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Smoke Vault vs Pellet Smoker

MilwaukeeBBQGuy

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Joined Sep 12, 2020
Hey guys, I've been running the Smoke Vault for a couple years, and while I have had some good success with it, it always seems like everything takes much longer than it should. For instance, 4 pound pork shoulder taking 14 hours.

I do have a separate digital thermometer that I use for the ambient temp.

Wondering if the fact that the Smoke Vault is a very thin metal, that it might be really extending my cook times? Been thinking about upgrading to a pellet smoker, but worried I won't get as much "smokiness" as I currently am. However I might trade that if I can speed up my cook times a little.

Thoughts?
 

bigfurmn

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Pellet smokers are usually much faster as they have a fan to distribute the heat around. I live in Minnesota so I also have an insulated blanket for the winter months. I know with even my MB electric smoker it seemed to take a long time. As far as extra smokiness, you can always get a smoke tube from A-Maze-N for added smoke.
 

ravenclan

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My buddy has a Smoke Vault and uses a "blanket" on it to help keep heat and he also put fire place bricks on the inside to help with the heat. It smokes so good he will not get another smoker besides a wood smoker that he has but here in Oklahoma he only uses the wood one during the summer months but the Smoke Vault gets used the rest of the year.
 

TGRIMMOSU#1

Meat Mopper
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Joined May 26, 2020
If you like smoke flavor I'd stay away from pellets all together. I have a Recteq 700 that's I've used 3 times all summer. One cook was a pork butt the other 2 were chicken. I've prolly used my 26" kettle 4 times a week all summer long. Smoked ribs, pork but and chicken on it. Super easy to control temps and great smoke flavor. If I had to do it all over again I wouldn't have bought anything else other than the 26" kettle. For 300$ you can't beat it as a grill or smoker with a SNS and vortex. Just my opinion
 

MilwaukeeBBQGuy

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Joined Sep 12, 2020
Thanks everyone, appreciate the input. It's a hard decision, and kinda want to convince the wife to let me have both! :-)
 

chilerelleno

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I use a SV24 and have zero issues with cooking, Low-n-Slow or Hot-n-Fast it just keeps turning out great Q.

Only issue with it was strong wind blowing out the burner, but that was easily solved.
And since I live in the Deep South cold poses no problems with maintaining temps.
 

MilwaukeeBBQGuy

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I use a SV24 and have zero issues with cooking, Low-n-Slow or Hot-n-Fast it just keeps turning out great Q.

Only issue with it was strong wind blowing out the burner, but that was easily solved.
And since I live in the Deep South cold poses no problems with maintaining temps.
I can maintain temp fine. But cook times are always extremely long.
 

chilerelleno

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I can maintain temp fine. But cook times are always extremely long.
Let say you're cooking a Chuck roast, lets also say that a Chuck averages 2.5 inches thick and at 230° it takes 7-8 hrs for it to be tender enough to pull.
That being said, there should be no real difference in average cook times if your temp is actually what is shown unless the next chuck is significantly thicker or thinner.

If your cooking temps are correct it shouldn't take you any longer on average than the next guy unless you're at high altitude, e.g. 3000ft and higher.
But even then we're talking at a half an hour or so even with adjusted cooking temps.
But if you're actually in Milwaukee its a moot point since you're only 666 feet above sea level.

Lots of other things can affect your cooking temp and thus times, e.g. freezing temps, wind, rain and such. Also, other atmospheric conditions such as humidity can affect the quality of your Que if not prepared for them.

So my question to you is how are you measuring your cooking temp, is it accurate or is it lower than what it actually is?
Are you using the factory installed gauge in the door or what?
The factory door gauge is notorious for being way off.

Recommend using a quality digital thermometer that can be place on the grate next to the meat.
Suggest getting to know your SV that you find out where your hot/cold spots are, and how much temp fluctuation there is between bottom, middle and top racks.
 
Last edited:

MilwaukeeBBQGuy

Fire Starter
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Joined Sep 12, 2020
Let say you're cooking a Chuck roast, lets also say that a Chuck averages 2.5 inches thick and at 230° it takes 7-8 hrs for it to be tender enough to pull.
That being said, there should be no real difference in average cook times if your temp is actually what is shown unless the next chuck is significantly thicker or thinner.

If your cooking temps are correct it shouldn't take you any longer on average than the next guy unless you're at high altitude, e.g. 3000ft and higher.
But even then we're talking at a half an hour or so even with adjusted cooking temps.
But if you're actually in Milwaukee its a moot point since you're only 666 feet above sea level.

Lots of other things can affect your cooking temp and thus times, e.g. freezing temps, wind, rain and such. Also, other atmospheric conditions such as humidity can affect the quality of your Que if not prepared for them.

So my question to you is how are you measuring your cooking temp, is it accurate or is it lower than what it actually is?
Are you using the factory installed gauge in the door or what?
The factory door gauge is notorious for being way off.

Recommend using a quality digital thermometer that can be place on the grate next to the meat.
Suggest getting to know your SV that you find out where your hot/cold spots are, and how much temp fluctuation there is between bottom, middle and top racks.
Hi! I don't use the factory installed thermometer. I have a thermopro digital thermometer to measure both ambient and meat temps. I also put a standard oven thermometer inside, which matches what I see on the thermopro.
 

chilerelleno

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For instance, 4 pound pork shoulder taking 14 hours.
That is a long time, are all your cooks that extended?
Okay, what are your cooking temps, is it going in cold, are you spritzing/basting it, water pan or no, naked or crutched?
How long is it stalling?
Are your meats heavily brined or injected?
Added moisture content can add a lot of time, e.g. injected Butts have taken 20 hours.
 

MilwaukeeBBQGuy

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Joined Sep 12, 2020
That is a long time.
Okay, what are your cooking temps, is it going in cold, are you spritzing/basting it, water pan or no, naked or crutched?
How long is it stalling?
Are your meats heavily brined or injected?
Added moisture content can add a lot of time, e.g. injected Butts have taken 20 hours.
Typically smoke between 250-275.
Usually don't inject, and when I do, it's typically chicken. Pork butts, brisket, etc I never inject.
I ditched the water pan for sand and clay pot in my water pan. I sometimes put just a little water bowl in there, but it's rare.
The last pork butt that took forever I did not wrap, so maybe that was my problem. Figured such a small piece of meat shouldn't need it. (was experimenting)

I do spritz every so often with a liquid.

Hope this helps....
 

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