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View Full Version : FEC 100 Pros & Cons for Comps?


BC Squared
02-07-2012, 09:51 AM
Thinking about pulling the trigger on a FEC100 and would love to hear any advice the BRETHREN has! Maybe new but looking at used too. Any controllers I need to stay away from? What about flavor, is that an issue?? Thanks all!

AZScott
02-07-2012, 10:15 AM
We love ours. We feel the pro's outweigh the cons and most of the cons you can have a contingency plan. One of the biggest things you "hear" is that it isn't smokey enough. I have yet to have one judge ever make that comment or have one person that has tasted our food make that comment. One of our con's is the power can go out or the pot can fill up and we have remedied that by using an iGrill which is a Bluetooth thermometer that synches with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Now we can see where the temp is at in the smoker at all times.

Pros: Sleep, insulation, controlled temp, no bending over, nice capacity, very low fuel use (we use about 10-13 pounds of pellets at a comp).

Cons: Power can cut out at comps (we use a marine battery w/ an inverter), the pot can overfill and go out, mechanical parts could go out, people will call you a pellet pooper.

gooose53
02-07-2012, 10:42 AM
While it's not a con of the smoker, you need to get quality fuel. Cheap fuel will not produce the results you want I'm told. I don't have one but talk to the guys that do and have won with them.

Butcher BBQ
02-07-2012, 11:23 AM
I have high praise for these cookers. If there is every a problem ( rare ) the customer service if number one.
If your looking at a new unit no prob, if your looking at a used unit check the inside and I like the models with a ramp for the pellets to fall down into the fire box.

SmokinOkie
02-07-2012, 11:26 AM
... Any controllers I need to stay away from?...

Unless you're buying used, you don't have an option on Controller. New ones from CS all have the electronic IQ4.

Older ones may have the Traeger dial thermometer. If you buy used, make sure it works. I've seen people buy them, but didn't test run them.

As for pellets, get some info on the "mix" of the pellets. Most use Oak/Hickory as a base and add flavor wood for flavor. Typically 65% to 35%. The reason is that you need the base for Heat/BTU's. You can buy 100% of some flavors from some companies. I also don't recommend using Heating pellets (there is a petroleum product used as a die release agent). Some say they have no issues, but given the # of food grade pellets out there, I use those.

You can also run them off a battery and inverter. The power requirement is minimal.

This Is How We Que It
02-07-2012, 03:10 PM
No cons

HoDeDo
02-07-2012, 03:17 PM
Never had a lick of trouble out of 3 I've used. I do like the IQ4 better than the older Traeger controlled units. Not alot to go wrong on these pits as long as they are well maintained. Your biggest concern will be clean power, which you can provide yourself with an inverter and a deep cycle / marine battery. Dirty power or low voltage scenarios can make the pit's performance suffer, but that is usually not an issue. Becomes a non-issue if you use the inverter/battery setup. I'll be using an FEC100, and a pair of Yoders this year. The Yoders replaced my highly modified CS-WholeHog.

Ron_L
02-07-2012, 03:17 PM
No cons

Well, maybe not a con, but you have to have electricity. That means either relying on comp power and having a backup or providing your own. That can be as simple as a self-contained backup power source, a deep cycle battery and an inverter, or up to a generator.

Nordy
02-07-2012, 03:21 PM
"Thread Jack Warning" - Regarding using a marine battery... do you all use one or two batteries? In series or parallell? What type/size battery?

Ron_L
02-07-2012, 03:40 PM
"Thread Jack Warning" - Regarding using a marine battery... do you all use one or two batteries? In series or parallell? What type/size battery?

One, group 27.

The FEC draws about 400W when the ignitor is on and only 50W when the ignitor is off, so, 50W @ 13.8V is approx 3.6A. So, the FEC will pull 3.6 AH from the battery. A group 27 is 105AH, so it could potentially run the FEC for 28+ hours. There are a lot of factors that will affect that, but that's fairly close.

Smoke'n Ice
02-07-2012, 04:29 PM
Been using an FEC100 since '05, upgraded to the IQ4 in '10 and will be using this year along with an FEPG500 for competitions. Have used two type 27's and a Xantrax Feedom Combi inverter/charge the whole time. Never have a problem with power and the combination can run my trailer with the exception of the AC for an entire competition without external power and can even run the ac about a half hour.

Enjoy sleep and being fresh for turn-in or allows for a copuous consumption of adult beverages without being concerned about the pit:grin:

AZScott
02-07-2012, 04:32 PM
I use the largest marine battery Walmart has. I forget what size it is. I also use a Zantrex 600 watt inverter. I've never had trouble with either except for the one time I forgot to charge the battery for a comp.

Bam Bam
02-07-2012, 05:45 PM
AZScott has been dominating on his! I think that Butcher guy is pretty good too ;) We cook our ribs and chicken on an FEC 100 and just walked first in ribs in Havasu. There is something to be said about the consistent flavor you get from these cookers. Like others said before though, make sure you use quality pellets.

The Cosmic Pig
02-07-2012, 07:21 PM
I was thinking about selling my FEC, but you guys have about talked me into keeping it! :rolleyes:

Smoke'n Ice
02-07-2012, 07:46 PM
I was thinking about selling my FEC, but you guys have about talked me into keeping it! :rolleyes:
How much? will be in nashville this weekend and have cash.

DeanC
02-07-2012, 08:40 PM
Check out my signature, I have missed mine since I sold it. With that said, I did have some problems once at a comp, but it was a simple solution and I was up an running again in no time. Customer service is top notch, and I think you will have a hard time finding a better rib and chicken cooker. I would buy another one today if my wife would let me.

BC Squared
02-07-2012, 09:00 PM
Wow!! Great info! Thanks all and keep it coming. Advice on pellets is welcomed too! You guys are great! I'm getting closer!!

Ron_L
02-07-2012, 09:03 PM
Advice on pellets is welcomed too!

BBQr's Delight. That's all you need to know :)

Sticks-n-chicks
02-07-2012, 09:03 PM
Had mine for 2 years and love it!

The Cosmic Pig
02-07-2012, 09:03 PM
How much? will be in nashville this weekend and have cash.

Oh Lord, now I gotta make a decision, and then figure out a price... :shocked: :heh: . It's a 2008 (August), but it's been to 6 comps and was cooked on at home maybe a dozen times. I got the Backwoods in April 2010 and started using it almost exclusively. But I do take care of my chit, so it's in great condition. Want to see some pics?
Sorry, didn't mean to hijack...

djqualls
02-08-2012, 01:08 AM
Why do some posters mention ribs and chicken only? What are the pro's/cons for butts and brisket?

Crash
02-08-2012, 01:19 AM
Why do some posters mention ribs and chicken only? What are the pro's/cons for butts and brisket?
Might be because those are the only competition meats they cook on their FEC's. Some folks use different cookers for different meats.

Just a thought!

roksmith
02-08-2012, 07:20 AM
If you ask me, I'd say the big meats is really where the pellet poopers excel. That's where you appreciate your constant temperature over the long cook... oh yea.. and the sleep :)

Capn Kev
02-08-2012, 07:48 AM
I've had mine for the past two years and I LOVE it. Make sure you shop vac and clean out ash after each use, and make sure to change the tin foil wrap on the grease/heat deflector. I learned that lesson last year after my first grease fire :)

For comps, I cook everything but chicken on it, and have had a good amount of success in each category. If I could afford another one, I'd buy it in a heartbeat!

Oh, and I use BBQr's Delight pellets... best pellets for the money IMO.

Kev

Muzzlebrake
02-08-2012, 08:43 AM
I've had mine for the past two years and I LOVE it. Make sure you shop vac and clean out ash after each use, and make sure to change the tin foil wrap on the grease/heat deflector. I learned that lesson last year after my first grease fire :)

For comps, I cook everything but chicken on it, and have had a good amount of success in each category. If I could afford another one, I'd buy it in a heartbeat!

Oh, and I use BBQr's Delight pellets... best pellets for the money IMO.

Kev

What he said

I've had mine for a few years now and love it for all of the same reasons everyone mentioned. I would strongly suggest having your own power supply, there are just too many variables when you rely on contest power.

roksmith
02-08-2012, 08:56 AM
For a relatively simple power back, pick up a small computer UPS and a small inverter for your vehicle. The UPS will keep power up in the event of unreliable power, prevent power surges from frying your equipment, and in the event of extended outages, a little inverter plugged into your cigarette lighter will keep you going indefinitely. (that's for comps where you can leave or get your vehicle to within extension cord range)

Greendriver
02-08-2012, 09:00 AM
the original question was in regards to the fec100, what about the 120? more even temps top to bottom, no way to have grease fire, etc. worth the extra cost or not for comps? seems to me that it would be since most are wanting to use more than one cooker anyway.

AZScott
02-08-2012, 09:10 AM
Why do some posters mention ribs and chicken only? What are the pro's/cons for butts and brisket?

I don't know of any cons to cooking butts and brisket on the FEC. We use ours for all four of our meats and like the way everything turns out.

Capn Kev
02-08-2012, 09:16 AM
the original question was in regards to the fec100, what about the 120? more even temps top to bottom, no way to have grease fire, etc. worth the extra cost or not for comps? seems to me that it would be since most are wanting to use more than one cooker anyway.

Based upon the design, I see why the 120 is a step up from the 100. However, I'm not sure I'd pay $1000 more for those particular added benefits. I think if was in the market, I'd just buy another FEC100.

BC Squared
02-08-2012, 09:31 AM
Keep it coming...Brethren rocks!!

roksmith
02-08-2012, 09:38 AM
the original question was in regards to the fec100, what about the 120? more even temps top to bottom, no way to have grease fire, etc. worth the extra cost or not for comps? seems to me that it would be since most are wanting to use more than one cooker anyway.

No such thing as a smoker that cannot have a grease fire.
..unless you're not cooking in it.

Pretty safe? sure..
Completely safe? not happening.

Greendriver
02-08-2012, 09:42 AM
maybe I ain't looking at it right? please tell how your gonna have one if the fire is in a whole different section from the cook chamber.
No such thing as a smoker that cannot have a grease fire.
..unless you're not cooking in it.

Pretty safe? sure..
Completely safe? not happening.

roksmith
02-08-2012, 11:03 AM
I'm not saying it's likely. I've been running a pellet pooper indoors for quite awhile now, but no matter how it's designed.. if you don't maintain it properly, it can catch fire. Grease travels in places it was not intended, so does heat.
To guarantee that something cannot catch fire is foolish when grease and fire are involved.
I'm sure if all is working properly, it's safe enough.

Scottie
02-08-2012, 11:10 AM
I bought my FE 100 11 years ago.I was using a FE and a FEC in company the last 5 years. Everything I've turned in at contests have come off of those pits and using BBQr's Delight Pellets. You can cook and win on 1 FEC. I had some good luck flying in for contests and cooking on someone else's FEC and have outstanding results. Very consistent and I've never had a judge say they wanted more smoke ..... Even though Illestart cooking on a new pit, I won't be selling my pellet cookers.

Rich Parker
02-08-2012, 11:18 AM
maybe I ain't looking at it right? please tell how your gonna have one if the fire is in a whole different section from the cook chamber.

You don't need fire just heat and oxygen to get a grease fire. Ask Ford one of his FE's caught fire once.

Kentster911
02-08-2012, 01:01 PM
I have had an FEC100 for 1.5 years now and cannot think of any cons, at least for me. We cook every meat on the FEC100 using BBQ delight pellets. I clean her out with a shop vac and replace the foil on the deflector after each use. I love my FEC100. I have a lefty and someday would like to pair her up with a righty.

Butcher BBQ
02-08-2012, 02:06 PM
I have cooked on both and I will say the fan and way the smoke is channeled around the box makes it a very even cooking smoker. I will say with the fan the meat is just a little more surface dryer than I prefer for comp cooking. It wasn't designed with us comp cooks in mind where we are looking for every ounce of juice to be in the meat. I was designed solely for the restaurant owners that has 18 year olds that don't follow the clean out instructions. I think they are just fractions behind the 100s for this application but are better than 100s in other settings.

Smokin' Hicks
02-08-2012, 02:23 PM
don't mean to hijack the thread but, how are FEC's legal for comp.? they use electricity to produce heat to burn the wood...right? maybe i am wrong...please enlighten me on this. I also have heard that there is absolutely no smoke ring on the meat when it comes out of the FEC, true? been thinking about getting one of these for work, we need a new smoker, but still have questions about them.

roksmith
02-08-2012, 02:36 PM
They don't use electricity to burn the pellets, only to start the fire. After that, the ignitor shuts off.
No smoke ring is absolutely incorrect. I always get a nice smoke ring.

Nordy
02-08-2012, 02:52 PM
what rok said...

They can be lit without the ignitor, but the ignitor shuts off after startup. Electricity is used to feed the pellets and run the fan to stoke the fire in the firepot.

I get a smoke ring on everything off of my FEC100... and an even bigger smoke ring off of my PG1000

You may have "heard" about the Cookshack electric smokers, which do heat off of electricity and don't typically create a smoke ring

Nordy

Fast Eddy
02-08-2012, 05:10 PM
The 120 was designed mainly for the restaurant world. They want to overload and never clean. This cooker solved the issues the FEC 100 had if you did either. The airflow is good enough to give only a 5 degree difference between the top and bottom. We haven't been able to get it to catch fire but I'll never say never. The likely hood of the unit to catch fire I feel is about the same as you and I having the same DNA. We've had it fully loaded with chicken and run as hot is it will run. I don't think it gets any more vulnerable then that. I will say this about the concept of the unit, it does trap the smoke longer then any cooker we have. I think the smoke flavor is a little better then the 100 because of that. David does make a small point about it slightly making a little drier product. I've only seen that if you run a very small load. If you put much volume in it the becomes enough moisture in the unit to make it a non issue at all. I will say we probably worked the hardest at developing this cooker over any of the others in the line up. I built and tested more versions. I can sure tell you what won't work. Anyone like any more info please email me at fasteddy@cookshack.com. Someone dropped me a note and said I might want to respond to this thread. I don't monitor the forum.

BC Squared
02-09-2012, 09:37 AM
A post from Fast Eddy himself! Awesome! Hope to be part of the FE community soon!

BC Squared
02-10-2012, 08:34 AM
Bump

MrWenzel
02-10-2012, 05:31 PM
I'm also planning on getting a new smoker this spring. 99.9% sure it is going to be FEC100. I don't think anyone carries them is SE Wisconsin. This is going to be a big purchase for me and I have been looking over all the forums. What makes it easier to chose this smoker is not only the smoker, but also the way it seems Cookshack and Fast Eddy want to take care of the product they sell. I don't think I've seen anyone with unresolved issues with the FEC100. Some times there is a bias towards certain smokers on different forums, but I haven't seen any body that makes the negative post about the FEC100 that really sticks.

CBQ
02-10-2012, 05:40 PM
The firepot over filling and causing a flame out was mentioned in an earlier post. The original FEC had a stainless steel firepot. For a couple of years they shipped with a cast iron pot that is more likely to have this problem. Cookshack has since switched back to the original firepot, and will send you one for free if you have the cast iron one. (The cast iron firepot has a screw on top of it, the stainless does not.) If you buy a used FEC and have flame outs, check which version you have.

Pros: very consistent and less babysitting


Con: power..get an inverter. I use an inverter hooked to my RV deep cycle batteries.