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erikwells

Smoker

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I'm looking into getting a smoker. I have never smoked anything but I want to start smoking some catfish. I also would like to smoke a goose or two or make jerky. Do I want wood, charcoal, propane or electric? As a kid a friend of mine used to smoke bullheads in a salty brine in a converted old refridgerator made into a smoker. They were the best. So salty that you would wake up in the middle of the night dying of thirst. At any rate I am hoping to get some suggestions on getting a smoker for a a novice. The refridgerator idea will only happen over my wife's dead body so no bother to suggest that one. Also if someone is looking to upgrade I would be willing to buy a used one as well. Thanks.

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i personaly like my electic smoker. i also have one that uses propane but that is a big one. i don't use very offen. but my electic on i use all the time. it's really easy to smoke something and all you have to do is experiment on different ways of preparing what you are going to smoke and the different types of wood that you will use in the smoker. as for recipies you can get alot of them off the internet or just ask your friends or family. good luck smoking.

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I would have to agree with Stretch. I have an electric Charbroil and love it, I have other buddies who have other electrics and swear by them. I have done a lot in this from summer sausage, snack sticks, turkeys, hams, jerky you name it. The key to smoking is the temp. I have tried propane and wood smokers and have had the best success with my electric because of the ease at setting the temp. Good luck with whatever you choose its hard to beat any smoked meat if its done right.

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I have had an electric Masterbuilt.Works great.Easy to set temp.Very well insulated so it holds the temp well.Plus you can use any wood you want.Don't have to use pucks like the Bradley.

I've made my own sausages,ribs,fish,butts,and poulrty in it.

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I've got 2 old refridge smokers, they have to be from the 60's or earlier because they need to have a metal inside, not plastic. I have smoked lots and lots of sausage with them. However I can't smoke anything in the winter because they are hard to maintain temp because they are electric. So if you wanted to do stuff in the winter, then get propane and I would get the tallest model possible because sausage sticks can be tall and you won't have enough room (height wise) to smoke them. The knock on a propane smoker smoking in summer is that it can be hard to hold temps lower which you need. So there is the good and bad of both.

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I have an electric with an insulated blanket that works nice in the winter but my favorite is my new TRAEGER grill! This thing rocks. You can grill, slow cook and smoke! the unit uses wood pellets so it will keep augering them in at a rate for what you are cooking so no more going out and adding more wood.

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Propane and electric are the easiest to control heat. If you use the water pan, a charcoal smoker will somewhat control the heat but you'll be adjusting and adding more charcoal. Then you have a wood smoker with fire box and smoking chamber. While they do a very good job, you'll be watching that one closely. If this was a remote location it might be your only choice.

When you get into stuff like jerky, sausages, salami, or smoked brats, temp control is very important. I'd pick electric for no other reason, better temp control and that I won't run out like I could with propane.

Not just any electric smoker though. While the Little Chief type aluminum electrics can and do a good job they won't get up to temp in the cold(save the box for winter use) nor can you regulate the heat.

It'll need to be insulated.

Must have a thermostat and be able to control and get to temps from 100-220 degrees year round.

Stainless Steel construction.

That isn't the economy type smoker though, unless you make your own.

Old refrigerators with enamel interior work fine(ugly)but you can't use the racks unless they are stainless steel. You'll need to add dampers that and can be opened and closed.

A heat source, propane and a thermometer you can view from the outside would be the easiest way to go there.

Electric IMO is better though. You'd need a heating element, relay, and thermostat. If you look around a supply store that carries smokers and parts you' find them.

Not many wives appreciate an big old refrigerator hanging around. An apartment size fridge, gutted out might go ever better.

Or make one out of wood. You'll have your box and its enough insulating qualities to get up to temp in the cold. Old oven racks work well there.

Got a big propane grill with two or more burners and a warming shelf? Use that.

Because your using indirect heat you'll have your meat on the opposite end of the heat source. Wrap up you wood in tinfoil and place over the heat. If that is directly over flame use the lid of a can there to shield the tinfoil and keep it from burning out. Throttle the propane to temp.

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You folks are great. Lot's of great info for me to think about. I'll let you know what I end up going with and how my first batch of catfish turn out. Thanks again for the information.

Erik

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