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My name is Higgs and I am a pellet smoker

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HiggsBoson

New member
Hey everyone. Got my MAK Two Star delivered today, so I guess Im officially a pellet smoker now. Or maybe its not official since its still in the box in my garage :)

I've had a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker for about 15 years now (on my 2nd one actually, 18") Its a great little smoker. I also have a Weber Summit (E-470) 4 burner gas with rotisserie and side burner, also a great grill, although the side burner is not that useful.

In any case I was one of those people that for years said that pellet smoking wasn't real BBQ, because it was too easy :)
and Ive read some of the common complaints people have with the cheaper ones and was turned off.

As I've gotten older I've found I was doing less and less long cooks (pulled pork, brisket) on the WSM because I no longer enjoyed getting up at 4 AM, or trying to do overnight cooks and get up every four hours to check on it. I got no complaints for the price and would totally recommend one for someone who wanted to get their feet wet making BBQ, or a smaller portable smoker.

My neighbor has a Green Mountain smoker and honestly I was surprised how good some of his BBQ coming off it was, and how much less work it was! That got the gears turning in the old brain and I've been doing research on and off over the last year or so. I know Im not the only one here that spent an obscene amount of time researching grill, reading blogs and reviews, watching youtube videos etc.

I almost pulled the trigger on several other smokers but eventually decided to go with the MAK for several reasons:
1. Quality and reliability; the thing looks like it is built to last. Another reason I had shied away from pellet grills in the past was the dislike for the moving parts and early research on cheaper (but not cheap) lead me to believe augers and pellets were just a PITA. But from what I can tell in my research is MAK probably makes one about as good and reliable as it can get. Even cooking, temperature control look exceptional.
2. Versatility; the ability to do some high temp more traditional grilling was a big plus. My plan was to get rid of the Weber Summit grill because I don't really have room on my patio for two big grills. (But I have to say I think I'm going to see how the 2 Star works out for grilling before letting it go). I also like how much you can fit in with the additional racks, the additional add-ons they have available (cold smoke, griddle, etc), and the multiple probes and programability of the pellet boss. I didn't get the wifi upgrade but something I might consider in the future (honestly wish it was included for the price).
3. Bragging rights; I know my neighbor will be jealous AHAHA
4. This was a minor factor, but being able to support an Oregon company (Im in Portland) especially in these times, was a nice bonus.

Now to decide what to cook first, once I get it assembled that is.
 

mcschlotz

Member
Welcome to the MAK family, big CONGRATS! Season it that have fun. Pork Butt is always a good first round. Then of course ribs!
 
Welcome. I love my MAK. It smokes great & it’s really great for grilling. Just keep your fire pot cleaned out after every cook & you shouldn’t have any issues. This grill just works! You’ll love it!
 

Salmonsmoker

New member
Welcome from another 2-star owner. It's a cooking machine! I have a 2017 model and I wish that MAK had a retro additional rack kit. That would be handy!
 

HiggsBoson

New member
Thanks for the warm welcome. I got a couple racks of ribs and a port butt for my first two smokes and a wagyu tri-tip also!
Unfortunately Im still on step one of putting it together lol. There are 16 bolts to connect the grill to the cart, and man Im having a hard time getting them to all line up. I'll get it eventually! Hopefully I can fire it up tomorrow and make sure everything is working.
 

sschorr

Member
I hear you man. It took me and my buddy 2 hours to assemble my MAK 2 Star. Most of the angst was lining up the bolts attaching the cooker body to the cart, especially the ones on the far left side. Very awkward and very tight fitting. Something MAK could do a little bit of engineering to help guide the bolts into the fixed nut.

Once you are there though, you will have one great cooker! I love the roaming thermocouple. I do a lot of smoking on the upper rack and it is great to have the TC placed up there so that the setpoint temp is measured right where the food is.

Just follow wolverines' advice on cleaning and the MAK will not fail you.
 

scooter

Moderator
Welcome to PS.com and welcome to the MAK family! You must be a physicist due to your HiggsBoson name and the amount of research you did and the correct conclusion you came to after all that research!! Haha!!
Now get that cooker put together and get cooking!! I've put together four 2 Stars and a 1 Star by myself and I'm not even a scientist in the least so I know you can do it!!
 

TentHunter

Moderator
I've assembled four MAKs over the years, and it's definitely easier with a second person! ;) They're built like a tank!
 
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HiggsBoson

New member
Update: I spent several hours trying to get all the screws to line up and could never get the last 3 in. I emailed MAK support to see if they had any suggestions but I had basically tried everything already (outside of complete disassembly and reassembly) so they gave me a call and offered to send a completely new cart. I got the cart yesterday and once assembled my son and I moved the grill over. I could see immediately just by placing it on the new cart everything lined up much better, almost exact. Assembling the new cart + getting the grill completely attached and everything tightened down was less than a hour this time. So, while it was a little frustrating and I had to wait a few more days to test it out, Im very pleased with the quick response from MAK. Its much better to find out right away if a company has good support and service, IMO. Anyway, finally got to plug it in and fire it up today. The instructions are to do a seasoning/burn in at 450 for 30 min. From the time I hit the power button to 450 was about 30 min. Since it had already been running at this high temp, and since I had some packages of chicken thighs and legs I needed to use up, I decided to keep the temp high (lowered to 400) and try it out in grilling mode. Also threw a bunch of veggies (zucchini, asparagus, bell pepper, red onion, mushrooms) on. I started with just the chicken and added the veggies later. Everything turned out great. The heat was high enough to get crispy skin on the chicken, but still had a slightly smokey flavor and nice pink smokey interior color, and very moist. My wife was skeptical how well this would work as a "grill" (to be fair I told her I bought a new smoker) but I think I won her over, although she still wants me to keep the Weber gas grill. Now I just need to figure out where to put both of them, we have limited covered patio area (first world problems i know). My first real smoke will be St. Louis spareribs (baby backs were sold out when I went to the store) this weekend! Im fond of the 3-2-1 method, so will probably stick to that for the first time. Anyway, now that Im all set Im sure Ill have lots of questions for you guys in the future.
 

HiggsBoson

New member
Welcome to PS.com and welcome to the MAK family! You must be a physicist due to your HiggsBoson name and the amount of research you did and the correct conclusion you came to after all that research!! Haha!!
Now get that cooker put together and get cooking!! I've put together four 2 Stars and a 1 Star by myself and I'm not even a scientist in the least so I know you can do it!!


When I first heard of the Higgs Boson I though it sounded like a cool Star Wars name, haha. So now when I sign up for any forum account I use that name if its not taken.
 
Glad you have it all worked out! MAK support is the best out there. I love my MAK & haven’t used my gasser since! I’ve only had mine a few months but it smokes & grills great! I will probably use my gasser in the winter for Grilling as I live in a colder climate. I love the grill mode. My only complaint if I had one, is that to get to grill mode ( I like around 550) for steaks, is that it takes too long to get there. Other than that, this grill is pretty awesome!
 
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