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Old 10-26-2011, 01:44 PM   #1
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Default electric vs charcoal smoker

Ok looking for some advise. I have a Brinkman Electric smoker that works great set temp add wood from time to time no complaints at all with it. It is large so size is not an issue. I have been looking at a ugly drum smoker that a guy makes not far from my house. I have seen it work hold temp for long times. They are pretty cheap 150.00 comes with 2 racks and wheel kit to move it. I am just trying to figure out if I really need 2 smokers. Can someone give me the pro and cons over charcoal than electric.

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Old 10-27-2011, 11:27 AM   #2
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Ok looking for some advise. I have a Brinkman Electric smoker that works great set temp add wood from time to time no complaints at all with it. It is large so size is not an issue. I have been looking at a ugly drum smoker that a guy makes not far from my house. I have seen it work hold temp for long times. They are pretty cheap 150.00 comes with 2 racks and wheel kit to move it. I am just trying to figure out if I really need 2 smokers. Can someone give me the pro and cons over charcoal than electric.

Thanks
you can never have too many smokers, I love the charcoal and wood smokers and currently have 2 offset barrel smokers and am in the process of building 2 UDS smokers. You should get a better flavor from the wood charcoal smoker, but thats just my opinion and you can take it or leave it. Anyway try it you will like it
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Old 10-27-2011, 01:45 PM   #3
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I've been smoking on a side box Chargriller and even with mods and using the minion method, keeping the temp consistent is still a pain in the butt. I like the meat is produces, but I'm also thinking that the convenience of an electric can't be beat. Based on the long cook times for a brisket and pork shoulder, it's way more practical to get them started the night before. I sort of fake it by smoking for 4-6 hours and then move the meat to the oven at 225 over night. The problem is that my house smells like smoked meat for a week after that. While the electrics require reloading of chips every 3 hours, you could start up at 8pm, reload at 11pm and go to bed. The smoke stops but the heat control is still there the whole night.

I'm a BBQ amateur so don't listen to me.

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Old 10-27-2011, 02:13 PM   #4
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The smoke stops but the heat control is still there the whole night.

I'm a BBQ amateur so don't listen to me.
Meh, smoke doesn't add anything after 3-5 hours anyway. A big chunk of people just finish in the oven, so letting it run without smoke overnight works great. But you knew that.

Electric is way easier. I don't taste much difference between electric and charcoal. If BBQ is so fun for you that you want to spend all day tending it, get an ugly smoker.
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Old 10-27-2011, 03:35 PM   #5
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I have both a UDS and an electric flower pot smoker. Since I built the electric smoker, I rarely use the UDS. I have cooked butts side by side in them, and can not taste a difference.

But with the electric, I can cook all night and never even look at the temp again (mine does have a PID controller, though). And, I don't have to go buy charcoal, light charcoal, or clean up the charcoal ashes.

Frankly, I'm thinking of giving away my UDS and building another electric.

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Old 10-27-2011, 04:01 PM   #6
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Meh, smoke doesn't add anything after 3-5 hours anyway. A big chunk of people just finish in the oven, so letting it run without smoke overnight works great.


I don't normally smoke people, but if I do it's nice to know there are others with experience.
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Old 10-27-2011, 08:01 PM   #7
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I have both a UDS and an electric flower pot smoker. Since I built the electric smoker, I rarely use the UDS. I have cooked butts side by side in them, and can not taste a difference.

But with the electric, I can cook all night and never even look at the temp again (mine does have a PID controller, though). And, I don't have to go buy charcoal, light charcoal, or clean up the charcoal ashes.

Frankly, I'm thinking of giving away my UDS and building another electric.
Lowes has one of those mini-fridge lookalikes with the electronic controller already built in for under $200 and it's blingy stainless. I can't imagine building a better one for less money.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:25 PM   #8
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Lowes has one of those mini-fridge lookalikes with the electronic controller already built in for under $200 and it's blingy stainless. I can't imagine building a better one for less money.
The biggest problem with them is that the elements don't last long at all and apparently they are either impossible to get replacements or they cost just as much as a new smoker to replace.



As far as the OP's question. I would say stick with the electric if it fits your needs and wants right now. If in the future you decide you want more control or it dies or whatnot then consider alternatives. No point in getting something else if you are perfectly happy with what you already have.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:44 PM   #9
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Lowes has one of those mini-fridge lookalikes with the electronic controller already built in for under $200 and it's blingy stainless. I can't imagine building a better one for less money.
True, when we're talking PID controlled electric smoker. My Auber controller was already $170. But I like having one I built myself, and my heating element is only a $15 hot plate, and my cast iron pan holds enough wood for the entire smoke.

However, there are lots of people who've built the Alton Brown flower pot smoker without PID, and seem to be able to hold temps very well too. These probably run about $100 to build (assuming you don't already have a couple big flower pots lying around).

A UDS on the other hand, can be built very cheaply (typically under $85) if you can find a drum locally.
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Old 11-13-2011, 02:00 AM   #10
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I smoke on two primary smokers right now. I use a Cookshack Amerique electric smoker for pork shoulder, brisket, leg of lamb, lamb shanks, ribs, beans, eggs, ham, nuts, jerky, cheese, and fish. I use a charcoal burning Kamado for basically most of the same minus the cheese and nuts and beans, plus stuff that doesn't do well in the electric, like rack of lamb, beer-can chicken, and turkey.

The electric is great for moist heat. THe Kamado is also good for moist heat and, if necessary, higher temps (e.g., poultry).

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