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Picture Of The Month

Spring lings on the Oregon coast

Topic: Smokers  (Read 1060 times)

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  • Herring
  • **
  • Location: Depoe Bay
  • Date Registered: May 2021
  • Posts: 38
I used a Masterbuilt - Smoke Hollow smoker for years.  I got some great product out of it but it was always a battle requiring constant attention.  It is a two burner propane unit that's about five feet tall.  It cannot run below 230F degrees with the door closed and all my attempts to keep a good <200F resulted in release of smoke and irregular temperature cycles ... from propping the door open.  Maybe it would work better with more fish inside but with my angling skills, that's been a rare occurrence.

I bought a Big Chief a couple months ago,  We are still getting to know each other.  First use took many hours and yielded very smoky fish with a dry leathery exterior and still quite rare inside ... disappointing.  I now put two aluminum loaf pans of water in the bottom which has added some temperature stability and helped keep the product moist.  Measuring the box internal temperature with a multimeter has led me to add a bubble-wrap blanket around the box and now I've added a dedicated thermal probe thru the back wall.  My last Yaquina coho came our pretty good.  I put a 2nd pan of chips in after 30-40 minutes and just let the thing go uninterrupted the rest of the day.  It stays pretty solid at 160F.

I'd be happy to let the slightly rusty Masterbuilt go to a new home.


  • Lingcod
  • *****
  • Dreaming of retirement........
  • Location: Wyoming
  • Date Registered: Jun 2020
  • Posts: 458
I have a Masterbuilt electric smoker which I like to use during cold weather at it retains heat better (lousy when it is warm outside).  I also have a vertical gas smoker which I prefer during warmer weather.  I use it a lot to cold smoke cheese when the temperatures are below 50 degrees.  Most of my smoking is now done with a Camp Chef pellet smoker which is very user friendly and I can grill steaks on it. 

I have to agree with pmmpete that it is wise to avoid smokers which have a glass door, because the glass will get gunked up by the smoke.
Hobie PA14 - Va'a project yak
Hobie Outback
Hobie Adventure Island
Jackson CudaHD
BlueSky 360 Angler


  • Salmon
  • ******
  • Location: Portland
  • Date Registered: Oct 2015
  • Posts: 501
Something that hasnt been said, but felt it should be added is pellet grills (traeger, etc) dont make the best fish smokers for a couple reasons.  The biggest is that capacity wise, most of them don't have the rack space to do a bunch of fish efficiently.   Second is that the lower bound for temperature tends to be 180-ish (I think some of the newer ones can control lower reliably though) which tends to be a bit hot for fish. Finally, pellet grills are not known for their strongest smoke flavor (though for meats I actually like the milder smoke taste). 

That being said, they are a more versatile machine if you are running out of patio space since you can smoke, roast, "grill" with them.