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  • Best Smoker Under 500$

    Hello! Need help of you guys in choosing best electric smoker under budget of 500$. Can I get good one in this budget?

  • #2
    What are you planning on smoking, how much are you planning on smoking, what quantities are you planning on smoking, do you want cold or hot smoke?

    I am happy with my Bradley smoker, I think it was around $300. It holds 4 racks, 8 when I double up for making jerky or smoked salmon. I can smoke a small turkey, or 3 decent sized chickens, if you cut baby-back ribs down you can get 4 racks in. It doesn't get as hot as I'd sometimes like, it seems like 250 degrees is where it tops out but low and slow is what a smoker is for. The heat source is on the bottom back so anything close to it gets too much heat so I have to rotate racks depending on what I'm smoking.
    I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned. Physicist ― Richard Feynman

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    • #3
      Be advised that many digital electric smokers seem to not be able to smoke at low temps and still be able to keep the chips lit and smoking. I ran into this after I bought my Char Broil smoker. The main reason I bought this smoker was to keep from trying to babysit smoker chips all day while smoking fish. Unfortunately, so far, this seems to be the case for this smoker as well. For the most part most seasoned fish smokers prefer a pretty low temp, or almost a cold smoke for fish. My smoker with it's nicely insulated box just gets too hot and being thermostatically regulated, just won't cool down enough to allow the burner to keep heating the chips enough to stay lit. From what I've read, many people say the same thing of other smokers like this. I have learned to deal with it, make it work, but it's still kind of a pain for fish. Now for meats these types of smokers really can't be beat. I've smoked all sorts of meat even when it's been down below freezing outside. That's when this smoker really shines. So just ask yourself if smoking meats or fish will be your main preference. Now I'm not saying that all insulated digital electric smokers won't let you smoke at nice low temps, but my Char Broil was on sale for less than $300, seemed nice, so I grabbed it up before doing much research. One thing you might think about is, for what little they cost, you might go with a Little, or Big Chief smoker for fish....I mean thousands of Alaskans can't be wrong. And then just go ahead and buy a dedicated smoker just for meats. Most the decent ones, Master Craft, Bradley, Char Broil will do you fine, and they aren't that spendy. You also need to think about weather or not you want to be confined to pellet only type smokers as well. From what I've seen those pellets seem pretty spendy too, but maybe they're worth it. Maybe those with pellet smokers will chime in.
      Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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      • #4
        Really depends on what you plan to smoke. I use a Big Chief for smoking fish and a Bradley with a cold smoke adapter for smoking cheese and bacon, best cheese you've ever tasted. I also have a Traeger wood pellet fired grill I use for most everything else. Brisket on the Traeger is the best I've eaten, also do steaks, chicken, game hens and game meat on it. I haven't found a one size fits all in smokers. JMHO
        Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

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        • #5
          The OP is a bot. Look for it to come back eventually with a link to a click-bait site such as "10 best smokers under $500"...
          ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
          I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
          The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It

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          • #6
            I bought a cheap Cajun Injector digital smoker from sportsmans warehouse, has a glass door. I can set it at 155 F and it is able to burn all my chips in the bottom pan. I usally do 2 pans and smoke my brined fish for about 6 hours. Its about to die on me, the electronic control buttons for temp dont work hardly, have to bang on the display with my fist at times. Good ole China junk.

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            • #7
              I also have the Bradley. I like that I can set it and forget it for as long as needed. Agreed it doesn’t heat real evenly but rotating the racks seems to address that. Cons: box is somewhat small depending on what you’re smoking. Also, you are committed to buying their pucks.
              How / what type of cheese are you smoking? Sounds tempting.

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              • #8
                I had trouble smoking fish at a low temp and keeping the chips, pellets, etc lit and smoking. I could get the temp low enough but getting smoke at that temp was the problem. I added an after market smoke generator to the outside of an inexpensive smoker. Works great for fish and I can pretty much cold smoke like I use to do in the big smoke house at fish camp on the Yukon. Click image for larger version

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                • #9
                  I had a small one that used charcoal for years. Then I was at the school district surplus sale and saw an industrial trach compactor. Humm.... stainless, about 2'x 2' x 5 feet high. So I gutted it, moved some parts around and I have a smoker that is about 3' high. I put adjustable shelfing brackets in it and use some jerky trays that Cabela's used to sell. I run three shelves at a time and have three more for the next load. Still old fashioned, I use charcoal and chips to smoke. She is stored for the winter right now tied up, but you can see the idea. The entire front opens up. Temp gauge on the door. Latches, vents in the rear. It works great. Cost, under $50.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Putzpilot View Post
                    I also have the Bradley. I like that I can set it and forget it for as long as needed. Agreed it doesn’t heat real evenly but rotating the racks seems to address that. Cons: box is somewhat small depending on what you’re smoking. Also, you are committed to buying their pucks.
                    How / what type of cheese are you smoking? Sounds tempting.
                    I smoke Tilllimook cheddar medium and sharp. I cold smoke the cheese for two hours at around 60 degrees using apple pucks. Pull the racks with cheese on them out of the smoker and sit on the kitchen counter for two hours. Put them in the fridge overnight and vacuum pack the next day. I put them in my fridge in my shop and leave them there until needed. Wait for six weeks before opening one. This is very important, sampling too soon it will taste like an ashtray smells. I can do 24, 8oz blocks. The smoked cheese is wonderful, my granddaughter will kill for it! The Bradley cold smoke adapter is the ticket.

                    Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

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                    • #11
                      I picked up my Big Chief for $10 at a garage sale about 20 years ago and I have yet to need anything else. My parents had one of the old top-load models when I was growing up but I prefer the front load. It's easier to load individual trays than the entire rack full of meat, plus I can prop open the front panel as much as needed to do the job at hand (i.e. cold smoke). It also allows me to quickly and easily swap top/bottom trays to allow even smoking.

                      I walk past the fancy-dancy gizmo-loaded models in the stores and it makes me appreciate the simplicity of my garage sale steal. All those "bells and whistles" are nothing but eye candy. Keep it simple.

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                      • #12
                        Traeger
                        they even have a table top version now !

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