In the market for an electric smoker - any suggestions?

DH and I are buying our first house soon, so I’ll have outdoor space for cooking for the first time in my life!!! We are inheriting a propane grill from my parents (who are downsizing), and as much as I’d love a Big Green Egg, that’s a bit out of our budget right now. Does anyone have recommendations for relatively cheap electric (or charcoal that can be converted to electric) smokers? I’m reading up on them online and it sounds like the Weber Smokey Mountain with the electric conversion package is a popular choice, but I’ve also seen recommendations for Masterbuilt, Southern Country, etc. Cookshack and Smokin’ Tex are popular too, but a bit out of my price range. Thanks in advance for your recommendations!

ETA: I’m searching and it looks like I might be wrong about the WSM - I’m seeing gas conversion kits but not electric. Gas would work but I think I’d prefer electric.

Amazon, Cabela’s, Craigslist. All will have them. Have friends who use the electric and they fine. I have an old ceramic like the big green egg and it is great but sometimes I envy the easy start up of the electric. Just make sure that what you pick out the reviews stated that the doors sealed good. Cheaper models have a tendency to warp.

Thanks gearguy. I have been reading reviews and pretty much all of them say to get a tube of heatproof silicone to seal up any leaky spots, which seems like a cheap and easy fix. I’m leaning toward a Masterbuilt now after reading reviews and checking prices, but I’m definitely open to other suggestions.

Masterbuilt works well. I’m not sure that there are that many differences in them. They will tell you that there are but unless you go commercial they are all probably made at the same place. Just get a good deal and if you can keep it out of the weather will give you many years of use and fun.

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I have a Smokin’ It smoker. Love it and it feels like a commercial quality appliance. The ones from the big box stores all remind me of reworked mini fridges. I just used it today. I’ve kept it outside, covered and half under a table, 24/7 for 4 years now and it’s worked flawlessly. It also uses very little wood and you just use regular chunk wood. No special pellets or discs needed.


WOW, that looks DELICIOUS! The bark looks excellent! I will look into the Smokin’ It for sure.

I think you’ll love it. I have a model 1 and it has always been big enough for us. I usually only do one piece of meat when I cook. A single chicken fits easy, the pork above was a 6 or 7 pound shoulder. A brisket point or flat fits easy. A rack of ribs I have to cut in half and put one half on each rack. They make larger sizes too.

I researched a lot of smokers before I bought one and this was the clear winner. The ease of electric is great too. I put that shoulder in last night with two nice hunks of hickory and never had to touch it until the next morning when it hit the desired internal temperature.

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We have a Bradley Electric Smoker and think it is fantastic!

You can’t set it and forget it as the temp can fluctuate but it’s not nearly as hands on as the non-electric. Highly recommend.

Thanks, this looks like another contender!

We had a couple of friends over for dinner and had cooked a pork shoulder. They loved it so much that he ordered one the following day :slight_smile: A word to the wise: don’t plan on eating it the same day you cook it. Our 8# pork shoulder took about 16 hours!!! But oh so worth it .

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I have a Bradley, too, and love it.

I bought a New Bradley Original Smoker last year and have been pretty happy with it, you do have to use their bisquettes for smoke but they’re not very expensive from Amazon (about $1/hour of smoke). The Original model uses a rheostat for temperature control so the cabinet temperature will fluctuate with the outside temperature, I put together a PID control box for about $60 in parts that lets me enter a temperature and it’ll maintain it at the set point. Auber Instruments sells a pre-made PID controller for the Bradley Orimginal Smoker but for the additional price you could just get the Bradley Digital Smoker instead which has a built in digital controller.

I should get that PID controller. Thanks.

To those of you who use Bradleys (or other smokers that require proprietary bisquettes), do you find this inconvenient? It seems like it would be easier to use regular wood, not to mention that you’d have more wood flavors to choose from. Also, these bisquettes look like they cost at least 5x what wood chips do - does anyplace sell them cheaper than Amazon?

My first order of bisquettes didn’t show up until a few days after the smoker arrived, I did find that a little irritating. There are videos online showing how to make your own, but the time and effort to do so just doesn’t seem worth it to me. Smoke is generated when the mechanism pushes a bisquette on top of a heating element, I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t just put a metal cup containing wood chips on top of that element to generate smoke. The downside would be having to open the cabinet every so often to replace the wood chips.

I tried putting some of the sawdust left over from bisquetes in a 1/3 cup stainless steel measuring cup and placed it on top of the bisquette burner and within 10 minutes I had smoke! That got me thinking (DANGER Will Robinson, DANGER) and I ordered some items which I think I can make in to refillable wood chip containers that I might be able to load in the smoker just as I would bisquettes. If it works out I’ll post an update. If things don’t go as planned I’ve had a good run and have no regrets…

One note is that you don’t use the bisquettes the entire time it’s cooking. Just two to three hours for a large pork shoulder IIRC. After that it’s just slow cooking. And the varieties of wood is pretty large.

I’d never want to be stuck using only factory made biscuits plus who knows what else is in them. A nice big bag of woos pieces is less than $10 from Home depot. Those wood biscuits are expensive and inconvenient.

Google can help you find recipes. At about 50 cents each, 3 per hour, for say 3 hours, that’s $4.50. I don’t think that’s bad for hardwood. Also there’s nothing else in them but the wood according to Bradley.

Nearly $5 per smoke is expensive. A bag of wood is less than $10. In four years I’ve used half of a bag of hickory, half bag of mesquite, small bag of apple, small bag of cherry, small bag of pecan. That’s probably $25 worth of wood in four years. For the price of roughly one smoke in the Bradley, I smoke for one year.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2