The Old Smokey Electric Smoker is a drum shaped smoker that's been around since 1953. It is made from aluminized steel and comes with two cooking racks and a water pan. It has a 1250 watt heating element with an inexpensive thermostatic controller. The controller doesn't have specific numeric temperature settings like a digital controller, but can be dialed from Off to High and any point in between. The simple thermostat monitors the cook box and regulates power to the heating element. For example, when set to "MED", the controller is designed to maintain a temperature range associated with that dial position. Digital thermostatic controllers on some modern cheapo electrics are prone to failure even within a short period of time. Used in conjunction with a digital thermometer, Old Smokey's simple system can be dialed to a specific temperature and should provide years of dependable service.
They also make three similar charcoal grills. Below is an old advertisment for a charcoal model.
Like many electric smokers, it is very well insulated to compensate for the lack of heating capacity. A water pan is included, but the manufacturer doesn't recommend filling it. It is intended to be used as a drip pan to capture excess moisture expelled from meats in this air tight cooker. It's great for creating steamed meats, not so good for bark. As Meathead observes, "Electrics excel at fish and things like smoked peppers, sausage, nuts, and cheese. The bad news is that I think the flavor is inferior to charcoal or gas for most other BBQ recipes such as pork ribs, pulled pork, turkey, and beef brisket." Read our article on electric smokers to learn more.
This is an old fashioned, very basic design. The aluminized metal construction should be more durable than the ubiquitous El Cheapo Bullets of today and you can't beat the price. We haven't tested Old Smokey yet. There's something here to love, but is it just nostalgia? People who own them like them a lot.
Looked Closely At It
We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners, and other reliable sources.
Old Smokey Products Company has been at the same location in Houston, TX under different names and owners, manufacturing different metal products from stove pipes to lard cans to smokers since 1923. Today they make charcoal and electric smokers and related products and accessories.