Cook Shack Amerique

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Original poster
Mar 2, 2014
Cook Shack Amerique

My first electric smoker arrived today and after seasoning it 4 hours as per the instructions I tried a quick cook of some boneless chicken breasts

I seasoned the breasts and started the smoker at 200F- added a chunk of Mesquite that had soaked in water for about an hour. Because I had to go get the kids from school 20 miles away and make a few stops I set the timer on the cooker to 1 hour. When I returned home It was an an hour and 22 minutes later. I know this because the smokers controls made it easy to see. When the hour had ended the smoker went into hold mode @ 140 degrees to keep the food warm- and surprisingly to me the timer displayed 22 minutes which turns out to be the amount of time it had been in hold mode. Pretty cool I thought

I pulled the breasts and they were a pretty golden color-actually the light color made me think their was no way they could be done- but when I cut into each of them they were perfectly done-white and juicy. I think the 1 chunk of Mesquite was a little strong-I usually cook with a wood fire of Mesquite or Pecan or both- the electric smoke is definitely a stronger smoke than wood fired ( at least the wood fired way I always do it) but it was still REALLY good ( Next time I will opt for Pecan)

I bought an 18 lb Choice Rib-eye loin earlier today. I cut it in half (Saved 1 half for lake this weekend) and left other half on the counter a few hours in seasoning- I just added it to the Amerique smoker a few minutes ago and set the internal probe to 140 F and the cooking temp at 225 F and using the milder Hickory chunk that came with the smoker. I will let you know how it comes out.

I wanted to tell you my first impressions of the Cook Shack Amerique ( as I sit and eat my second smoked chicken breast on a salad)

Its a good machine- you can tell right off a great deal of pride went into designing it and its awesome quality top to bottom- I am not disappointed at all with the build in design and quality.

With that said I also have to say I will be making a few modifications to it this summer to suit my personal needs.

I will tell you what my preferences are-

For my use the caster wheels are too small. My first use was in my shop on a concrete floor and they work great- they are heavy high quality casters- but I cannot leave my shop open all night so to smoke this Rib eye loin I needed to move it across the yard to my porch at the house. The small casters do not roll well across the wet yard- in fact they just wanted to dig in. I believe much larger castors would roll easily across the yard and would even help to raise the unit up a little higher.

The unit is well built and heavy- so I had my wife help me carry it across the grass- this was difficult because it has no handles on the sides. I will be adding a couple heavy duty stainless steel handles this summer because I will be lifting the unit in the back of my pick up and taking it to the lake during the summer. If you plan to use it where ever you unload it- then its great as is.

The last thing to change is small- I wish the fire box had some sort of small handle on the front to grab. It only goes in one way but hard to tell right off which way is correct- I think a small handle might be a good idea and would easily identify the front.

These are just a few small things I noticed this afternoon- but I am really happy with my purchase and with the Cook Shack Amerique cooker-it will no doubt last several generations and the electronic heat-timer and probe controls are a really sweet feature.

Anyway I wanted to report back on the unit and thank those of you who answered questions for me!

Now I need to go smell the smoke


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Nice Curtis...sounds like you got a great rig.  I suspected you'd really like that smoker a lot...Cookshack has a really good reputation for quality-built products.

The only thing missing from your post is some qview (pics of your food, your cooks, your gear).  It'd give us a chance to admire you new smoker and your pitmaster skills.  Plus, there are folks around here who'll give you one of these if you don't show us some pics of your cooks:


Or even worse, one of these:


Congrats on the new rig...glad to hear you're liking it.

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Thanks Red-

I will add some pics on the next cook

The Prime Rib came out really amazing-I was SO impressed! Tender, juicy perfectly cooked and LOADED with flavor- but I did learn a few do's and dont's with the first one-( which i am sure are pretty basic to most folks here)

One thing I noticed and adjusted was even though I planned on cooking the Prime Rib @ 225 F it was wrong to set the cooker at 225 right off and start cooking. Its better to start at around 160-170 and get the wood to start smoking slowly- allow it to cook an hour or so- then gradually increase the heat over time. Starting at 225 produced way to much smoke with that bad creosote smell...

As soon as I noticed this I reduced the heat and opened the door for a few minutes to let the inside temp cool down and started again at around 160. I cooked the Prime Rib to 140 internal temp- but never got the cooking temp above 210 ( this seemed to produce the best smoke)

I also added a pan of warm water just above the burner before starting

The recipe I used was from a guy on Youtube called 'TheGeorgianChef...I sat the other evening watching many of his videos and liked how he did things and how they turned out

The recipe was really simple-Bring the Prime Rib to room temp- douse heavily in Worcestershire sauce and then rub with Montreal Steak seasoning- looked beautiful when I took it out and i was REALLY pleased when I cut into it and found it perfectly pink but done- and SO tender and juicy!
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Sounds great Curtis!  PR is one of our favorite smoked meats.  It sounds like you are getting that rig dialed in, learning a little more about it with each cook.  I'll bet you get years of great use out of that Cookshack.

Thanks Red- Pictures would capture the looks- but it would take a POET to describe the flavor! :)
Hi Red
Just got my "kitchen" set up at the lake- will try my first ribs in a few- hopefully they will come out good enough for a picture!
Gonna enjoy the weekend here- smoke- beer and maybe a little fishing!
Hey Derrekhand...make friends with Oak. I have been struggling with the ins and outs of trying to cook in a low oxygen environment for quite a while. Wood choices can make or break it. Stay away from strong flavored stuff..mesquite..hickory..pee can as some prime examples. Oak an fruit woods are normally much better behaved in close quarters. the only decent Mesquite comes form the Texas Gulf Coast. Not sure you could find that anyway.. Not made for pits like that.
Thank you BigWheel!

I already understand what you mean about the stronger woods being REALLY strong in an electric smoker.

Still I would hate to think I could not cook with my favorite woods that I have grown up with

I am finding that I can still have the flavor from the stronger woods without over doing it if I get the wood to the burn point then open the door to let the smoke clear and turn the heat down some- still experimenting but I will let you know what I find

I love the flavor of the Hickory but there is some traditional part of me that feels ineed to cook with woods that are native to my area.

In order of strong to weak ( in my opinion) the order would be




4- Hickory ( not native here though)

5-Shinery Oak

I will have to find a way to use these flavors and i am thinking a preburn of the wood in the cooker might be the answer before adding the meat.

Just got the ribs off and they came out ok-delicious but just a little too much tug- still they are great

Here is a pic

You may notice I blacken them a bitwith some sauce. I keep a camp fire burning here in a fire pit- when I need to cook I just scoop some hot coals out of the fire pit and add them to the grill (Instantly hot and dont have to buy charcoal)

I actually rented a movie and watched it with the wife and kids while these cooked- its so easy using electric it almost seems like a sin

The internal temp to the prime rib is set to go into hold mode at 145f (my wife likes it a little more done than myself) anyway it just reached that and now the smoker is in hold mode at 140F- I think I am going to let it hold at this temp for 90 minutes to 2 hours for tenderness- lots of moisture in there with the water pan steaming- when its done will roll it over a hot grill of coals to add some additional flavor to the bark ( and some of what i think is 'prettiness)

Thank you for sharing with me about the woods- I agree 100% but now have to find a way to get those flavors 9just not too strong)
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Hey Curtis, the ribs look delicious!  I've got a rack of spares resting in the fridge that are going in the smoker later today.  

I like your camp kitchen setup...looks like you've got everything you need!  I hope you and the family enjoyed that Prime Rib, and have fun at the lake!  You picked a pretty weekend for it.

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