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looking to upgrade from my little chief electric smoker. I usually do 20 to 30 pounds of fish each smoking and it takes me for ever with the little chief. Any advice out there?? Should I get a propane or continue with an electric smoker? Please give me some pros and cons besides the obvious. I usually do most of my smoking in the fall and summer time. I know the electric smokers have problems keeping the temperature up when the weather is cold I also know that propane smokers don't have the best insulation in them either and are too hot or you cannot control the temperature at a low setting. Please help!! there are some nice deals around on Black Friday.. Thanks in advance!! And I still plan to use my little chief on small jobs.. Also, I am welcoming recipes/brines. PM's welcomed if u don't want the world to know your secrets! Have a great Thanksgiving doing what makes u the most thankful.
 

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The big chief gets hotter. They work fine, and are cheap. Just put a box over it when its cold. I'm in the market for one too. There was a add in the classifieds before I went north for 7 mo. I screwed up, and they got away. It was for 3 smokers. A mini, a lil, and big chief. 3 smokers for 100.00. Not a bad deal. I want to get a bigger one.
 

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I have the big chief and owned it for about 10 years and like the ease and consistancy of what it does. Simple to use...constant heat maxes out at about 160 deg.... during the summer, reasonable smoking times 6-8 hours. but in the fall and winter 8-12 hrs. yes the outside temp plays a role on total smoking time.

a couple of years ago i got a propane smoker. I didn't like it at first...
but after i got used to tweaking it to obtain a constant temp...I love it. I have no fear of smoking fish, but even better, i've been trying brisket and they turn out great.

I don't remember the brand name but it's not a top of the line tragger (or whatever they are) but it has one door for the meat or fish and a bottom door for the heat\chips\chunks. It has a rack for water to help keep the moisture flowing and vents on both sides to help "control" the temp. i don't think it was over 150.oo

i'm no knocking the chief, I still have mine...but I really like my propane.

as far as brines....the internet has them all but my fav is the dry brine from steelhead university web(for fish) brines are a matter of taste...I like the history of brines and smoking meats and fish....understanding that it was done during a time when there was no refridgeration so brined meat and fish lasted longer.

.02 :geek:
 

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I have the little chief and have had great luck with it after I made an insulated cover from foil covered bubble wrap. the stuff is cheap and really does a good job keeping the heat in. I set the smoker on a few bricks to get it off the ground a bit and then place an old garbage can over the top leaving a couple of inches between the ground and the can to keep the wind out. When it gets going there is a pretty steady stream of smoke coming out from the bottom. The can also adds another layer of insulation and keeps the smoke in the area a bit longer. I usually only run two pans of chips. I have not timed it but a full load is pretty much done after the second pan is ash. It also gets warm/hot enough (I have not checked the temperature but the racks are too hot to handle without gloves) that I feel sure that the fish is "cooked" to the point that it is safe to eat.
I was also looking to upgrade my smoker (a friend has a Trager and just loves how easy it works and the finished product) but for now because this is working so well I will stay with this. Friends and family are very pleased with the product.
Good luck
 

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If you get a "chief" the only way to go is the top loader Big Chief, you can use the racks for drying the fish before you smoke it, then just lower the whole thing into the smoker. I had a big chief, have a bradley digital and a propane smoker. I like that with the bradley you can set a tempature and it will keep it pretty close. I mostly use the propane smoker for doing ribs because its hard to keep it cool enough for smoking fish and you really have to babysit the tempature.
 

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I too have smoked a ton of fish in my Big Chief (that is not an exaggeration either!) 3 years ago though
my best friend gave me a Bradley electric smoker as a gift. At first I hated the thing. But now that it is
all seasoned up it makes the most fantastic smoked foods EVER! The beauty of the thing is I can control
the temperatures on anything I want to smoke. From fish to cheese! The smoked chicken is out of this world!
I also started using Petersen Pucks and they are fantastic! The Bradley I have looks like a little refrigerator
and hold 4 large racks that allow you to smoke around 20lb of fish in one load!
Works so well I haven't pulled the Big Chief out in 2 years now.

Good Luck!
 

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looking to upgrade from my little chief electric smoker. I usually do 20 to 30 pounds of fish each smoking and it takes me forever with the little chief. Any advice out there?? Should I get propane or continue with an electric smoker? Please give me some pros and cons besides the obvious. I usually do most of my smoking in the fall and summertime. I know the electric smokers have problems keeping the temperature up when the weather is cold I also know that propane smokers don't have the best insulation in them either and are too hot or you cannot control the temperature at a low setting. Please help!! there are some nice deals around on Black Friday. Thanks in advance!! And I still plan to use my little chief on small jobs. Also, I am welcoming recipes/brines. PM's welcome if u don't want the world to know your secrets! Have a great How to smoke cheese in the electric smoker Thanksgiving doing what makes u the most thankful.
Hi all. Any recommendations for a smoker? I love smoked fish and catch a lot of mackerel and bluefish, so thinking of starting smoking them myself. Would prefer propane or electric for ease of use. Don’t think I will have the time and patience to deal with wood or coals. Only occasional use, don’t need industrial scale.

I also don’t have a grill. Are there any good grill/smoker combos worth looking into? Or separate is the way to go?
 
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