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Pellet Smokers

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I'm researching pellet smokers and wondered if anyone has some guidance they could share. Based on in silico analysis (lol), it looks like Mak's "The General" and RecTec's "The Bull" may be good options, but I'm open to alternatives. Great temperature control and the ability to make changes via a cell phone app are appealing features, as is stainless 302 construction. I know that pellets produce a less intense smoky flavor, but what's the consensus? Yeah or nea? I'd also like to be able to smoke fish without just baking them, but it looks like the lowest operating temperature is in the 200F range. Great for meat, but less so for fish. Offset smoker box? 

 

Who has what and how do you feel about it? What do you smoke (that's a loaded question, but keep it clean lol)? Thanks!

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I have the traeger timberline 1300 and it's range is 165 to 500. I u see mine for all my grilling, smoking, and some baking all year round. It is easily programmable and wifi controlled. You can control it from work if you wanted. I often times load it before bed or right when I get up depending on what I'm cooking and when I get off the boat I have a beautiful piece of meat rested and ready to serve hungry customers. As far as the smoke flavor goes it doesnt produce an intense smoke flavor, but it's perfect for me. It's pricey though for sure!

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The 1300 is huge and unless you cook for big groups the 850 will heat up faster and use far less pellets. I did 40 lbs of chicken for a party this summer and never flipped a single piece or opened the grill till it was done. I've served around 100 different people and everyone is interested in checking it out after tasting the food!

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Green Mountain Grills is having a Black Friday sale to December 1st.  Looking at the Daniel Boone myself, $399 non wifi or 499 with wifi.    Wasn't really looking until I saw the sale, just got to figure out if I have the spare change with shipping.

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48 minutes ago, Gator said:

I'm researching pellet smokers and wondered if anyone has some guidance they could share. Based on in silico analysis (lol), it looks like Mak's "The General" and RecTec's "The Bull" may be good options, but I'm open to alternatives. Great temperature control and the ability to make changes via a cell phone app are appealing features, as is stainless 302 construction. I know that pellets produce a less intense smoky flavor, but what's the consensus? Yeah or nea? I'd also like to be able to smoke fish without just baking them, but it looks like the lowest operating temperature is in the 200F range. Great for meat, but less so for fish. Offset smoker box? 

 

Who has what and how do you feel about it? What do you smoke (that's a loaded question, but keep it clean lol)? Thanks!

One way to get more smoke flavor that I know a lot of people do is they get these smoking tubes they fill with pellets and run them with the grill.  Great forum for smoking is BBQ Brethern.

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1 hour ago, justtracytrolling said:

I have the traeger timberline 1300 and it's range is 165 to 500. I u see mine for all my grilling, smoking, and some baking all year round. It is easily programmable and wifi controlled. You can control it from work if you wanted. I often times load it before bed or right when I get up depending on what I'm cooking and when I get off the boat I have a beautiful piece of meat rested and ready to serve hungry customers. As far as the smoke flavor goes it doesnt produce an intense smoke flavor, but it's perfect for me. It's pricey though for sure!

Sent from my E6810 using Lake Ontario United mobile app
 

I have used Bradley smokers for 20 years and love them.  I do a lot of jerky and a Bradley can "hot smoke" at temperatures as low as 120 degrees.  In my opinion 165 is way to high for making jerky.

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Never tried it that cool. Maybe I am misunderstanding you but, I was taught that meat had to be brought to safe eating temp before drying. Been doing it that way for over 30 years. It isn't recommended to leave meat above refrigerator temp and below 165. This was according to the butcher who taught me...just looked it up and the USDA as well as the traeger book agree with the butcher I worked for...160 is absolute minimum temp at least until the meat is cooked.

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lot of people use dehydrators to do jerky and from what i understand they have no heat.  

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33 minutes ago, whaler1 said:

I have used Bradley smokers for 20 years and love them.  I do a lot of jerky and a Bradley can "hot smoke" at temperatures as low as 120 degrees.  In my opinion 165 is way to high for making jerky.

 

X2    Can't beat a Bradley. I just run the smoker alone most of the time to do salmon. It stays at about 130 degrees, and the meat comes out fantastic.

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1 minute ago, whaler1 said:

lot of people use dehydrators to do jerky and from what i understand they have no heat.  

My dehydrator's lowest temp is 165, and I can crank it up from there, but the meat dries and tastes better at 165. I've also done jerky in my oven. It has a convection feature, and that also is set to 165.

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Dehydrators do have heat and the ones that don't are not for meat or fish. Just Google safe handling of meat and fish. If you cure the meat first that's different, but for raw meat above refrigeration and below 160 is the no go zone.

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Yikes lol Im surprised I havent killed anyone yet!  I did a little online research that certainly contradicts what Ive been doing for over 20 years.  I make a lot of jerky.  Always thought the drying and smoking is what cured the meat.  I guess there is no reason I cant bring the temp up to 160 and then back it off back to 120-130 for the remainder of the process.

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Hey Billy, if you're curing the meat first, which I suspect that you are, then you don't need to worry as much. Just like when you make lox, the cure inhibits bacterial growth. If you just sliced raw meat and left it to dehydrate, then...

 

I'll check out the Traeger 850. I don't cold-smoke salmon, and I don't know what my trusty Luhr Jensen Big Chief gets up to, but I bet it's above 165.

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I just got a Bradley smoker, this is a nice programmable unit to smoke and cook, love the ribs and chicken..

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I picked up a Traeger earlier this year. Does a pretty good job, somewhere between a grill and a smoker.

If I had to do it again, would go with the Pit Boss. Same machine, half the price.


Rusty

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I just started out with this smoker stuff. Grabbed a 20 year old little chief off a buddy. I like my steelhead jerky. Smoker never gets above 120 deg and does a nice job.
 
DSCF4494.thumb.JPG.6701d8cc5e5927d35b0a34e69b28170c.JPG

That looks really good 🤤


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On 11/26/2018 at 3:05 PM, Gator said:

Hey Billy, if you're curing the meat first, which I suspect that you are, then you don't need to worry as much. Just like when you make lox, the cure inhibits bacterial growth. If you just sliced raw meat and left it to dehydrate, then...

 

I'll check out the Traeger 850. I don't cold-smoke salmon, and I don't know what my trusty Luhr Jensen Big Chief gets up to, but I bet it's above 165.

This is correct if you're not going to take it to 165 and you are smoking you should use a curing mixture also known as pink salt or TCM. This inhibits the growth of botulism that thrives in anaerobic environments such as a smoker and can be deadly for sure. If you are going to reach 165 within a couple hours that is a moot point as this kills the bacteria that produces toxins. There are a couple other food-borne illnesses that can come about other ways but are relatively minor compared to botulism and once botulinum toxin is created you can't kill it by cooking because it is a toxin produced by a bacteria you can kill the bacteria but the toxin is still there

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9 hours ago, EsoxAC3 said:


That looks really good 🤤


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Thank you.

It took a few tries to get what I like. I use a dry mix. Dark brown sugar and salt. Depending how long you leave it in the brine after it has gone wet/gooy, seems to make it like jerky. I always let it set up for 24 hours in the fridge after rinsing it off. Glaze with a splash of rum and Canadian maple syrup. I use apple chips. 2 pans. Let it go in the smoker for 4-5 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat.

 

White fish season is soon here. Cant wait for some smoked whities.

Edited by Loony Tooner

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