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I am writing a book on barbecue (you can see excerpts at ), and I am reviewing a wide variety of cookers for the book and the website (check out the Buyer's Guide). I have a Smokette, I have broken it in properly and used it several times, and I am curious if my experiences are similar to yours.

Let's focus on ribs: I typically cook St. Louis cuts (trimmed spares) at 225F for about 5 hours and use one chunk of Cookshack hickory, about 2 ounces. The meat is perfectly done, juicy, with the perfect balance between resilience and yield. It does not fall off the bone, it tugs off the bone cleanly, and that's the way I like it.

But the meat is a boring tan throughout, no smokering. Worse, the smoke flavor tastes to be mostly on the surface, not deeply penetrating and it has an ashtray undertone, not the sexy elegance that I get with charcoal and even gas smokers. Nor is there much of a bark as on other smokers.

Yesterday I loaded it up with six half slabs on all three shelves, and 4 ounces of wood. The top two half slabs had ugly gray spots on it about 1/2 inch wide. They looked like drips. I removed them and noticed gray stalactites hanging off the bottoms and they were dripping on the ribs below. I looked at the interior and did not see tell-tale black creosote spots on the top nor a source for the drips. Can anyone tell me what I was seeing? Has anyone else had this experience?

On previous cooks I used a Maverick digital probe to check the temp of the oven by inserting it into the chimney. I have been pleased with the accuracy and stability of the Smokette although the fluctuations were a bit wider than I would like. These cooks had only two half slabs on the top shelf.

Last night's cook, with all shelves full, I found that late in the cook the temp rarely got above 200 even though I had upped the dial to 250. Wassup with that?

I have spent some time searching this board for answers, but can't seem to find them. Can Cookshack owners help? Also, can you tell me what you like and dislike about your cooker and how it compares to others you may have?

Smoke em if you got em,
Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn
Original Post

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My experience is that ribs are best cooked at 250 (I'd go higher if I could), and when hung from rib hooks. I also prefer a little more smoke on mine, 3-4 oz of cherry or other fruit wood. I cook my spares around 6.5 hours.

The lack of a smoke ring is inconsequential. Maybe it's only missed by those with significant offset experience. The Cookshack, by design, results in no smoke ring but in turn offers the ability to smoke meats while working all day and sleeping all night--and using only ounces of wood.

I've cooked for crowds of over 100 people--all while working a full day at the office and sleeping all night. I'm not sure I'm willing to give that up for aesthetics.
Thanks "Meathead" I'll have to look over the site and shoot you an email.

Love them ribs, you picked a great subject. You can also email me (my email is in my profile). Be happy to review the book Wink If you really want to get good/bad ribs, come out to a contest some time and see what you get, it's an interesting discussion and worth the taste.

And I agree, "tuggable" ribs are perfect for me too.

Couple of thoughts. Hard to search 5 years of the forum, but all those topics have been hit.

I would say all of the points you make (except for heat) are a function of the smoke being a very HUMID environment.

1. Smoke Ring. If you're writing a book, do a search on SR and realize what a smoke ring is and isn't. I hope that you don't just a smoker just on it's ability to get a SR. Because you're only burning ozs of wood, you won't get enough of a SR. Just add a chunk or two of charcoal and it will help. It's one of those topics I guess I get on my soap box around. SR isn't the definition of good Q. A good SR is just an indication that Nitrates/Nitries have "cured" (as in cured like a ham or hotdog) the outside portion of the meat. BUT I certainly understand that most people have always been lead to believe that a SR defines good Q. Just one of those issue that will always be out there and I KNOW I'll never convince anyone, but I keep trying Wink Do a search on "smoke ring" and Member # 5 (me) and you'll find LOTs of research Smiler

2. Ugly gray spots. Moisture/creosote/food, whatever builds up in the vent hole. Clean the hole frequently. Someone uses a pipe cleaner (plumbers version). It's just condensation building back up.

3. Meat looks a "boring tan". That a function of the humid environment of a CS. The CS was designed as a Brisket smoker and designed to stay very humid. Let some of the humidity out and try to get a "drier" air. That seems to help smoke penetration. Same reason a lot of folks who use water smoker fill the pan with sand, to get rid of the added moisture.

4. Not getting above 200. That is one that takes a LOT of investigation to find out why. It works fine, but there is always something causing it not to. Electrical cords can't handle the load, lots of little things. Have you run it on empty and does it get up to temp?

I would read through the "owner's archive" for views of the smoker. All of these subjects

Like all smokers, there are idosyncricies and once you learn those and adjust, then we move on to the fun stuff. That would be worth the review on all smokers, what are they. We talk about them in this forum, but you don't see them always talked about in others.

Feel free to ask any specific questions, never hurts to ask. I've seen other forums take comments out of context and try to beat down a CS, so certainly willing to help resolve questions.

Good luck on the project.

Just to back up Smokin' how smoke ring is created, here is an interesting link on the true chemical reaction behind it:

I don't want to open a can of worms here on SR either since I understand this one topic that can require moderator intervention if left too long..

As to the color of the ribs being tan, that may have more to do with what your rubbing on them and what your prepping with; i.e: more salt makes for dryer meat, more paprika/Chile will yield darker color meats, more sugar/brown sugar in the rubs will help with bark.

BTW: being from Chicago I tend to be a fan of the fall off the bone and a nice char finish. But I know everyone has a different preference.

Good luck on the book, I'm looking at your site now.
Thank Gurnee Dude, can we call you GBD for short?

Joe wrote that a few years ago, I think it's the same one that was in BBQ'er magazine.

I don't want to open a can of worms here on SR either since I understand this one topic that can require moderator intervention if left too long..
Not me Wink

I think I don't my SR as much as it being the defining point for " that's good BBQ, look at that smoke ring". What about flavor, tenderness, etc?
Hey Meathead, notice the title just now.

You titled it Pros and Cons. And you posted some of the perceived cons, would you like some of the Pros? I'll throw it out to the owners to contribute those.

FYI, I'm not a CS employee, just a non-paid volunteer that moderates the forum.
Well I'm a very simple person who enjoy's the same out of life and cookshack has done just that, made my life simple. I love bbq because it tastes good and with my 55 I've never lost any sleep having to check temp. or stoke the fire. It has never let me down as far as having good bark, flavor and being tender. As a result of my "Q" I've had several friends "Grill" me as to how I do it or when did I have the time. Not sure this is what your looking for Butt I can't see doing "Q" any other way and still enjoy the simple things, family and friends, in life.

Just my un-professional .002
Meathead, your project sounds like you will have significant benefits of the research. Lots of "Q"
You can see from the number of my posts I am somewhat new to posting on this forum but I have had my smokette for several years.

I, like others, like the tuggable ribs. I enjoy a bit of a different experiance than you have regarding "boring". As, a result of THIS FORUM, I will often get a piece or two of charcoal and throw in the wood box to impact the flavor and SR.

In regards to the "drips" another suggestion from THIS FORUM, is to take a brass wire brush to clean up the vent holes. (I use a shotgun cleaning brass wire brush, pretty simple when I start my cleanup. The smokette is designed to be a moist type smoker, and in my opinion, that starts the separation between the Cookshack and other smokers.

Additionally, I use Hungarian Paprika, in all my rubs and chili powder in most of them. My results are a great color. I really do not use alot of salt in my rubs because I feel it dries out the product.


What I like: DURABILITY, I live along the coast of South Carolina and salt air is part of life here. My Cookshack has outlasted 3 gas grills! All of which cost about the same as my Cookshack. My smokette sits under a carport covered and has for years. (I really hope I am not jinxing myself here! :>))

USER FRIENDLY: The Cookshack is almost goof proof. If one does not have a "competition eye" the end result is generally as great a product. As good as if not better than you can purchase anywhere here in the lowcountry, and this area is known for "slap yo mamma" "Q" This is usually judged not by smoke ring, flavor, or apperance. It is judged simply by lots of WOW, THAT WAS GREAT! NO LEFTOVERS, and YOU PUT EM IN AND WENT TO BED, AND THAT IS ALLL THE WOOD YOU USED?? I think you get my point.

SIZE, I don't need a trailer hitch, half a forest, and twenty bags of charcoal to take the cookshack to a RV rally, or to tailgate.

NOW FOR THE BIGGY.. THIS FORUM, several here spend alot of time, volunteering the "good stuff" that they have spent years working on. Recipes, how to, problem solving. Cookshack supports this forum, you will have to ask others HOW, I don't have a clue.

SIZE,The smokette is a little small for large functions, but they have other models. It works great for my family though. A very small issue.

The THERMOSTAT not as exact as I would like to see. I have gotten used to the "personality" of my smokette and this is generally not a problem now. BUT I understand they are working a new model. If you are preparing a book, I would contact Cookshack about the new model in research soon to be in production.

In summation, I think the Cookshack product is truly a great "Q" maker that has stood up to the test of time. One that the "average Joe" can purchase and quickly get tremendous results serving a product that he can be proud of. I guess spending more time, playing with recipes, different cuts of meat, sauces etc. rather than fiddleing with fire control, storeage of wood, storeage of the unit etc.

For the record I have nothing personal to gain from my thoughts and comments, and I am not affiliated in any way with the company.

As you can see I have not posted here very often, but I have gained a lot of knowledge in a short amount of time from others who tirelessly volunteer their time and secrets.


Best of Luck on your project. Feel free to use any part of this if you like.

I have 5 other bbq's and one other smoker, which I have not used since I got my Cook Shack Smokette 3 years ago.
This is the best thing since sliced bread : )

Pulled pork, Spare Ribs, Baby Backs, Brisket, Beer Can Chicken, Whole Turkey and Salmon.

My family is always asking to smoke something for them.
And my friends at work give me money to make stuff to bring for lunch.

The only con is that the Smokette is too small, so I�m buying
larger Cook Shack smoker.
So I can smoke more food : )

The food that this smoker makes is better than any of the so call bbq restaurants around.

My friends all think that I work very hard smoking food,
but it's not hard at all.

I put the food in set the temp and put a probe in it and when it gets to the desired temp it's time to eat.

Cook Shack Customer service is excellent : )
This forum is awesome so much great info.

Thank you,
To everyone at Cookshack, this forum and SmokinOkie
Originally posted by Frayedknot29576:
[qb] In summation, I think the Cookshack product is truly a great "Q" maker that has stood up to the test of time. One that the "average Joe" can purchase and quickly get tremendous results serving a product that he can be proud of. I guess spending more time, playing with recipes, different cuts of meat, sauces etc. rather than fiddleing with fire control, storeage of wood, storeage of the unit etc.

For the record I have nothing personal to gain from my thoughts and comments, and I am not affiliated in any way with the company.

Well stated Scott. I live in the KC metro area, and spent 4 years in Eastern NC before that, so I caught the BBQ bug pretty good. I decided to try my hand at it 11 years ago, purchased a common offset log burner. I invested huge amounts of time learning how to use it, reading books, trying recipes, hawking over the thing, monitoring time, temp, vent positions, numbers of briquets, wood, etc., with -- this is the kicker -- highly variable results. Some things were great, others highly disappointing. After a year or so, I became frustrated and let off for a few years. Got the courage to try again, a few years ago, same results. Bottom line, too little results for the time invested.

Heard about the CS, a friend had a similar smoker, and he always turned out very good product, consistent, to the rave reviews of the gang. Oh, but it's an electric smoker, I could hear the giggles from some. I'd brainwashed myself that an electric smoker was some unthinkable sub-standard method of cooking.

Well, I finally reached a profound yet simple conclusion ... so what? Life is short. I have a family, kids, and other things that all compete for our most limited commodity, time. No disrespect at all intended for those who are experienced, capable, log-burning pitmasters using the more traditional smokers/cookers, I truly look up to you (many I know are active contributors in this forum). But for me, at this time, the CS is wonderful.

My CS has allowed me to renew an interest in learning how to, and actually doing, great BBQ, without spending an entire day surveiling the smoker, logging temps, and crossing my fingers on the results. I can deliver great tasting food to the dinner table while the family is still awake. I can let it cook while I sleep. I still have the offset, and have an interest in getting back to using it, but I'm having way too much fun and good results with the CS right now.

I have a Model 055, so the "size" concerns are less for me, I can cook all I want/need with it.

Good luck with your project. Keep us posted on the book, so we can look for and enjoy it.

Best regards ...

Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful feedback. After cruising the boards for a while, I must say I am delighted to make contact with the famous SmokinOkie personally.

Thanks especially to my Chicagoland neighbor, Gurnee BBQ Dude. I thought I understood the smokering concept fairly well, but your link to the article by Joe Cordray of Iowa State added a new layer to my understanding. I used it to modify my article on Rib Science on the page By the way, GBD, I am forming a committee to start a cookoff at Soldier Field (electric and gas units will be allowed, I hope). We have some good folks already on board. If you are interested in participating, drop me an email or a note via my website.

SmokinOkie suggests the missing smokering is because there is so little wood being used, but I wonder about that since I used two goodsize chunks, perhaps five ounces. This amount of wood in some of my other cookers will produce a smokering.

Here is what I have deduced from my research. Please tell me what you think:

The wood is not combusting at high heat as is necessary create nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide is necessary to create a smokering. The smokering may not effect flavor, but its absence is indicative of smoldering wood which also helps create creosote. That may explain the gray goop forming in the chimney hole and dripping on the meat, especially if it contains a lot of creosote. It may also explain why it formed after only 2-3 cooks. The Smokette produces a lot of creosote. It may also explain the slight ashtray flavor I mentioned and the lack of the more complex, elegant smoke I get on my non-electrics.

Frayedknot29576 says using a charcoal briquette in the smoke box is a good idea. I have heard this elsewhere. Why do this?

Finally some rhetorical questions: Why does Cookshack not include a vent brush with the cooker if it is such a common need. Better still, why have they not moved the vent hole to the side where ugly fowl tasting condensation will not drip on the meat? Also, why have they not put a shallow drip pan on the inside below the heating element rather than rely on aluminum foil? Although I must say my dog likes the drip pan on the outside...

Smoke 'em if you got 'em,
Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn
How to make the best ribs on the block
if you do get a contest which allows electrics please let me know. for years i have promised to take my wife to chitown and that would be perfect!!! i will let her cook on her sm150 and i guess my fec in the rig would be allowed to participate also even though it isn't gas.
on the--dare i say it--smokering thing. some guys add a lump to produce more nitrates and nitites. with our two sm150's we have never had this problem. we use a mix of 60%oak to 40% pecan in the form of either pellets in pouches or smoke stixs. i do however use the sm like my fec. i run at 165 for 3 to 4 hours to ensure good smoke penetration and the meat is put in cold (internal less than 32f) into a cold smoker. doing this we have never failed to get a good ring in both pork and brisket.
as far as your nitrates or nitrites go it doesn't have to be nitrogen. give me a "cheater" (opps steady jack) box of mortons tenderquick and i can give you a smoke ring that won't quit (stop jack that's far enough Roll Eyes ) but that ring will impart little flavor but it darned sure looks good and that little cheat trick i learned from stickburners so go figure.
i wish you the best on your endeavors and your website looks great and is ez to follow
ps. as far as reliabilty goes we have towed our rig for 2 years with never a problem to the heating element. i always thought that that would be the weak link but my fears turned out false. the unit works, works well, and works everytime we need it. service is great and they go out of their way. i didn't like the finish on my sm hood system and cookshack told me it's exact metal make up and by so doing allowed me to but a mirror finish on it. if that ain't going out of the way i don't know what is
Meathead, I went to your website and found it VERY informative and well put together, you�ve done an admirable job! I hope you can leave it up for future reference as it contains lots of great info, web links and tips.

Seeing as your a fellow Chicagoan I would love to hear from you and see more of you around here, maybe we could trade some recommendations for good places to eat and where to shop for difficult to find BBQ ingredients/gadgets around town.

In looking at your website I also noticed you�re also a fellow Masterbuilt (MB) owner, and being that I also own both a CS & MB maybe I can give you some pros and cons contrasting each:

MB vs CS Pros:
MB: Outstanding programmable digital temp controller, its actuate and displays the units 1) internal cooking temp;2) time left to cook; 3) set temp;4) total cook set cook time. It also will auto shut off at the end of the set cook time. Vs. the CS�s cheesy (but simple) crock-pot style dial, now I get less calls from home when someone wants to use the CS vs the tech support calls I used to get with the MB.

You already noted on your site how the MB�s wood loader has the ability to add the chips/chunks without opening the unit, but one more plus on the MB�s loader is that the firebox will accommodate larger chunks than the CS, and it has smaller holes in the fire box so that chips and pellets don't fall through onto the heating element. This firebox was a big deal to me since the Bradley smoker was limited to only pre-formed Bradley hockey pucks vs. me using any off the shelf bag of wood chips/chunks or pellets.

The MB has a wider cooking temp range 100-275 than the CS 100-250.

Price: MB $200 vs $500 CS Smokette or $350 for a Bradley (which I think it more closely resembles) All three are close in capacity, but the MB is slightly bigger inside.

MB vs CS Cons:
The MB is harder to clean, especially where the interior SS panels come together at the edges & corners where there are unsealed seams where the liquid/steam goes though creating bacteria buildup behind the panels and in the insulation and requires vigilant cleanup. CS: the whole unit is welded shut! So, no cleaning issue!

The controller is cold weather sensitive (being from Chi-town I�m sure you can appreciate this) and may not start if the outdoor temp is below freezing this is a known issue to MB customer service. CS�s cheesy crock-pot dial is unaffected by the outside temps, go figure.

The MB must be vented from the chip loader located on the bottom side of the unit, but that really doesn�t vent the cabinet nearly enough to let top rack items bark up since the MB is an almost completely sealed environment and is super moist if not steamy; especially if using the water pan! The CS has a Dolphin hole at the top that lets the steam out with the bottom drain hole to create a slight updraft, my food barks better in the CS but is moister in the MB, even trade. In your CS review the bottom hole was a concern on bugs and pets, which is true, but on long cooks when dealing with allot of drippings its nice to not have the pan overfill inside and be able to change pans from outside without opening the unit. I think the bottom drain hole is well located since inside the unit the dripping slope down to the center rather than collect in the flat pan like in my MB. Honestly, I don�t think any of the manufactures have really solved this one yet, I saw a gas unit at Sam�s Club with a drain spigot and bucket hanging off the back side, but then I would have to keep the back open to access.

The MB lacks a door latch, big negative. The magnetic seal wasted away after a few months and couldn�t hold back the internal pressure allowing the door to open and causing chip fires from the O2 rushing in. CS: A tornado couldn�t rush in with its Fort Knox style latch; I think I�ve seen the same latch on some of the shelter doors down there (OK) as well!

Cons Both
Both units lack a port hole to insert or permanently mount a temp probe for monitoring cooking temps, while the digital controller on the MB does give internal readings its still hard to see in daylight or from across my deck (10 ft) and frankly a dial thermometer that you can glance at is just easier, my Weber and my old Brinkmann had a readout, and most other smokers do as well, why not the CS? Especially at this price range.

Smokette pros: Quality stainless steel construction both inside & out, more accessories for the unit, easier access to replacement parts, great customer service, this forum.

My final thought is that I own a CS for the exact same reason I own my Weber grill. They both manufacture high quality units and stand by their products, their support and repair or maintenance are minimal, but when its required its always available, be it a heating element, grill or a whatever I know I can get it with a simple call or at a local store. My other smokers & grills over time did not hold up to the harsh Chicago winters and either had to be trashed or were un-reparable within 2 years, I love the MB but after just 1� years she�s not looking too good either, and recently required a heating element swap!

I know, it was a long one! Take care �GBD�
Glad to help on the link, and yes I agree we should stay in touch, your contest sounds like a blast! I'll send you a note very soon.

I've never gotten the "goop", so I have no comment there but on getting a smoke ring with adding the charcoal to the firebox, I think it might have more to do with the fact that since charcoal is originally created at such a high temperature the chemical byproducts of the Mfg process must have residue that when burned off in the CS must be creating a "dirty smoke" as opposed to the cleaner low temp smoldering type smoke in the CS.

I also know that by adding some small amount of water in a pan AND a couple of lumps of charcoal to the firebox that it will carry the nitrates deeper into the meat and get a kicking ring as well. So now watch someday, we will probably find out that getting a smoke ring is some kind of health hazard and that electric smokers were better for you all along!

Welcome back Meathead.

What a name, brings back memories of Archie bunker...

Originally posted by Meathead:
[qb] Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful feedback. After cruising the boards for a while, I must say I am delighted to make contact with the famous SmokinOkie personally.
GAG, I'm just a BBQ guy like everyone else (well everyone who has 5,000+ post) Big Grin But you got me personally and I hope I'm approachable. You ought to see me at a contest with some beers in me...

Lots of points to respond to, probably won't hit them all.

A few years ago, the now defunct American BBQ Association had contest that allowed electrics. Their believe was it's the cook, not the cooker.

Ah, the SR. I'm not sure about scientific article and Nitrogen, but I'm with Jack on this one. Give me a box of Morton's Tenderquick and I can give you the pretties smoke ring this side of Saturn. It's Nitrates/Nitrates that are curing the meat. Some time, cut off the little pink SR and taste it. You'll notice, if you can, that it tastes like cured meat. That's EXACTLY what it is. I've got some pictures on the forum here that show it exactly, I'll see if I can find it.

SmokinOkie suggests the missing smokering is because there is so little wood being used,This amount of wood in some of my other cookers will produce a smokering
No suggestion, just fact Wink 2 oz of wood, burning in this electric smoker, just don't produce enough nitrates to nitrites to cure or create a SR. It has much to do with exactly how it's burning and that process. Because of that, it would take more wood to create a SR in a CS. Add a chunk or two of charcoal and it will (has to do with the chemistry of raw wood vs the chunk of ready charcoal) basically the charcoal is at the point ready to produce the nitrates while unburnt wood is not. This works fine. Actually throw no wood in and just say 3 to 5 pieces of charcoal and see what happens. That's why some people have found if they leave the unburned piece of wood in the smoker the next time, they get a ring. Secret is the charcoal, how it burns to create nitrates/nitrites.

About Creosote and the Gray drip. I've had ZERO issue with either and I've owned my CS for over 7 years. I think there are other issues at play. Both of these are not "common" issues with the CS and in the life of the forum, what happens is something gets mentioned and becomes fact. Realistically less users have a problem with those two things than do.

Funny thing about the internet, bad news gets noticed more than the good.

I wouldn't isolate on those as "CONS" for a CS. Just something that happens to some users and the resolution is known.

Why does Cookshack not include a vent brush with the cooker if it is such a common need. Better still, why have they not moved the vent hole to the side where ugly fowl tasting condensation will not drip on the meat? Also, why have they not put a shallow drip pan on the inside below the heating element rather than rely on aluminum foil? Although I must say my dog likes the drip pan on the outside...
Since I don't work for CS I can't say. The smoker has been out there for over 35+ years and the gray dripping is not a frequent issue. And Heat rises, so the vent is at the top to let heat out. Put it on the side and you've created issues with the flow of the air. But call Stuart Powell (President) at CS and ask. He's VERY approachable.

Drip pan on the outside? Hmmmm.... I don't want grease on the inside where it can build up and be exposed to heat. Simple aluminum foil to a drain hole works efficiently.

Don't know why I'd want it on the inside. If you want it for drippings? Just put a pan inside. Outside I can remove and dispose without having to get inside. If it fills up inside and it's hot (say 250+ hot) how am I going to empty hot grease without hurting someone. Don't think your dog would like Hot Grease.

Wow, great stuff here.

Rut ro here comes the rookie again.

By the way Meathead, I did not read your website prior to my last post, subsequently I have.. GREAT JOB. Very nice. I actually copied a couple of reciepes..still searchin. I have read all the posts and love the information. Especially, the technical side of things. I do not compete in BBQ cookoffs but do in Chili, so the technical side is of interest to me.

One issue that I question is the "creosote" issue. I believe this to be somewhat "subjective" I have not encountered that issue with my CS either. I would suggest that the wood, would/could (sheesh) be suspect. If it is not completely cured, dried, then maybe there might be a creosote issue, but again this is not an issue/problem for me.

Another point here, and I need some "backup" either way, I thought that the SR was produced in a certain temp range?? (140*-150*) I may be incorrect here and I defer to the more knowledgeable than I. I, like Prisonchef said, put the meat in at refer temps. I am trying to reduce time in the "danger zone" ie: sitting on the counter. Which as a result, limits the time in the "smoke zone".

I will try as Smokin suggested tasting the SR from the very next cook. Meathead have you ever done that? I have never done that. GREAT POINT. As my best friend, my grandmother, used to say "proof is in the puddin."

Gurnee, Smokin, Hippie, Pchef, and of course Meathead (I love that name) Thanks for the posts. this is a great topic. Meathead? you have a way with words and I look forward to reading more about your findings. However, I am committed to my Smokette! Another trueism, from Grandma, "if it ain't broke don't fix it". There you have it.
Originally posted by Frayedknot29576:
[qb] Wow, great stuff here.

Rut ro here comes the rookie again.

Another point here, and I need some "backup" either way, I thought that the SR was produced in a certain temp range?? (140*-150*)
Rookies always welcome around here. Unlike other forums you aren't rated by how many posts you make. It's more the quality of the contribution.

The 140 issue. Now that's something of a Holy Grail. I've been searching for many years and haven't found any reliable scientific discussion about it. Why 140? The theory is that the protein molecules close up and smoke and other stuff can't penetrate any more. Proof? Haven't found any.

The "theory" is that up UNTIL that point the smoke can penetrate the meat. I hadn't heard that it happens at that point. The depth of the SR is a discussion among many. Why does it go 1/2" deep for some and 1/8" for others? And many, including me, prefer to put cold meat in. I WANT it to take longer to get to 140. I'm not worried about the danzer zone as the final temp will be over 190. I've got a lot of theory in my head about this whole SR thing, but not worth writing, just "ponderings over a beer" kinda thinkin'

Now, after 140, smoke will still continue to adhere to the outside. That's why you get NASTY BBQ in restaurants some times because they leave the stuff in the smoker and when they add new wood, it just adds bad black smoke.

But Black, White, Blue smoke are another discussion.

Good comments by all.
One other point I haven't seen mentioned, is that to learn with an offset, the first couple years you're just learning fire-tending skills. There are so many variables with building and tending the proper fire; wood, charcoal, dampers, airflow, temp swings, creosote, etc etc.

With the CS all that is a constant--you just have to decide which type of wood to use, how much, and what temp to cook at. This provides the shortest path to great BBQ and by turning the fire variable into a constant, you can work on tweaking recipes, brines, injections, etc to enhance your final product.
Like Frayed knot29576 says, you need to learn and/or get to know the personality of your smoker. That is definitely true, regardless of what type of smoker you are using. Until you know your smoker it is hard to rate it without some bias.

I have been nothing but happy with my (modeled on a CS) ST. Without a doubt, the finest brisket smoker on the planet, bark or no bark, foiled or un-foiled. And I have never tasted better ribs than the ones I have made since procuring my smoker. And the pulled pork.........ahhhhhhhhhh!!!

BTW Meathead, Kudos to you, Great website!
dennis-ut makes a very good point and it was driven home to me last weekend. i was dead sick with the flu but still had some custom orders to get out. the sm let me do that due to it's design. i was able to take my notebook, set temps and times and go back to bed and that is something that never could have been done before i got mine.
ps. even my fec would not have had the ability to do that
All: Thanks for the kind words on my website. Wait til you see the book. There's some nice photography to go with the words, and a whole lot that isn't on the site (otherwise nobody would buy the book!). Please offer criticism. Daddy taught me it is worth more than praise!

GBD: You are correct. I do have both a Masterbuilt and a Cookshack sitting on my deck (and some other heavy metal, too), and I have been comparing them. You really did a great job of comparing them yourself. Great insights that I will incorporate into my reviews. I will also contact you offline about the Chicago cookoff. The MB has a number of features that I consider improvements over the CS, but it is a new model and has some major bugs, not the least of which is the defective door gasket. But the digital thermostat/thermometer/timer is a big improvement over the "crockpot" dial on the CS. Others reading this might want to read my reviews (still in progress) on the page

SmokinOkie: I have a reconditioned unit direct from Cookshack, so I am beginning to wonder if there was some cleanser left in the vent hole and that's what dripped on my meat. It seems odd to have this problem after only 2-3 co0oks. I bought a wire pipe cleaner, so we'll see if the problem recurs. Puzzling. I am still trying to understand the flavor difference between the smoke in electrics and other cookers.

My suggestion on moving the vent to the side should work finer if it is at the top of the side. I did not mean the middle of the side. And if it angled slightly down and out it would prevent any condensate from getting into the oven.

On putting the drip pan inside, my Masterbuilt has it this way and I think it is an improvement. I just slide it out and put it in the dishwasher. No peeling the foil off the bottom, no scraping and scrubbing the bottom. No exterior drip pan to attract pets and pests. No open hole to allow pests in.

It would take about a quart of grease to fill so there should be no need to remove hot grease. But now you have me wondering if it could flare up.

And I will try to taste the SR. Can't believe I haven't done that yet! Thanks!
Well let me know when your book comes on, send me a copy and I'll be happy to review it for the forum. Figure turnabout. You review the smoker, I'll review your book. Big Grin

Wait until you see the new Amerique, with the electronics. Has a probe to put in the meat and when it hits temp, goes to automatice hold. the electronics are the same as their commercial smokers (that have had them for years).

Maybe it's semantics at this point, but reading that thread, doesn't make it a "common" issue so I would hope you don't make it so in a review. Web forums are interesting places, what happens when you post is everyone jumps in. You heard about the few who have it, but not the ones who say they haven't.

FYI, that Admin is the President of the company. Did you notice his comment about the vent hole? As I stated, feel free to contact him and let him know what you think. That version of CS has been out many, many years and I don't get the details of any updates, but I think they're happy with the design.

All good points. If you want more discussion about SR, email me. I tend to get lengthy in my posts about SR if you hadn't noticed.

Best of luck
Regarding your website article, I think it's a great idea. My problem comes from your discription under buyers guide for the smokette. Need some corrections regarding the shelves and inside dimensions, can't use 14" shelves in a 13.5 " opening as you stated. "Cheapo cookbook" isn't at all flattering, how about "a small cookbook with some nice recipies." Then we come to the vent hole in the top. Many of us use a storage cart or cabnet to raise the unit to a more comfortable height, thus the top is often too high to use anyway. Four casters would have a negative effect if used on a stand. I've had my 008 since July, 05, and have never seen that grey stuff you talk about. Maybe it's because I live in God's country. You also you mentioned rain and snow getting into the vent hole, if it's smoking ain't gonna happen, an when not in use, put cover on it. And I don't think Dogs have any business near my cooking, no way. Finally, my unit has only 3 racks and only positions for 3 racks. Sorry about being on the negative side, but these issues bug me. No disrespect intended,
Last night's cook, with all shelves full, I found that late in the cook the temp rarely got above 200 even though I had upped the dial to 250. Wassup with that?
Mine did that about two weeks ago. I had a theory and sure enough I was right. I cleaned off the sensor inside my smoker, used my fingernail and a napkin until it was silver looking again. The following weekend smoke the temps are like they were when I first bought it....perfect!!!

Regarding the goop. Almost everytime I cooked with my 008, I would get goop. After a few times I just put an unused shelf to the top and a piece of foil under the vent. Always had goop on the foil but not on the meat. The coop comes from the fact that the vent hole is a solid piece from inside to outside. This is cooler therefore the moisture condenses on the bottom of the vent and eventially drips. As stated, it happened almost every time. Since I have moved to the larger 055 I have not experienced the goop problem, although I did anticipate it.

I was looking at your site and while I don't agree with every word it's a good site. I will probably but the book as well.

I'm not going to get into the pros and cons of the Cookshack Smokers.

Nobody talked me into getting one....all I had to do was taste the food that one produced.

I'm semi-retired and the half of me that IS retired does not feel like babysitting a smoker any longer.

That being said my 009 has allowed me to do some of the things I have been itching to do in my spare time and still enjoy absolutely incredible "Q".

Best of luck with your book.

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