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I'm a new owner who has used my CS-008 about 6 times now. I have probably spent more time reading the forums than actually smoking.

There seem to be 2 types of smokers (people not appliances):

Type A Smokers:
concerned with every single detail. Must try to control all variables such as exact oven temp (even at each rack level) which is graphed out on paper. They calculate effects on cooking times based on voltage drops across extension cords of varying gauges. They measure external temp, wind speed, barometric pressure and moon phase and how they affect the viscosity of the marinade. They calculate the density of different hardwoods and mix them in exact proportions to achieve smoke rings of specific thicknesses. They debate endlessly about the virtues of different brands of aluminum foil. They go to ranches and examine the pedigrees of cattle and hogs to choose meat that will taste the best. Cooking times are exact and to the second. Their motto "it's done when I predict it's done"

Type B smokers:
Buy what they can find, rub with what they have, smoke long and slow while drinking a cold beer. Even if it takes twice as long, they fully and unconditionally accept that "It's done when it's done!"

Best advice - Relax, the CS will do all the work and your results will be fantastic! Wink

Jon E.
Jon.. that's great.. I started out as a Type A.. but as time goes on.. I'm moving rapidly toward Type B.

BUT, I know I'll keep asking questions.. Difficult to totally eliminate the Type A tendency.. maybe there is a group I can join to help me out here.. some sort of 10 step program. I know our church has outreaches for other issues.. I never considered this in that light tho.. Thanks.......
When I first received my Cookshack, and as a newbie, I spent a majority of my first smoke fooling with the thermostat. My thermometer would rise, drop and rise again. So I would raise and lower the thermostat accordingly.

Called CS. They were concerned and very helpful. After a brief discussion, they determined that everything was normal but not to hesitate to call back if i was not happy with the end result.

I left the thing alone for the remainder of the smoke. Meanwhile, I entered the forum to kill some time while the smoker was puffin away. There it was...all the talk about temperature swings. Conclusion...forget about it. Relax and enjoy the smoker.

I have learned over the past year that the temp swings are nothing to worry about. It will do it's thing just fine. In fact, unless you need to monitor the temp of the meat, don't even use a thermometer for the smoker temp.
1. Being able to read others real world experiences and learn from their encouters.
2. Buy and use a thermometer, I have had so many folks tell me that they cant get the meat to come out consistent, and my first question is: Do you use a thermomter? I almost think it would behoove CS to supply one with all cookers.
3. To know that what ever the "certain" few who are, (and I would not metion names Smokin, Tom, and about a dozen others,) well seasoned and the information they put fourth is as reliable as the sun shining daily.
4. Customer support, there are numerous feed back posts that are useful from which users have contacted CS and posted their results.
5. Meat cuts, prices, and trim styles there are some excellent archives on how to trim, what the various part names are and how to season.
6. The fact that this is a friendly run forum which welcomes all types of cookers from the backyard beginner to the competition cooker, the ability to tap a knowledge base such as this is a valuable tool to one who desires to learn.
Here's a post I found while doing my Administrator duties todaym from Halter:

I began smoking about two years ago using a Brinkman water smoker. Within six months I realized this was for me and upgraded to a Cookshack. Since then I have used this site extensively and have never had an unsuccessful experience. I read posts to this site occasionally of new smokers who are having bad experiences and feel guilty that by taking the advice on this site I have found smoking great food to be pretty easy.

As a way of saying Thank You to all of you who have been such help and maybe to give a little something back, I have put together "my" Ten Commandments to help those who are still starting out. I'm not near as qualified as so many of the experts on this site to be giving advice, but I hope these basics are of help to someone.

Good luck and good smoking!


1. Buy the Model 55 and a Food Saver. - It's just as easy to make more and the Food Saver allows you to keep it without any loss of taste. This type of food is so economical you will pay for the extra capacity within a year.

2. Never make anything unless you have plenty of time this sport is not for spur of the moment urges or last minute meals

3. Never make anything the first time for guests refer to rule commandment #2

4. Understand and purchase the right cut of meat study info and pictures on this site and talk to your butcher

5. Don't worry too much about perfect recipes it's the smoke and the slow cook that brings the flavor (but do learn how to brine poultry and fish)

6. Really! You don�t need that much wood you just have to take a leap of faith on this one

7. Always trust your thermometer (Polder type) � I like the ones with remote readouts (to set by my recliner) so I feel like I am doing something while the Cookshack works.

8. If you do not trust your thermometer use a secondary insta-thermometer and this does not give you the OK to open the door every 10 min and stab the meat

9. Leave the door closed there is nothing to see but a piece of meat getting darker. You couldn't tell if something was done by looking at it anyway.

10. If in your research you come across two different opinions take the one offered by Smokin' Okie - he is never wrong! He could have led Dante through hell.
Last edited by Former Member
I started out by using used chicken pot pie tins (drip pan) with a rock in it to help it not move. It worked, but was to small to hold the greese. I then purchased a couple of baking alluminum pans, and they too were a pain. I was recently in one of those dollar stores, and found a metal bread pan that measures 1 1/2H x 7 1/2W x 12 1/2 W for $2.00. It's a perfect fit under my 008, and is large enough to accomodiate any amount of greese in the drip pan. Best part, no spilling & no mess.
Thanks for all the good insights.

One thing I brought to CS was the use of steam table pans for a lot of stuff. Half size fit nicely in the Consumer models. Holds ice for cold smoking, beans for smoking etc. I also now use plastic ones for all my curing brining etc. You can get inserts to keep the meat out of the grease, sop, or whatever, lids too. Sure they cost a little more that disposables and Wally World stuff, but the way I look at it, if you are going to shell out almost half a grand for a CS, a few bucks in good prep gear will pay for itself many times over.

My 008 resides on a deck just off of the kitchen. The location is perfect except that there is no overhead covering. It seems like the first 5 or 6 smokes that I did were during heavy snow or rain storms. Needless to say, everything was coming through the top vent hole and onto the item I was smoking.

I tried all sorts of makeshift covers for the vent but nothing seemed to work well. One day, when walking through the plumbing section of my local hardware store I spotted my solution - A heavy galvanized 90 degree street elbow such as the one here. As I recall, 1 1/4 inch is the perfect size to fit over the vent and its fitting. I think I paid about $3. Keeps the elements out without blocking the vent, heavy enough that it's not blown away by high winds and, if you don't look to close, it looks like it's a part of the unit.

Unfortunately if I understand what you're recommending, modifying the vent hole with an addition of an elbow, I can't recommend your solution, as it makes a modification to the smoker and making modifications to the smoker would violate the Warranty. Sounds like a good idea, just not something that anyone with a warranty can do.

You might contact CS with your idea and see what they think and they'll let you know if it's okay or has any adverse impact. Then we can go with it.
Originally posted by arkansasQer:
[qb] dls...

I see where you're heading with's just a weather 'cap' of sorts that sits over the vent. Not a bad idea. It should be heavy enough not to blow over too. It won't restrict the air flow out of the cooker, but does keep the rain out. Good idea... [/qb]
arkansasQer - You've got it
Stupid questions from a I take it I should not use a mop on brisket with my Smokette since I'd be opening the door every so often, right? Also, when people talk abouit using a thermometer to monitor progress, are you talking about using a remote thermometer and running the thin cord through the smoke hole on top? thanks to all!

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