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Newbie to the forum.

I am looking into purchasing a smoker. My finalists include the Cookshack SM009, SM055, Amerique or a Bradley Stainless Steel or Traeger.

First question...what are the advantages of the Cookshacks over the Bradleys or Traegers?

If I go with the Cookshack, do I really need the Amerique or will the SM009 nor SM055 be ok for me. I like the ease of use of the Amerique, but is it worth the extra $$? Have the issues with the Amerique's smokebox been resolved?

Will a SM009/SM055 with a nice remote thermometer be ok?

I am new to smoking, enjoy cooking, ocasoinally entertain groups of 6 to 10 people.

Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!
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Sounds to me like the 008/009 will be more than enough. I've cooked for more people than that in my 008.

Consider that many/most meats taste better the next day.. you could cook something one day.. zip lock the meat and do something else the next day.

Heck, I've started early in the day and done a bunch of ribs and had them out by 2PM and started a load of yard birds and they were finished by dinner time.

Remote thermometers are great. I bought both the transmitting kind as well as the cable probe. I have used the transmitter kind only once or twice.. the cable one is easiest for me.

YMMV... good luck in your choice..
Welcome to the forum, I8ABUG. I hope you enjoy it.

I use my 008 Smokette outside on an uncovered patio year-round, rain, sleet, snow, or shine. I just put a large cookie sheet over the thermostat control, smoke hole, and remote display unit.

I highly recommend the cart/stand and the long cover.
IBABUG -- Welcome to the forum! Wonderful people here willing and able to assist any way they can, despite what smoker you choose.

If you are consistently cooking for 10 people or less the 008 or 009 Smokette will serve you well. Should you choose the Bradley you will have to use their hockey pucks (biscuits) as your wood source which, IMO, one of the major disappointments of the Bradley. With the CS you have the option of cutting your own wood or buying from several reliable sources.

Many, Many advantages to and for the Cookshack, one of the best is this forum! And, if you do a search on "Customer Service," you wil see that CS is second to none! Stuart, Donna, Tony and crew "WANT" to make you a very happy camper! Remember too that you have a full 30 days to try it out. If you don't like it (but you will), return it for a refund.

Now, what more could you ask for? IMO, "Go Cookshack!" And all this from a ST user Wink
Originally posted by I8ABUG:
Thanks for the reply.

Another question...Can these smokers get wet? Can you smoke in the rain. Here in the Seattle area that is a critical issue.

Yes, buy the heavy duty cover if you don't have it under an overhang.

My finalists include the Cookshack SM009, SM055, Amerique or a Bradley Stainless Steel or Traeger.

Well, you're comparing smokers with different capabilities and different designs.

The traeger is more of a grill that can be a smoker. It's basically a grill that works double duty as a smoker. Pellets are great, I use two FE100 pellet cookers in competitions, uses same traeger controller. You'll need to buy the diginal for several $$$ more. The base controller is L/M/H for temp settings. LOTS of people love them.

The Bradley has a fierce following. Just do a search for Bradley here in the forum and read some of the same questions you're asking. They have a loyal following also.

Then you have the AQ or the smaller CS. Big difference in price with the IQ controller in the AQ. Lots of neat features. Smoke box is shipping with the next box.

The design of the AQ and other CS is the same from a "box" perspective. Same steel, same insulation, just different capacities.

Just need to look at your price range, buy more than you think if you're down to two.
I owned an 008 for two years and loved it.... but recently upgraded to an 055. (whatever you get order fast before the prices go up) I don't cook for more than 6 uaually but decided I wanted the extra space, and the stainless. Decided against the AQ because of a) greater size, b) greater price, and c) more to break. And once you have cooked a few years you can do as well with a remote temp, and a timer to shut things off. Example: I cooked 3 slabs of ribs yesterday while taking my guests on a 5 hour boat ride.. 055 was turned off an hour before we got back. I turned it back on for an hour after inserting yesterdays brisket to reheat. Just need to use a little imagination to do what you need to do.
Thanks everyone for all of the great advice! Smiler

I looked at all three Cookshacks today at a local dealer.

The SM009 seems small, but will paobably fill my needs at least for a few years.

Again more questions.....Does the SM009 come with a rib rack or should you hang the ribs? How many slabs of ribs will fit in the SM009?

Thanks again!
I use Weber rib racks in my 08 and get four slabs of St. Louis cut ribs per shelf. Now's a real good time to buy the racks 'cause people will be closing them out at the end of the summer. I bought mine about this time two years ago from and got them for half price. The rib racks work great in the 08.
So after a bit of thought overnight, I am leaning towards the 55. Will probably order it today. With luck I will be smokin by the weekend! Big Grin

I looked around last night for a pork butt. The closest I found was a "shoulder blade roast". I looked at SmokinOkie's meat charts, but I can not tell. Is a shoulder blade roast the same as a butt?
Thanks for all the encouragement guys!

Now the pressure (or smoke) is on! Today I volunteered to host a good friend's 50th B'day Party next Saturday. Am I crazy...ok the answer is yes! Will be at least 20 - 30 people attending.

Should I start up the 55 (if I have it by then), and tell everyone it is my first time smoking (an experiment), or should I hide it in the garage and grille some steaks, burgers, etc.?
I got my 055 on a Friday with some company coming for the weekend. Had an 008 prior so I at least knew how to use the smoker. I fired it up right away with a big pork butt. (If you read all the lit about seasoning, some CS people suggest using a 'cheap peice of meat' right off. So I treated the first butt as an experiment and it came out 'ok' due to the fact that I mistakenly turned off the 055 for two hours at the 185 degree point.) But 'ok' in a CS is still probably better than most folks have ever had.

Then the next day I hung about 3 slabs of baby backs using the rib hooks and they turned out fine. Subsequent cooks have been fantastic.

So take the attitude that your initial cooks may be experimental, but if you keep an eye on what's happening (don't over cook) they will be very good.
Originally posted by I8ABUG:
Should I start up the 55 (if I have it by then), and tell everyone it is my first time smoking (an experiment), or should I hide it in the garage and grille some steaks, burgers, etc.?

Bug, That's a big "IF" on the delivery!

Most folks will tell you not to plan anything on your first smoke, especially a noteable celebration. IMO, season it up, smoke a butt or two, get somewhat comfortable with you cooker and learn how it works before showing off your cooking skills Wink.

If it were me, I would do the grilled burgers and steaks Then again, that's just me.

Good luck on whichever choice you make!
Well we pulled it off! Thanks to all of your help and advice, and some encouragement from friends, I had about 35 people over for a party last Satrday and served them the first Q out of the 55.

I received the 55 from Brown about 2:00 pm on Friday, unpacked it, plugged it in and turned it on for a couple of hours to start the seasoning process. By 4:30pm I had a couple of 6.5# butts in....smoke on! The butts came off the next morning at about 11:00am at 203 degees. The ribs went in at noon (rubbed the night before with a Jamaican Spice Rub), and came off about 5:00 pm.

The ribs were wonderfull...still great tonight as leftovers! The pulled pork was good, but I think I may have overcooked it a bit. I pulled it off at 203, so next time I think I will pull it sooner.

The Q cmbined with fresh griled Alaskan Salmon received compliments all around. Thanks again for the help!
Last edited by i8abug

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