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The Electrics - "just the facts, ma'am" ; needing crash course

fletchlee

Newbie
5
1
Joined Nov 17, 2020
First off, not a pro ; just average three time a year smoker... but I am originally from Texas, if that gives me any bonuses, I used a cheap walmart offset with lump coal and hickory/mesquite last
15 years. Seemed to get good results 90% of the time.

I have cooked 4 times now in the new electric "charbroil" digital 30 but now in a state of "fishing" for better; so seeking all advice.
This unit has the chip box and regardless of the brand of chips and the amt (1/3, half , full)... I am getting "smoked" (see what I did there?) with two main obstacles.
1) the meats have been bland.... juicy, but bland. 2) the off taste I originally thought was electric smoker taste is really a case of constant degrees of creosote. (ie. stinging bite to tongue and
mouth after each event and some rolling of the stomach. Two days ago I tried more chips AND a tube only to just now come off two days of intense "poisoning" to the stomach and hours of stinging mouth. Whether diff temps set or chip amounts, I have thus far never seen translucent blue smoke, its always white and sometimes billowing. So many websites and youtube vids will ooo ahhh about the juicy factor , but its really hard to find honesty regarding those familiar with "offsets" to say "yeah, the electrics cook the meat decent but offsets or grills will win hands down".

Also, many reviewers will talk about the pellet trays , but again, hard to find them discuss the quality of the smoky flavor they do or dont produce..... just tonight I bought one to experiment and maybe not use the chip box. So please drop some replies to a few of these specific questions here: these are really what I seek mentors advice:
- should I abandon the chip box in this unit? I get a sense there are notorious design issues from net readings.
- do pellets , or finer (non-chip) woods burn better and cleaner in these chip metal box units?
- will the amazeN tray bypass my problems with the chip box and give cleaner smoke AND stronger smoke flavor to the meat?
- are these electric units also negatively impacted by the more items you place on the multiple racks?

hopefully, you pros out there will reserve any judgements; I'm just a guy that wanted less time around the firebox.
 

pa42phigh

Meat Mopper
197
140
Joined Jan 17, 2016
First off, not a pro ; just average three time a year smoker... but I am originally from Texas, if that gives me any bonuses, I used a cheap walmart offset with lump coal and hickory/mesquite last
15 years. Seemed to get good results 90% of the time.

I have cooked 4 times now in the new electric "charbroil" digital 30 but now in a state of "fishing" for better; so seeking all advice.
This unit has the chip box and regardless of the brand of chips and the amt (1/3, half , full)... I am getting "smoked" (see what I did there?) with two main obstacles.
1) the meats have been bland.... juicy, but bland. 2) the off taste I originally thought was electric smoker taste is really a case of constant degrees of creosote. (ie. stinging bite to tongue and
mouth after each event and some rolling of the stomach. Two days ago I tried more chips AND a tube only to just now come off two days of intense "poisoning" to the stomach and hours of stinging mouth. Whether diff temps set or chip amounts, I have thus far never seen translucent blue smoke, its always white and sometimes billowing. So many websites and youtube vids will ooo ahhh about the juicy factor , but its really hard to find honesty regarding those familiar with "offsets" to say "yeah, the electrics cook the meat decent but offsets or grills will win hands down".

Also, many reviewers will talk about the pellet trays , but again, hard to find them discuss the quality of the smoky flavor they do or dont produce..... just tonight I bought one to experiment and maybe not use the chip box. So please drop some replies to a few of these specific questions here: these are really what I seek mentors advice:
- should I abandon the chip box in this unit? I get a sense there are notorious design issues from net readings.
- do pellets , or finer (non-chip) woods burn better and cleaner in these chip metal box units?
- will the amazeN tray bypass my problems with the chip box and give cleaner smoke AND stronger smoke flavor to the meat?
- are these electric units also negatively impacted by the more items you place on the multiple racks?

hopefully, you pros out there will reserve any judgements; I'm just a guy that wanted less time around the firebox.
The tray is definitely better cleaner smoke Bearcarver Bearcarver could probably vouch for that.
 

zwiller

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
2,286
937
Joined Nov 16, 2016
- should I abandon the chip box in this unit? I get a sense there are notorious design issues from net readings.
YES
- do pellets , or finer (non-chip) woods burn better and cleaner in these chip metal box units?
NO, only chips will work in your unit. With the AMNPS, both dust and pellets can be used. I suggest pellets for hot smoking and dust for cold.
- will the amazeN tray bypass my problems with the chip box and give cleaner smoke AND stronger smoke flavor to the meat?
YES
- are these electric units also negatively impacted by the more items you place on the multiple racks?
YES, the more you load it the longer it takes to cook generally speaking.

I don't believe offsets make better smoked food over electrics but admit I originally viewed MES (electrics) as sort of fake or novelty. I no longer do. The AMNPS is really the key. Less time at the firebox you say? I routinely start the tray and smoker and walk away for hours at a time to arrive back and see TBS and temps with 10% of target. I now have around a dozen times I smoked 12+hrs and watched to see constant TBS and temps held steady. Welcome to SMF!
 

Millberry

Meat Mopper
SMF Premier Member
173
105
Joined Nov 12, 2020
New guy here--(bought electric smoker and regret it) I tried chips in the tray--too much smoke. I bought the AmazN pellet tray and got thin blue smoke-BUT couldn't taste it. I went back to tray and used post oak and cherry chips and got a lot of good smelling white smoke again--finally turned blue and no bitter taste in food. I "thought" I tasted the cherry. So I didn't really answer your question. That's why you shouldn't listen to new folks.
 

fletchlee

Newbie
5
1
Joined Nov 17, 2020
- should I abandon the chip box in this unit? I get a sense there are notorious design issues from net readings.
YES
- do pellets , or finer (non-chip) woods burn better and cleaner in these chip metal box units?
NO, only chips will work in your unit. With the AMNPS, both dust and pellets can be used. I suggest pellets for hot smoking and dust for cold.
- will the amazeN tray bypass my problems with the chip box and give cleaner smoke AND stronger smoke flavor to the meat?
YES
- are these electric units also negatively impacted by the more items you place on the multiple racks?
YES, the more you load it the longer it takes to cook generally speaking.

I don't believe offsets make better smoked food over electrics but admit I originally viewed MES (electrics) as sort of fake or novelty. I no longer do. The AMNPS is really the key. Less time at the firebox you say? I routinely start the tray and smoker and walk away for hours at a time to arrive back and see TBS and temps with 10% of target. I now have around a dozen times I smoked 12+hrs and watched to see constant TBS and temps held steady. Welcome to SMF!
thx zwiller; right on target with answering exactly what I requested plus your additional commentary..... everyone out there continue your thoughts please!
 

tallbm

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
4,757
1,870
Joined Dec 30, 2016
First off, not a pro ; just average three time a year smoker... but I am originally from Texas, if that gives me any bonuses, I used a cheap walmart offset with lump coal and hickory/mesquite last
15 years. Seemed to get good results 90% of the time.

I have cooked 4 times now in the new electric "charbroil" digital 30 but now in a state of "fishing" for better; so seeking all advice.
This unit has the chip box and regardless of the brand of chips and the amt (1/3, half , full)... I am getting "smoked" (see what I did there?) with two main obstacles.
1) the meats have been bland.... juicy, but bland. 2) the off taste I originally thought was electric smoker taste is really a case of constant degrees of creosote. (ie. stinging bite to tongue and
mouth after each event and some rolling of the stomach. Two days ago I tried more chips AND a tube only to just now come off two days of intense "poisoning" to the stomach and hours of stinging mouth. Whether diff temps set or chip amounts, I have thus far never seen translucent blue smoke, its always white and sometimes billowing. So many websites and youtube vids will ooo ahhh about the juicy factor , but its really hard to find honesty regarding those familiar with "offsets" to say "yeah, the electrics cook the meat decent but offsets or grills will win hands down".

Also, many reviewers will talk about the pellet trays , but again, hard to find them discuss the quality of the smoky flavor they do or dont produce..... just tonight I bought one to experiment and maybe not use the chip box. So please drop some replies to a few of these specific questions here: these are really what I seek mentors advice:
- should I abandon the chip box in this unit? I get a sense there are notorious design issues from net readings.
- do pellets , or finer (non-chip) woods burn better and cleaner in these chip metal box units?
- will the amazeN tray bypass my problems with the chip box and give cleaner smoke AND stronger smoke flavor to the meat?
- are these electric units also negatively impacted by the more items you place on the multiple racks?

hopefully, you pros out there will reserve any judgements; I'm just a guy that wanted less time around the firebox.
Hi there and welcome!

What zwiller zwiller said. He nailed it.

With the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker (AMNPS) tray, that should solve all your flavor and "too much" smoke problems. If you find it not being enough smoke flavor with a certain type or brand of pellets that you are using, you burn 2 rows and/or use a stronger wood.
Most pellet offerings are blends with the exception of a few brands like LumberJack that explicitly say they are a blend or are 100% of the wood on the label.
 

fletchlee

Newbie
5
1
Joined Nov 17, 2020
Hi there and welcome!

What zwiller zwiller said. He nailed it.

With the A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker (AMNPS) tray, that should solve all your flavor and "too much" smoke problems. If you find it not being enough smoke flavor with a certain type or brand of pellets that you are using, you burn 2 rows and/or use a stronger wood.
Most pellet offerings are blends with the exception of a few brands like LumberJack that explicitly say they are a blend or are 100% of the wood on the label.
thx, tallbm; LumberJack hickory ordered yesterday with the tray! Anyone recommend good (but lesser expensive) brands stocked at either walmart or HD? will get cherry, or a blend for future testing/comparisons.
 

Murray

Smoking Fanatic
498
241
Joined Dec 30, 2018
For some strange reason I have a heck of a time burning straight cherry in an Amazen Oval tube.
 

tallbm

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
4,757
1,870
Joined Dec 30, 2016
thx, tallbm; LumberJack hickory ordered yesterday with the tray! Anyone recommend good (but lesser expensive) brands stocked at either walmart or HD? will get cherry, or a blend for future testing/comparisons.
So here is a tried and true method I use all the time. I buy PitBoss Competition Blend at Walmart for like $14 for a 40lb bag. It is mild but has maple, cherry, and hickory wood in it. I believe I read the ration is only about 20-25% hickory. So when I use it I supplement it with 100% Hickory.

I have this metal cup I use as a scoop. I do 1 cup of PBCB and a little less than 1 cup of LJ 100% Hickory to put me at about a 65% total amount of Hickory.
I dont like 100% Hickory on anything other than bacon... because it makes everything taste too much like bacon when that is not my intent hahaha.

If you go this route you have options that are all good. I'm pretty big on buying a few different LJ 100% woods and making my own blends but for sure I just supplement the Pit Boss CB blend with 100% Hickory when doing chicken, ribs, or anything else that I don't have a defined wood or wood blend I prefer for that meat :)



For some strange reason I have a heck of a time burning straight cherry in an Amazen Oval tube.
Cherry is notorious for not wanting to burn on its own. Some people say that cherry dust doesnt have a problem so they turn pellets into dust for a 100% cherry smoke.
A simpler approach is to blend 100% cherry with so it is like 70-75% cherry and the rest some other wood. You can even lay down the other wood in the AMNPS as the base and then cherry on top. I have done that. I usually mix up cherry and the other wood though for simplicity so that it starts more easily and keeps going.
I even read where a guy breaks up charcoal and puts those little chunks and crumbs in the AMNPS then puts cherry on top. Havent done that but should work :)
 

Murray

Smoking Fanatic
498
241
Joined Dec 30, 2018
That’s what I ended up doing, diluting the cherry with other pellets. Wife bought me 60 lbs. of pellets last year for Christmas, I only have a 6” Oval tube and a 30” MES so by my calculations I have about 8 years supply. Bless her heart!
 

Murray

Smoking Fanatic
498
241
Joined Dec 30, 2018
I have a heck of a time burning straight cherry anytime. Stuff never stays lit, always end up having to blend it.
My mailbox mod has a vent on the bottom so if I place my oval tube over the vent then I have better luck keeping pellets going but it will still go out on a cold smoke(poor draft). With a vent on the bottom I place a cookie sheet under the mailbox mod to catch glowing embers.
 

fletchlee

Newbie
5
1
Joined Nov 17, 2020
side note tip: new with the electric and having a large wood deck, I was worried about heat generation. I didnt want to spend extra for stand so spent all of $2.30 for a 30x30 ceramic tile in flooring dept of any big box store. Im sure you all have your various underlaments but just wanted to throw out the heat tolerant tile for ultra cheap price was a bood base.
 

tallbm

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
4,757
1,870
Joined Dec 30, 2016
side note tip: new with the electric and having a large wood deck, I was worried about heat generation. I didnt want to spend extra for stand so spent all of $2.30 for a 30x30 ceramic tile in flooring dept of any big box store. Im sure you all have your various underlaments but just wanted to throw out the heat tolerant tile for ultra cheap price was a bood base.
I have my smoker and mailbox mod in a plastic resin shed that opens up (top and front) and has a plastic floor. I too use a ceramic tile :)
 

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