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Oct 24, 2006 03:18 PM

Electric BBQ Smokers?

For those of you who have experience with Electric BBQ Smokers which one is the best or worst in terms of results. No charcol please as I dont have time to constantly replace the briquets.

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  1. I've only had experience with one, SmokinTex which I recommend highly. It uses wood. A couple of ounces will give you 5-6 hours of smoking. This is their website:
    Most of their experience is in commercial smokers but they make two home versions. We have the stainless steel model.

    We've had ours for about 3 years and use it for everything - pork, beef, fish, vegetables. We just smoked 20 lbs of spareribs over the past weekend, all stored in the freezer for feasting over the winter. I also smoked a pound or two of jalapenos for a sauce which we eat with carnitas. I've been planning to smoke almonds and make my own spiced nuts, the recipes sound very simple and we'll use a lot of these over the holidays. We couldn't be more happy with this unit.

    6 Replies
    1. re: cheryl_h

      Probably a stupid question, but I assume that, lacking proper ventilation, these smokers must be used outdoors? Please confirm.

      1. re: FlavoursGal

        Yes, it has to be used outdoors. It weighs around 100 lbs so ours lives on the deck.

        1. re: cheryl_h

          Thanks, Cheryl. Have you ever heard of the Cookshack brand of electric smokers? It's a brand I saw recently at a restaurant supply store in Toronto. It looks very similar to the SmokinTex. It definitely piqued my curiosity when I saw it...reading your post may have been the final push I needed.

          1. re: FlavoursGal

            Yes I have. I think they're very similar to SmokinTex. They have a terrific website with lots of recipes. I use their site a lot to get ideas for cooking times, preparation etc. No experience with their smokers but I've heard good things about them. You should look for bbq message boards - most concentrate on non-electric smokers but you'll find some info and opinions on electrics as well.

            We decided on the SmokinTex partly because it seemed to have a good reputation, particularly in commerical circles, but our main reason was that we got a really good deal on our unit. Someone wanted to sell his and we got the smoker plus every accessory you could wish for at a good price.

        2. re: FlavoursGal

          Hi! I just joined and was reading some of your comments...I want to buy a smoker and was wondering if the meat browns very good or do you need to brown it before it goes in the smoker?

          1. re: highgeargal

            never brown meat before you smoke it - as I see it this will create a layer that will prevent the meat from abosrbing the smoke - the meat gets plenty brownd but not in a seared way - it a nice smoked way -

      2. I have had a Brinkman for a couple years that keeps an even low temp for hours. I have smoked brisket, pork shoulder and chicken with great results. It weighs about 40 pounds and cost $60 at Home Depot.

        1 Reply
        1. re: brightman

          Hi brightman!
          with that propane smoker does it use a regular 20# bottle or one of those small bottles? the flame will get small enough to maintain under 250 degrees?

        2. Have you thought of a propane smoker? I have one from the great outdoors, (Free Ship Amazon) that work well, large wood bin, last about about 6 hours, depending on temperature. It has turned out to be my fovorite way to smoke.


          2 Replies
          1. re: stevuchan

            I went out yesterday and bought the Cookshack Smokette, the one I'd been eyeing at the restaurant supply store. I haven't used it yet - I'm planning to "break it in/season it" later today. The support for these Cookshack smokers is incredible - they have a great website and an amazing forum. I'm looking forward to telling you about my creations as I make them. I want to do salmon and other fish, eggplant, peppers and other veggies, as well as turkey, chicken, brisket, ribs, etc.

            1. re: FlavoursGal

              Congratulations! Have fun with your new toy. Last weekend, in addition to the 20lb of spareribs and 1lb of jalapenos we smoked, I also smoked a couple of heads of garlic and 3 eggplants. The garlic and eggplants went into baignan bartha, an Indian dish which usually calls for roasted eggplant. The smokiness raised the dish from good to simply sublime. Tonight is ribs night, I can hardly wait.

          2. I see that you're not interested in the charcoal smokers. Steven Raichlen is the king of everything BBQ like...smokers, grills (he owns over 60 of them), bbq sauces, rubs, cooking technique's, etc. The BIG GREEN EGG smoker/grill/pizza & bread oven was number seven on his top ten list of BBQ smokers and grills. The other smokers and grills on his top ten list cost thousands of dollars.
            Most online BBQ rubs are pretty mediocre...not Steven Raichlen's. Go to his website and order the Lone Star and the Island Spice rub. His rubs are fantastic. I usually make my own but will always buys some of S.Raichlens.

            Just an FYI, natural lump charcoal fired smokers are easy breezy to operate. They're low maintenance. Place some lump charcoal in a cheap chimney with 2 sheets of newspaper and fire it up. The lighting process takes 15 minutes or less and then you're ready to cook. PreSoak some wood chips for extra smoke as well. This combination of natural lump charcoal and wood chips creates unbeatable flavor and even better than restaurant BBQ.

            I too considered buying an electric smoker like the commercial quality Smokin Tex or the Cookshack brand. After much research both on this site and on many BBQ sites I narrowed my search down to two smokers;

            1) BIG GREEN EGG: This is the one I purchased. Just for kicks, check out for customer reviews. There is no other smoker out there that has such a fanatical cult-like following. This smoker grill is unbelievable!
            The Big Green Egg is a bread & pizza oven, smoker, grill, and much more, etc. all in one. It can reach temperatures from 200 to 750 degrees and keep it for long smoking.

            2) Weber Bullet also known as the Weber Smokey Mountain or WSM.
            This smoker also has a strong following and is really easy to use. Go to WWW.WIVIOT.COM for Professor Wiviott's 5 step BBQ smokers instructions. This guy is the authority on the WSM and his website has a wealth of information in the world of BBQing.

            1. Since you asked about electric and I own two, I'll speak to my experiences with them.

              I own both a Cookshack SS09 Smokette and a Masterbuilt. Each has its pluses and minuses, but overall the Cookshack is a more dependable, solid built unit, which is important to me especially given the rough Chicago winters it has to withstand.

              I definitely would buy another Cookshack again, as it has been an awesome electric cooker, my only regret is I bought the smaller one, thinking that since I had two smokers why would I need a bigger one? But if I could sell it (and my wife would probably kill me since I just bought it last fall) I would undoubtedly get the next & newer Cookshack model up called the AmeriQue. BTW: The Smokin’ Tex is supposed to be a good knock off the Cookshack 050 design, and everything is supposed to be pretty close to the same, so you might save a few bucks going with a Tex.

              The Masterbuilt while very cool with that awesome digital controller cooked well, but due to its poor quality it has now died after 2 years of semi-hard use and is sitting on my deck.

              There is this wonderful rib website that rates and speaks about most of the smokers on the market with pros & cons of each:

              Nothing is better than tossing in a brisket or shoulder/butt at 11 pm at night, getting a full nights rest, and then having kick BBQ for lunch! You simply can’t do that with any fire burner or egg. But since I don’t aspire to be a fire tender and just need want great “Q” without a lot of babysitting involved, an electric is the way to go for me!