Discussion in 'The Mess Hall' started by 40_Caliber, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. While the purist in me prefers charcoal and hardwood for smoking meats my crazy busy schedule doesn't really allow me to monitor the temp and fire for hours on end.

    Wouldn't it be great to put on a brisket at 5:00am and have a nicely done smoked brisket for supper all done while I'm away working in downtown Houston. :smile:

    To that end I'm considering an electric (digital) self feeding smoker. On the table right now are Bradley (burns pucks) or Trager (burns pellets). Both units are "set and forget" each feeds more fuel as needed throughout the day to maintain temperature.

    Anyone have experience with this kind of thing? Could you recommend one over the other? Is there a better solution out there? Perhaps propane fired? I'm still trying to sort out options at this point. Budget is around $400.

  2. Jim

    Jim Moderator

    Ahh the pellet poopers! I have not smoked with one, some teams do and are very successful. Two other options would be a Big Green Egg, or a gravity feed smoker like a Stumps. You can add an electronic temp control to either of these. For obsessing from your desk you can even network it so you can go on line and see what the smoker is doing.

  3. :lol::lol: That would too cool. :lol::lol:

    BGE is out of my price range. I'll check into a Stump.
  4. I have a BGE and a Primo and both are excellent cookers. They easily will hold temp for 24 hours for any kind of lo-n-slo.

    You can add an after market, temp controller (Guru or Stoker) that allows you to control temp and even monitor/control the temp from a remote PC.

    I am not trying to warn you away from the smokers you are considering, but the ceramic grills are very versitile!
  5. I'm a huge fan of Traeger. I get regular, consitent results everytime and the ease of lighting coupled with temperature control make it very convienent. Where I live (Oregon) it's easier to find hardwood pellets than it is lump charcoal so the covienence factor is multiplied.

    Being basically a wood-fired oven, they don't do direct high heat like a BGE can, but I've done everything from briskets and prime rib to baked beans, pizza and cornbead.
  6. After looking things over a bit, I decided on a Traeger pellet fed smoker. A local shop carries them and they had one on sale.

    It's the small model with a digital thermometer and cover included. It was explained to me that since I'm only feeding a family of 4 the smaller size would be more efficient and require less fuel to operate.

    It's sitting in the living room looking at me and I need to read up on it. I was leaning toward this one anyway. As always I appreciate your replies and value your experiences.

  7. Jim

    Jim Moderator

    Great news- Congratulations now get cookin!
  8. .40, I hope you love it as much as I do. There's not much of a learning curve for these things, just keep your pellets dry. Use it like you would an oven; clean it from time to time and use the same temps. I suggest a remote meat thermometer so you can montior temps from a far and open the door as little as possible (to keep chamber temps as consistent as possible). Experiment with take-n-bake pizzas, breads, and cookies; you'll love it!
  9. I am interested to know what is required to keep them clean inside. I burn off my grill, but not at all sure about how you approach a smoker.
  10. Bob, If you're talking a Traeger, I line the drip "pan" with tin foil and then just dispose of the foil when I clean it. Other than that, I use my shop-vac to vaccuum out the ash and any built-up grease/soot. I also line the drip-catching bucket with foil to make emptying it easier. The entire process takes about 5 minutes.
  11. I had a vision of needing to use a high pressure water cleaner and geting dirty water running out and needing to be contained...
  12. Breaking in the new Traeger today. 6 racks of Baby Back ribs. Memphis style dry rub method using cajun spicy rub on 1/2 and a savory herb based rub on the rest. Using hickory pellets. I put em about noon and 4 hours later the remote digital probe says they are at 156 degress.....can't wait for 170!

  13. I try to keep the smoker temp around 240 and take my ribs off after around 4 hours. If it took you 4 hours to get to 156, it sounds like you might have the smoker temp kinda low; were they too dry when you took them off?
  14. They turned out just great! My favorite were the ones with cajun rub. The savory herb ones seemed kinda too herby for me but the wife liked 'em.

    Once I got word the wife was on her way home, I mopped them with bbq sauce and turned up the Traeger to 300. By the time she got home they were ready to take off the grill.

    Served them with baked grits and green beans.

    Today menu is top round roast and chicken. By the time Turkey day rolls around, I'm hoping have pretty good feel for the way the Traeger cooks.

  15. Jim

    Jim Moderator


    Sounds mighty tasty.
  16. The Traeger Little Tex is a great pellet smoker.
  17. I have a 22.5" Weber Smokey Mountain smoker that I can keep at a constant temp for hours. I usually do pork shoulders for about 12 hours and can consistently keep it at 225-250 without monitoring it. They only time I had to monitor it was when I did two turkeys for Thanksgiving and had to get the monstrousity up to 350f.
  18. I agree. I have the Same smoker and it will hold temps overnight without any need to monitor. When I do pork butts, I'll fire it up early evening, put on the butts, and it will hold the temp all night long. Usually in the morning I'll just stir the coals, then let it go to mid day when I pull the butts. I've had the same smoker for years and couldn't be happier.
  19. 18.5" Smokey Mountain at my house is steady as a rock with temperture (I installed a Tru-Tel through the lid).

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