Cookshacks are the gold standard for electric smokers. The Smokette Elite has a 750 watt 7 amp heating element lets you cook up to 300°F. Set the time and temp for cooking with its digital timer/thermostat and use the digital probe to determine when the meat is done. Impressively solid, it is stainless steel and very well insulated so it does not get very hot on the outside. Outside dimensions are 20.5″ wide x 19.5″ deep x 31.75″ high and it weighs 87 pounds. It comes with only two 14″ x 18″ nickel-plated cooking shelves and they say it has a 20-25 pound capacity. With rib racks they claim you can fit 9 baby backs and six St. Louis cut slabs in. Wheels make it easy to move. The optional storage cart/stand (above right) is a good idea. You can also buy a cover, more racks, a seafood rack, jerkey rods, and a baffle that helps if you want to cold smoke. Comes with 5 pounds BBQ smoking wood, a small cookbook and operator’s manual.
One minor caveat. Just one niggling complaint: The chimney is a hole with a collar right in the middle of the top, making it hard to use as a work surface. It also allows rain and snow in. But the biggest problem with its location is that, under hard to duplicate conditions, occasionally, rarely, gray goopy condensation can drip on your meat. The Cookshack people know about it, and they say it can be avoided by drying the surface of the meat before cooking, drying the interior walls, and keeping the chimney hole clean. Some users rig a simple aluminum catch pan under the chimney that clips into the hole. Still, we’re baffled as to why they have not moved the chimney closer to the rear or on the side. Grrrrrr.
Cookshack is a second generation family owned business started in the early 1960’s by Gene and Judy Ellis of Ponca City, OK. Ellis was an inventor and entrepreneur who loved barbecue. They began selling sauces and spice blends then branched out into hardware. Cookshack now manufactures a wide variety of pellet and electric smokers for restaurants, professional competitors, and back-yard barbecue enthusiasts. In 2004 Cookshack began a relationship with Fast Eddy Maurin, winner of numerous Grand Championships on the competitive BBQ circuit. Together they produced Fast Eddy’s innovative pellet smoker designs which were greeted with enthusiasm and have become some of Cookshack’s most popular smokers.
All their well-built machines are made in the US and come with 2-year limited warranties. The company is universally respected for customer care and their online open forum is extremely informative and helpful. Owners absolutely positively love their Cookshacks.
Published On: 3/29/2013 Last Modified: 3/3/2021
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The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.
Winner of the National BBQ Association’s product of the year award. This 8.5″ x 11″ magnet contains more that 80 benchmark temperatures for meats (both USDA recommended temps as well as the temps chefs recommend), fats and oils, sugars, sous vide, eggs, collagens, wood combustion, breads, and more. Although it is not certified as all-weather, we have tested it outdoors in Chicago weather and it has not delaminated in three years, but there is minor fading.
The Good-One Open Range is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.
Napoleon’s 22″ Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the 22″ Pro Cart a viable alternative.
This is the first propane smoker with a thermostat, making this baby foolproof. Set ThermoTemp’s dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin’.
Green Mountain’s portable Trek Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it’s also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Trek from your smart phone or laptop.
The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, grilled cheese, and so much more. And why deep fry indoors when you can avoid the smell and mess by doing it outside!