Do you test commercial smokers before shipping?

For over 52 years Cookshack has placed quality as a high priority in manufacturing all of our smokers, pellet grills and charbroilers.  Each unit undergoes testing before packaging for shipment.  The Final Assembly Teams in each of the production lines conducts the tests.  Documentation of these tests is on an inspection sheet that is unique to each unit.  The employees involved sign off on their craftsmanship.

Tests that are common to all of our units are the Hipot test, a Ground Continuity Test, and electronic controller test.  Hipot is an abbreviation for high potential and is a term given to a class of electrical safety testing instruments used to verify electrical insulation.  Ground Continuity Monitor is used to measure the electrical continuity of the circuit’s path to ground.  Testing of the electronic controller is done by making sure each button functions properly and lights up on the digital display.

Hipot test

Final Assembly worker is doing the Hipot test

Electronic Controller Test

Testing the electronic controller to make sure it functions properly

Each electric smoker in our SmartSmoker Line (SM160/260/360) and each smoker in our Fast Eddy’s™ by Cookshack Line (FEC100/120) are tested by a process we call “running out.”  Power is supplied by plugging in and testing the unit to make sure that is can reach temperature and go into the hold cycle.  All units, except for the SM160, have wood added to them to make sure they smoke properly.  The electric smokers are testing for approximately 20 minutes at 190°F and then a hold temperature of 255°F.  The pellet-fired smokers are tested up to 340°F for approximately three hours and then put into a hold cycle.  Cookshack has a separate room in the production area to run out the units.

Run Out Smoker Testing

Running out a unit before packaging

The Charbroiler line (CB024/036/048) is tested by powering the unit and setting the factory settings on the controller.  It is run for 30 minutes to ensure that the ignitor, draft fan, and auger is running properly.

The Fast Eddy’s™ by Cookshack Rotisserie models (FEC300/500/750) undergo additional tests.  The first test is a weld test.  The bottom of the smoker is filled with water to make sure it does not leak.  Then the wiring is checked by plugging the unit in to check the switches, foot pedal, motors, ignitors, and smoke evacuator.  Testing is completed to make sure that it can get up to the proper temperatures and the rotissiere is working properly.  The unit is set to 424°F, and when the unit reaches over 400°F, it is shut down.  This process takes a little over an hour.

The trailer (FETR) for the Fast Eddy’s™ by Cookshack Rotisserie models is tested by plugging it in to make sure all the wiring and lights are working properly.




Seafood Grill

24 Hour Sale on Residential Accessories!

Save big for one day on a sale of residential smoker and pellet grill accessories!  For 24 hours only, on 10/21/14, save 15%* off the regular price of select residential accessories.  These accessories include RibRack (PV008), Seafood Grills (PV019/PV009/PV018), Cold Smoke Baffles (PA020/PA024), Pepper Popper Grills (PM003/PM004), Jerky Rods (PM006/PM010) and Flavor Infusion Reservoir (PM015).  These accessories are a great addition to your smoker or pellet grill.  They allow you an easier way to smoke and grill foods that you love.  It is easier to smoke larger quantities of ribs, smoke small items such as shrimp and vegetables and smoke jerky.


Seafood Grills loaded into the Amerique SM066


Ribs prepared and ready to place in the smoker

Pepper Popper Grills-Close Up

Pepper Popper Grills

Cold Smoke Baffle

Cold Smoke Baffle – cold smoke salmon, cheese and steaks

Flavor Infusion Reservoir

Flavor Infusion Reservoir – Add wine, fruit juice or other flavoring liquids to the reservoir and the heat releases aromatics that add a suble flavor to the food in the smoker.


The Cookshack RibRack make loading and unloading ribs easier to handle.

Seafood Grill

Have you ever had a perfectly cooked fish fall through the grill on smoker? Cookshack seafood grills put a stop to that! Perfect for smoking small or delicate items like fish, shellfish, nuts or vegetables.


Just use Promo Code OCT21 online or call a friendly Cookshack Representative at 1.800.423.0698 to place your order.

*Offer not valid with any other sale or promotion.


Blazin' Buttz Logo

Blazin’ Buttz BBQ Winning with Twin FEC100’s!

Frank of Blazin’ Buttz BBQ has been successful this year on the competition barbecue circuit.  The team hails from Patchogue, NY and uses a two FEC100’s.  Other team members are Bob and Laura Schwarz.  Here are some of their recent accomplishments:

  • 1st Place Chicken at the Hudson Valley Ribfest in New Patz, NY
  • Reserve Grand Champion at the Hudson Valley Ribfest in New Patz, NY
  • 7th Place Overall at the Sun BBQ Fest at Uncasville, CT
  • Reserve Grand Champion at Ridgefield Gone Country BBQ Festival
  • 1st Place Chicken at the Best BBQ Chef competition in New London, CT
  • 1st Place Ribs at the Best BBQ Chef competition in New London, CT
  • Grand Champion at the Best BBQ Chef competition in New London, CT
  • 1st Place Chicken at the DO AC Smokin’ Hot Atlantic City BBQ Championship in Atlantic City, NJ
  • 3rd Overall at the DO AC Smokin’ Hot Atlantic City BBQ Championship in Atlantic City, NJ
  • 8th Overall at the New York City BBQ Cook-Off in Staten Island, NY

Quite an impressive display of barbecue prowess!  Congratulations to the entire team and keep on smoking!  We wish you continued success!

Sun BBQ Fest

7th place overall at the Sun BBQ Fest

1st place chicken

1st place chicken at Best BBQ Chef Competition

1st Place Ribs

1st Place Ribs at Best BBQ Chef Competition in New London, CT

RGC at Hudson Valley Ribfest

RGC at Hudson Valley Ribfest

What is a commercial meat smoker?

A commercial meat smoker is a smoker oven that prepares a large quantity of meat or vegetables for a restaurant, catering business, deli, meat market or other commercial kitchen application. It is commercial barbecue smoker that you would put inside of your business to a smoke large quantities of meat. It would allow you to feed a large number of consumers. Cookshack has different sizes of commercial meat smokers, the smallest commercial meat smoker we have is the SM160. The SM160 will hold one hundred pounds of meat. The largest unit that we manufacture is the FEC750, which holds up to 750 pounds of meat. Cookshack has a size to fit any need that you might have. These units vent smoke, and the smoke must be evacuated from your building.

A smoker to cook meat can be varied; one style is designed more for cold-smoking that is combined with a refrigerator. These are typically used for cold-smoking salmon. A traditional meat smoker is a hot-smoker that cooks and smokes at the same time. It is important for traditional barbecue that you use a smoker that can put the flavor of smoke from wood in the meat. You will find in some smokehouses that they spray liquid smoke on the meat that does give you the traditional flavor. You need something that will burn wood, produces smoke, with a consistent good flavor.
It should be able to handle pork, poultry, sausage, beef, duck, fish and shellfish, game meats and lamb equally well. Whether you use a fixed shelf or rotisserie style unit depends on what type and quantities of meat it will be smoking.
A commercial meat smoker should have a large capacity and be approved and certified from the USDA, NSF, and ETL. Wiring has to be at a commercial standard or code and be able to handle a larger amp load.

What is a Commercial Indoor Smoker?

Traditional barbecue smokers in the old days were made to be used outdoors, and so you would find the smoker sitting outside next to the building. It would typically have a large stack of wood logs or charcoal next to it. It required constant supervision and maintenance. Cleaning was also an issue. Modern smokers have been modified to be used safely indoors. They need to be easy to clean and easy to remove the ash. Cookshack smokers work efficiently and safely in an indoor environment. They are designed for indoor use. They use small wood chunks or pellets that are easy to store and use. A Cookshack smoker generates very little ash so the danger of fire from removing hot ash and embers are eliminated unlike log burners that require removal of live coals. A smoker needs to be able to burn wood without a fire risk.

It needs to be properly vented. Cookshack manufactures a smokehood for our electric SmartSmoker line, or the smoker can be put under a traditional hood. It can be complicated trying figure out how to get the smoke and flue gases out of your kitchen. You also want a unit that is well-insulated so that you are not putting additional heat into the kitchen. Commercial kitchens are over eighty degrees even with the air conditioner running. Adding more heat from a smoker is not going to make your staff happy. Cookshack commercial smokers are constructed with double-walled insulation surrounded by 850°F Spin-Glas® insulation.

Other issues to be concerned with if considering adding a commercial indoor smoker is the footprint that will be necessary. Make sure it will fit through the door into the space, and you will have adequate spacing around the unit for cleaning and maintenance.

What is a commercial electric smoker?

A commercial electric smoker is one that the fuel source is electricity using a heating element. Wood chunks or chips introduce smoke and are for flavoring only. It uses a standard wall outlet found in commercial kitchen applications. An electric unit uses soft heat which creates a moist environment. Commonly found in mom and pop diners, food trucks, catering, barbecue restaurants, fine dining restaurants, delis, meat markets, commissaries and cafeterias.

Commercial units should have listings with ETL, USDA and NSF. Check to make sure the smoker is rated for commercial use in a processing plant and a restaurant setting. It needs to a higher quality than a consumer grade smoker, and it needs to be able to run 24/7. For example, heavy cuts like brisket and pork shoulder need to be started in an electric smoker in the evening and cook overnight so it will be ready for service the next day. This will allow you room to smoke the smaller cuts, like ribs and chicken, during the day.
Cookshack commercial electric smoker models are the SmartSmoker Series. There are three models available to meet any need. The smallest unit the SM160 holds up to 120 pounds and the largest unit the SM360 holds up to 550 pounds of product. These models are electronically controlled with cook and hold capabilities, double walled stainless steel interior and exterior construction, and 850°F Spin-Glas® insulation for superior heat retention, fuel savings and maximum cooking performance. They are workhorses that can run 24 hours a day. They use about 1 pound of wood for every 60 pounds of product smoke cooked for a low-cost barbecue solution.

What is the difference between a commercial and a consumer smoker?

There are various things that can come into play in order to answer this question. If you are looking at a residential style smoker that is being built for a strictly residential application you are going to find that is contains smaller wire and lighter relays than a commercial unit. Consumer models have a standard grading on wiring, which is similar to the wiring in your house. It is not considered a commercial product so if you use it in a commercial setting you are going to be putting yourself at risk because of liability issues. Another difference is that some consumer smokers are not eligible for use in barbecue competitions.

Commercial grade smokers must pass rigorous tests and standards in order to get the certifications necessary to pass inspections. In a commercial grade smoker for commercial use, you should see certifications. A listing with NSF, National Sanitation Foundation, is concerned with whether or not the equipment can cook food in a manner that is going to be safe for the people eating it. Another certitication is the ETL, according to the ETL website “Certification marks – like the ETL Listed Mark – demonstrate compliance to the requirements of widely accepted product safety standards, as determined through independent testing and periodic follow-up inspections by an NRTL. It is the quality of customer service and of the capabilities provided by the testing laboratory issuing each certification mark that sets them apart.” A final certification that you will see in a commercial smoker is from the USDA. Commercial units are designed to work 24/7 so they have heavier relays and wiring to hold up to the heavy use environment. They also feature optional equipment such as smokehoods and smoke evacuators that make them compliant in certain commercial applications. Cookshack pellet fired smokers and charbroilers are certified for use in barbecue competitions.

All Cookshack commericial units are NSF, ETL, UL and USDA certified and approved. The Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack smokers are also certified Warnonck-Hershey listed in USA and Canada. At Cookshack, the consumer and commercial smokers feature many of the exact same components. They both have Spin-Glas® insulation rated for 850°F. They use the same stainless steel and welded construction. They both feature controllers but the commercial units have more options. We do not go to the expense in our consumer smokers to have them listed by the NSF because the requirements for that listing are not necessary for a consumer unit.

What are the differences between cooking with wood, gas electric and charcoal?

It is difficult to discuss the differences between the fuel sources for cooking barbecue without discussing the different types of smokers. We have broken it down to six areas that we believe are necessary without going into the various types of smokers.

The first area to consider is cost:

Cookshack electric smokers use small amounts of wood chunks or pellets to produce the flavor you desire in the finished product. The units are designed to move only the smallest amount of air through them while maintaining the temperature with electronic controls and keeping the heat inside the unit with 850° Spin-Glass® insulation. Due to this design Cookshack electric smokers are economical to use costing just a few cents a day to operate.

Fast Eddy™ by Cookshack pellet smokers use compressed sawdust pellets for both the heat and the smoke flavor for your product. The units are designed with 850° Spin-Glas® insulation and electronic controls to be as energy efficient as possible. Fast Eddy™by Cookshack pellet fired smokers use forced air draft and pellet feed technology to maintain tight temperatures. Because of this design it costs around $15 per day to run a our pellet fired smokers.

Gas smokers have a variety of designs, because of the air required to maintain the fire in them, they typically move large amounts of air through them causing the burner to work harder to maintain the temperature. Along with needing fireplace sized logs to produce smoke to flavor the product, gas smokers cost more to operate than one would assume. The gas to operate a gas smoker will cost around $6 per day; wood costs vary greatly across the country; the average gas smoker is going to use eight fireplace logs per day. Making the average cost to operate around $12 per day.

Wood pits were the traditional way to cook barbeque for years. However, the high cost of wood and labor has caused most restaurants to move away from the traditional wood fired pits.

wood-and-boxCharcoal smokers are much like wood fired pits, the high cost of charcoal and the labor to maintain the temperature in charcoal smokers has caused most restaurants to move away from charcoal style pits.

The second area to consider is shrinkage:

Shrinkage is caused mostly by inconsistent temperatures. Cookshack smokers use state of the art electronic controllers to maintain a consistent temperature.

Gas fired smokers generally have rotisseries in them to help the meat to cook evenly; however if you look at the actual temperatures in the units they are typically not consistent. Also, gas tends to dry the air in the smoker causing higher shrinkage rates.

Wood and charcoal fired smokers typically have the worse shrinkage rate due to the difficulties of maintaining consistent temperatures.

The third area to consider is flavor:

Cookshack smokers make it easy to produce the same flavor each time you cook in the unit.

Gas smokers tend to be very inconsistent in their flavor profile as the amount of wood and how dry it is changes with virtually every cook. This along with the taste of the mercaptan that is used in gas to make it smell like rotten eggs makes most barbecue experts stay away from gas smokers.

Charcoal smokers has a milder smoke flavor than wood fired smokers, and the flavor can vary from cook to cook.

Wood fired pits for years were the standard for barbecue restaurants; however the flavor out of wood fired pits varies considerably depending on the logs you are burning and the weather.

The fourth area to consider is safety:

Electric smokers use small amounts of wood, so ash disposal is simple. The drippings exit out the bottom of the smoker making the risk of fire virtually none existent. Cookshack electric smokers are tested under the UL 197 standard for electric safety and NSF standard for food safety.

Pellet fired smokers make disposal ash disposal easy as ash can be taken directly out of the smoker and into the trash. Fast Eddy™ by Cookshack pellet smokers are tested to UL subject 263, and Warnock-Hershey standards for safety along with NSF for food safety.

Most gas smokers on the market are only tested for the safety of using gas in the units and are not approved for using wood. The high amount of live embers in the ash makes disposing of the ash difficult and a fire hazard.

Most wood and charcoal smokers are custom designed and have no safety listings. Like the gas fired smokers live embers in the ash makes disposing of the ash difficult and a fire hazard. Also, wood and charcoal smokers flues must be maintained properly, or the risk of fire is probable.

The fifth area to consider is cleanup:

Any smoker listed by NSF will be easy to clean. Cookshack smokers also make disposing of ash easy.

Most custom design smokers are not NSF listed and can be difficult to clean.

The sixth area to consider is consistency:

Electric and pellet fired smokers offer the best consistency on the market. The Cookshack IQ control system allows you to control the time and temperature you cook at while maintaining accurate temperatures.

Gas smokers tend to be easy to control the temperature, however most do not have the controls necessary to keep even temperatures throughout the cooking chamber.

Wood and Charcoal smokers have little automatic controls, which means that the operator has to be there to keep the temperature steady.

What is barbecue?

What does Cookshack mean when they say barbecue?

The meaning of the word barbecue is as varied as the different ways to spell it. Some standard spellings include “barbeque”, “BBQ”, “Bar-b-Que” and “bar-b-q”. The meaning of barbecue here at Cookshack is the traditional meaning common in the southern United States. To us, it is the art of cooking meat at a low temperature over an indirect fire which adds smoked flavor to food. In Australia, for example, if you asked someone what it was, they would say grilling foods at high temps over direct heat. If you consulted the USDA, they would tell you barbecue “shall be cooked by direct action of dry heating resulting from the burning of hard wood or the hot coals for a sufficient period to assume the usual characteristics, which include the formation of a brown crust on the surface and the rendering of surface fat”.

brisketLow and Slow

What do we mean by low temperature? Typically, cooking at 250°F or lower is low heat. This is what we call the “low and slow” style of cooking. Grilling is, usually, done at higher temperatures up to 800°F. This is sometimes called “hot and fast” style of cooking.

Barbecue started by using fatty cuts of meats that others did not want because they were tough like beef brisket, pork shoulders or butts, ribs and chicken. Now, we call many other types of meats bbq. In some parts of the United States if you put sauce on the item then it is ‘cue. Salmon preparation is not traditional, but if you smoke and apply sauce, it becomes barbecue salmon. Cookshack smokers are ideal for cooking authentic barbecue dishes and non-authentic smoked foods.  A benefit of low and slow smoking is that the smoker’s temperature is high enough to cook the meat in a safe time, but low enough that moisture does not evaporate, creating a delicious product.

Myths and Health Concerns

There are many myths about barbecue when it comes to health issues. Barbecue meats have the same shelf life as traditional cooked foods. It is not cured meat or going to last longer so beware of this when storing the uneaten portions. Another misconception is that barbecue is unhealthy because of possible carcinogens. In studies, grilled foods had the potential for carcinogens due to the high-temperature cooking from the grease dripping into the fire and burning. This causes the carcinogens to come back up and into the fire.

For more information on this topic, refer to the findings from this report from the government.


What smoker makes the best barbecue?

This question may cause an argument or fight because most people think their smoker is the best. So instead let us talk about what smoker is best in a commercial application like a restaurant, food truck, deli or another commercial kitchen. In order to stay in business, your customers need to know that each time they order an item prepared by you that it will taste the same. Not all smokers allow you to have this type of consistency. For example, our President/CEO, Stuart Powell, states he can cook good barbecue on about anything from a 55 gallon drum to a stick burner. In order to do this, he would need to able to monitor the process continually. However, he would not want to do this in a busy, high volume commercial setting.

YSM160 WithHoodou need a smoker that you can duplicate the results each time. Make sure the smoker you select will allow you to control the amount, flavor and quality of the wood that it uses. The larger the piece of wood the higher likelihood that you will have inconsistency with the cooking process. There will also be a flavor variance with a larger piece of wood. Cookshack smokers use two to four ounce wood chunks or food grade wood pellets for consistent control each cooking cycle.

You will need to be able to control the temperature and cook times and make adjustments easily based on the amount of load that the smoker is cooking. Cookshack smokers are low maintenance and do not require babysitting. The models feature cook and hold features with an electronic controller so you can set the time and temperatures at night, then drop into the hold cycle until the food is ready for service the next morning. This makes cooking the big cuts easy. Cookshack believes we make the best smokers on the market because our smokers consistently produce food with genuine smoke flavor. No worries about the taste of gas or the hassle of charcoal or logs on a durable, high-quality Cookshack unit that will last for many years.