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View Full Version : Trailer Cooker or Trailer plus Cooker


Ron_L
02-18-2008, 10:26 PM
This may get a bit long, so bear with me :rolleyes:

I'm toying with the idea of cooking a few competitions on my own this year. I've cooked with Greg (Parrothead) in 4 - 5 comps a year for the past three years, but with his new business his plans are up in the air, so I may go out on my own. Here's where I could use some advice from some of you competition veterans.

I have a Good One Rodeo (http://www.aceofheartsbbq.com/model42-24p.html) cooker that would be great for competitions, but I have no way to get it there. I also have two WSMs and an Egg that would work, but I have no way to get them and all of the other stuff (canopy, tables, coolers, etc.) there. So... I came to the conclusion that I need a trailer. I can rent one, or I can buy one. I'm leaning towards buying one so I can add shelves, tie down where needed, etc. But then I started thinking about buying a trailer cooker instead. If I have a trailer cooker I can carry the fuel and a few other things in the cooker and in whatever storage there is on the trailer, and the canopy, tables, coolers, etc. should fit into the back of my Pathfinder. Hence the dilemma :-D Do I want to use my current cooker(s) and buy a trailer to carry them, or do I want to buy a trailer cooker? Cost wise the two options are close. A new 6x12 enclosed cargo trailer ranges from $2200 to $2800 depending on make and options, and a Lang 60 Mobile is 2200 or 2800 with the warmer.

What do you guys think? I know that we have several members who have trailers with varying levels of customization, and we have members who have Langs and Meadow Creeks and Spicewines and others. Give me your pros and cons of either approach.

thenewguy
02-18-2008, 11:40 PM
If you are happy with what you're using, then get a trailer to put it all in.
This way you have a permanent "house" for all the accessories-coolers,tables,canopies and such.
I've got the good one chuckwagon, which I love, but space is at a premium on the trailer.

Plowboy
02-18-2008, 11:55 PM
Used trailers are all over Craigslist. Probably be the least expensive way to go if you have the cooker.

Having a trailer that you can just drop when done is great. Cleaning out the back of the Pathfinder after a weekend of cooking, drinking, and not sleeping is not very fun.

Sawdustguy
02-19-2008, 06:12 AM
This may get a bit long, so bear with me :rolleyes:

I'm toying with the idea of cooking a few competitions on my own this year. I've cooked with Greg (Parrothead) in 4 - 5 comps a year for the past three years, but with his new business his plans are up in the air, so I may go out on my own. Here's where I could use some advice from some of you competition veterans.

I have a Good One Rodeo (http://www.aceofheartsbbq.com/model42-24p.html) cooker that would be great for competitions, but I have no way to get it there. I also have two WSMs and an Egg that would work, but I have no way to get them and all of the other stuff (canopy, tables, coolers, etc.) there. So... I came to the conclusion that I need a trailer. I can rent one, or I can buy one. I'm leaning towards buying one so I can add shelves, tie down where needed, etc. But then I started thinking about buying a trailer cooker instead. If I have a trailer cooker I can carry the fuel and a few other things in the cooker and in whatever storage there is on the trailer, and the canopy, tables, coolers, etc. should fit into the back of my Pathfinder. Hence the dilemma :-D Do I want to use my current cooker(s) and buy a trailer to carry them, or do I want to buy a trailer cooker? Cost wise the two options are close. A new 6x12 enclosed cargo trailer ranges from $2200 to $2800 depending on make and options, and a Lang 60 Mobile is 2200 or 2800 with the warmer.

What do you guys think? I know that we have several members who have trailers with varying levels of customization, and we have members who have Langs and Meadow Creeks and Spicewines and others. Give me your pros and cons of either approach.

Ron,

I am a bit biased but I would go with a Spicewine. I have both a Spicewine and a Lang. I bring the Spicewine to contests because with a Guru or a Stoker, I can get very long cook times without touching the cooker. This will be a Godsend if you decide to cook yourself. I believe Dr. Jay can whip you up a new Medium Spicewine, which has plenty of room for a comp for about $2000 (I havent checked the prices lately). The Lang will be more money and you will be forced to buy used if your budget is $2200 to $2800. The Lang will also need to be tended all night to keep the temp up. We added about 1 to 2 sticks an hour. We have a Hualmark 8.5' by 14' enclosed trailer that we have turned into a portable kitchen and we haul the Spicewine in it with no problem. The 8.5' by 14' may be a little out of your budget, but Vinny runs with a Medium Spicewine and a 5' by 8' Haulmark trailer and does very well with it. It seems he has it down to a science. I hope this helps and best of luck.

Spydermike72
02-19-2008, 06:41 AM
Hey Ron,

I am in the same dilema, almost. I am looking for either a trailer or a RV/Toy hauler (used) that I can use to carry my BWS and all of the cooking stuff for comps. But then I start to think about a trailer and all of the possibilities with that. Like Todd said, trailers are pretty cheap on Craigslist right now for a used, so I may be leaning that way ...

scottyd
02-19-2008, 06:42 AM
I got a lang and a stumps, go with what the Saw man says, I believe the spice is my next cooker also just need to figure where I will mount it.

Ford
02-19-2008, 06:49 AM
I notice you didn't mention an open trailer. That's also an option and you can put a roof on one fairly easy. Still need to tarp things but gives you a lot more moving around room when setup. Richard Sterling and Konrad over on the BBQ Forum posted pics of theirs years ago and you could search.

I used to own a Klose and now cook on FE's with an enclosed 8.5x16 trailer. Love it and the convenience of built in shelving and sinks, etc. You might browse the web for a used snowmobile trailer with at least 6'6" headroom. Or a used utility trailer from a construction company (lots of them around now). I'd never go back to towing a pit although the show is nice. I remember a bike gang passing me on the highway once and each of them gave me a thumbs up as they passed the big Klose. People slow down beside it for a look. Of course it is 21 feet long and over 8 foot tall and weighs 7000 #s.

MilitantSquatter
02-19-2008, 06:56 AM
Ron - If your only planning to do a few and not looking to spend major $$ , my advice would be to keep it minimal and stick with the WSM's and BGE since you already have them and they will produce fine comp quality entries.

Then get a basic trailer that you can comfortably store your stuff in and that's big enough for you to get in and out of. Todd's suggestion of looking for a used one is also good if you can find a good deal based on size and condition.

G$
02-19-2008, 07:35 AM
Based on the way you have framed the question Ron, I think a trailer, either enclosed or open, is the way to go. I would lean toward enclosed.

Resale for a trailer is easier than for a trailer smoker.
You already have adequate cookers.
Trailer has utility and value other than as a piece of competition equipment.

I am not sure on pathfinder specs, nor the specs on your GoodOne, but I am thinking a 5x8, although small in general, may be big enough for the coookers and gear, and perfectly towable with a pathfinder.

(And yes, like Guy said, get a spicewine too)

Dale P
02-19-2008, 08:08 AM
We use an enclosed trailer and really like it. We bought it used and it wasnt expensive but everything stays dry and out of my garage.

Ron_L
02-19-2008, 08:22 AM
Thanks, everyone for you thoughts...

Used trailers are all over Craigslist. Probably be the least expensive way to go if you have the cooker.

Having a trailer that you can just drop when done is great. Cleaning out the back of the Pathfinder after a weekend of cooking, drinking, and not sleeping is not very fun.

Unless I find a great deal on a new trailer, I will be buying used in good shape. There aren't that many on CL in the Chicago area, but it's an easy drive to Wisconsin, Indiana or Michigan. I also like the idea of having a place for everything and not having to clean out the back of the PF.

Ron,

I am a bit biased but I would go with a Spicewine.

The only problem with that plan, Guy, is that I would be buying both a trailer and a Spicewine, which I'm not sure i can swing. I'm not ruling it out since I would love to have one. Ya never know...

I notice you didn't mention an open trailer. That's also an option and you can put a roof on one fairly easy. Still need to tarp things but gives you a lot more moving around room when setup. Richard Sterling and Konrad over on the BBQ Forum posted pics of theirs years ago and you could search.

I haven't ruled out an open trailer, but i would want one with high sides if I decide to use the Egg. It seems that the most common way of transporting an Egg is in the nest, strapped to a wall, so an open trailer with low sides wouldn't work.

Based on the way you have framed the question Ron, I think a trailer, either enclosed or open, is the way to go. I would lean toward enclosed.

Resale for a trailer is easier than for a trailer smoker.
You already have adequate cookers.
Trailer has utility and value other than as a piece of competition equipment.

I am not sure on pathfinder specs, nor the specs on your GoodOne, but I am thinking a 5x8, although small in general, may be big enough for the coookers and gear, and perfectly towable with a pathfinder.

(And yes, like Guy said, get a spicewine too)

The PF towing capacity spec if 5000 lbs and the Good One weighs in at around 350, so even if I load up on charcoal, wood, water and all of the other stuff I don't think my cargo will be over 1000. Most 6X12 trailers have a curb weight under 1500 lbs, so I would be well under the max. I saw a Wells Cargo 7X14 dual axle that looked nice and is around 1900 lbs empty, but that may be overkill.

Two other thoughts... Most enclosed trailers won't fit into my garage so I would have to find a place to store it when it is not being used. Not a problem to find, but it is extra cost and some inconvenience. An open trailer should fit into my garage, but I would have to measure or calculate the height of the Good One on the trailer. It is bulky enough that i don't want to have to take it on and off. With an open trailer I can cook with it on the trailer, and with an enclosed trailer I am planning on using the ramp as a platform for the cooker while cooking.

KC_Bobby
02-19-2008, 09:06 AM
One more con (at least to me) about a trailer smoker, it's a new smoker to learn the ins and outs, hot spots, temp control, etc. Then when smoking at home does one really want to feed the huge trailer smoker tons of fuel to cook 2 butts when the Good One is more efficient.

If you like your Good-One, I think the trailer is the wiser and more accommodating purchase. If you do get the enclosed, you'll probably be happier with one that's tall enough to stand up in.

BBQchef33
02-19-2008, 09:17 AM
IMO, An enclosed trailer with all the stuff in place is the way to go. Pull in, plug in, unload the cookers and sit down and wait.

Minimal unload/reload. and when u get home, all u have to do is wash out the coolers. Makes it even easier if your doing back to backs and u just have to show,, reload the groceries and your off.

A trailer cooker? Your still load before, unload when u get there, reload there, unload at home... then do it all over again.

when I had the open trailer, i would take 3 days after work to get loaded up, and by the time I am done, im pooped and I havent even gotten to the event. Now with the enclosed setup, I shop the day before, load the cooler and pull away. wehn I get home, drag out the coolers washem down, and aside from shopping and replenshing supplies, I am ready for the next contest.

Scottie
02-19-2008, 09:52 AM
Ron you can email me and I have a connection for a used trailer auction. You can get one of those for next to nothing. Probably even get a upgrade for you. He is in Michigan, so it wouldn't be too far for you. I like my set-up. Have my RV and my garage all in one vehicle. Let me know if you want to hook yup this year. I've got a few that I know my sister won't be going to and I can always use the help.

Scottie

Bigdog
02-19-2008, 09:55 AM
Ron,
Talk with Capt. Tim about this. He has the open trailer mod and can give you his take on them. I see the parking of it as the central issue. Enclosed trailers give you security and convenience but it would not be if you had to park it somewhere else. I would definitely not buy another cooker right now. You can cook just fine with what you have. My .02

Tinybud
02-19-2008, 02:52 PM
Not all trailer cookers need to be attended too all night, might my meadow creek caterer's delight, once I load the charcoal pan up with charcoal and wood,, I don't have to add anymore too it for over 12hrs. It just chugs along all night. And its still relatively small, doesn't take up allot of room in the garage, I'd guess wheel to wheel its only 4' wide. I do like the idea at some point to have either a toy hauler or enclosed trailer with either a spicewine or a backwoods. But for now the caterer's delight is so verstatile I'll keep using it for comps.

Sawdustguy
02-19-2008, 04:17 PM
Not all trailer cookers need to be attended too all night, might my meadow creek caterer's delight, once I load the charcoal pan up with charcoal and wood,, I don't have to add anymore too it for over 12hrs. It just chugs along all night. And its still relatively small, doesn't take up allot of room in the garage, I'd guess wheel to wheel its only 4' wide. I do like the idea at some point to have either a toy hauler or enclosed trailer with either a spicewine or a backwoods. But for now the caterer's delight is so verstatile I'll keep using it for comps.

I think they were specifically talking about offset trailer cookers.

we'll smoke u
02-19-2008, 04:31 PM
I notice you didn't mention an open trailer. That's also an option and you can put a roof on one fairly easy. Still need to tarp things but gives you a lot more moving around room when setup. Richard Sterling and Konrad over on the BBQ Forum posted pics of theirs years ago and you could search.

I used to own a Klose and now cook on FE's with an enclosed 8.5x16 trailer. Love it and the convenience of built in shelving and sinks, etc. You might browse the web for a used snowmobile trailer with at least 6'6" headroom. Or a used utility trailer from a construction company (lots of them around now). I'd never go back to towing a pit although the show is nice. I remember a bike gang passing me on the highway once and each of them gave me a thumbs up as they passed the big Klose. People slow down beside it for a look. Of course it is 21 feet long and over 8 foot tall and weighs 7000 #s.

Hey Ford I believe Rich Sterling is selling his cooker for a good price. He emailed me something about it a couple of weeks ago.

I have done the open trailer, the small enclosed trailer and now I have one with a Kitchen set up in it. I think any trailer would be great to work out of but if you get a small enclosed like the guy's have said their is less setup and it shure makes it alot easier for one guy to do comps that and when you get home you can clean it up the nexted day.

The_Kapn
02-19-2008, 05:04 PM
Ron,
Not gonna suggest a course of action. Every one's needs and circumstances are different.
Here was my thought process for CheKeeta.

Multi purpose:
In my case, I can cook on CheKeeta in the carport--an "out side" kitchen. MrsKapn loves that!
Something like a Toy Hauler can double as an RV for the family in many cases. They work nice.

Towability:
My van is similar to your current tow car in capacity. As the trailer weight goes up, the need for a larger tow truck kicks in quickly--about 3000 to 3500# to be realistic. CheKeeta weighs in the low 2000's, the best I can figure, and that works fine for me.
I lusted for a cargo trailer or toy hauler, but the tow vehicle cost more than the trailer. FARK!

Ease of setup/tear-down:
Big concern for me. As much stuff as possible should remain on the trailer between events. The less "stuff" you have to move around and roll on/off the better. It took a lot of thought (pondering) to get CheKeeta to provide a "home" for most of my toys.

The "Big 3" areas:
Cooker and Fuel area:
If the cooker can stay in place--one less thing to shove around. Also, one less thing to tie down and hope it don't shift.
Prep area:
It really helps if it is in place and organized. I even added a shelf over my fold down prep table and it greatly expands the work surface and aids cleanup.
Sanitation Area:
This is paramount to ease of use. The area can be simple or complex depending on room and budget. I was able to use a used (cheap) SS sink and LP fired hot water heater to take the work out of sanitation. There are a jillion options, but you need a sanitation area with some kind of dependable hot water for sure.

"Goodies" Storage:
I pondered this a lot. Finally stumbled onto a Craftsman tool box on sale that handles most of my small chit. A couple of "tubs" handle larger stuff and are easy to pack and transport. I always (well almost always :oops:) know where chit is and can find it in a hurry. Also, "duplication" and "shortages" are way down from before.

So, look at your needs and budget and do not get locked into any preset rig.
It is amazing what you can do with limited resources and space sometimes.

And, I am not recommending a CheKeeta clone! She just met my needs and yours will be different.

Good luck and keep us posted.

TIM

KC_Bobby
02-19-2008, 07:45 PM
I'm thinking about taking my tax refund and getting a 10-12 enclosed trailer with ramp door - if I can find one used for the right price. My neighbor told me he'd buy my current utility trailer for what I paid for it over the winter. Now I want an enclosed.

Do they make awnings that short?

Tinybud
02-20-2008, 07:18 AM
I think they were specifically talking about offset trailer cookers.
just making a suggestion on something smaller that is towable that's not as big or bulky as an offeset.

KC_Bobby
02-22-2008, 02:22 PM
I called and the guy selling it told me he was in the middle of signing the title as I called.

Add an awning and this would have been a nice addition to the comp team.