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I'm new to Cookshack, it's not here yet but it's on it's way.  Wanted to reach out and see if anyone had any suggestions prior to it's arrival.  I bought the Smokette Elite.  I used to have a Bradley Digital before it died.  I tried  Rec Tec bull pellet smoker and it's just not for me.  Thought i'd give this a shot as I saw many posts about this being better than the Bradley on here.  

Biggest reason I didn't like the bull was there was hardly any smoke flavor.  Tried the xtreme smoke setting for 3-4 hrs , tried lowering the smoke damper, tried many different kinds of pellets.  (Lumberjack produced some results but too expensive). Tried smoke tube, smoke maze, just wasn't cutting it.  I loved the smoke flavor of the Bradley but didn't want to be locked in by hockey pucks that were hard to find. Pellet didn't work out.  Cookshack seemed to fit the bill from what i've read.

I notice there isn't a water pan, is it worth using one?

Any suggestions or advice I'd appreciate it.

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I use chunks from a big box store in my smoker. I normally use 3-6 oz of apple or cherry for most smokes for pork and turkey.  For beef I may use some hickory.  For fish I use alder.  Cheese gets 1/2 cherry and 1/2 apple for 2.5 hours.

Suggest you weigh your wood for the first few smokes, too much can make a bitter taste.  Watch your wood for signs of combustion (no charcoal, only ash) when you season it, that way when you go to smoke you can put the wood where it won't combust and make bitter smoke.

Welcome to the Forum! You didn't mention what model you purchased. Electric or pellet? It matters a lot. First off, season your smoker. Use a cheap piece of pork butt and do 225F for about 1 - 1 2/2 hours a pound, and get used to the way the smoker works. Watch time to get to temp (no need to pre-heat the smoker), and watch cycle time on the heater and time to recover if you open the door (I'm talking about the electrics, I have a SM06 and have not used a pellet smoker). As LonzinomakerCS said, work up your wood use from only a little (2 - 3 oz of chunks for a pork butt). And there should be no need for a water pan in a CS electric -the cabinet is so tight that it is not necessary.

Good luck, and report back on your experience and with any questions - we love to share tips and experience!

Thank you both.  I appreciate it.  I purchased the SM025 Smokette Elite. I will not purchase another pellet smoker.  Not that they are bad, just not my style. So out of curiosity why wouldn't you want to preheat the smoker?  I was reading it could take up to 30 minutes to hit temperature so that was my plan. 

What is the best way to season it?  I've heard some spray the inside with cooking oil before turning it on.  The manual says to just turn it on for 4 hours at 225. Or were you meaning to season it with the cheap piece of pork?  Wanted to clarify that.

Welcome to the forum from SE Arizona. You are going to truly enjoy the smoker. I am mostly a hickory wood user.  I like the flavor it imparts on pork and beef which is all I smoke. And I purchase the hickory from Cookshack.  Very good quality and quick shipping.

You will want to cover the lid of the wood box with heavy foil.  And line the bottom/floor with foil and be sure to punch a hole through the foil so the drippings  can exit the drain hole into the drip pan.

I agree with the scale.  I use an Oxo.  You do NOT want to over smoke your food. I also use a moisture meter, General, to check wood moisture.  Too dry and I rehydrate.

I also have an instant read thermometer, ThermaPen. When the controller says the meat is done, I use the instant read to probe a couple other places, just to be sure.  A full packer brisket is a large hunk of delicious!

Once you have the meat and wood loaded, and the smoker running with the meat probe, just walk away and no peeking. You can periodically check on the meat temp via the display.  Large cuts will hit a stall at approximately 170 degrees and the temp will climb very slow.  Be patient. If doing  ribs, no probe, you need to check at the 4 - 4 1/2 hour mark and just sort of play it by ear.

Water pan is optional.  I occasionally use a throw-away aluminum loaf pan for 12 to 16 hour overnight smokes .


Yep, just smoke a small butt and it will take care of itself. Of course, the more you smoke, the more seasoning occurs (some like to call it "patina"). In any case, the smoke and fat will plate out on the interior of your smoker. Most folks leave it alone until it gets really built up and needs to be scraped. I wipe down the interior with a damp rag after every (or almost every) smoke just to get the softer fat out before it solidifies. I also cover the bottom with HD foil ( be sure to punch a hole for the drip pan), and also cover the shield over the wood box with foil. Just my personal rule, but I always clean any part (the cooking grids) that comes into contact with raw meat, every time.

With CS electrics, preheating is just not necessary. The smoker comes up to temp in under 30 minutes, no matter what you put in it. I'm not sure about your SM025, but my SM066 starts at full heat and stays there until the set temp is reached, then begins to regulate (there will be some overshoot, but not much). For a cook that takes several hours, 30 minutes isn't much and you have the safety and convenience of loading a cold smoker, even in the winter. Many chefs will tell you preheating any oven is only necessary when you are baking pastry.

Hope this helps - again, good luck and enjoy.

Appreciate it guys.  I have a Thermapop quick read and a Fireboard for the long slow cooks and know all about the stalls with a full packer.  The smokette should be here on Wednesday which is when I plan on putting it through it's paces to get it all seasoned up.  Appreciate the tips and advice.  I plan on cooking a full brisket on Friday so we'll see how that goes.  I'll let you know how it works out.

So I smoked some sausage this afternoon for 2 hours using about 2 1/2 oz of apple wood and my wife complained it was way too strong.  That being said, how much would you guys recommend for an 11 lb brisket?  Also I seem to be having an issue not getting a lot of ash when i place my wood in the cooker.  And by not getting I mean that's all I get.  Makes it a pain to clean out the heating element tray.  Any recommendations?

Last edited by Hill Country Carnivore

Smoke intensity is a matter of taste.  Some like it mild, some like it strong. You did not say how you liked it; was it ok?  too strong for you?  That is something you have to discuss with your family.

As for the brisket, I use 4 to 6 ounces hickory. That might be too much for you but that is what I use; 6 ounces for a full packer.

As for the ash. Not sure I understand.  Sometimes I will get a piece of charcoal back from a smoke out of the 2 to 4 chunks of wood I use. Other times, all ash.  I just dump the remains, be it charcoal or ash in the trash the day after a smoke.  No further cleaning needed.

So with this smokette, the bottom of the firebox has holes with the heating element directly underneath.  So any ash falls through and ends up in the heating element tray.  So I can't dump the ash because that tray can't be removed.  It's a pain to clean out.  As far as flavor.  I'd say what i had was a bit intense.  No meat flavor all smoke flavor.  With the pellet smoker it was about 100x what I got with it and about 10x the Bradley.  So I think it did oversmoke it as that's the majority of what you tasted.  The wood immediately catches fire once the smoker comes on.  With that being the case, would it be worth soaking it first to add some moisture so it doesn't combust so easily?

I am not familiar with the Smokette wood box.  I know from my 066 and another brand electric that there are holes along the sides and none directly through the bottom.  Maybe your woodbox is the exception from those I am familiar with. Having said that, I place my wood in the center of the woodbox so nothing is directly over a section of the carload element. If it catches fire, I don't notice. I am guessing any fire quickly dies out due to lack of air. Nevertheless, you may want to contact CS tech support.

You could make little boats out of heavy foil and place each chunk of wood in its own little boat.  Seriously.  That is the recommendation on another forum I belong to.  It prevents complete combustion. since the sides of the boat partially wraps up the sides of the wood leaving very little exposed.  All that is left is charcoal.  Also, folks report a milder taste in the finished product.

I agree with old sarge.

If you have nothing but ash, your wood has combusted and will lead to a bitter smoke. I use boats made from aluminum flashing and have very little ash. Mostly I have just charcoal left.

I don't see how the ash could be getting to the bottom of the smoker.  I have had 7 smokers of the 3 name brands and none of them allowed anything to leave the wood box.  Adding a couple of pictures of yours would help.


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  • trays-old 2


I will try that for the next cook.  This is a picture of my smokerbox.  As you can see it has holes at the bottom and the heating element and try is directly beneath it.  So as the ash is created it falls directly on the heating element.  I'll try the foil boats and see how that works as I tested and they immediately combust once the element comes on.  See if that helps it out.   Hopefully that will take care of the ash issue as well.



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  • smokerbox

Sorry, I thought you had ash getting on the bottom of the smoker.  It is normal for ash to get on the element.  And that ash should just fall out of the box when the smoker is cooled and you can take the box out with bare hands.

You can fold a piece of doubled over tin foil and cover 2/3 of the box and try a smoke to see if you get all charcoal instead of ash and whether that smoke taste is better.

For my smoker, when run without boats, I get combustion and a thick white/yellow smoke.  That smoke when sniffed is bitter and acrid.  When I use the boats, the smoke is a thinner white and is much more pleasant to smell.

You could also try doing a "ramp up method".  You start at about 160 deg to get the smoke going for 30-45 min then raise temp to 200 for 30-45 min, then raise temp to target temp.  The idea is that the element isn't on for a continuous length of time initially and therefore the wood doesn't combust.   I'm a Lazy Q guy and don't want to fiddle with temps so I use the boats.

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