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I have been smoking with a traditional cast iron log burning offset smoker that puts out killer Brisket that I smoke on Oak. I love the finished product of the offset, but looking for an easier way to come out with the same quality of product.
My research has led me to Cookshack which appears to have a strong following. My question is to those of you that are former or current accomplished log burning offset smoker pit masters. No disrespect, but I do not want to hear from those of you that have never smoked meat before.

I am curious to know if the quality of BBQ put out by Cookshack Amerique is of the same consistency as what you get from a traditional offset. I am concerned that the meat may come out different. Too mushie, etc. due to less air circulation.

Thank you.
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Welcome to the forum.

Many Cookshack owners, including myself, began with stick burners. Nothing wrong with 'em. I started out with a $100 Brinkman, which turned out great BBQ despite the fact that it's not a very air tight smoker and required a LOT of fire tending.

About 10 years ago I came across the CS web site and purchased a Smokette 009 electric smoker. I fell in love with it for the fact that the end product was consistently excellent, and my days and nights of tending coals every 45 minutes were over with. I have since replaced the Smokette with the Americue 045 which provides the means to load up meat, insert a probe, cook to a desired temp and then hold it at 140o.

I use a FEC100 pellet smoker at my restaurant and it too provides consistent quality with a minimum of muss and fuss.

Read through the various forums and one of the common threads you'll come across is how consistent these CS smokers are.

Question: are you a backyard smoker? Comp cook? Vendor? The answer will help us steer you in the right direction.
Have owned many offset smokers, finally went to an AmeriQue. Quality is as good if not better. You don't have to constantly look after the smoker, pretty much turn it own have a few chunks of wood of your choice, set the temp. probe the meat and forget it. It is simple, very moist and the smoker was originally designed for briskets,
After you get the AmeriQue you will wonder why you waited so long to get away from the offset!!

Chickens, brisket, pork, sausage, turkey will all be as good, most likely better than any offset, and no, I don't any stock in CookShack!!
I haven't used my off set sick burner since my purchase of my Amerique smoker. The meat is not mushy at all. The main diffences are, there is little to no smoke ring (wich adds no flavor), and the bark isn't as crunchy. I can tell you a few tricks to over come both issues.
Now for the good news, the product that you will produce, is VERY consistant. The doneness, flavor, texture, smoke, ect, will be the same every time. Once you do several smokes (take good notes every time), and learn what works best to obtain the end result that you are looking for, then its just a matter of loading the same amount of wood, set the same temp on the thermostat (cooking temp), and set same the probe temp (shut off temp). The majority of the time, I smoke briskets, and as long as I buy quality meat, my finished product is the same every time. The biggest advantages I noticed since switching to an Amerique are, consistant cooker temps(stick burner's temps vary up and down 20,30, or more degrees, and a Cookshack only varies 2 or 3 degrees), and being able to load a brisket in it and not stay up all night loading wood, opening and closing vents ect ect. I enjoy smoking my briskets over night while I am asleep, then pulling it off in the morning, wrapping it and letting it rest in a cooler until noon, and then serving it. Its by far the best money I have ever spent on a smoker. Big Grin
Thanks MaxQue. To answer your question. I am a perfectionist at heart. I am not a competitor, but a backyard BBQr, however I wanted to learn this craft and attended multi-day BBQ classes in Kansas City, MO to learn the whole process with all four meats. The class I attended had both a pellet and off set log burning smoker. The meat from the offset clearly had a better smoke flavor than the pellet burner. I was told by the CS person that since the Amerique uses real chunks of wood you still get the real smoke taste and not the watered down version I experienced from the meat cooked on the pellet burner. I got my recipe for brisket from the famous Johnny Trigg out of TX and have been spoiled ever since. That is where I am coming from. I am only doing this to produce gourmet level BBQ for family and friends in my backyard, but expect to taste competition level BBQ that I produce. Hope that helps.
I wanted to learn this craft and attended multi-day BBQ classes in Kansas City

Rod Grey/JohnnyTrigg's class?

I was told by the CS person that since the Amerique uses real chunks of wood you still get the real smoke taste and not the watered down version I experienced from the meat cooked on the pellet burner

The Amerique will generate a smoke profile more consistent with that of a stick burner vs a pellet cooker. That said, there's ways to boost smoke flavor in the FEC smokers.

Push come to shove, the AQ will produce as much smoke flavor as you wish. The finished product will be consistent every time (barring a gnarly cut of meat) and the ease of the start-to-finish process will leave a grin from ear to ear.

As you read through the various posts in here you're apt to come across a comment similar to this: "The barbecue I cooked in my Cookshack is far and above better than any restaurant barbecue I've ever eaten."
Quality product is a result of quality control. Having graduated from a bullet 'water' smoker to an offset smoker to an Amerique, I can assure you that you will be happy with a Cookshack. How closely could you control temp in your offset? Could you wake up one morning and say, "I'll cook at 235 degrees today instead of 240"? Can you vary the amount of wood used by selecting two ounces instead of three. The barbecue experience begins with burning wood and charcoal and takes considerable art to produce consistently good results; Cookshack refines the process to a science.
I compete amongst a sea of stickburners down here in Texas with my FEC100

As you may know, brisket is king here.

In the last 6 comps, top 5 in 5, with a couple of 1st walks in there.

The walks are very nice but nothin like the full nights sleep ya get. Yeah, I take a lot of ribbin about my pellet cooker, it's funny how it always comes from people with bloodshot eyes Smiler

The days of babysitting a stick burner are over Smiler
Last edited by coach
Yes MaxQue the class was one put on by Rod Grey and Johnny Trigg at the Kansas City Royal location. Pretty cool that we had the whole place to our class of attendees that weekend. MaxQue I noticed that you have 862 posts to this forum. Seems like a lot, so do you work for CookShack in some shape or form to be so responsive and active on this forum?

Coach. Thanks for your input. In my Internet research I see a lot of positive things about the FEC-100 pellet burner smoker, and how that wins competitions. But have you used the residential Amerique that is not a pellet burner? That is what I am looking at for my backyard use.

Thanks for your responses to my questions on this forum?

Sorry Colorado

I didn't zero in on the Amerique part of your post. Trigg is who stuck in my head, hence the competition side of things. I cooked next to Trigg last year and he was so proud that he got Rod Grey to switch to a Jambo. Therefore, I jump on my pellet built soap box a bit too quick. Smiler Obviously both are legends when cooking Q and have forgotten more than I'll ever be able to learn. That said, no matter what CS product you choose, the lessons from the afforementioned coupled with CS should make a fantastic combination.

Welcome to the forum!
Nope, I don't work for Cookshack but I've parted a lot of $$ to them over the years Smiler

As for the forum...a lot of folks such as yourself stop buy looking for product advice; other look for tips and tricks. Both will find answers here supplied by the forum members. Cookshack owners tend to be an enthusiastic bunch. And why not? It's a great product supported by a great service team.

OK now for the REALLY important stuff. Having attended Mr. Triggs class, perhaps you'd like to weigh in on this J.T. Rib discussion, found HERE Big Grin

Maybe I can bring Coach up to speed on my Amerique when he and his bride come a-callin in July Smiler
I'm really sad to say that I missed out on the Triggs at Rodney's class this Spring, but Sheri was more then happy not having to keep pushing him along. I guess from what I was told, he is quite the story teller and can make the class end a little late,oh well.

I for one am very happy to have MaxQue(Chris) around here. It's not often that a forum can get the insight that a top notch chef has, and yes as you observed he is more than willing to help any new or old member out.

The main difference between the sick burner and the AmeriQ will be the finished texture of the bark. The CS produces a very moist environment that leads to a softer bark. You will be able to put all the smoke on it that you will want and it will taste just like that Jambo brisket, that is if you have been able to reproduce the product that we sampled.

By the way, Rodney still has a pair of FEC 100s, that I wasn't able to talk him into parting with,oh well! Must be some reason he has them?

I have the AmeriQue and the FEC100, I like both but since I got the FEC100 I have not used my AmeriQue very much. As the others have said, you can have as much or as little smoke as you want in the CS electrics (you CAN oversmoke with it if you use too much wood). Typically you only need 2-4 oz of your choice of wood(s). As a matter of fact once the cooker is seasoned well, you can "smoke" something like fish with no wood in the wood box and have a delicate smoke flavored product just from the the seasoned smoker. The electric CS have a very moist cooking environment for brisket and PB. Cookshacks are pretty much put your product in and forget for several hours before you start checking doneness. Get a good remote thermometer (Mavrick 732) and check the temps from your easy chair.

I love my AmeriQue but I love my FEC even more!!

If you check out the forum, almost all CS owners become passionate supporters of CS Smokers due to them being a GREAT piece of equipment and having great support. The people on the forum are a FANTASTIC bunch willing to help others and share information and recipes.

BTW, I got a chuckle from your comment:
No disrespect, but I do not want to hear from those of you that have never smoked meat before.

I think this was the wrong place for that one, 'cause ALL of the folks here are "meat" smokers...... Big Grin
Last edited by mike4258
For those who say we appear to be a commercial for Cookshack, yes, we are a commercial for Cookshack. This is word of mouth advertisement. The best advertisement a product can have. We don't work for Cookshack. We realize that their products are more expensive than others. They have the greatest service reputation in the industry. They work. They last forever. I really think that Cookshack's motto should be "Buy the best and cry once."
Coach, MaxQue, Terry, Pags, East Tex,
Thanks to you all for providing me with answers to my questions. I can see that you all are about or probably even more passionate about smoking good BBQ than I am. I truly appreciate your input. I guess I will go for it and purchase an Amerique hope to experience continued good old-fashioned smoked Q but with a lot less energy. I look forward to chatting with you all again for more expert advice. Happy Father's Day.
The only additional comment I'll add is that the electrics tend to have a very moist environment (by design) and some owners/buyers will complain/noitce that.

For me, I just open the door occassionally and dump some humidity. I like more bark on mine and I don't use foil unless I have to.
Well,looks like I take a weekend off and miss a whole thread that all the other fine cooks have covered well.

Without nitpickin' small comments,I'll tag onto a couple.I'm no expert,but like Smokin' I've cooked on traditional CS about a decade and a half and the FE s since before Eddy was makin' official FEC s.

No expert on cooks,but have had the good fortune to cook with Rodney some and John and Trish Trigg,as well as beside them -while competing against them.

There could be other reasons for different cookers.

Rod needs the seven GC s a year, as automatic qualifier for the Jack, and travels end to end of the nation for Team of the Year points.
Hooking the Jambo ,which is a real old one,onto his pickup and making 2,000 mile roundtrips ,costs a lot less and is a lot faster each week than a full cook/sleep trailer with multiple cookers.

Since we started talking about "big meats",I'd take my electric CS to a comp in a heartbeat-even tho I get plenty of sleep with the FEC.
Plus, it would serve as a great holding unit for the big meats,instead of hauling cambros.

They won't allow them at most contests-yet.

You'l love the AQ,just like most stickburners when they get away from them.

In case I forgot,yes I have smoked meats for a few decades. Big Grin
And from the other side of the soap box....I have been cooking for 14 years on my hand-built trailer smoker (not an offset, cuz the offset design seems incorrect to me) with incredible results. Yup, I have to feed it every hour or so and that part is less than fantastic.

Bought an FEC-100 pellet burner about 8 months ago and still haven't produced as good a product as the stick burner. Everyone speaks of consistency and ease of use...I agree 100% with that! However, my results have been consistently disappointing. Have read thousands of threads and talked with Fast Eddy himself several times with still disappointing results. Finally had to pull my ole trailer out of the weeds and fire her up for some good Que.

Recommended an SM160 for a good friend with a diner. Am looking forward to playing with her rig to try a different CS with possibly better results. Am a little concerned about the moister cooking though.

I think CS has a fantastic product and the best customer service in the industry. I am currently displeased with my FEC-100 purchase but am determined to make it work to my liking. I think the electric version would be better for me since I like the heavier smoke. But I also love the thick, crisp bark I get from the log burner. If only I could have my 'Que and eat it, too!

As for everyone else...let's up some of those tips so I can retire the log burner and not have a $3000 stainless steel planter on my patio.
It will come down to your taste buds. I've seen many log burners love their FE's and some not like them.

If it's because of the smoke flavor, that's ok. It's so subjective you have to find a smoke profile that fits your tastebuds.

I will say that many/most stick burners, so don't take this wrong, tend to oversmoke their food. I've worked with a number of people and when I see how they run their offsets, they're oversmoking their food (Lots and Lots of white smoke)

That doesn't make it bad, it makes it the flavor profile they like.

If you're wanting/liking a HEAVY smoked product, the FE might not be the one.

But the electrics can easily oversmoke the food. Couple of extra chunks of wood will get you to that creosote taste quick enough.

It's just hard in a forum to know YOUR taste profile, even when you say stick burner.

You do need to find one that will give you what you want.
Last edited by Former Member
This is the same dilemma I had been having for years. I have my own stick burner I had built from an old fuel oil drum. It is double walled and insulated with foundry insulation It also will run on charcoal or propane, comes in handy if I need to kick up the heat. My wife calls it the girlfriend because I spent so much time building and tweaking it. I learned to bbq on it mostly from lurking on this site over the past ten years (thanks guys), and have produced some pretty tasty bbq. I just cook for family and friends. However as you know you must be willing to put in a lot of effort and lose a lot of sleep, I always thought it was worth it. After a while it seems like you are the hired hand slaving over the smoker and missing the festivities, night before, day of, day after clean up.
That is why I finally pulled the trigger and purchased the amerique. This smoker does what others say, it is ease in action. Put your brisket in the night before, maybe add a little wood before bed, and forget about it till morning. I takes all the pressure off because it allows the smoking to be done ahead of time, you won’t be getting the when is it going to be done questions.
The flavor is not quite as pronounced as the stick burner but I think I notice that more than others. I am not quite sure why that is so because the smoker always appears to have more smoke than the stick burner. Clean up is a breeze remove your foil and wipe it down, ten minutes tops. You will also be willing to bbq more often and for smaller cooks. Still like to use the stick burner for large batches of ribs.
What is everyone's experience with cooking different kind of meats on one Amerique cooker? I know on a regular stick burner it is not a problem because you don't have meat stacked on top of each other via multiple shelves, but these cookshack electrics stack meat that way. My concern is that the drippings of a brisket on to ribs with a different rub ruin it and vice versa. How is that problem handled in the Amerique? If that is a problem then I would think it would be wiser to purchase a couple small units instead of the large Amerique unit. I am curious to know your alls thoughts on this. Thank you.
Most folks recommend strongly not to cook chicken over other meats,just to be safe.

No real concern over others for safety.

Some would not cook ribs under big meats,because the drippings would make them less attractive.

Not sure that there would be much concern over rubs ruining anything,but timing could handle any concerns about that.
You might be on to something with the 2 unit idea, I think I saw that on a different thread. The new smokette elite has the meat probe and electronics of an amerique. Are you going to keep you stick burner? Might want to get a smokette for most cooks and use the stick burner for big ones. You can always buy another smokette if you find you need one. Thinkin maybe thats what I should of done. Might have saved a few bucks.

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