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View Full Version : New competition cooker -- Backwoods Chubby or 22.5 WSM?


White Dog BBQ
12-18-2011, 07:59 PM
I have about $1,000 to spend on a new cooker for the arsenal. Right now my team cooks on 3 WSMs -- 2 18s (one mine, one my teammates) and my 22.5. All are Guru powered. I transport by pickup or minivan and won't be adding a trailer any time in the next several years, so anything significantly large is out. Based on my budget, I have narrowed things to one of the following:

Another 22.5 WSM, which we would use as a 4th cooker. I would add a temp control (likely a Stoker because I want to use it with my iPad) and possibly a Smoking Jacket. I know the cooker, would maintain conformity with my current cookers and would allow us to have one cooker per meat.

Backwoods Chubby, which I would possibly use in place of my 18" WSM. I figure a Chubby could be a 2 meat cooker (pork and either chicken or ribs). It's heavier than a WSM and different than anything I have cooked on, but I understand the transition from WSM to BWS is pretty easy. I love the cabinet smoker aspect, I hate having to move grates on the WSM and I have had some close calls already. But at $1,000 that's a lot of coin for something with similar capacity to a WSM.

Any thoughts? I have heard some people say that getting good product consistently is a little easier off of Chubby than it is a WSM. Is there anything I am not considering? Is getting two half-pans of chicken and 2 butts on a Chubby reasonable?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Erik

dmprantz
12-18-2011, 08:24 PM
Just a thought, have you considered the Onyx Oven from Guru? I know you said that you wanted to use a Stoker (and I'm a Stoker user too!), but the Onyx has some definite advantages. It's about the same cost as the Chubby, and is very similar in design to BWS, but I think has a little more room, and comes with a Guru adapter built in. You could probably find a way to make the Stoker's Guru adapter work on it. Just a thought....

dmp

shares
12-18-2011, 08:35 PM
You might want to consider a Party instead? Same basic footprint as the Chubby, but more capacity for only a little more weight and $. I am anxiously waiting arrival of my new BWS with lots of options, so I've been through this mind struggle already.

White Dog BBQ
12-18-2011, 08:36 PM
Just a thought, have you considered the Onyx Oven from Guru? I know you said that you wanted to use a Stoker (and I'm a Stoker user too!), but the Onyx has some definite advantages. It's about the same cost as the Chubby, and is very similar in design to BWS, but I think has a little more room, and comes with a Guru adapter built in. You could probably find a way to make the Stoker's Guru adapter work on it. Just a thought....

dmp

Thanks -- I did in fact consider the Onyx. I have been a little put off by some of the negative feedback I have read about the Onyx, specifically the build quality. But you're right, it does have more room than a Chubby. It might be worth a trip to a vendor to see one in person.

I would likely just use the Guru off of my 18" WSM with either a Chubby or Onyx. The iPad will have to occupy itself with Angry Birds :-)

HB-BBQ
12-18-2011, 09:32 PM
The chubby is pita to move by yourself due to it's short height and weight. The party only weighs 15 lbs more and is easier to lay against a tailgate on a moving blanket and slide up into the bed of your truck. You get two more racks with one and a bigger firebox which will run for ridiculous times on full load of brigs with a guru.

If you are patient they pop up for sale on CL and the BWS forum all the time for what you will be paying for a new chubby. Good luck with which ever you choose and if you have any questions on the BWS hit me up. I have owned most of the Backwoods cookers up the Competitor model and have spent a lot of time cooking on them all.

slowerlowerbbq
12-18-2011, 09:58 PM
Maybe Kit from Deguello can weigh in here. I've been reading with great interest his posts on Facebook talking about his experience with his new Extended Party:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deg%C3%BCello-BBQ/272730484751?ref=ts

Kit R
12-18-2011, 10:24 PM
Maybe Kit from Deguello can weigh in here. I've been reading with great interest his posts on Facebook talking about his experience with his new Extended Party:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deg%C3%BCello-BBQ/272730484751?ref=ts
Ha ha Mark it was my comment about wanting to add a Chubby to my inventory that got Erik thinking about it! We've been talking about it a bit. Interesting idea about adding a Party as opposed to a Chubby. Since I have the EP already I have one cooker that will accept full size steam table pans. Extra racks in a Party vs. Chubby has appeal. Either way, I'm really sold on the EP thus far. It burns really clean, and the temp control with the Guru is awesome. I had about a dozen briquettes in a bag this morning, and I lit them in a chimney and threw in the EP (no Guru, just cracked the side and top vents). Filled the water pan completely and it held around 225F for almost three hours.

slowerlowerbbq
12-19-2011, 07:31 AM
Ha ha Mark it was my comment about wanting to add a Chubby to my inventory that got Erik thinking about it! We've been talking about it a bit.

Well there ya go!:laugh: It was really interesting reading about your experiences transitioning from the the WSM to the BWS. Keep 'em coming :thumb: Erik's comment about moving the cooking grates on the WSM is one of the big reasons I started eyeing these up about a year ago. I would imagine there is huge difference in cooking capacity as well. Only thing holding me back now is the $$$.

dmprantz
12-19-2011, 08:09 AM
I did in fact consider the Onyx. I have been a little put off by some of the negative feedback I have read about the Onyx, specifically the build quality.

I've seen Onyx Ovens twice, both times with The Guru Competition Team. I agree with what you are saying that they look cheaper than BWS, but they seem produce good Q, have a decent amount of space, and are priced to move. I was considering one for a while, but decided it was just too small, and didn't make sense for me to buy two....

I then moved on to BWS, and had a phone conversation with Mike about the EP. I definitely think it is the best bang for the buck for KCBS competitions from BWS. Truly great measurements. I didn't suggest it because you said you had $1,000 to spend, and the BWS EP is almost double that. If you're looking in that price range, I would at least consider the DW Kountry Cookers Titan 4. It costs more than the EP, but has some nice features itself.

I've since decided just to build a drum ;-)

dmp

Dan - 3eyzbbq
12-19-2011, 08:51 AM
Erik- get the party already. Trust me :-P

And why a 4th cooker? IMO should be trying to move down to 2. Just my 2 cents.

Slamdunkpro
12-19-2011, 08:54 AM
Maybe Kit from Deguello can weigh in here. I've been reading with great interest his posts on Facebook talking about his experience with his new Extended Party:

Kit's in the process of sliding down the slippery slope and is dragging Erik with him:becky:

Greendriver
12-19-2011, 09:21 AM
I would want my butts and briskets on the BW's and packers won't fit unless you go EP.

ique
12-19-2011, 09:40 AM
I have about $1,000 to spend on a new cooker for the arsenal. Right now my team cooks on 3 WSMs -- 2 18s (one mine, one my teammates) and my 22.5. All are Guru powered.

I would check out the Guru Oynx cooker. I am testing one out now. I like that it fits full hotel pans. I ran the cooker last weekend on 10lbs WGC briquettes and sand in the water pan and burned 235 for 24 hrs and its didnt use all the charcoal.

No, its not built like a tank like the backwoods. But the upside is its quite portable weighing under 100lbs.

The chubby always seemed a bit too small, if you go backwoods I would try to make the party work.

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
12-19-2011, 10:09 AM
Id buy a 22 WSM and a little utility trailer at harbor freight with the rest and start constructing a nice mobile bbq battle station. Not loading and unloading everything out of the truck/van before and after a comp will be worth more than a touch more cooking space IMO.

Kit R
12-19-2011, 10:34 AM
Kit's in the process of sliding down the slippery slope and is dragging Erik with him:becky:

I'm already down at the bottom of the hill. I threw Erik a lifeline and now he's about to go off the precipice! :-P

Good advice all around on the thread. For those know me, you're already aware I was a 100% WSM guy all of 2011. I had an Onyx in 2010, and although it didn't work for me, it did work quite well for the person I sold it to (he's got a red ribbon, a bottle of Jack and a mini-statuette to prove it). It was basically an issue with seal and door fit that BBQ Guru made whole for its new owner. By the end of this year I'd just gotten tired of hauling around all those WSMs, setting them up, taking them down, cleaning them etc. and dealing with the stacked racks. SDP made the fateful suggestion that I'd benefit from an insulated cooker and it kinda went from there.

My plan is to go from four WSMs to the Extended Party and a WSM for now. Like I said, I may add another BWS in lieu of the WSM, but that's not a done deal. Just as long as I can keep those stinking door handles on the WSM from breaking........:heh::heh::heh:

JD McGee
12-19-2011, 11:18 AM
I would check out the Guru Oynx cooker. I am testing one out now. I like that it fits full hotel pans. I ran the cooker last weekend on 10lbs WGC briquettes and sand in the water pan and burned 235 for 24 hrs and its didnt use all the charcoal.

No, its not built like a tank like the backwoods. But the upside is its quite portable weighing under 100lbs.

The chubby always seemed a bit too small, if you go backwoods I would try to make the party work.

We're eyeballing the Onyx Oven as well Chris...since we cook our big meats at higher temps than most folks (325-350) we are curious if the Onyx will maintain those temps for 6-8 hours on a full load of fuel. :cool:

White Dog BBQ
12-19-2011, 12:11 PM
Thanks, guys for all of the suggestions -- I came here asking for help narrowing it down between 2 cookers, and now I am considering 4. Farkers! :-)

Seriously, lots of great comments here. I didn't consider that a Chubby may actually be a little harder to load due to its size.

I like the Extended Party but that's really outside my budget.

On the Party, I have heard mixed reports on its ability to handle packers -- can you realistically cook a 15-16 lb packer on a Party or not? I can get them on a WSM 18 so I would think it would work, but I (obviously) have no experience trying that.

On the Onyx, how much internal height is there between the racks?

Thanks again for the help!

Erik

JD McGee
12-19-2011, 12:21 PM
Thanks, guys for all of the suggestions -- I came here asking for help narrowing it down between 2 cookers, and now I am considering 4. Farkers! :-)

Seriously, lots of great comments here. I didn't consider that a Chubby may actually be a little harder to load due to its size.

I like the Extended Party but that's really outside my budget.

On the Party, I have heard mixed reports on its ability to handle packers -- can you realistically cook a 15-16 lb packer on a Party or not? I can get them on a WSM 18 so I would think it would work, but I (obviously) have no experience trying that.

On the Onyx, how much internal height is there between the racks?

Thanks again for the help!

Erik

This may help Erik...

BBQ Bob gives us a walkthrough of the Onyx Oven - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3LXTfMnxNQ)

RangerJ
12-19-2011, 12:58 PM
The grates on the party are like 16'" wide x 17" deep. Diagonally they are about 24". So, you can get a packer on their diagonally. I typically shoot for 13lbs, 15 or 16lb I have not tried, I suppose you could depending on how much you trim.

They are very responsive cookers, I have a Stoker but I don't ever use it, once it's dialed in, its dialed in. I love mine,I just wish I had more room. Its pretty tight when I do 3 meats in there for KCBS, not quite as bad with just 2 for IBCA.

Pans will not fit in the party and a tall point of brisket or tall pork butt will be a tight fit if you don't remove a rack as 4 inches gets consumed pretty quickly, especially if you foil.

Don't buy that "easy to load" stuff either, the website says its 130 lbs but talking to them on the the phone they said it is actually like 165. I purchased ramps and a dolly as I use a pick up truck. Typically, I just ask my cooking neighbor for a hand, but if I'm alone I'm prepared.

The loading and unloading is the only negative thing i can really say about my backwoods. The space issue, I should have looked at more closely before I purchased.

Good luck with your decision.

Greendriver
12-19-2011, 01:04 PM
the party and chubby are same size, party is just taller with more racks and no you can't cook 15 - 16 lb packers on em but you can with the Extended Party. If you want to de point your brisket you'd be o.k. I use to separate but I'm liking mine cooked together better now. Ext Party is comp cooker dream come true. I would get ss doors, heat diverter, commercial fire pan, and butterfly exhaust.

dmprantz
12-19-2011, 01:07 PM
I called Guru about the shelf height on the Onyx, and I think they told me that the bottom two shelves have 3" of clearance, and the top has 4. Seems to me like you could fit butts on the bottom shelf and a brisket on the top. About the same capacity as a 22.5" WSM, but more than a few advantages.

dmp

dmprantz
12-19-2011, 01:12 PM
I've been doing the KCBS Comp Shelf Space arrithmetic for a few months now, and I've looked at a more different cookers, but here is the best that I can tell from reading websites and calling people to ask questiosn where appropriate. A lot of it depends on what will fit if you cram it in, and what will fit allowing plenty of space the way I would want to cook things. If I am wrong on any of these, please let me know, because this is just what I think is true, not what I have actually done. I'll gladly listen:

22'5" WSM can do 2, briskets, 4 butts, or 1 brisket and 2 butts.

Onyx Oven can do 2 briskets, 2 butts, or 1 brisket and 2 butts. I think they say you can fit 4 butts in them, but I was told that the top rack has only 4" of clearance. Seems a bit tight to me. The advantages here over the WSM is that you don't have to take out one item to get to the other, it's insulated, so it will do better in the cold, you'll get longer burn times, and easier to reload, and it's got Guru features built in.

BWS Chubby can hold 4 butts, but doesn't seem large enough to hold a hole / packer brisket.

BWS Party can hold 6 butts, but I'm not sure if it's large enough to comfortably hold a whole brisket.

BWS Extended Party is a good deal: It can hold 2 briskets and 2 pork butts. You might even be able to get it o hold all of that and some ribs.

There is also the DW Kountry Cooker's Titan 4, which can easily hold 2 briskets, 2 pork butts, and some ribs. It's insulated, doesn't have the channels like BWS or Onyx, but you can fit on a foil pan without bending the ends.

I talked to some one who may be coming out with a gravity fed with the same capacity as the Titan 4 for less money, but I'll let him be the one to announce it if he does. It would be after the new year if at all.

dmp

ique
12-19-2011, 02:49 PM
We're eyeballing the Onyx Oven as well Chris...since we cook our big meats at higher temps than most folks (325-350) we are curious if the Onyx will maintain those temps for 6-8 hours on a full load of fuel. :cool:

I would say no problem at all.

abangs
12-19-2011, 03:26 PM
For the money you can not beat a chubby. It does wonders on chicken and 2 butts will go easily. I can load and unload them by myself without too much trouble. They are just north of 100lbs so not too bad. Get a cheap folding clamp stand from lowes and it'll sit at a perfect working height. You'll have a hard time finding a Party for that money......at least one that is not beat to heck and back.

abangs
12-19-2011, 03:46 PM
I've been doing the KCBS Comp Shelf Space arrithmetic for a few months now, and I've looked at a more different cookers, but here is the best that I can tell from reading websites and calling people to ask questiosn where appropriate. A lot of it depends on what will fit if you cram it in, and what will fit allowing plenty of space the way I would want to cook things. If I am wrong on any of these, please let me know, because this is just what I think is true, not what I have actually done. I'll gladly listen:

22'5" WSM can do 2, briskets, 4 butts, or 1 brisket and 2 butts.

Onyx Oven can do 2 briskets, 2 butts, or 1 brisket and 2 butts. I think they say you can fit 4 butts in them, but I was told that the top rack has only 4" of clearance. Seems a bit tight to me. The advantages here over the WSM is that you don't have to take out one item to get to the other, it's insulated, so it will do better in the cold, you'll get longer burn times, and easier to reload, and it's got Guru features built in.

BWS Chubby can hold 4 butts, but doesn't seem large enough to hold a hole / packer brisket.

BWS Party can hold 6 butts, but I'm not sure if it's large enough to comfortably hold a whole brisket.

BWS Extended Party is a good deal: It can hold 2 briskets and 2 pork butts. You might even be able to get it o hold all of that and some ribs.

There is also the DW Kountry Cooker's Titan 4, which can easily hold 2 briskets, 2 pork butts, and some ribs. It's insulated, doesn't have the channels like BWS or Onyx, but you can fit on a foil pan without bending the ends.

I talked to some one who may be coming out with a gravity fed with the same capacity as the Titan 4 for less money, but I'll let him be the one to announce it if he does. It would be after the new year if at all.

dmp


14lb packer trimmed down to about 10lbs on a chubby/party rack. This was a smaller packer. For KCBS events it is hard to beat a Fatboy. You can do a KCBS event on a single fatboy when your timing is right. The extended party is nice but for the money you might as well spend another $ 100 and get a fatboy which will do a much better job on big cuts than the extended party due to the extra width.....it's all about air flow!!

dmprantz
12-19-2011, 04:24 PM
I don't want to get into a urinating contest over this. I appreciate your input, and I think every one can take it for what it's worth. I did say that a lot depends on how I prefer to cook and not what will fit if you force it, so a few comments: I would rather not have to trim my brisket down to fit the rack. I would rather place the length of the brisket perpendicular to the rack rather than parallel to it, and it looks to me like that brisket is practically falling off the rack anyway. *I* would not personally cook an entire KCBS comp on a Chubby. No way. Maybe two Chubbies. As for Extended Party vs Fatboy, I really don't think the Fatboy is worth it. Sure you get more horizontal space, but not enough for me to comfortably cook two briskets side-by-side, and you lose a lot of vertical space. These are all personal preferences, but I think the EP is the better buy for competition.

dmp

abangs
12-19-2011, 09:22 PM
Hey man no pissing here!! Just threw that pic up to show capacity!! You are right....all in preferences!!

jrb03
12-19-2011, 09:43 PM
Yes, you can absolutely cook a 16 lb packer on a party or chubby. I do it all the time, just need to lay it diagonal and fit it in. If your cooking them on a 18" wsm now you are used to this.

I have a party and a chubby. Don't believe the weights on the website. I have never put them on a scale, but the party is definitely more than 15 lbs heavier than the chubby. I would guess 40ish lbs. Neither is fun to move alone but simple for 2 guys.

Extended party looks real nice, but even more weight. I would suggest to really consider the weight and loading issues especially if your using a minivan. Loading these things lead us to to a trailer rig. Can't go wrong with a bws though, great cookers.

dmprantz
12-19-2011, 09:52 PM
I went back to check my notes from when I called Guru, and there were three racks with 3" on the Onyx, plus 4" on the top rack. That would be enough for 4 butts. I would love to know from some one who has used it in production (Chris?) if that bottom rack gets too hot or not.

dmp

White Dog BBQ
12-19-2011, 10:21 PM
Lots of great info here -- I really appreciate it!

Majority opinion appears to be for the Chubby over the WSM, which is where I am leaning if for no other reason it's a new style of cooker. But man the Party is tempting!

Erik

Greendriver
12-20-2011, 05:27 AM
friends I just cooked a 17 lb wagyu brisket recently on and EXTENDED Party and it barely fit with it on a diagonal. Not sure how someone could begin to get one on a regular Party unless they ground it first.

trueque
12-20-2011, 08:22 AM
First year, all Weber. Second year, all Backwoods. Love the Backwoods. Started with a fatboy and upgraded to a competitor, then added a party too. The Backwoods Party is awesome.

my 2 cents ... chubby instead of WSM, then choose the party over the chubby. You won't regret it.

abangs
12-20-2011, 09:21 AM
First year, all Weber. Second year, all Backwoods. Love the Backwoods. Started with a fatboy and upgraded to a competitor, then added a party too. The Backwoods Party is awesome.

my 2 cents ... chubby instead of WSM, then choose the party over the chubby. You won't regret it.


I second that motion!

Fishiest1
12-20-2011, 09:40 AM
Really hard to beat a party. I actually think its easy to get around. If you compare it to other verticals it's a feather weight! I have loaded mine in the back of my suv many times. Now that Fatboy is a different story... :)

ique
12-20-2011, 09:44 AM
I went back to check my notes from when I called Guru, and there were three racks with 3" on the Onyx, plus 4" on the top rack. That would be enough for 4 butts. I would love to know from some one who has used it in production (Chris?) if that bottom rack gets too hot or not.

dmp

I didn't notice that. Seems pretty even top to bottom. If anything I would say the top rack is hotter. It has the BWS design where the smoke enters from the top.

The bottom rack doesn't work that well when using water though in my opinion. With such a shallow pan the water evaporates pretty quickly and produces a lot of humidity. You'll have a hard time creating a bark on the meats on the bottom shelf.

I think the way to go on this pit is sand in the water pan. Bottom shelf is totally usable then and can get very long unattended burns.

Dan - 3eyzbbq
12-20-2011, 10:26 AM
friends I just cooked a 17 lb wagyu brisket recently on and EXTENDED Party and it barely fit with it on a diagonal. Not sure how someone could begin to get one on a regular Party unless they ground it first.

Used to do it all the time on a standard party. Just need to trim a bit.

Slamdunkpro
12-20-2011, 11:27 AM
Used to do it all the time on a standard party. Just need to trim a bit.

But then you ARE The Dan.:becky:

Greendriver
12-20-2011, 03:00 PM
Used to do it all the time on a standard party. Just need to trim a bit.

Even with the EP I did trim but admit it was a very small tip I trimmed off and it was still practically touching the both corners inside the cooker. If you can do that though, smoke on - personally, I'll stick with something bigger that I can feel better about and not do as much trimming OR cook flats and points separate.

White Dog BBQ
01-01-2012, 12:06 PM
Thank you all for the suggestions. To let you know what I decided, the budget got bumped a fair bit, and yesterday I ended up purchasing an Extended Party from Mason/Dixon BBQ Supply (local Backwoods dealer)! It is being delivered on Friday. It comes with the diverter and cover. The owner of Mason/Dixon also owns a fabrication company, and I am having him add two sets of sliders so I can have 4 racks 6" apart, and he's also installing some sliders for the firebox (similar to the commercial firebox).

Immediately before I went down to M/D, the family and I talked about getting either a small open trailer or one of those wheelchair hitch carriers to make loading easier. Because of that when I got to Mason/Dixon I was seriously debating between the E.P. and a Fatboy. I ended up going with the E.P. because of weight (I will have to roll this thing from the garage around the house through a swale to and from the backyard to use it) and that I can get 4 racks 6" apart (on the Fatboy as configured in the store I could at best get 2 racks 6" apart and 1 with 3" of clearance). I figured those benefits, for me, outweighed the extra 4" of width on the Fatboy racks and the other upgrades. The Fatboy sure was tempting, but in the end I think the Extended Party will work out well for me.

Also, for anyone looking at the Extended Party, it looks like Backwoods is finally selling enough of them to commission real grates. The grates in this unit are heavy, chromed steel oven-style racks; they are actually much heavier than those in the stock Party, Fatboy and Competitor. I'll post some pictures when it arrives.

It's being delivered next Friday -- I can't wait!

Erik

JimmyDAL
01-02-2012, 07:19 AM
Good luck and Enjoy.

trueque
01-02-2012, 10:00 AM
Congrats and enjoy!

tdwalker
01-03-2012, 09:54 AM
Congrats on the purchase, Erik!

WineMaster
01-03-2012, 10:15 AM
You will love it Erik. No matter the size, they cook winning Q.

Big George's BBQ
01-04-2012, 09:22 AM
This was a Great Read I have been coveting the Fat Boy for a while. Now I have others to think about- Extened Party and Onyx. Unfortuneately the Extended Party is not on their website Looking forward to yuour Pics Erik

dmprantz
01-04-2012, 09:49 AM
Unfortuneately the Extended Party is not on their website

I would suggest you call Backwoods or a dealer to get information on it. I spoke to Mike directly, who told me that it is a Party, but in stead of being 16.5x16.5, it is 16.5x19.5. All the same options. I believe he said it was deeper than wide, but don't quote me on that.

dmp

Greendriver
01-04-2012, 09:58 AM
I would suggest you call Backwoods or a dealer to get information on it. I spoke to Mike directly, who told me that it is a Party, but in stead of being 16.5x16.5, it is 16.5x19.5. All the same options. I believe he said it was deeper than wide, but don't quote me on that.

dmp

just another example of what 3 inches deeper will do for ya. lol

White Dog BBQ
01-04-2012, 10:54 AM
This was a Great Read I have been coveting the Fat Boy for a while. Now I have others to think about- Extened Party and Onyx. Unfortuneately the Extended Party is not on their website Looking forward to yuour Pics Erik

I will post pics when I get it. The grate measurements on the Extended Party are 15.5" wide by 19.5" deep. Fatboy is 19.5" square. Pluses and minuses to both.

Are you competing at all this year?

Big George's BBQ
01-04-2012, 11:04 AM
I want to do some Comps. Pends on my team. Lost one as he is in Love. Will see what Josh wants to do. Will definately sign up for New Holland. I may have to see about joining up with someone for other Comps. Also pends on $$$. My wife changed jobs last fall and we took a serious hit money wise