Okay can someone please tell me how you choose???

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Original poster
Apr 18, 2007
Hello all I joined a while back and joined a few other groups, list what have you to try and figure out what to buy my hubby for his bday.

I am honestly more confused now than I think I was in the beginning.

I have been swinging back and forth from gas to electric and have even been considering the Big Drum smoker as of late.

I am totally and completely clueless with this but I would really like to get something that would fit us and that we would be able to use often and easily.

The electric one thats up front is the Cook shack , here I not only hesitate to spend that kind of money but question the flavoring and look of the food. Many others show their foods I have yet to see a picture of food cooked in one. Maybe I missed it somewhere but I haven't seen any.
I know the quality is there and they stand behind their products and that they are very highly loved by owners but still I hesitate.

The gas was between the King Kooker and the Camp chef vault smokers.
Which I think the Camp Chef has pulled out in front here.
Just not sure about placement of this smoker as we have no sheltered area except garage and we are in a very windy area not to mention rainy.

Now as far as the Big Drum Smoker goes I am very interested in it.
As I think it would produce the kind of bbq that my dad used to do when growing up.
He had an old stove he made a bbq pit out of and started early in the morning and by noon it was to die for.
Didn't know what the smoke ring was till I started researching all this but I think thats what made my dads bbq so good had an awesome smoke ring.
But here again with this one I have the problems of wind and rain.
Although the owner wrote me and told me to just use the opening to our garage or carport so that could work I guess but what kind of mess would that leave on the our concrete?
Maybe we could come up with something to put underneither and raise it up , I don't know. Guess I'll ask him unless any of you all know.

Well all in all I guess I haven't done to bad at narrowing it all down BUT I am still totally lost as to which way to go.

Cook Shack can be used in garage with just door cracked I was told by customer service there.

Guy I talked to about the King Kooker which I am thinking would hold true to any gas is that it has to be kept out of windy area and has to be outside cause of harmful gases.

Then we are back to the Big Drum Smoker. Just seems to easy and good to be true.

Anyway this is just a summery of my confusion. I am sure I am making this harder than I have to but at last I know did-dol-lee about smoking and I really want to get a nice smoker for hubby and have him enjoy it . Well I should say WE enjoy it as I will ripe the end results also.

I would also like to have one that I could use also so that it wouldn't just have to be a weekend thing when hubby is off all day to do. Ya know.

I have gotten lots of good advise and opinions so far and have had many things brought to my attention to think about that I would of never knew about so I thank you all for the help.

Anyway hope you all don't mind me blabbering all this.
I am just looking for some more opinions from everyone so that maybe I can make that final last decision on which to get.

Thanks again everyone .
Esp for putting up with me and all my dilly dallying and questions.
Oh ps if this isn't the right place to post this Please let me know.
I think your best bet, especially if everyone is a novice at smoking, is to go with the masterbuilt electric unit.

I would HIGHLY question cookshack and them saying you can use it in the garage with the door SLIGHTLY opened.....not a good idea at all, you should never use a device that emits smoke in an enclosed area.....not good, not smart.......

I say the masterbuilt because it's very forgiving, makes great bbq (and just look all over the site, I've posted plenty of porn that came out of my masterbuilt) and it's definitly priced not to break the bank. Masterbuilt is also a company that sticks behind their products and are quick to reply to the customer......

As to the cookshack, if you want to spend that kind of money go right ahead, all of their products are excellent.....just expensive....
I think all three of the products you mentioned will produce good 'Q. There are some questions to ask yourself though, (i'm sure you have already)
1. Does your husband like to tinker with a charcoal/wood fire?
2. Is he going to think he's "cheating" by using gas or electricity?
3. If he's gonna pull an all nighter, does he wanna sleep?
Your options on this are way open, it just depends on the individual user I think. Like I said, all three smokers will put out a quality product. If it's in your budget, what about a gas or electric smoker and a small stick burner?
There is not one that you have mentioned that will do all things to the 9's

The Electrics operate at the lowest cost..(relative?)..but are less effective on smoke ring....can be used as a smoke generator for cold smoking,...use very little wood...are more suitable under a sheltered area

The Gassers are convenient for temp control over a stick burner or charcoal...require a fair amount of wood and trips to the propane refill station in your area

The Charcoal fired units will require a goodly supply of just that (charcoal)...also a learning curve to maintain proper temps..

The wood burners will require an area at your home to store and season a lot of wood...also a learning curve to maintain proper temps....best at smoke ring if that is important to you

May I suggest that you start with the inexpensive MES and see if smoking is what your family can really get into....If you do become hooked you will need more than one type of smoker anyway
....Hey the Hubby is going to have more birthdays, why not another smoker?
I would go with Smoked and Illini's advice .....great little smoker and very practicle and convient,I luv mine !
Third the Masterbuilt. Do you know he really wants a smoker at all, before you drop $500? It's not like you can take them back. Here's an option...give him a card with pictures of all your choices, and sort of like a "gift card", have him pick the one HE likes and buy it for him, rush delivery. (This is a personal decision, which smoker to get). Kinda like underwear.
Mel -

Anything you get will produce good BBQ. Even my little cheap Brinkman Bullet makes great BBQ. Before you put down a ton of money make sure it's something he/you will want to use.

My Brikman charcoal sits outside on an open porch (no roof - no walls just hand rails) as does my Smoke safe. I've smoked out side down to 5 degrees in the snow and rain with just a littlle shelter I stackup made of styrofoam boards and pencils. I hate smoking in the rain! I think the wind problems may be slightly exagerated.

Figure out which would be best for you, find a budget your comfortable with and do it!
melh, I didn't see this thread until now. The drum won't leave any marks on your concrete at all. Have you decided on one yet?

Almost forgot, if you remember if your Dad cooked over the coals direct or not would help you. If he did, then the BDS will jog the 'ol taste bud memories for sure.
Hey Mel,
I posted a note yesterday about the King Kooker and my last two weekends of smoking. Honestly, I like smoked's advice. I started out on an electric and loved it. I learned a lot about smoking on it and I think it's a great starting point. The great thing about the MES is that you can program the temp. You can't beat that. I also agree with him about just cracking the door to the garage. I wouldn't be doing that. Your garage will get awfully smokey.

I don't think you would go wrong with any of them, but I think it sounds like the electric would be the way to go for you.
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