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Thread: Which smoker do you prefer to smoke Salmon/Steelhead/Halibut ect?

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    Default Which smoker do you prefer to smoke Salmon/Steelhead/Halibut ect?

    So I am looking at getting a smoker for this upcoming fishing season to smoke Salmon and Halibut. I was favoring getting the Bradley Electric smoker, but am reconsidering when I factor in the cost of the wood pucks. Some of my friends have said that they smoke their meat using a standard Luhr Jensen Big Chief electric smoker and that it works well for them. Any thoughts from those that have used either smoker? Any preferences or recomendations?

    Thanks.

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    Member Grizzly Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crowdcor225 View Post
    So I am looking at getting a smoker for this upcoming fishing season to smoke Salmon and Halibut. I was favoring getting the Bradley Electric smoker, but am reconsidering when I factor in the cost of the wood pucks. Some of my friends have said that they smoke their meat using a standard Luhr Jensen Big Chief electric smoker and that it works well for them. Any thoughts from those that have used either smoker? Any preferences or recomendations?

    Thanks.
    I have the Bradley and I love it. Mine is programmable, so I don't have to babysit it. For me, that's worth the extra cost.
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    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    The little chief and big chief work well for the money. Only problem is the heater coil has limited power, and I like to smoke sausage, game etc. in the winter too along with salmon from the freezer...so I bought a propane smoker. It a Smokey Mountain Series by Great Outdoor, and you can smoke when it is below zero just fine. It also has a big bowl for water, so the smoke stays cooler. I got it at COSTCO so who knows where to get them. Very strong, easy to clean stainless racks, and a temp gauge on the outside to help with regulation...no autopilot like the bradley described above though! If you get one of the chiefs, save the cardboard box and put it over the smoker and that helps a lot in the winter!!

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Building your own is really easy too. I bought the racks from Sportsman's and the heating element and thermostat from AK butcher supply on Mt View. Then I used plywood and 2x2's. Mine holds 10 racks and works great.
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    Quote Originally Posted by robbentler View Post
    Building your own is really easy too. I bought the racks from Sportsman's and the heating element and thermostat from AK butcher supply on Mt View. Then I used plywood and 2x2's. Mine holds 10 racks and works great.
    Be careful with the wood ones.. read about my wife's adventure with my wood smoker last fall http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ire?highlight=

    With that said I plan on rebuilding it the same way, only with a remote firebox and built in fan.
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    Good story! We all have home made ones too - motto is it isn't summer till the first smoker fire.
    Mike
    www.coffmancoveak.com
    Prince of Wales Island

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    I got tired of smoking all day, multiple batches just to get enough done, etc.... So I built one.
    Rob is right, they are easy to make and cheap.
    We wanted a smoker that would do large batches of whatever, bacon, brisket, salmon, moose, sausage and so on.
    Keep that in mind when you are shopping for a smoker. The big chief's are fine if your messing around, but if you get serious I think you'll end up building your own smoker.
    BK

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    I've used the Big Chief for years and have done very well with it. Heating element is the original one for me. I do something a little different, I have 2 large blankets I drape over the smoker while I am smoking to keep the heat and smoke in better. A few weeks ago, I did buy a new smoker they had at lowes for sale for I think $104 bucks. Its a double Door Master Forge Propane Smoker. It came with 4 racks, but I am ordering 2 more for doing fish. I will play with it a little until I get it right with just a chunk of fish at a time, and will continue to use my Big Chief. Once I get it dialed in I will go full force with it. I mainly bought it to use while we were out fishing so I could do it at night at the RV without needing electric power to smoke. I've been looking for a long time for an old all metal fridge but have had no luck yet.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I started with a home made cold smoker





    Yellow jackets set up shop in it one year so I ended up tossing it before I had any problems with the whole thing going up in smoke. It took me awhile to finally come up with a consistant product but it was pretty good.

    A co-worker sold me her big chief for $25 when she moved out of state, and it works fairly well. I find cutting the fillets into chunks and putting the cardboard box it comes in over the unit to help retain heat really helps. Though I agree a bigger unit would be nice. I use a combination of hickory chips and alder sticks. Heck, you can get a lifetime supply of alder by just wandering in the woods, so no need to be buying the commercial stuff.
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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I have a big chief and it works well for me.
    I used to put the box over it but now use the reflective bubble wrap blanket they make for them.
    I do salmon and halibut and they both come out great.
    I will probably build my own when I finally buy my own house.
    As long as I am renting the big chief works fine.
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    Member Roger's Avatar
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    I used charcoal all my life till this winter I bought an electric one (looks like a little refrigerator) I'll never go back to charcoal!! No baby sitting set tem and time and walk away never have to open the door to put chips in Has a built in temp probe. I smoked 15 lbs of pork a few weeks ago at 20* took about 4 hours
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    Member Boreal's Avatar
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    I've used both the Big Chief and the Bradley. I liked the Chief, until I used the Bradley. I can control the temp much better on the Bradley, but only after a few runs to get used to the settings. I've got the manual with a slider rather than the programmable model. But now once I get it dialed in, it's there for as long as I want it. The pucks cost more, but they are much easier to use. If you don't mind refilling the smoker tray every 20 minutes for as long as you are going to smoke, then the chief will work well. If you want to watch the game while you're smoking, get the Bradley.

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    being off the grid i use a propane smoker, not sure of the brand, but it is pretty common.
    paying attention to ambeint temp is important, but i have no complaints.
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    I have the large stainless steel Cabela's propane smoker. It will do any and all smoking very well with one exception and that is cold smoking. It will use chips or you can just cut alder or what ever wood you you like to smoke with, I cut alder for next to my house works great. best of luck!

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    Default Smoke Vault

    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    I have the large stainless steel Cabela's propane smoker. It will do any and all smoking very well with one exception and that is cold smoking.
    Big and lil' chief smokers are good. Use them. Learn.

    I've used many types, built many smokers from scratch, and even used one that was made in the 1800's that came with a property that I bought. Today, I love my Smoke Vault.

    MGH, you can still use it for that. Buy some flexi hose made for a dryer vent and route the smoke output from your present smoker into a lil' or big chief. Also it helps to buy a 1.99 fan from Wally World that fits inside the hose to drive the smoke faster. You can cold smoke year round here; just vary the length of the flexihose by compressing or stretching it out farther, to suit your chief's intended temp - remote temp sensors are your friend. My present Chief was bought at a garage sale (it had a burnt out heater, which I don't use) for 2 bucks.

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    I should have said, with out doing a lot of other things to it. It will do all smoking but cold smoking, I have a home built smoker for cold smoke that will do around thirty reds at a time.
    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    Big and lil' chief smokers are good. Use them. Learn.

    I've used many types, built many smokers from scratch, and even used one that was made in the 1800's that came with a property that I bought. Today, I love my Smoke Vault.

    MGH, you can still use it for that. Buy some flexi hose made for a dryer vent and route the smoke output from your present smoker into a lil' or big chief. Also it helps to buy a 1.99 fan from Wally World that fits inside the hose to drive the smoke faster. You can cold smoke year round here; just vary the length of the flexihose by compressing or stretching it out farther, to suit your chief's intended temp - remote temp sensors are your friend. My present Chief was bought at a garage sale (it had a burnt out heater, which I don't use) for 2 bucks.

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    I had a Big Chief for many years but, after it finally rusted out, I replaced it with a Bradley. In my opinion, the Bradley provides much more consistent results. Yes, the wood pucks are pricey but I make my own. Just find some alder that is the right circumference and use a power saw to cut them to the proper width. This works great! You can also cold smoke by not turning on the heating element and, if necessary, open the door slightly keeping the temperature under 90 degrees F.

    Dick M

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    I really like my Bradley, I installed a PID to control the temp to within a few degrees. Set it and leave it, you can also control how much smoke to use, each puck is used for 20 minutes and then dumped. One of my receipes call for 2 hours of smoke and 2 more hours of cooking. I set the temp, add 6 pucks and the timer for 4 hours. If your just about the food (like I am), then go with the bradley, if you are into the whole smoking process and want a more hands on approach, then the chief will do fine.

    Rick

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    I use a big chief and it works. Sucks to baby sit though.

    If got a new one I would probably only use it for smoking meats and not taint it with salmon. It seems like everything I put in the big chief comes out tasting like salmon, i'm not saying it's bad, it just has a salmon tent to it.

    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one getting excited about summer and fishing season.

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    Default taint be gone

    That's because the Chiefs can only get warm, and nothing beyond that.

    My larger propane fired smoker (with a nice 6-8 inch burner and cast iron wood tray) can get up to 400 or better and hold that temp all day long if you want; love my current "Smoke Vault". So no leftover taint; it glazes and sanitizes the entire thing quite well, and if you're doing large pieces of meat (part of a pig, or a large turkey) and you're running late, you can step up the pace and get it done before the guests gnaw off your arm.

    No Chief can do a pork shoulder or big turkey, nor can it sanitize itself and its racks.

    They're great (and cheap) for smaller runs, and to learn with though.

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