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Smoke Hollow 40" Smoke-Tronix Electric Smoker - First Impressions

ngiovas

Newbie
23
16
Joined Nov 26, 2009
I ended up pulling the trigger on a Smoke Hollow 40" Smoke-Tronix Electric Smoker and wanted to provide my first impressions since I had never seen one in person and didn't find a lot of info online about them.

A little background - I have been smoking foods as a hobby for a while.  Got my first Brinkman bullet smoker in about '93.  Liked using it, but finally decided to try something different a little over 10 years ago when I bought my 30" Masterbuilt electric smoker.  I used it frequently with no issues, but found that it was a bit smaller than I would have liked and there were a few minor things that could have been improved on, so I decided to finally upgrade.

I ordered it from Amazon last weekend and it arrived via UPS on Tuesday.  I haven't had a chance to cook anything in it yet, but wanted to post my initial thoughts.  
  • I found the smoker to be well packaged.  A couple of the reviews that I read online mentioned that there was slight damage when the smoker arrived.  I found the packaging to be sufficient and didn't find any damage after opening it up.  The box is thick cardboard and there was styrofoam surrounding the smoker on all sides.
  • Even though I didn't think of going from a 30" smoker to a 40" smoker as a huge jump, this smoker is significantly larger/heavier than my old smoker.  I could easily pick up the 30" MES and carry it to where I was going to use it (although I built a cart for it recently to make it easier to move).  There is no way I could easily pick up the 40" Smoke Hollow.  Mostly because it is just too big to securely grab, but it is also fairly heavy.  I was a bit nervous that I may drop it when I was lifting it on to the cart.
  • Only the front of the smoker is stainless steel.  I couldn't really tell from the various photos I saw, but the sides are a gray/silver powder coating.  The sides are mostly smooth with a very slight texture.  It appears that it will be much easier to clean than the MES.  The MES had a matt textured finish that didn't easily wipe clean if you spilled anything on it.
  • The racks are a nice quality chromed steel of a good weight.  It appears they should last fine without risk of bending.  My MES was an early one that had racks that were made of a very thin mesh.  They were nice in the sense that small things couldn't fall through, but I was always worried that they could tear (which never happened).  While the Smoke Hollow came with 4 racks, there are holes for up to 8.  This is nice because you can easily space the racks where needed, or add extra racks for smoking thinner items like wings, cheese or ribs.
  • The seal on the door seems to be a good quality rubber.  If it stays pliable like it currently is, it will seal the door very well.  Once I have had a chance to smoke a couple of times, I will be able to tell if the latch needs to be adjusted to tighten the seal, but I will leave it for now.
  • I really like the improvements that have been made over the MES - The larger wood chip box with easy access from the front.  I like that the grease pan is enclosed on the bottom rather than hanging off the back like my old one.  With the MES it could be accidentally kicked.  Plus my dogs were always trying to sneak behind it to lick the grease.  Sorry girls, no more snack time :).  Being able to add water from the side without opening the door is a nice touch, but I don't find myself frequently adding water anyway.
  • I love the fact that the controls are on the front instead of the back like my old one.  It makes it easier to see/access since it is taller and up on a cart.  The controls were not super intuitive, but after reading the instructions one time they made sense. 
  • I like the temperature range much better on this smoker.  The low temperature is 50 degrees vs. 150 degrees on the MES which allows you to cold smoke.
  • I like the dual heating elements so that you can quickly heat the wood chips to get the smoke started.  Plus you have a total of 1500 watts vs. the 1200 watts on the MES.
  • I like having the built in meat probe, but I haven't tested the accuracy yet.  I also like the idea of the bluetooth, but I am worried about the range.  I have also read reviews that the reliability of the bluetooth isn't very good.  If that is the case, I will just use my Maverick probes.
  • The vent is much larger than the MES and should provide good air flow.  I will have to see if there is any difference with it being on the back vs. the top.
  • The smoker comes with wheels and feet, but I chose not to install them so it would be stable on the cart.
I am sure that I will find many more things I like, but I just wanted to post my initial thoughts.  Below are some photos from the unpacking.  Hopefully I will be able to use it this weekend.








 

ngiovas

Newbie
23
16
Joined Nov 26, 2009
 
Nice review, what's the price point?
Thanks.  It looks like it went up to $414, but I paid $404 last weekend.  I also had a $55 Amazon gift card. Plus, I had just ordered a Masterbuilt cold smoke attachment that I haven't opened and will return, so I figure that is another $42 towards the smoker since I would have spent that money if I kept the old smoker.  In the end, I figure it was a net cost of $307 for me.  You can get the black one for about $30 less.
 

SmokinAl

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That's a great looking smoker, and I've seen nothing but positive reviews on it.

Looking forward to seeing your first smoke on it.

Al
 

ngiovas

Newbie
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16
Joined Nov 26, 2009
I meant to post here, but didn't get a chance.  I have used the smoker twice now and hope to use it again this weekend.

For the first smoke, I decided to try a cold smoke.  I have been wanting to cold smoke cheese for a long time, but didn't really have the equipment to do it.  With the Smoke Hollow having the cold smoke option, I thought I would give it a try.  I stopped by Costco and picked up 10 pounds of cheese - Gouda, mozzarella, Mild Cheddar and Colby Jack.


The outside temperature the morning I smoked the cheese was around 72 degrees.  This is a bit warmer than I would have liked, but I thought I would give it a try anyway.  I cut the cheese into chunks and loaded up the smoker.


The one thing I didn't do that I wish I had done was to put a pan of ice below the cheese, but above the wood tray.  The issue I ran into was that the smoker has to use heat to get the chips to start smoking.  Even though I set the smoker to cold smoke mode, the smoker warmed up to 82 degrees.  The cheese began to sweat and soften.  I was worried that the temp may continue to rise and melt the cheese.  I ended up turning off the smoker and replacing the wood tray with an Amazen pellet tray.  This allowed me to keep the temps much lower.  I finished out the smoke session with the pellet tray, but I also wonder if I had let the smoker heat up in cold smoke mode and start smoking before I put in the cheese if the heating element wouldn't have turned off and the temps may have come back down?  The other thing I want to try is cold smoking when the temps are a lot lower to see what the results are.

Regardless, everything seemed to work out fine.  I smoked the cheese for about 3 hours.  I vacuum sealed it and am aging it for 4 weeks before eating it.  It has now been 2 1/2 weeks, so I should be trying it soon.


With one smoking session on the new smoker under my belt, I was anxious to smoke some something else.  I didn't have a lot of time, so I decided to smoke some chicken wings.  For the wings, I did a couple of different Asian sauces (one ginger and one red pepper).  I smoked them at 245 degrees and then threw them in the oven at 350 degrees for an additional 15 minutes to make them crispy.  They turned out awesome.  Note for next time - put the red pepper wings on the bottom so they can't drip onto the ginger wings.


Since I had plenty of capacity with the new smoker, I decided to smoke some mac and cheese at the same time. I did a 4 cheese recipe with a cheese sauce in it.  It was phenomenal.  My wife and sons loved it.  In fact, they loved it so much, when I got up the next morning, I realized someone had gone into the fridge for a midnight snack and had almost finished it off.  The only thing I would do differently next time would be to throw it in the broiler for a few minutes to brown the cheese on top.  One of my co-workers used the same recipe the following weekend and added some buttered bread crumbs on top to make a crust.


Besides making you drool, the real reason for my post is to let you know how the smoker worked.  Setting the temperature and time was easy once I had done it once.  It came up to temp pretty quickly (quicker than my old MES).  I used the quick smoke option and it was putting out a steady stream of blue smoke in just under 15 minutes. The smoker maintained the set temperature +/- 5 degrees the entire time.  

I also like the larger capacity of the wood chip tray.  It is simple to load and the chips last a long time.  The only thing that could be improved is that the chip tray has a hinged/slotted cover.  When you go to open it, the lid will be hot, so you need to use a glove. Luckily I realized this while my fingers were still half an inch away. In addition, while tray handle stays cool enough to pull it out with your bare hand, the weight of the tray makes it awkward to hold straight out so you don't drop any smoldering chips. It is easier if you have a glove so you can support the tray while you carry it.  It would also be nice if the tray was on a slider so you could pull it out, but leave it hanging there so you can load it in place.  It is very difficult to try to load it while holding it up with one hand and flipping the top up with your other hand.

I didn't use the water pan for either smoke, so I can't comment on that, but the location is good and it is easy to access.  the racks seem to be made of high quality chromed metal and are easy to slide in and out.  I also noticed that the smoker stayed cool to the touch on the top and sides while smoking.  The glass still gets hot enough you can't touch it with a bare hand.

Overall, I was very happy with the smoker.  I hope to smoke some chicken this weekend.  I will provide an update if I think of anything else.
 

old sarge

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Good review. Sounds like the smoker is a good value.
 

dajuice98

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10
Joined Nov 8, 2007
Great review I know you mentioned you have owned other smokers and grills in the past so how would you rate this smoker versus your previous equipment
 

ngiovas

Newbie
23
16
Joined Nov 26, 2009
Great review I know you mentioned you have owned other smokers and grills in the past so how would you rate this smoker versus your previous equipment
The most obvious difference is the capacity.  I am very happy with the size.  This will allow me to do much more food at once.  Adjustability of the rack spacing is nice too.  Because there is room for eight racks, you can adjust the four that come with it to make some closer and others further apart.

I smoked some chicken last weekend (which turned out great by the way) and it was nice being able to add water without opening the door.  My old smoker didn't have the window, so it is nice being able to see the water pan without opening the door.  I know some people don't clean their window, but I plan to try to clean it after each smoke.  I find it useful.  I will only clean the window, not the sides of the smoker.

I don't have a sense of how long the wood chips are lasting.  Meaning - I don't know if I am putting in wood less often?  I do like the quick smoke feature.  I had smoke within 15 minutes of turning on the smoker.  It also gets up to temperature way faster than my old MES 30" smoker.  that was really nice.  It also helps it recover quickly after opening the door.  The smoker held the temperature +/- 5 degrees the entire smoke.

I don't have a picture, but one thing I found odd was that the water pan covers most of the primary heating element, but not the 2-3 inches right at the back of the smoker.  I wouldn't think you would want grease dripping down on it.  I was going to contact the manufacturer to see if maybe I don't have the water pan inserted correctly?  It hasn't been an issue so far, but it could become an issue if the smoker was filled to capacity and there was food all the way at the back of the racks.

I did pull out my phone and check the temperature of the smoker once and it worked fine.  I didn't really use it to monitor the whole smoke session this time.  I am going to try to pair my tablet to see if it can pick up the signal from my kitchen.  If it does, it will be really nice for long smoke sessions.  It even graphs the temps so you can see if you have temperature spikes/dips.  I still haven't tried the meat probe yet.  I probably will do a brisket or pork butt soon.  I will use it for that and compare it to my Maverick.  
 
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old sarge

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Looks like a very capable smoker.  Should give the MES a run for it's money.
 

babcockwi

Fire Starter
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19
Joined Oct 9, 2012
Thanks for the great review! Just pulled the trigger on the Smoke Tronix, should be here on Tuesday. Anybody looking to buy a Smoke Tronix, TSC has them on sale for $299 until Sunday I believe.
 

old sarge

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Report back after you get a smoke or two under your belt and let us know what you think about the Smoke Tronix. There are only a few folks who have this smoker so the more reviews and photos and success stories there are the more choices people will have in choosing an electric smoker.
 

Rings Я Us

Smoking Guru
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Joined Jul 3, 2017
Thanks for the great review! Just pulled the trigger on the Smoke Tronix, should be here on Tuesday. Anybody looking to buy a Smoke Tronix, TSC has them on sale for $299 until Sunday I believe.
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I saw one that came with a cabinet that looked nice. And the red one with red stand..
 

babcockwi

Fire Starter
67
19
Joined Oct 9, 2012
I was looking at the one with the cabinet, but it was pretty spendy and only at BPS. TSC still has the black or stainless for $299 without a stand. I've used mine twice so far and am really enjoying it.
 

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