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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 09-13-2019, 10:35 AM   #1
rwalters
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Default Electric smoker questions

I have the opportunity to buy a Cookshack SM160 for 60+% off retail. Was used for one year in a restaurant and has sat idle for the last few years. The smoker works like new. Being that I have been doing more and more large cooks, I have been toying with the idea of adding a larger smoker to my arsenal. I have done a lot of cooking over the years with charcoal/sticks/pellets but have never used an electric smoker. For those of you that have/use an electric smoker, can you help me understand the differences when comparing to the other fuel sources I mentioned above? How would you describe the flavor profile from an electric smoker? Do they produce a good bark? I understand I wonít see a smoke ring, but I am ok with that. I am more curious about flavor profile and good bark formation.

Any and all help is much appreciated! :)
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:47 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rwalters View Post
I have the opportunity to buy a Cookshack SM160 for 60+% off retail. Was used for one year in a restaurant and has sat idle for the last few years. The smoker works like new. Being that I have been doing more and more large cooks, I have been toying with the idea of adding a larger smoker to my arsenal. I have done a lot of cooking over the years with charcoal/sticks/pellets but have never used an electric smoker. For those of you that have/use an electric smoker, can you help me understand the differences when comparing to the other fuel sources I mentioned above? How would you describe the flavor profile from an electric smoker? Do they produce a good bark? I understand I wonít see a smoke ring, but I am ok with that. I am more curious about flavor profile and good bark formation.

Any and all help is much appreciated! :)
I've never owned a cookshack but have had food produced from one. I found the food to be acceptable (good) but still lacked a full BBQ flavor profile that I like. At 60% off retail it would be hard to pass. Personally I would look at some charcoal and wood burning cabinets as you could probably buy a new charcoal and wood burning cabinet with roughly the same capacity for the same price as the used cookshack?
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:54 PM   #3
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Due to a lower amount of airflow the bark isnt the same, fairly high humidity environment. I would say an electric smoker produces the least favorite meat for me out of all the different kinds of cookers. Mine wasnt as fancy as a Cookshack but they generally all operate the same way. A "smokey" oven if you will. Eating food from a Mak to food on that may be a little disappointing.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:20 PM   #4
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Thanks guys... your answers confirmed my suspicions. Think Iíll pass.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:31 PM   #5
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Well, that saves me a lot of time.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:39 PM   #6
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Well, that saves me a lot of time.


Would love to hear your thoughts/opinions if youíve used an electric smoker or had food from one... :)
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:43 PM   #7
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Thanks guys... your answers confirmed my suspicions. Think Iíll pass.
Thats just my opinion and its worth what ya paid for it
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by sudsandswine View Post
Thats just my opinion and its worth what ya paid for it


Your opinion was hugely appreciated... and the check coming in the mail will be clear evidence of that...[emoji857][emoji857][emoji857]
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:37 PM   #9
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Thanks guys... your answers confirmed my suspicions. Think Iíll pass.
You might want to see if you can cook on it before you make a decision. I had a Cookshack Amerique for seven years, and while I like the food off of my current FEC-100 better, I ate a lot of great Q off of the electric. Ribs and Pork Butts were my favorite things to cook. No smoke ring but great bark on the Pork Butts and you can cook 12 plus butts overnight while sleeping without burning your house down. No comparison between Cookshack and cheap Chinese electric smokers.

- Cookshack's are built like tanks and will last forever if taken care of.
- It's an Insulated cooker with a very moist environment. No need to wrap.
- Made in USA out of stainless steel with spare parts readily available.
- Uses about 2 ounces of wood chunks per cook.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:49 AM   #10
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Yep, ditto what Bacchus says above. I had a Cookshack SM020, the small cabinet smoker. Put out some great food, no one ever complained. Moist environment, so no need to wrap. That's probably what got me into the habit of never wrapping. Still haven't wrapped even using the FEC or the Big Joe. Also, want to smoke but it's -20 out? No big deal. I gave it to my daughter when I got the FEC.
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Old 09-14-2019, 12:58 PM   #11
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Yep, ditto what Bacchus says above. I had a Cookshack SM020, the small cabinet smoker. Put out some great food, no one ever complained. Moist environment, so no need to wrap. That's probably what got me into the habit of never wrapping. Still haven't wrapped even using the FEC or the Big Joe. Also, want to smoke but it's -20 out? No big deal. I gave it to my daughter when I got the FEC.
Would love you hear your thoughts when comparing your previous SM020 to your FEC. What specifically do you like better about the FEC over the SM?
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:55 PM   #12
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I pulled an old photo to show you what brisket bark off of a Cookshack Electric looks like. I like the red color and smoke ring I get on my FEC, but that's purely a visual thing. I sold my old electric to get into the FEC which has twice as much capacity, but part of me wishes I would have held on to the old electric. It excelled at smoking salmon, making sausages, and cold smoking which all benefit from precise temperature control.

188 by David Miller, on Flickr

Cookshack Smoking by David Miller, on Flickr

211 by David Miller, on Flickr
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:37 PM   #13
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Would love you hear your thoughts when comparing your previous SM020 to your FEC. What specifically do you like better about the FEC over the SM?
The FEC more often than not runs thin blue smoke. Every now and then it falls behind and you get a big pellet dump and a lot of white smoke, but only for a few minutes. The electric the wood smolders more so you have to be careful how many chunks you add. Takes some practice to figure out the sweet spot to get the thin blue.

Since getting the FEC, I think the smoke permeates the meat more. The electric seemed to be more on the surface. Just like any cooker, you have to learn the quirks. If you can get a 160 for a good price, go for it. I'll try to find some old pics to post.

As an FYI, the original Cookshack electrics were built 55-60 years ago to be brisket cookers.
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Old 09-14-2019, 04:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by LYU370 View Post
The FEC more often than not runs thin blue smoke. Every now and then it falls behind and you get a big pellet dump and a lot of white smoke, but only for a few minutes. The electric the wood smolders more so you have to be careful how many chunks you add. Takes some practice to figure out the sweet spot to get the thin blue.



Since getting the FEC, I think the smoke permeates the meat more. The electric seemed to be more on the surface. Just like any cooker, you have to learn the quirks. If you can get a 160 for a good price, go for it. I'll try to find some old pics to post.



As an FYI, the original Cookshack electrics were built 55-60 years ago to be brisket cookers.


Your comment about the smoke penetrating deeper into the meat on a pellet smoker vs electric surprised me. Iíd have guessed the opposite. Iíd have guessed a heavier/deeper profile... but that would obviously depend on amount of wood used. And from what I have gathered is that even a little to much wood on an electric is icky. Sounds like itís a fine line on an electric whereas thatís never a concern on a pellet.
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Old 09-14-2019, 04:34 PM   #15
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Unless you load up the wood basket, you'll be fine. I tried that once. Only once, I mean there is this giant wood basket, why wouldn't I fill it up? It's a trap, don't fall for it.
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