PDA

View Full Version : Pit of choice for competition


bjgamez
06-27-2013, 09:13 AM
What is everyones pit of choice for competition? I'm sure this has been asked before, but I couldn't find the thread...

Podge
06-27-2013, 09:16 AM
all you need is a backwoods fatboy.

bbq.tom
06-27-2013, 09:19 AM
My preference is a Lang 84" hybrid deluxe with a 30" grill on the front and holding box on the rear.

musicmanryann
06-27-2013, 09:19 AM
In order of one's budget:

JAMBO
JAMBO-Junior
Stumps/Rebel
Backwoods Fatboy
Gateway BBQ Store Drum
WSM
Self-Made UDS

fnbish
06-27-2013, 10:17 AM
You will definitely get a ton of answers here ranging the entire gamut of smokers from stick burners, fully insulated gravity fed, UDS, pellet poopers, etc. None of which are really better than another, just what fits your cooking style and budget. We us 2 Backwoods. A G2 Party & Chubby and the setup is perfect for us. There certainly are a lot of factors into what cooker someone chooses. I wanted something insulated that can burn for a long time with little attention and also portable as I needed to be able to lift them into the back of my truck.

Podge
06-27-2013, 10:21 AM
The Jambo ain't a cure-all. Just buying one ain't going to make you a good cook. You'll look cool, but that's about it.

drbbq
06-27-2013, 10:22 AM
Everybody knows that Big Green Eggs are the best in any situation.

Big Johnson
06-27-2013, 10:25 AM
Bubba GrillS 250R or 500R reverse flow smoker!!! That's my choice

bjgamez
06-27-2013, 10:29 AM
I'm a fan of insulated vertical gravity fed smokers. I have noticed there's a lot more people going that way over here in Texas. In the San Antonio rodeo BBQ cook off. I think 3 of the top five used a pitmaker insulated smoker, but have heard these things get too hot and closer to the 275-325 range. Anyone have any experience with these?

musicmanryann
06-27-2013, 10:29 AM
I absolutely agree, Podge. They do cook as good as they look if you know what you're doing.

On the other hand, there is a reason I call the Fatboy the magical black box. :wink:

DCFIREMANN
06-27-2013, 10:34 AM
BACKWOODS!!!!! I would buy a G-2 series.

Be Safe

THE DAWG

Zig
06-27-2013, 11:03 AM
I agree with Fnbish, it is what works for your cooking style and setup. I designed my own for competition because I could not find what I was looking for and I like building my own. Its a Zigs Cooker.

SDAR
06-27-2013, 11:08 AM
I'm a fan of insulated vertical gravity fed smokers. I have noticed there's a lot more people going that way over here in Texas. In the San Antonio rodeo BBQ cook off. I think 3 of the top five used a pitmaker insulated smoker, but have heard these things get too hot and closer to the 275-325 range. Anyone have any experience with these?

I've got a vault and if you don't put water in it AND it has the slide for the intake, it is very hard to keep below 325 with any fuel at all in it. I sealed up the slide and can put it anywhere I want now. J$, a contributor on this site had them install a ball valve for air inlet on the firebox instead of the standard slide they install...which I'm sure works amazingly well for fire control.

In review, pitmaker vaults and safes are water cookers and if I cook with water it sits on 250 as long as there is water in the pan and the fuel will last about 6 hours. If I cook dry, the intake better be sealed up and I control with a guru. I can set it on 275 and cook for at least 12 hours without a refill on fuel.

I like my vault a lot; but until I sealed it up, it was a bit disappointing in fuel consumption and burn time.

porkingINpublic
06-27-2013, 11:15 AM
I've about decided that it makes more sense to buy 3 smaller pits instead of 1 large pit.... Everything cooks at different temps and comes off at different times. When we cooked everything on 1 pit we were constantly opening and closing the smoker... We decided to go this route:

Traeger Texas for long cooks... Butts and brisket
Traeger junior for hot grilling.... Chicken
Backwoods for medium cooks..... Ribs.

I know some people won't like the idea of cooking on a traeger but I'm a much happier cooker when I have a full nights sleep! :wink:

New Pal Frank
06-27-2013, 11:22 AM
Ditto on what Podge said. If you want a little more room, a Backwoods Competitor is also a great choice.

Scottie
06-27-2013, 11:38 AM
The Jambo ain't a cure-all. Just buying one ain't going to make you a good cook. You'll look cool, but that's about it.


I do it for the chicks. Cbicks dig guys with big wood......:oops:


I believe you have to also throw the FEC100 in to any conversation about cookers.

deez butts
06-27-2013, 12:35 PM
I've got a vault and if you don't put water in it AND it has the slide for the intake, it is very hard to keep below 325 with any fuel at all in it. I sealed up the slide and can put it anywhere I want now. J$, a contributor on this site had them install a ball valve for air inlet on the firebox instead of the standard slide they install...which I'm sure works amazingly well for fire control.

In review, pitmaker vaults and safes are water cookers and if I cook with water it sits on 250 as long as there is water in the pan and the fuel will last about 6 hours. If I cook dry, the intake better be sealed up and I control with a guru. I can set it on 275 and cook for at least 12 hours without a refill on fuel.

I like my vault a lot; but until I sealed it up, it was a bit disappointing in fuel consumption and burn time.

I have the safe, if there is water in the pan it sits at 225-250 easy. If there is no water in the pan it wants to be over 300.

Kave Dweller
06-27-2013, 01:03 PM
I have the safe, if there is water in the pan it sits at 225-250 easy. If there is no water in the pan it wants to be over 300.

Our backwoods are the same, I just run a water pan full of sand in the one our briskets and butts are in so I don't have to get up at night (Plus a guru alarm isn't enough to wake me from a Jack induced booze snooze).

Buy/Build what you can afford and cook with it often. Knowing how to control your cooker is more important then what brand it is.

Podge
06-27-2013, 01:25 PM
I do it for the chicks. Cbicks dig guys with big wood......:oops:


I believe you have to also throw the FEC100 in to any conversation about cookers.

where i'm at, it seems there's less and less FE's out there.

Teamfour
06-27-2013, 01:27 PM
Backwoods...and a crock pot?

drbbq
06-27-2013, 01:32 PM
where i'm at, it seems there's less and less FE's out there.

And more and more Jambos. But like you said..........

Pappy Q
06-27-2013, 03:44 PM
What is everyones pit of choice for competition? I'm sure this has been asked before, but I couldn't find the thread...

Which ever one wins me money

Muzzlebrake
06-27-2013, 04:29 PM
What is everyones pit of choice for competition?

one that you know how to cook really well on when you are far from home, without your garage full of chit, tired and half drunk in the rain at night...........

Yoders have been doing the trick for me

TailGateJoecom
06-27-2013, 05:12 PM
I'm a comp newbie, but really happy I made my decision to go with an FEC120.

Lake Dogs
06-27-2013, 06:26 PM
What is everyones pit of choice for competition? I'm sure this has been asked before, but I couldn't find the thread...

Kinda depends on the competition sanctioning body. For some it'll probably require 2 relatively huge ones; one for the whole hog, the other for everything else. For others, one good sized smoker will handle it all, but many prefer multiple smaller ones. On the cheap, 3 22 WSM's can be very effective in KCBS.

Alexa RnQ
06-27-2013, 07:19 PM
I do it for the chicks. Cbicks dig guys with big wood......:oops:
Hey, SOMEthing's gotta offset the orange Crocs.


I dunno, I guess WSMs are just not gonna get anybody excited even after 23 GCs. *kicks dirt*

JS-TX
06-27-2013, 07:21 PM
I've competed with bubba kegs, 22 WSM, kettle grills, and a UDS (RIP). All have served me well. Remember it's not the pit, it's the operator in charge. :grin:

RangerJ
06-27-2013, 07:46 PM
I'm a fan of insulated vertical gravity fed smokers. I have noticed there's a lot more people going that way over here in Texas. In the San Antonio rodeo BBQ cook off. I think 3 of the top five used a pitmaker insulated smoker, but have heard these things get too hot and closer to the 275-325 range. Anyone have any experience with these?

Well, I'm out and about quite a bit and Gravity Fed smokers are few and far between, so perhaps I'm missing something? Vertical and insulated, yes, Pitmaker is here. Yes, I have experience with them.............

The Jambo ain't a cure-all. Just buying one ain't going to make you a good cook. You'll look cool, but that's about it.

I fine with looking cool. Oh and the product is as advertised.

RangerJ
06-27-2013, 07:54 PM
I dunno, I guess WSMs are just not gonna get anybody excited even after 23 GCs. *kicks dirt*

Its the jamming all 4 into a mini van that gets me excited....

Ranucci's Big Butt BBQ
06-27-2013, 07:59 PM
First pick would be the Jedmaster, then any Backwoods model depending on what kind of comps you are doing.

jmoney7269
06-27-2013, 08:05 PM
I'm a fan of insulated vertical gravity fed smokers. I have noticed there's a lot more people going that way over here in Texas. In the San Antonio rodeo BBQ cook off. I think 3 of the top five used a pitmaker insulated smoker, but have heard these things get too hot and closer to the 275-325 range. Anyone have any experience with these?

I'm a for Pitmaker BBQ vault. But they are not gravity fed as stated ^^^^^. They are vertical reverse flow.
With the ball valves, I don't know of a better and easy to control pit. Its built solid and will easily cook 15 briskets or 75 chicken halves.
Pitmaker definitely has a big share of the serious competition market.
Pitmaker vault and traeger loaded with chicken - YouTube

RangerJ
06-27-2013, 08:13 PM
Pitmaker definitely has a big share of the serious competition market.


Between the Red River and the Rio Grande, perhaps.

buttburnersbbq
06-27-2013, 09:05 PM
My homemade Reverse Flow stick burner

CBQ
06-27-2013, 09:10 PM
I'm a for Pitmaker BBQ vault.... I don't know of a better and easy to control pit.

FEC is easier :becky: We use an FEC100 and a Backwoods Chubby.

Lots of choices. In the end, a lot depends on how much you want to spend, and how you are going to move it.

MI Smoke
06-28-2013, 08:17 AM
I'm a fan of insulated vertical gravity fed smokers. I have noticed there's a lot more people going that way over here in Texas. In the San Antonio rodeo BBQ cook off. I think 3 of the top five used a pitmaker insulated smoker, but have heard these things get too hot and closer to the 275-325 range. Anyone have any experience with these?

I have the Vault. I had them put ball valves on mine and have no controll issues at all. I can cook at 225 all day with no water.

PeppermonkeyBBQ
06-28-2013, 09:00 AM
Everybody knows that Big Green Eggs are the best in any situation.

Couldn't say it better than Ray!

Capn Kev
06-28-2013, 09:32 AM
FEC-100 and a REC TEC works for me. :-D

Smoke'n Ice
06-28-2013, 04:41 PM
FEC100 and FEPG500, good to go. Still have 19" bullets that I use if traveling light with just a bumper buddy. Three fit perfect as long as you tie them down properly and don't drag them for quarter of a mile. They develop road rash on their lids but, you can buy replacement tops :-D

Know Bull
06-29-2013, 02:33 AM
I see the best teams in the country cooking predominately on either a Jambo or an FEC100. It seems there are more switching to Jambos.

Jambos are really a good looking cooker. A true stick burner. Good design for relatively even heat flow; but the design is certainly not rocket science. But from watching people cook on them, they are far from being a "set it and forget it' cooker. I see the cooks having to monitor closely and make lots of adjustments during the cooking process. The cooker is very well designed for competition, but is extremely high priced per square inch of cooking area. It is not really designed for catering or large parties, and is not cost effective as a business cooker. The design and finish on the cooker is top notch. VERY difficult to find a used one, and be prepared for up to a 9 month wait to get a new one. Expensive - check the website.

FEC100 is a bargain when looking to both cooking space and ease of use. But since it uses wood pellets instead of real wood, it just does not seem to put as much smoke flavor into the product. And there are a lot of 'steakhouse style' restaurants that find this cooker large enough to meet their needs for the BBQ portion of their menu. (As an aside, I still have an old Cookshack Model 50 smoker made by the same company. It is an electric smoker that cannot be used in KCBS competition. It is a busy person's answer to cooking, especially for a crowd, but just cannot deliver the same smoke as a real wood fire. Cookshack/FEC are very good quality products with excellent customer service.)

Having said all that, people cook on a little bit of everything.

I started off cooking contests on 2 big green eggs and 1 Hasty-Bake Legacy. The problem with my setup was (a) regulating multiple fires takes a toll on you and reduces your focus; and (b) it takes a lot of space and work to haul, load and unload multiple cookers.

Hasty-Bake is an outstanding all purpose cooker for the home chef. But it is not really well suited to competition. While I recommend the cooker, scratch it off the competition list.

Big Green Eggs are outstanding for the home smoker. But they are extremely heavy and hard to load and unload. They may also break (ceramic) if you are not careful in transport. Once you learn them, they are truly set and forget. I highly recommend a BBQ Guru with them; it is like setting a thermostat on an oven.

I have since purchased a used Backwoods Gater smoker. I have been pleased with my results so far. My scores have improved since I can now cook my entire contest on a single cooker; and my attitude has improved due to the far easier setup/teardown effort required. This would make a very good home smoker too, as a water smoker makes temperature control pretty easy. Not as easy as setting the thermostat on the FEC100, but is really close to set and forget for several hours. The problem with water smokers in general is that steam tends to remove smoke flavor from meat. It is also difficult to get the 'smoke ring' appearance without chemically inducing it. They work really good at temps of 250 or less; they start to steam excessively at temps above 250.

Reverse flow cookers (such as a Lang) work really well when cooking low and slow. By forcing the heat to travel all the way to the end of the cooker and back, a stable cooking environment is created. However, if you want to cook hot and fast, there is a challenge. The baffle at the bottom will get really hot if you try to increase the heat too much, and the fat that drips down on that baffle will burn and create an acrid smoke in the cooker. Not pretty at high heat.

There are a lot of teams that compete on cheap Weber smokers, or something homemade with less than desirable designs. But if you just learn your cooker, then you can turn out a good product on just about anything.

There is no perfect cooker. Research and buy what fits your style. Then resign yourself to the fact that you will keep buying cookers looking for the holy grail for so long as you compete.

AZScott
06-29-2013, 12:24 PM
I'm going to vote FEC100. My main line of thinking was that I could cook all my meats on one smoker, I can go to sleep at 10 and not wake up until 6, it doesnt care what the weather is like, I don't worry about hot coals when packing up or excessive ash, pellets are clean, cheap and easy to store and I do not worry about putting too much smoke on my meats. It was an easy decision for me.

Sawdustguy
06-29-2013, 01:01 PM
Get a Spicewine Medium and you can hold temp with ease so you can sleep at a contest. It is built like a brick chit house and will probably last you a lifetime.

jasonjax
06-29-2013, 01:31 PM
FEC100 and FEPG500, good to go. Still have 19" bullets that I use if traveling light with just a bumper buddy. Three fit perfect as long as you tie them down properly and don't drag them for quarter of a mile. They develop road rash on their lids but, you can buy replacement tops :-D


That's my exact arsenal. Cookshack puts out some fantastic products. I did sell my WSM away a while back though.

Untraceable
06-29-2013, 04:01 PM
For some reason I morally oppose Pellet poopers yet I find no issue with controlling a guru through wifi while laying on the couch. Some day Ill come to grips and officially become the laziest man in BBQ

BBQ_MAFIA
06-29-2013, 06:41 PM
We have been using my Lang 84 but really want to switch to my Spicewine. I'm saving my pennies for a trailer so it can be mounted and we can get some sleep during comps. Feeding sticks every half hour is getting old or maybe it's just me getting old.

CarolinaQ
07-02-2013, 11:32 AM
[QUOTE=FEC100 is a bargain when looking to both cooking space and ease of use. But since it uses wood pellets instead of real wood, it just does not seem to put as much smoke flavor into the product.[/QUOTE]

What would be your best guess as to what pellets are made of? Suggesting that pellets are not real wood and that pellets cookers do not put as much smoke flavor into the product is simply "NOT TRUE!"

Also, many TOP teams are using pellet cookers for some or all of there comp meats and there are many pellet cookers out there, not just FEC.

boogiesnap
07-02-2013, 02:18 PM
if i had my druthers it'd be two backwoods chubby G2's, or humphry's.

-solid build
-rock steady temps for long periods of time
-very fuel efficient
-capable in all weather
-compact, "lightweight"
-having two allows for versatility and ample space
-can fire up just one at home for practice, or both if cooking for a large crowd

JD McGee
07-02-2013, 02:23 PM
MAK 1 Star, MAK 2 Star, Backwoods G2 Chubby mounted on the porch if an Extreme BBQ Trailer!

BBQBeaver
07-02-2013, 02:38 PM
I compete with one Yoder 640 and two Broil King Kegs ... could get away with only one Keg instead of two if I really wanted two.

Arlin_MacRae
07-02-2013, 02:51 PM
Good thread. I don't know if this has been asked before, either, but this may be a sticky-worthy discussion.
When you guys post your favorite pits, try and say why you like them too.

Arlin

Wampus
07-02-2013, 03:31 PM
Used to cook on a Ole Hickory CTO.
Great cooker, but a PIA to load & unload when all you have is a small flatbed trailer with a grated ramp.

The Jambo came last Memorial Day.
Rock solid and reliable.
We set the exhaust damper and door once we get the small fire in it and it holds like a champ.
Very quick to recover when we do have to get into it so much.
For a stick burner (I own another one that I use at home), it's odd that you just don't have to worry about it.

PLUS, last year we had a couple of contests where we had to do some emergency re-wiring on it because the fan stopped working. THAT freaked us out. It's nice to be completely independent of any power needs with the Jambo too.

We cook the big meats at one temp and then after wrapping, we drop the temp down 25 degrees for the ribs and chicken. All it takes is a quick adjustment on the stack. Uses surprisingly little fuel for the cook too.

Dex
07-02-2013, 03:34 PM
if i had my druthers it'd be two backwoods chubby G2's, or humphry's.

-solid build
-rock steady temps for long periods of time
-very fuel efficient
-capable in all weather
-compact, "lightweight"
-having two allows for versatility and ample space
-can fire up just one at home for practice, or both if cooking for a large crowd

+1 on this. The exact direction I am going.

Lake Dogs
07-02-2013, 03:50 PM
I USE my old Lang 84. However, if I WIN a free one, I'll use a backwoods...

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=164814

bdadams84
07-02-2013, 09:22 PM
We'll be using two 22.5 WSMs with the Cajun Bandit Stacker in our first comp.

They're relativly cheap. They hold temp well, and need very little tampering when compared to most off sets. If I need insulation, I've found that a water heater blanket works wonders. They transport easily enough in the back of the BAV (Big A** Van).

One of these days I might be able to afford something nicer but I do have a soft spot for the WSM.

NickyG
07-02-2013, 09:33 PM
We just added the G2 Chubby. We love the Gater. Once going with the guru it's set it and forget it, not to mention it cooks great. We haven't done too bad with it either!
81347

gettinbasted
07-02-2013, 09:41 PM
Gateway Drums. I like my first one so much, I just ordered another. Truly effortless to hold a temp and the flavor is second to none!

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
07-02-2013, 09:42 PM
Which ever one gets me sleep

edited for my style of cooking. :)