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cmohr74
01-22-2012, 03:21 PM
I am really looking into doing competition bbq, being that I have a passion for cooking, especially BBQ. I currently cook on a UDS and a cookshack smokette, but want to get a competition style cooker. I have tossed around quite a few brands and I'm looking for experienced feedback. Trying to narrow it done between Backwoods, Meadow Creek, Stumps, Fast Eddy, Memphis, Yoder, Lang, and Peoria. Can anyone help guide me?

bover
01-22-2012, 03:45 PM
A UDS is a competition cooker. Take a walk around any contest and you'll see plenty of drums in use. Actually, other than the feedback you receive here from others I'd recommend doing just that...go to a few contests and chat up the teams on a Friday night. Most, if not all, folks will be more than happy to show off their rigs and answer questions if they're not busy at the time.

Alexa RnQ
01-22-2012, 03:58 PM
^^ That! Another thing to consider is how you want to transport your equipment to a contest -- that may have some influence on the style of smoker you choose.

We know a very successful competition cook who used to load two WSMs inside two UDSs, and put them both on a hitch carrier.

Ron_L
01-22-2012, 04:06 PM
I am really looking into doing competition bbq, being that I have a passion for cooking, especially BBQ. I currently cook on a UDS and a cookshack smokette, but want to get a competition style cooker. I have tossed around quite a few brands and I'm looking for experienced feedback. Trying to narrow it done between Backwoods, Meadow Creek, Stumps, Fast Eddy, Memphis, Yoder, Lang, and Peoria. Can anyone help guide me?

You've listed a wide variety of cookers from insulated verticals (Backwoods and Stumps), offsets (Meadow Creek, Lang, Peoria and Yoder) to pellet cookers (Fast Eddie, Memphis and Yoder). The first thing you should do is narrow it down to a type of cooker. Then you can start looking at the options within that cooker type.

Also, as pointed out already, the UDS is fine at competitions. You may want a second UDS or a Weber Kettle to go along with it. It's all about timing.

If you're not in a hurry, come to a couple of local competitions and talk to the cooks about their pits. The next chance to do this is on Feb. 12 in Des Plaines at the Winter Burn Off...

http://www.kresmokers.com/index.html

After that you'll have to wait until Memorial Day weekend in Westmont (unless you want to drive a few hours).

http://www.westmontbbq.com/

cmohr74
01-22-2012, 08:00 PM
Ron brings up a good point. Maybe I should refocus this question because it is quite vague now that I look back. From personal experience, what type of cooker is best to work with when competing in all categories: an insulated vertical, an offset, or a pellet. I read some many threads of people buying and upgrading and trading and what not. I don't have the finances to continue to upgrade, I trying to get an all encompassing smoker on the first try if possible. Then I think I could readdress what specific smoker from that point.

Coz
01-22-2012, 08:27 PM
Budget? Wieght restriction .size restriction . Insulated cookers are great tools.Costly bulky heavy. WSMs are terrific cookers easy to store haul and use . Offsets appear to me not having had one that unless you have a high quality($$$$$) one, rain cold etc will give you fits. I build my own Stumps clones but they are heavy and bulky ,but weather is never an issue for the cooker. ISince your in Il you may want to go see the folks at Peoria,they build some nice stuff. Spice wine in Iowa would be a nice daytrip.

MilitantSquatter
01-22-2012, 09:15 PM
Ron brings up a good point. Maybe I should refocus this question because it is quite vague now that I look back. From personal experience, what type of cooker is best to work with when competing in all categories: an insulated vertical, an offset, or a pellet. I read some many threads of people buying and upgrading and trading and what not. I don't have the finances to continue to upgrade, I trying to get an all encompassing smoker on the first try if possible. Then I think I could readdress what specific smoker from that point.

your revised question will still not help you... the answer to what you asked is they are all good.. none of them are perfect as they all have some degree of strengths/weaknesses

Some upgrade, trade, sell etc. just because they want something different not because they need something different.. some just like to be proficient on different types of pits etc.

you need to do some more homework and answer questions such as

1) Budget
2) Transportation (ex. weight/size restrictions)
3) Weather conditions you'll primarily cook in
4) Desire to sleep or not tend pit vs. actively manage a fire
5) Space (how much meat will you cook - will it be used for other purposes besides contests)
6) Aesthetics - how important is the look for you ?


Good luck... it's not an easy decision !!!

dmprantz
01-22-2012, 09:21 PM
AFAIK, Spicewine is in Columbia, MO, not IA. Close enough to pick up if you bought one. PCC makes insulated stick burners, but they aren't cheap last time I checked. Insulated vertical and pellet pooper are not mutually exclussive: Say hello to Fast Eddie. In general, I would say that stick burners require the most attention, with pellets the least. Gravity fed (Stump's, Superior, etc) and basket based (UDS, WSM, BWS, SW, etc) charcoal cookers some where in between. There are many different variables to competition cooking: What flavour profile do you want? Do you plan to cook hot and fast or low and slow? What is your cooking schedule going to be, as in will you want more than one cooker? Combine all this with your budgeting question and you might get a good start. You can also go to a competition and talk to as many teams as you can....

dmp

Ron_L
01-22-2012, 09:30 PM
Ron brings up a good point. Maybe I should refocus this question because it is quite vague now that I look back. From personal experience, what type of cooker is best to work with when competing in all categories: an insulated vertical, an offset, or a pellet. I read some many threads of people buying and upgrading and trading and what not. I don't have the finances to continue to upgrade, I trying to get an all encompassing smoker on the first try if possible. Then I think I could readdress what specific smoker from that point.

So, to respond to the revised question a little...

From personal experience, what type of cooker is best to work with when competing in all categories: an insulated vertical, an offset, or a pellet.

That really depends on you. All work well and all have won. The biggest differences are the amount of smoke flavor and the time required for fire management. Offsets will give you the strongest smoke, but also require more fire management, and this varies based on the specific offset. Some folks with the insulated Peoria offsets and Gurus or Stokers can go a few hours without refueling. Insulated verticals like the Spicewines, Backwoods and Stumps (and others) can easily go over night without any maintenance and the amount of smoke can be controlled by the amount of flavor wood used. Pellet cookers are basically maintenance free as long as you have power but provide the lightest smoke.

In terms of cooking all categories in one smoker, that can be done with any of them. The offset is probably the most versatile in that regard because you have different temp zones available all at the same time. The verticals, including the FEC-100 pellet cooker, are typically pretty close to the same temp throughout the cook chamber, so if you want to cook the big meats low, the ribs at a medium temp and the chicken at a higher temp you have to work out your timing so that you can adjust the pit temps as meats come off and go in.

Coz
01-22-2012, 09:40 PM
An added note .I like being able to cook all my comp meats in one cooker but I am seriously considering cooking one of my comp meats on a second cooker to get a different temp . Just something else to consider.

Coz
01-22-2012, 09:42 PM
OOPS :icon_blush::icon_blush::icon_blush: As DMP Spicewine is in Columbia ,Mo . Still a nice daytrip.

HarleyEarl
01-22-2012, 10:41 PM
I would stick to what you are use to. Last year I used three UDS's (13 contests), this year I'll be using the same three UDS's - one each for ribs, pork, & brisket and adding a Weber Gold 22.5" for chicken. If you feel the need to invest money, just build a couple more UDS's.

Beside, if you change your smoker, you are going to have to learn how to smoke on it.

NRA4Life
01-23-2012, 07:26 AM
You should buy whatever you think you'll be able to cook YOUR best BBQ with. Or as previously mentioned, make a few more UDS. That way you won't have a lot of big $$ invested in a cooker while you see if you enjoy the competition bbq process.

Smokin' Hicks
01-23-2012, 08:08 AM
Ron brings up a good point. Maybe I should refocus this question because it is quite vague now that I look back. From personal experience, what type of cooker is best to work with when competing in all categories: an insulated vertical, an offset, or a pellet. I read some many threads of people buying and upgrading and trading and what not. I don't have the finances to continue to upgrade, I trying to get an all encompassing smoker on the first try if possible. Then I think I could readdress what specific smoker from that point.



ahhhh yes the all encompassing question....1000 different answers, a 1000 different opinions all of which are 100% right :laugh:

BC Squared
01-23-2012, 02:03 PM
Have to agree with the latest posts, stick with what you know for the first year...you may decide comps are not for you (although unlikely, they are addictive)! Check out the PitmasterIQ for temp control on your UDS, low cost and work well. I have two for my WSMs.

Brew-B-Q
01-23-2012, 02:28 PM
Biggest question is budget, and then you can work on the other factors, such as size, fuel source, etc. Deciding on an insulated cooker but only having a $400 budget, for example, won't work.

I cooked on two or three WSM during my first year, hauling everything in a fold-up trailer and pick up truck. Year 2 and 3 I purchased an insulated vertical smoker from Superior smokers and carried it in a 7x14 cargo trailer. Last spring I sold both of those and purchased an offset trailer smoker from Peoria Cookers. I really like the vertical insulated cookers, but I wanted freedom to cook at different temperatures. I was dragging along a ceramic cooker at times during years 2-3.

Before I pulled the trigger on the Peoria, I seriously considered competing with WSMs again. They would give me the temperature variance that I wanted, but I couldn't get over how much I like insulation in the cookers, especially in the colder temps.

Scottie
01-23-2012, 02:38 PM
You can check put my FE and FEC if you would lile. I was able to win a big contest cooking on one pellet cooker. It can be done.

STX Cue
01-23-2012, 07:29 PM
Like others have already said, there is no reason not to cook on the UDS. I have 2 that will be going with me to a competition this weekend while my Pitmaker stays at home. I love my Pitmaker, but I have only had it a month and I still get better results from the UDS. They are what I am used to.

I would suggest cooking a couple of comps on the UDS, look around and see what others have chosen and why they chose them. That may help in the decision-making process.

daveinwestmont
01-23-2012, 10:35 PM
This is a great thread and time appropriate. I'm entering my second year of cooking in comps, (did 3 last summer). I used my UDS with the pitmaster Ique110, both of which I bought last spring and a weber kettle with a Smoke EZ attachment. I'm asking many of the same questions you are. I keep going back to how easy the UDS is to cook on with very little fire management (I kick the drum after about 8 hours of cook time to move the ashes), to transport with out a huge investment. My next investment is Scottie's class. I'm sure others can report how much you can learn from those that have cooked for years.

cmohr74
01-24-2012, 09:09 AM
You all have given me a ton to think about here given all the advice. I really appreciate the help, honest. There are things I didn't think of upon making a decision like this. There is also things that could make the UDS burn more efficiently, like the pitmasteriq, that I was not aware of. As someone mentioned, there is a local competition coming up soon that might not be bad to go poke around at whos cooking what and why. No matter what, it's the cook that creates the results, not the equipment right. They all cook low and slow, but its me that controls the outcome. Many people brought up many great opinions on all the different models. But thank you all.