View Full Version : Electrical Smokers and Sawdust

Phat Matt's BBQ
07-07-2011, 05:44 PM
I've got a question for all of you. Is using an electrical smoker and sawdust that gives no smoke flavor or ring barbeque? :confused::confused:

07-07-2011, 06:32 PM
I don't see why you wouldn't get a smoke ring or smoke flavor if you use an electric smoker and enough sawdust to get the smoke while the meat is cooking.

07-07-2011, 06:50 PM
I've got a question for all of you. Is using an electrical smoker and sawdust that gives no smoke flavor or ring barbeque? :confused::confused:

Just to clarify, is this your question?

Should the process be called barbecue when you (a) cook in an electrical smoker that uses sawdust, and (b) the product lacks both a smoke ring and smoke flavor.

Phat Matt's BBQ
07-07-2011, 06:52 PM
Yes, that is my question.

Phat Matt's BBQ
07-07-2011, 06:54 PM
I just had a heated discussion with another bbq joint owner who using this technique and the bbq reminds me of oven baked meat with bbq sauce.....

07-07-2011, 06:54 PM
Oh, that is the question. Ignore my answer then.

07-07-2011, 06:55 PM
Ok, I own 3 electric smokers, 2 of which are Cookshack brand.
I use a chuck of split fruitwood about the size of a golf ball and the food turns out extreemly good.

What type of electric smoker do you have?

07-07-2011, 07:02 PM
I have a cameron stove top smoker that I use on my electric stove. It does produce smoked meats/fish/veggies at what I would consider high heat smokes but no discernable smoke rings though.

Phat Matt's BBQ
07-07-2011, 07:05 PM
I don't own an electrical smoker, I have 2 J&R Oylers and a custom Dave Klose.

Phat Matt's BBQ
07-07-2011, 07:06 PM
I am referring to a bbq restaurant using this technique.

07-07-2011, 07:10 PM
If it doesn't have some smoke flavor, it's not BBQ, regardless of the heat source.


07-07-2011, 07:10 PM
I don't own an electrical smoker, I have 2 J&R Oylers and a custom Dave Klose.

You cannot get the same quality BBQ from an electric smoker burning sawdust that you can get from your high dollar pits.

07-07-2011, 07:30 PM
It could be "argued" that it is BBQ - not much different than a Pellet BBQ using compressed sawdust to form a pellet and electricity to drive the pellets into a fire pot.
HOWEVER the huge difference is that the pellets combust to create the heat source - not an electrical element.

So my vote is NO it is not authentic BBQ because the heat source is electrical - not because of the sawdust.

As always, just my .02

Phat Matt's BBQ
07-07-2011, 07:36 PM
Thank you Tim. That's what I told him.

07-07-2011, 07:48 PM
The restaurant is just doing a slightly modified oven baking IMHO, not BBQ.

There was a big thread on "what is Real BBQ" here:

07-07-2011, 09:19 PM
I have been giving this a lot of thought in terms of how our language changes and what do words really mean. The BBQ snob in me thinks initially, that BBQ has to mean burning wood or charcoal for heat, which is directly applied to the meat, alternately, a given lexicon has turned that to mean, it has to be cooked indirectly with smoke and hot air creating the cooking environment. Now we have Southern Pricdes and those electric smokers that commercial kitchens use, such as T-Rex in Berkeley. It starts to get a little blurry for me. I mean, does the BBQ that comes off a Southern Pride somehow not qualify because the wood us just used for seasoning?

Then there is the fact that we regularly accept the change in language based upon common usage. In my mind, there is a specific ideal of what BBQ is, but, if I use only that term, as a business, I do a dis-service to my bottom line, as there are many folks that do not share my ideals. I mean, is Santa Maria BBQ really BBQ at all, or is it really grilling? Heck, how many of us have really cooked in the Santa Maria area and really understand the variety of techniques that actually exist there. I just don't know anymore.

I do know what I call BBQ, and I know where I go to by it (if Charlotte and Matt let me back in after this answer) but, I am not so sure that if you cook meat in a electric smoker and it has a BBQ sauce applied, that it isn't BBQ for most people. I also have had smoked meat out of an electric smoker that had smoke flavor and a smoke ring on it, does it then become BBQ because the cook knew how to use his tools? I can get a smoke ring on a piece of meat using my oven and foil packs, does that make it BBQ? It sure stinks up my house.

07-07-2011, 09:35 PM
I concur with greenleaf. If there's no fire, there's no barbecue.