pros and cons to electric?

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Original poster
Apr 18, 2007
I am new and I am trying to figure out which type of smoker to buy my hubby for his b day.

I have been trying to read info on the different kinds but I haven't really found anything that sways me one way or the other.

We need a smaller version as it is just the two of us and we don't really eat all that much.

I was also thinking stainless steel maybe. ???
Any pros and cons to this?

I would love to know any brands in this type you recommend.
Also please tell me any pros and cons to the smaller round ones you all might know.

I would also appreciate any input on the pros and cons of an electic so I can get a better idea.

It is between electric and propane , he has a charcoal one but it is just so time consumming we rarely get smoked anything right now .
And I honestly think if it is easier to do and use we will use it much more often esp if I can use it also.

We love smoking salmon but its just such a pain.

Which one is easier to use and keep temp stable?

I also wrote on the propane list as I wasn't sure how the forum works exactly.

Just anything at all you all can tell me would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks melh
I have a propane brinkman and it's nice to not have to worry about stoking charcoal, but I am doing homework on electric. If I could load up a box with fruit wood, set a dial at 225 and go to bed, I'd be very happy. Also my propane will occasionally catch the chunks on fire, and I'll look outside to see huge amounts of white smoke billowing, now I have to take it apart to put the fire out. Electric, no open flame. One last thing, it's hard to plan a smoke when you have 1/3 bottle/tank of propane left. Not empty enough to replace, but not enough gas to do a smoke.
would someone please tell me how to start a thread ?? thanks.
( this added on 4/27/07 thanks for the data for the new dude) !! you folks are the best !!
I have a Bradley Original Electric and just love the convenience at times. They have a forum that would probably provide any information you could want about the Bradley's. The forum is also full of really nice folks. Here's the link if you are interested.
I started smoking on an electric smoker. I think it is actually meant for sausage smoking, but I didn't know that until I started reseraching making sausage..
I got mine for like $189 through They are currently sold out of them. I could control my temp with a small dial on the front of the smoker. I upgraded to a larger King Kooker gas smoker which I have only used twice so far. I can't tell you how convenient the electric was. I will also say that it can catch wood chunks on fire. It was a great learning tool. I know there are a number of masterbuilt owners here on the site. I would definitely consider that smoker because of the ability to set the actual temp. One reason I went to gas is so that I have the ability to crank it up at the end to crisp skin on poultry. I have both so I will pick and chose which one I use for different jobs...
hhersh, From the welcoming page click on forums link in the blue band at the top. Then select from the menu the area that you wish to post in and select it. On the first screen that appears in the area there is a new thread button that will allow you to start a new thread. Hope this helps..........Bill
Mel -

It REALLY sounds to me like your wanting an almost fully automatic smoker.

Sounds like the Masterbuilt is what your looking for although once you get the hang of it it's not that hard to maintain temperatures on most smokers.
I have the older style MES without the door latch or top vent and have done jerky, brisket, turkey breasts, etc..

The smoker is very easy to use and I have had some great and some not great. Way more great then not. Like anything you need to talke the time and learn it. I am going to smoke a pork shoulder in the next day or two and decidd to to do some testing tonight around temps.

First I checked calibration of my digital thermometer.

I stuck it in boiling water and confirmed 212 degree's it was +/1 1 degree which was good..

I set the temp to on the MES to 210 for 4 hours.
I put the temp probe from my thermometer through an apple, tip in the air, and
set it on the middle shelf of the smoker.

I sat back and just watched....

Initially the thermometer was anywhere from 20-50 degrees higher then the MES display but once the MES reached 210 it shut the heating element off. The the temps in the smoker started to drop really really slow... The MES is well insulated and holds heat. After about 5 minutes it had dropped maybe 3-4 degrees. I have no patience so I opened the door and let air in until the thermometer read 170. I closed the door and the MES started to drop more rapidly. When it hit 202 it turned the heating element back on. I did one more cycle and the temp variances was the same on the low end and much closer (plus 20) on the high side. not have time to try the cycle again but my guess is here is that the smoker 1)Turns on the heating element within 10 degrees below the set temp. 2) The smoker will exceed the set temp by more then 10 degrees. 3) The thermometer in the MES is in the chassis or other area where it is slower to react. 4) The smoker actually spends more time above the set temp then below it.

Basically the MES from what I can see works no different then my oven but the range +/- set temp may vary more. Until I can do a longer test, say three of four heater element on / off cycles I will be setting my MES 10 degrees below the recommended temps for the different meats.

With this said I still love the smoker and would give it a big thumbs up...
Hope this helps anyone with the MES or considering one....

Heck, if your like most of the folks on the forum you'll have one of each eventually.

Good luck with what ever you decide.
Hi Debi,
I have the almost automatic smoker in the Bradley Original. I have the guru raptor competitor contoller for it. I simply set cabinet temperature and desired internal meat temperature and let it go. It is great for long smokes that you want to start the night before. Just set it and change the water before bed. If your internal temp is met before morning it simply goes into ramp mode and reduces the box temp to keep the meat at the exact selected temp until you have an opportunity to check on it. Sometimes it almost feels like I am cheating. Oh well, just thought I would share an alternative. By the way, for those claiming the electrics will catch chips on fire, the Bradley bisquettes will not burn and refresh every 20 minutes as a new bisquette is feed and pushes the old bisquette into a water bowl. The down side is that the bisquettes are rather expensive at about 30 cents for every 20 minute bisquette.
I have a "Smokin Tex 1525" and love it for several reasons.
1. It only takes 8 to 12 ounces of wood chips to do over 25 slabs of ribs
2. Set the temp and walk away
3. Plugs into any household outlet
4. Made sturdy
5. The envy of my friends
6. The pride of my family
7. Excited to have people over for a BBQ
8. The price was within my limited budget for a commercial grade cooker
hillbillysmoker -

I actually considered the Bradley as my first and second smoker. Haven't heard to much about it though and I went with the propane Smoke safe. Nobody here sells the briskets so I be doing mail order every smoke. I went with convience of fuel and least expensive fuel. Was tempting though!
melh, I was also in the same quandry as you. I already have a charcoal/lump smoker/griller, and I wanted a smoker that didn't require my time and services to replenish the charcoal/lump on a regular basis or maintaining temp during those colds days. I was going to get a gas smoker (I came real close too buying one), then I looked at a different charcoal/lump smoker (came close to buying that one as well).
I finally made my decision to buy a Cookshack model, series 50 smoker. It's an electric that uses a minimal amount of wood chunks per smoke, but the results are great. The Cookshack smokers are well known for their quality and their customer service is A-1.
My smoker will be arriving this coming Tuesday. It is expensive, but I'll be saving quite a bit in fuel expenses when you figure in how long I'll have it and cook with it. After seeing how much propane is going for now days, and the continual buying/searching for charcoal in the winter, I opted for the Cookshack. It uses a minimal amount of electricity. It smokes in any type of weather. So no worries with the Cookshack about how much the wind is blowing or what direction it's blowing, or how cold it is outside. Their website forum is great with plenty of info from other owners of this type of smoker. So if you can afford it and an electric suits you, check out their website, Or just go to their forum and read up on the posts there. The owner's comments about the Cookshack smokers is what sold me on buying one. It is a definite "set it and forget it" type of smoker, but with great results in your smoked cooks.
But whatever decision you make in the type of smoker you purchase, I hope that your family will enjoy it.
Ya know ... The Smoke Vault not is what I think of as automatic you do have to put chunks of wood in and put water in the pan. I've been using much bigger chunks then in the ECB so I only have to add it once after about 3 hours.

And it hasn't been as cold only got down to 30's last smoke but I didn't have to do anthing but spray apple juice and flip the food a few times. Kind felt like I was cheating on an exam or something. I do still have the wind break up on two sides the huricane winds all week broke one side and it brew away while I was at work.

I'd say this propane thing is almost "set it and forget it!"
Hey folks, I have a Brinkmann Gourmet electric bullet and you have to put the chips on the bottom just avoiding the burner coils. I wonder if one could put some kind of rack just over the coil ? It would make replenishing the chips easier from that rather small access door . Any ideas ? thanks, Harold
No Problem~ Getting ready to smoke a pair of briskets tonight....

First time for the double...

and I might add I saw the cookshack smokers at Cabellas and they are Reallly Nice.... but a good dealmore then the MES..
MES is the value king...

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