I am a long time grill and smoke afficionado but just ordered a new SM045 Supersmoker to add to my tools of choice. I did a lot of research on electric smokers and this forum was really incredibly helpful. Looking forward to many years of smoking adventures, trials and tribulations. I've had an offset wood smoker for years but never really mastered it until after I tried an electric smoker and figured out how to manage the heat, wood, vents, smoke, etc... My Masterbuilt died last week which was no surprise given how cheap they are made and cost, but I learned from it.
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I did the same. Had a Masterbuilt (cheap) for years and figured out time and temp. Before that I had a Sausagemaker (really cheap) with no insulation and just a rheostat, no PID controller. Just a hot plat with a pan of wet sawdust on it really. I was able to get some good sausage out of it, but that's about it. Now I'm in BBQ heaven with my SM066.
Welcome to the forum!
So I have a custom built offset smoker, looks like a choo choo train. It was built by a friend of mine that had a steel fab shop in Central America. It is really heavy duty with all stainless grill racks. I've had to replace the wood service board on the front and the wood insulated handles, but it's about 16 years old. Then a Lynx 27 gas grill, very well built but for the ceramic grids that require frequent replacement due to poor quality SS used in direct contact with all the flame and drippings over time. Then the old Weber 22 Kettle which is by far the best charcoal grill for the money. Have to replace a few wear parts every so often but they are cheap and easy to find. But that is truly a proven design for daily grilling. I'd like to smoke more often but the offset is a major undertaking requiring days of prep, etc... reason I bought the electric smoker. I think the electric is kinda like cheating. The Masterbuilt was always a struggle to get the wood to burn. I often had to stick a lighter and help it out. I'm really hoping the SM045 is not like that, i.e. the wood lights and burns without additional assist.
Flyingman, as you research more posts here you'll find how to best use your smoker. You'll also find out that the 045 doesn't burn wood with a flame, it just smolders. And you don't use a lot of wood. I use about 6 oz of apple wood to smoke 9-12# of pork shoulder for pulled pork.
What LonzinomakerCS said. Unlike your old Masterbuilt, the wood is chunks, not chips, and it is not soaked before use. I've never had a problem with continuous smoke production. In fact, too much smoke is a thing to watch out for.
Thanks for the advice. I'll have to "get smart" with the new smoker. My stick burner uses a ton of wood while the Masterbuilt used very little, but two completely different results. Once I figured out how to better manage temp and air flow in my stick burner, it has improved a lot. But I love the convenience of the electric. The Masterbuilt just never really produced much smoke. I never soaked my wood chips.
Welcome Flyingman from SE Arizona.
Thanks all of ya'll. Looks like I'm a bit late for the party! Looks like clean up next day!
Never too late join the party. I went from an offset stick burner (Brinkman) and really enjoyed it. But getting old and lazy, I did tire of feeding it. But it was worth the effort. Food was great. Going electric with the Amerique was a simple transition and the food nice and smokey (too smokey ONCE) and I did not miss the tasteless smoking which seems to be very important for some folks.
After 3 or 4 hours you may notice the smoke has diminished/vanished. Not to worry. The meat has absorbed all it can. Ever wonder why a smoke ring is shallow? The particulates/smoke could not penetrate any further. Here is a link explaining the science of smoke. Enjoy your smoker.
So my SM045 and Cart were shipped hours apart it seems, but the cart arrived yesterday and the smoker is expected today. They came out of Baton Rouge, FEDEX Ground. Unfortunately I have a weekend trip so wont get to play with my new toys till next week.
The smoker is very heavy. They are packed well, but be sure to check for damage.
OK, so today I unpacked. Very well packed, no obvious damage. I like what I see so far but my first issue is it seems they sent me the wrong bolts to secure the SM045 to the cart. The bolts they sent are about one size too small in diameter, so wont grab the threads. Instructions say 5/16", I think they sent 1/4". I'll contact them to get this fixed or make a quick run to HD. Look like Zinc bolts vs SS. Hope to do my first burn in today. The wood box is a bit different than others I've seen. The top hat is hinged to the wood box which has holes in the bottom and sides, it comes off in a single piece. I guess easier for cleaning?
Enjoy the smoker. Most of us foil the top lid of the wood box as well as the floor of the smoker for ease of cleaning. Make sure to poke a hole in the foil over the grease drip hole; necessary for air flow as well as the grease. If any wood chunks are too large to allow the lid to close, whack the chink with a hatchet or mallet and chisel.
I called CS and they returned my call a bit later. Service was very nice and explained that it was an error as earlier models of the SM045 used these smaller (10/32?) bolts. He would send me a set of 5/16" bolts in the mail. Not an urgent concern for now. Meanwhile I connected and fired up the smoker with two chunks of wood. The chunks are rather large and the lid indeed did not fully close. As I'm just doing the burn in I didnt worry about the lid. I set it at 275 and was going to do 4 hours. But my outdoor receptacle tripped (which it does from time to time, so I just plugged it in another one in the house and ran the cord out the door. Need to see how they have my outdoor receptacle wired up, probably too small amp but it connect to our GFI in the master bath for some reason. 750w shouldn't be too much, my wife has her 1,200 watt plus hairdryer running on that same circuit! Getting a good level of smoke, too bad the smoker is empty!
So I did the 4 hour burn in. Had smoke for most of the time. Temperature stayed within a few degrees of setting at 275. I opend it up and there is anice creosote caramel coating throughout. Had some minor smoke sneak past the door. I noted it doesn't actually use a door gasket. I'll let it cool down then look at the smoke box and see what is left of the two wood chunks. Excited for my first cook, probably gonna just do some ribs. KISS principal.
Glad it's working! The door should seal better as you get some build-up on the inside of the smoker. A bit of leakage of smoke is normal.
Don't worry about the smoke leaking from the top of the door or the top sides. It is fine. As long as the smoke goes up it will smoke the meat. Enjoy!!!
So I removed the wood box and it was all ash, just blew them off and around the burner element. Wiped down with a damp paper towel. The creosote is more of a hard lacquer, not coming off without some chemical help. Is it just the top latch on the door that has that safety lock? Bottom one doesn't have one. My Masterbuilt never burned the chips like this burned through those chunks, so I can see why some get too much smoke if not careful how much wood they use. The control is rather basic, set temp and leave it, no timer involved. I like having the temp probe but I also have a two channel remote I use. Definitely some pork ribs going in this Saturday. This is fun y'all!
I believe it is like my SM066 so yes, only the top latch has a safety catch.
So I put off my 1st cook to Sunday. Found some great deals on Pork Ribs, Butts and Shoulders at Winn Dixie. On sale this week! Got some spare ribs and baby backs, will try one of each today. I dry rubbed them with 1/2 "Slap ya Mama" and 1/2 "Butt Rub" and let sit in fridge overnight. We like it a bit more on the spicy side. I did not remove the silver skin, never do.
I set up the smoker with 1 larger and one small piece of the provided Hickory chunks. I don't have a scale. I lined the bottom and lid of burner box with Aluminum Foil and popped the drain hole, thanks for the pointers! Put the temp probe in the thicker spare rib rack on the middle shelf and placed the baby backs on the top shelf. Full racks don't quite fit straight across so just rotated to a diagonal and fit fine.
Set temp at 225 and within 6 minutes had smoke and temp started coming up. Then "WHAM", got the bang. Fortunately I was inside or I might have spilled my coffee. It was a loud pop and a wheezing air sound as air blew out the smoke and drain holes I surmise. I knew to expect something like this but in my first 10 minutes!? No obvious damage externally, fingers crossed. Is this something to expect to be repeated frequently?
5 Hour wait, guess I'll have to watch the rerun of Bama getting beat by A&M!
I had it happen during one of my first smokes, never again (that I know of).
The big bang may never happen again, I've only had it happen 3 times when my smoker was new. After I used my smoker 6 times, hasn't happened again.
But I also got nothing but ash, and the smoke was always a thick white smoke. So I tried some foil boats and got more blue smoke and charcoal. Then I made some trays out of aluminum flashing that fit the wood box and have been very happy with the smoke since. The only time I don't use the trays is when I'm drying jerky.
The patina or hard creosote is fine. Call it seasoning. I only clean it off when it stars flaking on its own and then use a soft brush to remove to loose stuff; especially in the ceiling. Otherwise I leave it alone.
It looks like CS has experimented with different amount and size of holes in their wood box design. Mine has large and many holes on the bottom and sides. Others not so much. Anyone know what they are trying to achieve with more and larger holes?
Now in the 3rd hour I have little smoke, looks more like a whisper of steam than smoke. I lowered temp to 220 from 225, just because it felt like temp was going up just a bit too quick. My goal is to reach the 205 point at about 5 hours. Not planning to wrap either.
The smoke will peter out after a couple of hours and go wispy. That is ok; resist the urge to add more wood. As for the holes, I cannot answer. I do know that they redesigned the 066 wood box and heating element; why is a mystery. I have never lowered the smoke temp and always left alone. It will hit a stall around 170 degrees and take a couple of hours before the temp starts rising again.
Almost at 5 hours, stalled in the 177 range for a while now. I haven't even opened to take a peek. I guess these may take a full 6 hours at 225 then.
Fedex dropped off the correct cart bolts so I put those on. One less issue to deal with.
I am really torn between wrapping these like I usually do and just letting them run the course as is. As my first cook I'll let them be. Getting my sides ready, baked beans, coleslaw and potato salad.
I got the end of the Bama A&M game on rerun, repeat.
I own a tree farm, basically pines and pecan trees.
Just re-registered here, could not find my name or password in my records, I sold a business, retired, bought a farm, moved, etc, etc. I bought my original Cookshack smoker, a 5 rack custom Smokette, in about 1990 from Bob, the CS marketing manager, while I was at the Atlanta Shot Show. I have rebuilt my Cookshack smoker three times over the last 30 or so years after storms, lightning, etc. Today it works just fine and the old stainless steel box is in real good shape, they last a long time.
I do have a BGE and a gas grill also. I have cooked a good bit with the Cookshack smoker over the years.
7+ hours and temp still about 188 and climbing slowly. I was concerned so opened and checked temp with my pen thermometer and it was right on. Taking much longer than I was expecting. Meat has a very dark coating but the probe went in like butter, so I know they are tender. I raised temp to 250 to finish it off as folks are getting hungry!
Not a lot of liquid is dripping out in the pan either.
These are either going to be amazing ribs or a major fail.
Guys, I'll post some photos tomorrow. The ribs were amazing, especially the spare ribs. Tender, juicy, tasty, with a deep smoke flavor unlike my Masterbuilt. I never reached 205, only about 190. The herd was hungry!
Learned a few pointers along the way. The bang shifted my aluminum foil which blocked the drain hole thus little liquid draining, but it was inside.
No shortage of smoke flavor so I'll cut back a bit on the wood chunks. I very nice bark.
The temp probe was reading accurate so you can trust it.
Can't explain why it took longer than I expected, 7+ hours. Meat was tender but not exactly "falling off the bones" but pulled off very easily, a nice "chew" shall we say.
I predict they're good, but with ribs I always cook to the toothpick test, not to temp, since they are so thin it is hard to accurately measure IT. I agree with oldsarge - my 066 has the old style solid firebox and it works great, don't understand why they modified it. I have no problem with white smoke, it starts out strong and tapers off as the wood burns down, most of the time to small chunks of charcoal, but on long smokes to just ash.
Well, your post beat me by 5 minutes, but I can still say I predicted success for you! I have found ribs (I cook mostly loin backs) take 6 - 6 1/2 hours at 225 to my preferred "bite-off," not "fall-off", the bone. Like I said, cook to toothpick test, not temp. On such a thin piece of meat with lots of bones, the probe is guaranteed to be inaccurate. I find 185 - 190 is "bite-off." If it ever really got to 205 on ribs, they'd fall apart being taken out. Congratulations!
So as a final follow up on my first cook, I'll cut back a bit on amount of wood, although two out of three of us were happy with the amount of smoke flavor. It wasn't bashful. For ribs I'll add a bit less salt and add a bit of sugar (sweetness). I'll use my remote probes in addition to the one provided by CS, just to "trust but verify".
Clean up was rather easy with the aluminum foil. Removed wood box and while discolored all of the wood was ash, so 100% burn. Wiped down with moist paper towel. Soaked racks in soapy water, easy clean up. Covered and ready for the next smoke.
During the cook I noted the controller was doing a few weird things, turning on/off in rather short successions. I know I read here where others reported a similar thing. There is a small red light on the control panel that illuminates when the element is on. It would flicker a bit but in general the unit stayed within a few degrees of set point.
Very happy with results and this purchase.
The cycling on and off is normal as the controller is turning power on and off to the heating element.