Help me choose a WSM replacement
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Help me choose a WSM replacement
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Thread: Help me choose a WSM replacement

  1. #1

    Help me choose a WSM replacement

    I'm the market for a smoker to supplement my trusty old WSM. I'll keep it for charcoal duty but don't use it as much as I would like, so looking to get a pellet pooper which should see more use since it's much more convenient. After cook quality, ease of use and maintenance is most important. I think I've narrowed my choices down to a MAK or a vertical pellet smoker (most likely a Pellet Pro or a Pit Boss Copperhead). Of course, there's a huge difference in price between the two.

    For those who have been in a similar situation, what did you decide? If you ended up with the MAK, what have you used it for that made it worth the extra cost?

    Some other details:
    • I have an infrared gasser which I will keep and use for grilling and searing.
    • I live in the northeast. Whatever I get will stay outside, covered.
    • I would like the ability to cold smoke, though that's not a primary use.
    • Besides meat, one of my favorites is pizza. Not sure which smoker lends itself to that.
    • Do you think I should get a MAK or does the vertical smoker make more sense? I realize I'm posting to a biased group, but presumably everyone here has made a similar decision before.



    One concern I have is the smoke profile compared to charcoal. Besides cost, this an area where I think the verticals have an edge.

    If your recommendation is for the MAK, which one? I like the 2 Star, but the I'm having a hard time justifying the extra cost for a smoker box and stainless construction.

    Thanks for your help.
    - Dave

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    311
    Spent way too much time researching equipment before finally deciding on the MAK sometime back. I wanted to invest only one time in a pellet smoker and be satisfied for the next 20 years. During the research, one consistent thing then and still today, it's very hard to find negative commentary regarding the MAK. After using MAK since 2014 I can confidently say it was one of the best decisions I've made. They are at the top of the pellet chain and for good reason. IMO, the MAK has you covered in regards to your questions. Although I've not done pizza on it yet, I have little doubt the MAK would have any problem delivering a great pie. FYI, I also have a very capable grill and while I use it regularly, the MAK gets a fair share of the meal duties.

    Good luck with your decision!

    ...matt
    MAK 2 Star #3623
    MAK 2 Star #1915 now w/another smoker
    Twin Eagles Gasser

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Hopland, CA
    Posts
    6
    Thanks for asking this question. I learned a lot just looking up the smokers you're asking about. Sorry no qualified opinion to offer.
    Green Mountain Daniel Boone

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by mcschlotz View Post
    Spent way too much time researching equipment before finally deciding on the MAK sometime back. I wanted to invest only one time in a pellet smoker and be satisfied for the next 20 years. During the research, one consistent thing then and still today, it's very hard to find negative commentary regarding the MAK. After using MAK since 2014 I can confidently say it was one of the best decisions I've made. They are at the top of the pellet chain and for good reason. IMO, the MAK has you covered in regards to your questions. Although I've not done pizza on it yet, I have little doubt the MAK would have any problem delivering a great pie. FYI, I also have a very capable grill and while I use it regularly, the MAK gets a fair share of the meal duties.

    Good luck with your decision!

    ...matt
    I find myself spending way too much time too. Too many options and trade-offs.

    Your last point is really my main question. If I'm getting a pellet grill, it will be a MAK. I'm debating whether I want a grill at all. I could save a ton of money and space by going with vertical pellet smoker. If I see responses from people saying that they they only use their MAK for smoking and leave grilling duties to something else, then it's not worth the extra expense.

    This is similar to the cold smoking question. I know the 2 Star has a cold smoker, but if people say "I get better results using an Amazen tube in the firebox" then I would lean towards the 1 Star.
    - Dave

  5. #5
    I have a 2* & grilling is what I use it for most of the time. It gets plenty hot to grill. In grill mode, youíll see grate temps 650+ Pretty easily. With its design & footprint it is very pellet-efficient. I was in the same boat as you when shopping around. Not sure about the price. I will say it is built very well & is very easy to clean. I donít regret my purchase at all! & MAK as a company is great. I donít think youíll find better service or people out there!!
    Last edited by wolverines; 06-16-2020 at 04:33 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by wolverines View Post
    I have a 2* & grilling is what I use it for most of the time. It gets plenty hot to grill. In grill mode, youíll see grate temps 650+ Pretty easily. With its design & footprint it is very pellet-efficient. I was in the same boat as you when shopping around. Not sure about the price. I will say it is built very well & is very easy to clean. I donít regret my purchase at all! & MAK as a company is great. I donít think youíll find better service or people out there!!
    I want to make sure I understand, because this is the basis of my question...

    Do you have a gasser but you do most of your grilling on the 2* even though you have both options available?
    - Dave

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    311
    The MAK 2 Star can most certainly be your only piece of equipment. It is totally capable of providing high temp grilling just as wolverines mentioned. Everyone has their preferences and own situation to satisfy. I bought the MAK for it's total capabilities knowing it gives me the option of reducing the clutter on the deck when I get to that point.
    MAK 2 Star #3623
    MAK 2 Star #1915 now w/another smoker
    Twin Eagles Gasser

  8. #8
    I have both a MAK 2 Star and a very high end gasser (Hestan Aspire 36"). I also have a Blackstone griddle. The main reason I have the gasser is that my wife does not like smoked foods or smoke flavor. So, particularly when cooking burgers, steaks or chicken, it will be on the gasser. Since the gasser has an infrared burner which can get to 1100-1200*F, that is my choice for searing. Oh, I forgot, I also use sous vide (Anova) for steaks and chops before searing on the gasser.

    Butts, ribs (of all kinds), brisket, bacon, ABTs, MOINKs, chuckies, to name a few on the MAK. I do not cold smoke and I do not add any smoker tubes.

    I am very happy with my arsenal, but since I am subject to MCS (Multiple Cooker Syndrome), I wouldn't be surprised (depending on The Boss's Approval) with seeing a charcoal cooker show up someday.
    --Sam

    MAK 2 Star #3634
    Hestan Aspire 36" gasser
    Blackstone 22" griddle

  9. #9
    I do have a gasser but haven’t used it for about 4 months since I’ve had my MAK. I will say this. This grill gets hot. You can grill Very easily at the 450 max temp setting with grill grates getting 550 no problem. The grill setting is even hotter. The Max air temp for the grill is 600. I’ve only reached 590 but the grates are 650+ easy. The only setback to Grill mode is that it takes a good 35 minutes to get to 590. About 20 minutes to get to the 450 setting. So usually I just turn my MAK on & prepare my food while it’s heating up. I live in the Midwest, so it gets cold in the winter. So I can’t attest to how it will do in the winter yet. Just trying to be honest. I am very happy with my purchase.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by sschorr View Post
    I have both a MAK 2 Star and a very high end gasser (Hestan Aspire 36"). I also have a Blackstone griddle. The main reason I have the gasser is that my wife does not like smoked foods or smoke flavor. So, particularly when cooking burgers, steaks or chicken, it will be on the gasser. Since the gasser has an infrared burner which can get to 1100-1200*F, that is my choice for searing. Oh, I forgot, I also use sous vide (Anova) for steaks and chops before searing on the gasser.
    I'll have a very similar setup. My gasser is infrared also, so I have high heat covered.

    No one in the family has particular requirements for smoke vs. non-smoke, so I think I'm OK.

    Sounds like the MAK is the right choice.
    - Dave

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