• I can’t afford the pk 100. I want to be able to smoke summer sausage along with everything else. So on a $500 budget what should I look at? Anyone?

  • Team Orange Regular Contributors

    crismccarthy I think you will have 20 opinions but I have both the Masterbuilt 30 and 40 inch and they work fantastic! I have zero complaints.

  • Team Blue Big Green Egg Traeger Regular Contributors

    crismccarthy Pit Boss makes several series of vertical smokers that are very affordable. I have the 7 series which is the largest of them and you can get it for around 600. They make a 3 series and a Copperhead series which is a bit bigger than the 3 series. I am very pleased with mine. 20190328_173713.jpg

  • Regular Contributors

    I agree on the Masterbuilt 30 or 40. I if you can afford it I would go with the 40 with the larger capacity . I personally use a A-MAZE-N 12 " smoker tube in the smoker instead of chip dropper it comes with as one tube of pellets gives off 4 hours of uninterrupted smoke.


  • Team Blue

    I’ve been a fan of the Masterbuilt models for some time even though I tend to break them. They are still good value for the money. I’ve had a few thermostat issues with my current model I picked up in December. I received the replacement parts yesterday and still ended up with some temp issues. I’m sure I’ll get it figured out. Until then I will just rely on using a thermometer not hooked to the smoker itself and manually adjust temp as needed. I just got off the phone with Masterbuilt and they are sending me a new cabinet. Not ideal but they were friendly and more than willing to help. It makes me wish I would have used their warranty on previous models. lol

  • Team Blue Big Green Egg Traeger Regular Contributors

    crismccarthy The pitboss 3 series has 800" of cooking space and a 40lb hopper for pellets. This will allow for around 40-50 hours of cooking on 1 bag of pellets. You will not have to feed the smoker throughout the cook due to the restricted chip/pellet tray in most electric smokers.

  • Team Blue Big Green Egg Traeger Regular Contributors

    crismccarthy I have noticed that most of the users throughout this site with electric smokers have worked around the issue of limited chip/pellet tray sizes with another smoking device.

  • Team Blue

    erich52 I added the cold smoking attachment to my Masterbuilt when I first got the smoker and have yet to bother with the chip tray outside of the initial startup procedure.

  • Team Orange Power User Veteran

    I currently use the Masterbuilt Pro Temp XL. This is LP. Under $300. Thermostatically controlled. Just recently quit using the chip tray. A-MAZE-N pellet tube sent that tray to dust shelf. Would love that PK100 but, out my budget.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    crismccarthy I agree mostly with what has been said here but first I want to say you should look at the Weston Vertical I have one in here, I don’t use it much because it I have access to the PK-100 but it seems to work okay. It didn’t really want to hold temps at lower ranges but that seems to be pretty standard for that price range.

    Have you considered getting a pellet combo grill? You wouldnt be able to hang but most of those will start at 150° and it will give you some versatility. Just a thought!

  • Yearling

    In addition to the a-maz-n tubes, you could also look into the Big Kahuna cold smoker attachment. https://smokedaddyinc.com/product-category/cold-smokers/ This will allow you to use normal wood chips/chunks opposed to buying pellets (which can add up $$ over time). I own an older Traeger, but like yourself wanted to be able to hang sausage, snack sticks, hams, etc… I tried using different chambers and piping in the smoke from my pellet grill with a 4" dryer hose (which I dubbed “The Hillbilly Cold Smoker”), then I started adding single electric burners (the $10 Walmart models) to introduce low temp heat. I ended up finding an aluminum enclosed pan rack on Craigslist and building something I could work with.

    While I ended up adding a separate pellet hopper assembly to this, I would say that I use the cold smoker + the electric burner combination 99% of the time. With the 2 burners, I can get this up to about 165 degrees. If you were to buy the Weston Vertical that Jonathon mentioned and added a cold smoke generator (then maybe an electric burner for the 100 - 120-degree range), then you should be able to do anything that you need. IMO
    20161022_153008.jpg 20161022_154701.jpg 20161022_142158.jpg 20161023_104615.jpg 20161023_104621.jpg 20161023_104628.jpg 20181214_160137.jpg

  • Team Orange Power User Veteran

    Nice set up.

  • rjsenk
    Nice looks similar to mine
    HILLBILLY ingenuity i converted mine to 220 vac and used a dryer heating element 5400 watt so far i had it up to 300 degrees and am using the fireboard to control it from my cellphone 20190309_174352.jpg 20190309_092603.jpg20190324_103110.jpg

  • Yearling

    That is a pretty serious setup. I have been looking for a better electric heating element than the single burners. The pellet hopper can go from 160 - 500 degrees in 5 degree increments, but the lower temps (160 - 175) don’t really burn right after an hour or two. It seems that the pellets in the firebox don’t burn correctly; it might be a vent issue. I just haven’t had the time to sort it all out. So far, it does what I need it to do. lol

  • crismccarthy

    Hi Cris,
    I’ve been smoking and making jerky for around 50 years now. Never owned a store bought smoker before last year.
    But I decided to get a Masterbuilt, and I chose a 30.
    I was highly disappointed in the first time I used it. I smoke a lot of Salmon, but also smoke most anything else, make smoked trout, smoked almonds, halibut… on and on.
    Much of my use is cold or warm smoking. My brand new MES 30 wouldn’t make smoke below 200° F. I want to smoke things, not bake them and add smoke. So right out of the gate, I modified the holy pazzolly out of it to make it work right. I wanted a smoker, what I got was an outdoor oven.
    The problem is it would not heat the chips enough to make them smolder.
    So I did my own version of a Mailbox Mod, stripped out the sheet metal chip feeder, and separated the heater for the box, and the smoke generation. AHHHH, got a good smoker after that.
    I’ve since got and built an Inkbird PID controller to work the sub-100’s temperature control, put a bypass switch across the control relay so I can use two methods to do my smoking. Basically, ambient (cold smoking) up to MES self described 275°, which in my case is more like 310-320° F. Because my MES 30 runs hotter than most.
    I found my MES 30 was marginal when I began smoking my own home cured bacon. I wanted more capacity. When I began making meat snack sticks, I found I wanted more height.
    I got lucky when a guy gave me his non-working MES 40. I bypassed the temperature control and plugged it into my Inkbird PID, and wa-la, a resurrected MES 40.
    It serves to smoke my cooler smoked items just fine. (Using my Mailbox Mod)

    At your price point I can suggest two good alternatives to the others, A Smokin It #1, or a Smokin it #2.

    I set out to get rid of my Bradley Puck feeder, because of their golden puck prices. Pellets are much cheaper, widely available and competitively priced around me, and now… I dissolve them, dry the dust out, and smoke with dust exclusively. I use an Amazen tray and get a full 6 hours from a load of dust, or 11 hours from a full tray of pellets.
    But I like the TASTE I get with the dust best.
    So my experience and needs are quite different from the box stock MES smokers.

  • rjsenk
    I have a separate 110 vac element for my smoke that works independently from the main heating element the one in the back right corner and has a pan that drops in over the hole 20190406_141601.jpg 20190406_141719.jpg

  • Yearling

    I have a Bradley six rack, don’t remember exactly what I paid 3 years ago but it was less than 500. works pretty well if you don’t mind moving into the oven after smoking just to speed things up. It seems like it takes forever to get from 140 to finish at 165. A biscuit every 20 minutes does a good job giving the meat smoke flavor.

  • Regular Contributors

    rhjbarney My smoker is similar, I converted it to Natural Gas as our Electric is very expensive and gas is cheap.

  • Team Orange

    Had a mes 135 electric for years … Its ok
    Just got a Pitt Boss 3 series electric. Wow what a difference. 5 year warranty as well.
    If cost is not an issue a new pit boss pellet smoker is what i would look at. Again a 5 year warranty.
    Keep in mind an electric is far less cost to operate but a pellet smoker WILL give you a better tasting product

  • Team Blue

    DeerSlayer Pit Boss is high on my list for pellet grills

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