Author Topic: Smokers: electric vs gas  (Read 2358 times)

Offline majorvices

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Smokers: electric vs gas
« on: January 27, 2016, 01:10:03 PM »
I've been wanting a BGE or Komodo for several years now but every time I go to pick one up the price gets in my way. I have always used a bullet type smoker but often times I end up having to finish a pork butt off in the oven in doors and I really just want an easier way to manage my smoke days.

I'm not looking at the Traeger tyope either, but the gas and electric smokers look pretty nice with shoots or drawers you can pull out to add chunks or chips.

A buddy of mine has a gas fired one and he loves it but I was leaning electric so that I could not have to fool around with gas tanks.

Anyone have any experience with these? Preferences? Thanks!

Offline narvin

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2016, 01:36:57 PM »
If I were to get serious, I'd go for a pellet smoker.  Have you seen RecTec grills?

Never mind, noticed that you mentioned the Traeger. 
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 01:43:40 PM by narvin »
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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2016, 01:46:28 PM »
I used to have a cheap electric water smoker (bullet shape). I found it very easy to use. I would place soaked would chunks on the element and get very good smoke. Very easy to regulate temperature (turn a knob). I would smoke 12-14 hours over night with no problems. I would need to wake up once or twice in the night to add wood if I wanted it to keep smoking. If you only want to smoke the first few hours and then just bake no extra wood required.

Offline HydraulicSammich

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2016, 02:46:31 PM »
I have had a Masterbuilt, 34" for years.  It is propane but sips it.  It works very well for large meats or racks of meat.  I charge it with wood chips about every 45 min.  You have to add water/vinegar solution every so often. Watch the temp all the time. You have to be around to maintain it through the cook.  Ideally, the company would come out with an auger so one could leave the scene for an hour or so and add digital temp control.  I pick days when I don't have to leave for any extended period of time.  I also have a Traeger.  It is nice for grilling and general real smoke flavor but not the same as my Masterbuilt.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2016, 06:19:41 PM »
Gas?!? Elec!?! That's not REAL BBQ. It has to be charcoal or a stick burner. LOL.
Seriously, I've heard Masterbuilt smokers are pretty good. I've seen them in Gander Mountain. I imagine Cabela's has them, too.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2016, 06:25:30 PM »
Gas?!? Elec!?! That's not REAL BBQ. It has to be charcoal or a stick burner. LOL.
Seriously, I've heard Masterbuilt smokers are pretty good. I've seen them in Gander Mountain. I imagine Cabela's has them, too.


Yeah, I still use a New Braunfels 2 chamber. Old school. But I am tempted by some of the new stuff out there.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2016, 06:32:40 PM »
Gas?!? Elec!?! That's not REAL BBQ. It has to be charcoal or a stick burner. LOL.
Seriously, I've heard Masterbuilt smokers are pretty good. I've seen them in Gander Mountain. I imagine Cabela's has them, too.

Ha! That's the answer I actually got years ago when I asked that same question here. It doesn't have to be "real" just "real good". ;)

Offline MDixon

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2016, 02:22:00 PM »
If you are not going to feed an army there is nothing better than a CharGriller Akorn Kamado. Pretty much the same capacity as a BGE, but made of metal and insulated so it only weighs about 100 lb. I was skeptical until I got one, mainly based on positive reviews, and immediately after trying it I was sold. I love it so much I gave away a $500 gas grill and now it is all I use for smoking, grilling, etc.

You can typically find it at WalMart, Lowe's, or Amazon and should pay around $300 or less. When they go on special at WalMart in the fall they can be as little as $150. Get one disassembled and put it together yourself. One tip, never move it without the lid locked in place.
http://www.lowes.com/pd_131712-49769-6719_0

You will need to do two mods and both are for smoking or pizza, not needed for grilling and you can get both items at Home Depot. You need a Weber grate and a Pizza stone. The grate is for a 22” weber and is model number 7441, it will be about $11. The grate measures about 16.5”. Looks like Amazon has it for $11.
http://www.amazon.com/Weber-7441-Replacement-Charcoal-Grates/dp/B000WEKNMY
 
The pizza stone is one which goes on top of the grate as a heat deflector when you smoke. I covered mine in foil and change the foil when it gets greasy. I think it was about $15.

Of course you need a dual temp thermometer, one for the meat and one for the smoker temp. This is the one I use.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ANCQELE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I also suggest a cover unless you can roll it (with the lid closed) into a covered area. Typically you can find the one made for it for about $30.

I recently started using the Tip Top Temp and I'm still figuring it out. I've not yet used it on a long smoke, but others have. I bough some silicone straps to hold it to the top vent.
http://tiptoptemp.com/

I love the Akorn so much if it died today I would go out and immediately purchase another.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2016, 06:00:00 PM »
Thanks, I will look into the akorn this summer maybe. I ended up getting a Masterbuilt gas smoker and I love it. Used it yesterday to smoke 2 chickens and a pork butt. I was worried about it draining gas but it barely used any over a 6 hour period. I'm extremely pleased with the results.

Offline MDixon

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2016, 06:06:23 PM »
Two large butterflied chickens would just about fill up the grate on the Akorn, but the Butt could go on the top rack. For pizza you'd need another stone, a thicker one, and a couple of fire bricks. Takes awhile to heat up to 500-600F, but the pizza cooks in 6 minutes. I added you to the Akorn Facebook group take a look around there.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/471867352910145/

The beauty of the Akorn is how little charcoal it uses. Basically after you finish cooking you starve the fire of oxygen by closing the vents and the charcoal which wasn't burned is still right there. I use it with a chimney when grilling to heat up all the charcoal and when smoking start it slow using those little fire starter wax things you can get at Lowe's or Home Depot. I chop then into quarters and start it around in different places to get it going quickly.

If you get one lemme know. Glad to pass along what I learned along the way.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2016, 06:24:11 PM by MDixon »
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Offline jimmykx250

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2016, 06:17:18 PM »
My boss is a smoking freak and suggests I buy one of these instead of a dedicated smoker. I have had great luck smoking using the snake method on my weber charcoal grill.

http://www.smoke-ez.com/
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2016, 06:23:19 PM »
I used to get great results of a really cheap bullet smoker. Also got great results with an offset firebox bandera. The issue with both was charcoal usage, it was tremendous and a PITA. With the Kamado style the usage is very low due to the heavy ceramic or metal/insulation. I could a ridiculous amount of meat on the bandera, but feeding the fire every hour or two all night was tiring. I haven't fired it up in years.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2016, 06:58:21 PM »
Cool, the Akorn may very well be my next toy! Thanks!

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2016, 07:05:44 PM »
Something else to consider for a charcoal smoker would be a pit barrel cooker. I got one a few weeks ago, and plan on doing a full review on here in the future.

www.pitbarrelcooker.com

One basket of charcoal burns for about 12 hours, once the cooker is dialed in. I had an offset smoker, which required constant tinkering to keep the fire going right. Ended up warping it badly by tying it down in my truck, got so bad it would never hold temp. Got rid of it about a year ago, and finally got my new cooker a couple weeks ago.

One of the biggest reason I went with the pit barrel cooker is it's ready to go out the box, and it's completely self contained. All the parts store in the cooker, and there's even room for a bag of charcoal and my charcoal chimney. The entire thing is easily lifted into my tuck's bed, and ties off with a couple of bungie cords.
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Offline rjharper

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Re: Smokers: electric vs gas
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2016, 02:36:38 PM »
Something else to consider for a charcoal smoker would be a pit barrel cooker. I got one a few weeks ago, and plan on doing a full review on here in the future.

www.pitbarrelcooker.com

One basket of charcoal burns for about 12 hours, once the cooker is dialed in. I had an offset smoker, which required constant tinkering to keep the fire going right. Ended up warping it badly by tying it down in my truck, got so bad it would never hold temp. Got rid of it about a year ago, and finally got my new cooker a couple weeks ago.

One of the biggest reason I went with the pit barrel cooker is it's ready to go out the box, and it's completely self contained. All the parts store in the cooker, and there's even room for a bag of charcoal and my charcoal chimney. The entire thing is easily lifted into my tuck's bed, and ties off with a couple of bungie cords.

Basically a UDS that isn't so ugly right? :)