View Full Version : I'm at a crossroads and need your advice (FEC vs Backwoods)

11-25-2011, 09:25 PM

I now have a Traeger Texas & 2 WSM's on our cook site. I have decided to purchase a more efficient and more "professional" cooker.

My budget is decent and the following are all realistic options I am able to purchase once my decision is made. Electriity is not an issue as we have a generator in the motorhome and a portable one for days I just pull the 8x10 cargo trailer with the jeep.

Option 1...Purchase a used but in very good shape Cookshack FEC 100


Option 2...A NEW Backwoods Fatboy (maybe Party)

Way out in a distant third is spend much less and get a used Jambo Backyard from a friend but it might not fit in my trailer and I do like to sleep some during a comp.

What do you think????? Reasons and waxing philosophic is appreciated.

11-25-2011, 10:36 PM
Out of those three the Backwoods would be my choice. Super efficient, and they produce consistent results. The FEC is also consistent, but relies on power, which is almost always available at comps, but you never know whats gonna happen.

11-25-2011, 11:27 PM
I would also go with the backwoods. Nothing wrong with the FEC but like Q-Dat said you don't have to have power to run the Backwoods. If I was you I would go with the competitor. I currently own a fatboy but used to own the competitor. Competitor holds a lot more if you ever need to. It only weighs about 75lbs more and doesn't use much more if any fuel than the fatboy.

11-26-2011, 09:18 AM
If power is not an issue. Hands down FEC. Lighter, less clean up and you will for sure be fresh the next morning. Never oversmoked meats. dont get me wrong, Backwoods are great cookers. Just more work.

JD McGee
11-26-2011, 10:42 AM
If you like sleep...the FEC seems to be a no brainer...set it and forget it...from what I hear...:becky: Then again...I get lots of sleep cookin' on bullets too...:twisted:

11-26-2011, 11:31 AM
hell scottie, they ain't much work!!..:) not much difference between loading up a fatboy with charcoal and plugging in a guru. Load up an FEC and plug it in.. not too much difference.. (comparing to a stick burner to either one, now there's a hell of a difference!)..

I'm a backwoods fan and Scottie is a FEC fan.. both of them smokers won the jack, and both can get their a$$ handed to them just the same.

I'd say the electronics in an FEC might be a negative, and the weight of the fatboy is its negative.. either way, you can't go wrong. You should consider your source of fuel too.. are pellets harder to come by than wood and charcoal in your area?

BTW, I loaded up my competitor last night at 9:00 (already at set-point).. got up at 7:00 am this morning and still had plenty of charcoal and humming at 235. I sleep just fine.

11-26-2011, 12:20 PM
Either cooker would be good. Decide what you want to cook with Pellets or Charcoal.

11-26-2011, 01:38 PM
Have you had a look at a superior? Wouldn't swap mine.

Homebrewed Q
11-26-2011, 01:43 PM
I've had my Fatboy for almost a year now, I've done two comps and several home cooks. Consistent results, holds temp wonderfully to allow for extra sleep. The only drawbacks are the clean up thus far, but you would have that with many other smokers as well. I'll have a stick burner on a trailer eventually, but will still use my Fatboy for ribs or pork butts. I don't know enough about the FEC to give an opinion. Good Luck!!

11-26-2011, 01:50 PM
What Scottie said. In a perfect world, a backwoods and an FEC! Don't forget Spicewine.

11-26-2011, 03:12 PM
The FEC 100! Much more versatility. Competition proven. Cookshack customer service.

4 smokin butts
11-26-2011, 07:23 PM
we used a competitor,just sold it ,going to a spicewine,more capaticy on 2 upper shelfs,new learning journey this year....the only thing i didnt like on backwoods,1 pan per shelf,different temp levels with 5 pans in it,and temp probe in middle pokes holes in pans,ok 3 things i didnt like,this is still a good smoker dennis

11-27-2011, 07:00 AM
We compete on a Jambo and love it but I also have and FEC and a Backwoods Party. The FEC is the easiest and will give you a complete nights sleep. To load and startup both Backwoods and FEC are about the same amount of work. The FEC is MUCH easier to clean! All will give great results when you know how to cook.

11-27-2011, 07:47 AM
Obviously you know my thought on Backwoods but I think the clean up issue is over emphasized and and can be quite easy if done at the right time and with a few pointers. Still not as easy as an FEC but not as bad as I regularly hear.

Jacked UP BBQ
11-27-2011, 09:48 PM
With a guru backwoods runs just like a FEC. I have them both. My opinion is the backwoods makes the meat to dark, the fec puts on a great color. Flavor wise I love charcoal so I like the flavor of the backwoods better. They both put out a great product, I personally think the backwoods cooks better small meats and the fec better big meats!

11-28-2011, 09:01 AM
Backwoods!!! And yes I'm biased but I've cooked on all kinds of pits. For the size, weight and capacity, a Fatboy is a very good choice, but I'd have to second the motion on a competitor if your budget will hold it!!

So many good cookers on the market now....decisions decisions!!!

11-28-2011, 10:48 AM
I'm having fun reading this thread, but I'm curious, to the OP, why aren't you considering one of the gravity fed smoker options out there?


Candy Sue
11-28-2011, 03:31 PM
I am not biased, no matter what other affiliations I have! Having owned a Fatboy and multiple FEC100s, they are both really good cookers. If the FEC100 is a no-ramp model, I'd hop right on it. I find they are top heavy otherwise. I finally lowered the legs on mine! Since you're keeping your Traeger, you'd just be packing about 20 lbs. more pellets for an FEC100.

I actually shed a tear or two when I sold my Fatboy. It turned out some fine BBQ without any added electronic devices. One of my AR neighbors bought my Fatboy...he got a call, I didn't. Good cooker! No matter which one you choose, you've made a good choice. Wish more choices in life were that way...

11-29-2011, 12:35 PM
Bite The bullet and get both.

11-29-2011, 01:05 PM
Hot and fast on the Jambo! Go to bed at 10 pm, get up at 5am and start the Jambo.

11-29-2011, 04:02 PM
I have both, an FEC100 and my Fatgirl. I really like them both but the FEC is much less work both to operate and clean up after use. If you are going to be using it often, I would go with the FEC, if its not something that is going to be used with a lot of regularity, go with the Backwoods..

11-29-2011, 05:11 PM

11-29-2011, 05:23 PM
I have both, an FEC100 and my Fatgirl. I really like them both but the FEC is much less work both to operate and clean up after use. If you are going to be using it often, I would go with the FEC, if its not something that is going to be used with a lot of regularity, go with the Backwoods..

He brings up one of the things I love most about the FEC. The FEC allows me to practice much more than what was possible when I cooked on Eggs.

11-29-2011, 07:23 PM
We use and win with both, you can't go wrong here. The FEC is easier to clean, and you won't have to refuel it. The Backwoods is a nice moist cook for smaller meats.

Things that could go wrong: the FEC can sometimes have the fire go out if it isnt vented correctly, and the Backwoods can run too hot (even with a full water pan) if too much charcoal gets lit. Pick your poison. I think a fire out is an easier recovery than a hot fire.

Smoke Ring
12-02-2011, 02:36 PM
The Backwoods is a great cooker. You can't go wrong with a Backwoods. We used a Competitor for several years and did well with it. If you are considering a Backwoods I would strongly recommend you also take a look at the Pitmaker Vault and Safe smokers. Pitmaker.com