Which Smoker?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by pinelogpigs, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. Is there a reasonable priced (electric, propane, or pellet) smoker that will smoke anything from cheese @ 80 degrees to chicken at over 300 degrees?
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    300*+ will nix pretty much any electric smoker. Most gassers will push 400-450*+ and some may need a mod to reduce the flame enough for cold smoking. If you want reasonably priced that will nix pellet poopers. Lots of things can be done to gassers to get smoke at lower temps...that's what I used to do. I also used a propane torch for smoke in a charcoal smoker when I didn't want to feed it just one or two lit briquettes at a time. Not many electrics will produce smoke at low temps without making some kind of modification...the exception being the Bradley. It has a separate smoke generator, but the heating element for the smoke chamber is far from adequate, even for low & slow cooking in the winter. Most electrics at a reasonable price are limited to a max temp of 275*, if they can even get that hot.

  3. Thanks for the reply. I've got a MB 44" sportsman elite dual burner, It must not be right cause I can't get temp over 300 or lower than 200. I guess I need to find out how to had a needle valve.
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I just looked at the MB 44. 16,500 BTU may be a bit light on burner output for the size of that monstrous smoke chamber, but I would think that with proper tuning of the entire smoker you should see about 275-300* above ambient in light to no wind. The MB 44 is around 16" taller than the Smoke Vault 24", with SV-24 having 18K BTU...my SV-24 will push about 375-400* over ambient temp once it has stabilized. Also, in one pic on Bass Pro site the vent on the rear looks like it may actually be too big, creating excessive draft in the smoke chamber. That alone could expend too much heat. You may look into a way to choke down the vent opening about 50% (I couldn't tell if there's a built-in adjustment plate) and see where that takes you peak temp...just don't go too far or you'll get stagnant smoke (creosote leading to bitter taste on food).

    One obvious issue that eluded me until right now: get rid of the thought of using water in the water pan, if you use water. Water cools the space through evaporation and will limit your peak temps drastically. You can put some play sand or pea-gravel in the water pan for thermal mass (rinsed/washed to remove fine particles), then line the water pan with a couple layers of foil to catch drippings and reduce the chance of contaminating the thermal mass, allowing you to keep the same thermal mass for a long time. The addition of thermal mass instead of water in the pan will help to smooth out temp peaks and valleys but will not limit your peak temp like water will. If you use water, I'd start with that. You can add water to the foil liner for increased humidity, if you wish, but with smaller amounts of water it will cause less of a cooling effect in the smoke chamber.

    Also, be sure your flame is mostly blue...if not, the venturi enrichment may be too rich and needs adjusted (if it's adjustable), or, the burner and gas venturi/ports may need cleaning of debris, dirt, etc. Spiders can get inside and make webs...mud daubers can wreak havoc as well.

    As for the minimum temp of 200*, not much other than a needle valve will correct that, unless the control valve will alow you to push in and rotate towards the closed position to throttle back the burner output..this how the SV-24 burner control valve works. If this is an older smoker that's seen some use and the temp range has changed, a good cleaning and possibly some adjustments on the lower end will help with peak temps.

  5. Dang you're right I didn't realize the BTU's were so small for that large of a unit. I thought they were 16,500 per side. I've not had it that long, 6 months, can you change the gas hose out with one from a fish cooker that will adjust the flame more? I'm going to fire it up and look at the flame.
  6. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Higher gas pressure with the use of a different regulator may be too much for the venturi and burners to handle the flow...may be a recipe for disaster. It could cause excessive gas flow that may create a situation where the flame extends too far from the burner and it flames-out...or, something much worse. With mods or adjustments to achieve a lower flame the flame could go out from a gust of wind (same risk with dialing back my Smoke Vault), so you'd need to monitor it closely until you're comfortable with how low you can go, reliably.

    If you're suffering from low-temp issues with cold, windy, wet weather, then you need to protect the smoker from the weather...especially the wind and precipitation...they will zap the heat from a cooker faster than anything else. Some guys insulate their smoker with appropriate high-temp material to offset heat loss, but this is mostly done with electric rigs. If you have excessive heat/smoke loss from the cabinet door, sealing it can help somewhat, but cabinets need to be leveled well before starting the smoke or the door won't close properly.

    BTW, my fix for a chicken cooker is a rotiserie kit for my one of Weber kettles...just about to go set it up for a maiden voyage this afternoon with 8.2lb roaster...the store had a couple over 10lbs, but I didn't know if it would fit under the lid of my OTG 18.5 Weber kettle lid, so I passed that one up. Why a rotiserie? I've thrown in the towel on trying to get find a reliable method for crisp chicken from a smoker without spending a day or 2 of extra prep, that's all...intermittent high heat rules the roost when it comes to crisp skin on a bird.

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
  7. Thanks Eric for your help. Fired it up and the flame looks good not much yellow at all. There was a slight breeze today and it was having a field day with the flame. That is probably what is happening to the high temp. I'll have to mod something to knock off the breeze. 

    I may try and add a needle valve to the line for lower temps and I've already bought an AMNS tube to help with the lower temp. smoking. I may try and add the mailbox mod and smoke stack. TINKER, TINKER, TINKER ONE DAY it'll be right.

    Thanks again for your help.


Share This Page