Wanting to upgrade my meat smoker

Hi friends. I’m wanting to upgrade my smoker. For several years I’ve used this insert for my weber grill.

It’s fine. However, it’s a bit of a production to put the whole thing together, and we’ve noticed it is really hard to control the temp. For something that smokes quickly, like a salmon fillet, which finishes in an hour, we often don’t manage to get it to the target temp (it’s too high) before the fish is cooked. So it goes fast and is cooked before it gets that nice smoky flavor. We’ve also tried pork butt, and because it takes so long (12 hrs or so), we end up making micro adjustments to the grill vents about 50 times. Too high maintenance!

I’d like an actual smoker - not a McGyver’d version. Ideally it is easy set up and easy to maintain the temp. Wood not electric. I need that wood flavor. Doesn’t have to be large. I can’t imagine ever doing more than 2-3 sides of fish or a couple of pork butts or briskets.

Thank you!!!

I have an older version of this Masterbuilt electric: Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30", Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CN38M23/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_WD8DQ9DWG6HJD7BVH9K1

The heating element and temperature controls are electric, but the feeder takes real wood chips so you can create your own blends and get plenty of wood smoke flavor. I’ve been very happy with it!

Interesting! So you can get wood smoke into the meat, but you can set the temp and the electric portion keeps it steady?

Exactly. This style of smoker requires that you feed it fresh wood chips every 45 mkns or so (depending on temperature), but otherwise it’s very hands off. Mine easily holds temperatures as low as 190 (the lowest I have tried). Pellet smokers (also electric) are even less work because they have a feed tube that automatically feeds in pellets as needed, but you are locked in to using pellets instead of regular wood chips (more expensive and less control over wood type/blend).

Thank you for the info. I appreciate it. Can you give me any idea of the dimensions of wood chips? We cut down some trees around our property, and my H has been cutting the smallest branches into rounds for our smoker. I’m wondering whether we can continue to do so or would have to start using our little chipper to get them even smaller. Which I’m not sure it can do. It creates mulch size chips. I don’t know if it has options for larger…

The holder for the chips is a half-cylinder shape, maybe 3"x4" and 1.5" deep? The wood chips I buy for smoking (from Home Depot or outdoors stores) are about the size of mulch and fit fine. I have also bought chunks before, which burn a bit more slowly, but about half the pieces in the bag were too large for the chip holder and had to be cut down (see photo below below for size).

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