Re: who makes the best smoker
A heat shield? Yes, I recommend one, they can get pretty hot and the integrated hanging hook is another good reason to get one.
Originally Posted by jnqpblk
Synthetic bellows? I have tried them, I don't like them but for occasional use they are fine.
A status symbol? Huh? That is a different perspective. To me they are just a tool.
Gobs of money? You can decide for yourself, the top of the line is around $40 and they last a long time.
Heres a little video I did a few years back. Not the greatest video but I tried to be fair and it is from the perspective of someone that lights a smoker daily and uses them pretty hard. My concerns about the lightly built shield were well founded. They simply aren't rugged enough for the kind of use/abuse they get from everyday use. ML apparently heard beekeeper concerns about the lack of protection under the smoker box that I mentioned and their latest version includes that extra protection.
My overall conclusion, a few years later, is that I really like the ML smoker particularly the larger opening in both the bellows and the firebox. They light easier and stay lit better. I like the slightly higher capacity as well. I have never cared for the 10" smoker as I find them a bit tippy and if you use pellets even a 7" will last a good part of the day. My concerns about the hinge were unfounded and my rivet protrusion concerns have also turned out to be a non issue as well. My greatest dislike continues to be that the shield is not nearly as sturdy as the Dadant shield and because I use the hook a lot it makes the whole smoker a bit flimsy. I retrofitted a ML with the Dadant shield and while it dosent mate perfectly, it is an improvement.
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