The Smokin Tex Residential BBQ Smoker Model 1400 is essentially a clone of the Cookshack Smokette Original Model SM009. The SmokinTex has a slightly larger capacity, slightly more wattage, four wheels instead of two, five cooking racks instead of three, it comes with rib hooks and a storage cover, and it is a bit cheaper. Why? Cookshacks are made in Oklahoma from heavy duty materials while the Smokin Tex units are made in China from cheaper materials. The Cookshack uses heavier steel, better welds, better thermostat, better insulation, and a better latch.
We've heard both rants and raves about Smokin Tex support and service on internet message boards. So we gave them a test and sent some tech questions to their sales department via email during the Christmas rush. We got prompt responses, so maybe the problems have been solved.
The SmokinTex 1400 is front loading with stainless steel inside and out. Outside dimensions are a compact 17.5" wide x 21" deep x 29" high and it weighs 93 pounds boxed. Interior dimensions are 15" wide x 15" deep x 20" high. All sides are insulated except the bottom. There are five adjustable rack positions and it comes with three standard stainless steel 14.5" x 14.5" racks, a stainless drip pan, some wood chunks, and a cookbook with instructions.
The thermostatically controlled 700 watt 10 amp heating element allows for temperatures from 100°F to 250°F according to the manufacturer. Although this is typical for electric BBQ smokers, we'd like to see it go higher for some foods, like turkey, but 225-250°F is fine for ribs and brisket. You can cold smoke with a $50 optional heat baffle that goes on the lower shelf. It comes with a 30 day unconditional guarantee and two years on the heating element. For water smoking you can put a water pan on the bottom rack.
This is a nice smoker, but the 14.5" shelves are not big enough for most slabs of ribs. You will have to cut them in half or hang them with rib hooks. The good news is that the rib hooks allow you to cook six St. Louis cut slabs at a time. The bad news is that the rub and fat drips off when they are hung. We prefer to lie them down so they drip on each other.
As with the Cookshack Smokette, we do not like the fact that there is a drain hole in the bottom and that the drip pan goes under the unit, where the dogs and wasps can get in it, and where it can drip on the deck when you remove the pan. We're also not keen on the 1" hole in the center of the top that serves as a chimney. Snow or rain could get in, and you can't leave a cutting board or tray on the top. Move it to the back where it's out of the way. Also,we fear the dial on the top might let rain get into the wiring.
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.
Smokin Tex was founded in 1999, by barbecue restaurateur, Jim Smith in Dallas, TX. They manufacture several residential electric smokers, two large commercial models and sell a variety of accessories, BBQ tools and related products.