Some advice for a noob in a townhouse?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by gregor, May 7, 2016.

  1. gregor

    gregor Smoke Blower

    I have had an electric tube-type smoker for a long time, but with living in a townhouse, every time I start it up, I get complaints from neighbors.  So I don't use it unless my neighbors are away. (I have an end unit.)  I have a raised deck so the smoker would be about 10 feet from the house.

    It puts out a ton of smoke and every time I open it up to refill the bottom tray, even more.

    I thought by getting one of the Masterbuilt or CharBroil cabinet type, they would seem to use less wood and hold the smoke in better.  Which would result in my neighbors complaining less, or hopefully not complaining at all.

    Asking the minds that know...budget is $400 or so.

    1) am I correct in assuming less wood+cabinet = less free smoke to blow about?

    2) thoughts on CharBroil vs MasterBuilt vs something else?  30" vs 40"

  2. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I am a huge fan of the SmokinTex.  A little above your price point, but much higher quality IMHO.  

    Did you ever give any of your neighbors some of the delightful treats that come from the smoker?  That just might change their minds about complaining about the smoke.

    Good Luck!

    Smoke ON!

    - Jason
  3. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

  4. gregor

    gregor Smoke Blower


    I do drop off plates, they appreciate the gesture, but I still hear about it. That's why I asked about the box smokers being more efficient and having less smoke produced.
  5. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Much less smoke. I add 2oz of chips per pound.

    Good luck!
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Any smoker is going to put off enough smoke to smell the area up.

    A MES 40 with an Amazen tube inside would probably be your best bet.

    But there still is going to be plenty of smoke smell.

    Maybe you could put a fan out by the smoker directing the smoke away from the neighbors.

  7. gregor

    gregor Smoke Blower

    Thanks, any words of wisdom for Masterbuilt vs CharBroil? 
  8. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Don't know too much about the Char broil.

    I just know there are a heck of a lot of guys on here with MES.

    I know from experience they have great customer service also.

  9. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    Yeah MES + Amazen is your best bet.  I have neighbors running over wanting to know what smells so good.  Perhaps you just have too much smoke generation going on.
  10. gregor

    gregor Smoke Blower

    With as many passionate, knowledgeable folks here as there are, that probably speaks volumes.  Quite a few problems posted over on Amazon with the CB the main knock outside of here on MES is the small smoke tray.
    With the tube smoker, most likely, I would use 10-12 pounds of chips to smoke one 12 pound turkey - 8-9 hour duration.  So with a lesser amount of chips over the same time period, I am thinking it would be more tolerable for my neighbors.
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I was in your exact situation with a MES 40 and got A LOT of complaining from the folks above me. Currently the least amount of smoke from an electric is the Smokin-it. They are a knock-off of the Smokin Tex and Cook Shack but are much more reasonably priced then the latter two. You Will Not be any better off with the units you are thinking about...I know from experience...JJ
  12. gregor

    gregor Smoke Blower

    How much wood or chips would I use in the MES to do a pork butt or turkey?
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    For either meat, 4 hours smoke is about the minimum. 1/4C Chips in the tray, more is not better, burnout in about 45 minutes at 225°F, so 4-5 loads.Chunks don't burn well in an MES...The Smokin-It has a very small Vent and is designed to get by on very little wood, so smoke Trickles out rather that the larger volume the MES releases. You can try using half that amount and closing the exhaust damper 50%, your result may vary from a bit light flavored to having an astringent tinkle from the creosote buildup...JJ 
  14. gregor

    gregor Smoke Blower

    Thanks, I see lots of mods for the MES, but it seems I could use the Smokin-it "as is"? Seems to be a simpler solution that the MES? I don't have a lot of room on my deck and would prefer to keep thins simple. How hot does the unit get on the bottom?

    I have a remote temperature probe already, so I could use that for meat and I don't think I need a remote control for the smoker itself - since it would be on a wood deck, I shouldn't leave it running unattended.

  15. An easy fix for the heat "off the bottom", is using a automotive drip pan underneath the smoker. They're cheap and available in Wally World and almost every auto parts store.
  16. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The Smokin-it guys have not posted a ton of mods so yes they are ready to go as is. I can't speak for the SI but I have run the MES on a wood deck for years with no issue. The SI has a lot more clearance with the casters and I highly doubt there would be an issue...JJ
  17. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    The biggest 'MOD' for the Smokin-it smokers was adding an Auber PID to the smoker. This involved wall mounting a permanent temp probe to the smoker that connects to the Auber. Several folks also added a rocker switch so that they could use the PID when the mood struck them OR toggle over to the stock analog controller should the Auber develop a problem No loss of smoker. The addition of the Auber as an accessory was so popular that it is now fully integrated into all models ending with a D.  SI currently sells both the analog and the PID versions; both versions are utterly reliable, are NSF certified, and very robust in build. And they do put out smoke but no more than any other quality smoker.
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  18. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Knock-off? That is one way to kook at it since they are youngest of the three but I prefer to think of SI as a better mousetrap, or smoker.
  19. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    They are virtually identical. Take the company label off and with the exception of the back panel, very few would know which is which. The first pic is the Smokin Tex. Number 2 is the Smokin-it 2...So other than the 800 watt coil, a second door latch and less shelves in the Smokin-it vs 700 watts in the Smokin Tex which part of the Smokin-it makes it a better mouse trap? [​IMG]...JJ


    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  20. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Good evening JJ -  

    You are right about the back panel and stripping off the label. A lot of folks just do not do proper research.  So here is my take on the better mouse trap:  

    The warranty for SI is 3 years versus 2 for ST.  

    The SI2 is $399 versus $595.  

    For $599, the SI2D comes with an integrated PID, just $4.00 more.  

    The shelves on the SI2/2D are 14  1/2 X  14 1/2 inch; the ST 1400 are 14 1/2 inch X 14 1/2 inch (dead even). And yes, ST provides a screen shelf (#5) as part of the package.

    Cord length on the SI2/2D is 12 feet; ST 1400 6 feet, less chance of needing a power robbing extension cord.

    You have already identified the difference in the heating element and the 2 latches versus single door latch.  

    And at $499.00, SI offers the model 3, and even larger smoker, at less than the cost of the model 1400 from ST.  

    Shipping is extra on all. So I figure if you can get more for less, then a better mouse trap/smoker is on the market. 

    ST has been around a long time and has a good reputation for producing a quality product. And SI is the relative newcomer, 4 or 5 years and counting.  But when it comes down to features and price..................

    If I got anything wrong, blame it on old age.

    Last edited: May 10, 2016

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