I own a SM066 electric and can't speak to pellet models (although based on comments here, I am starting to covet one). My electric SM066 produces seriously good BBQ, according to my tastes. I am retired and not all that interested in purchasing and storing large quantities of pellets, or in the cleaning and maintenance a pellet smoker seems to need. I keep a few boxes of chunks of assorted wood types, using around 2 - 3 oz ( a couple of small chunks) per cook. I clean the cooking grid(s) after every cook (my obsession), wipe down the interior of the smoker to remove heavy grease deposits, re-install foil on the wood box cover and bottom, and I'm good to go again. I set the smoker temp and either the time, or the meat temp (with the included probe), and walk away for nearly the entire cooking time before I need to check doneness. I can't imagine a more worry-free and effort-free smoking experience. I've done brisket, pork ribs, beef ribs (both back ribs and whole racks of short ribs), pork butt roast, turkey legs, chicken wings, lots and lots of salmon, and the occasional corned beef flat to make pastrami. All have been fantastic, although there is a learning curve, as with most things.
The drawbacks I have seem is the smoker is so tightly closed that smoking sausage links or jerky is a bit of a trick, since they need some dryness during the smoke. Also, a large load of meat will need some rotating and rearranging during the cook to get everything done at once.
Again on the plus side, my smoker lives in an unheated garage (freezes during the winter) and I've pulled it out at below-freezing temperatures and it starts right up and heats up like it doesn't know it's not summer. 30 minutes and it is to temp with lots of smoke being produced.
If it sounds like I love this smoker, I do. Anyway, I hope this helps your decision making process.
A pellet can give you the best of both worlds: smoker and grill. If you already have a grill, get an electric smoker, the largest you can afford. You will never look back and the food that comes out of it is just delicious. I bought the Amerique in 2012 and it is still in use with zero problems. Lately I have been getting the old Q itch and lusting after a Fast Eddy Pellet. So far I have not succumbed. Some day!
Jay's comments are spot on. Own a SM 160 (purchased used). Researched for about 9 months before purchasing an electric cooker. Don't regret it at all. Pretty much set and forget. Just have to learn cooking times and weight of wood for the amount of smoke you desire. Sausage smoking, as Jay stated is a bit of a challenge but can be done (just finished two twenty pound batches). Plenty of information on this site to guide you. The SM 160 is located in the shop and vented outside. Great for all season cooking. Good luck with your selection.
All I can say is that I love my Fast Eddy pellet smokers. Have had one since 2004 and have only had minor issues with the mechanics. Got the second one in 2007 and still have it too. While both the electric and pellet are great smokers, I am partial to the pellet. BTW, I get a half a pallet of pellets once every three or four years from Fast Eddy. They keep very well in my garage plus it is about half the price of ordering smaller quantities.
Thanks for everyone's detailed feedback, I guess I'll go for an electric smoker then! I was leaning more on the pellet side as I'm more familiar with the system, but it's true that an electric model will save me some time...
Hind24P - Pellet is electric, more or less. The Cookshack PG series have large hoppers so you should be able to do long smokes without reloading the pellets. The SMO66 will go all night, no flame and you only need to load once. Depending upon what and how long you are smoking/cooking, this could be anywhere from 2 to 6 ounces of wood chunks. No need to see smoke for the entire cook. The folks at Cookshack can answer any and all tech questions and provide solid advice based upon your preferred foods for smoking.
Thanks for the further explanation! What sold me is that it can withstand winters without too much trouble, which is perfect as I'll be housing my smoker somewhere in this Czech real estate, when the travel restrictions are over and I can get myself a holiday home there. And since I won't be there all year long (at first) and it can get cold in the winter, the resilience of the electric smoker was its big selling point.
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