Originally Posted by NorthwestBBQ
Andy, I beg to differ. In comp and many restaurants the Southern Pride and Old Hickery Pits ONLY use gas to start the logs. They are computer controlled draft and temp controllers with very heavy duty rotisseries. The computer tells you when to add wood. I know you are all pellet heads but I would like to offer a different point of view.
Actually, I am not sure what you are "differing" with me on. I said that all the pits would be great pits, I said I would take any of them. I also said that owners could choose to run them on all wood...
I am sure all the folks you mentioned are very happy with their pits, I know folks with both OH and SP pits currently that are happy with them. In the last 20 years, we have owned or cooked several versions of both, and believe they cook just fine. I think it is fair to say that FEC owners are very happy with thier pits also.
What I tried to provide was objective info, A local Legendary BBQ chain did an extensive TCO/ROI model - on product yield, and cost of running the three pits. The net-net of thier research is that pellet pits provide a higher yield, and are cheaper to run. Then I added my subjective opinion, that the pellet cooker puts a nicer color on the meat. That isnt bashing the other two pits... it is sharing data , and my opinion, having cooked lots of meat in all three brands of cooker.
I will reiterate, all three are excellent pits, and would serve the purpose of preparing catering food well.
The new oylers are fine, but the coolest ones are the older units. They are like a willie wonka choc factory machine... with levers and switches opening the intake and exhaust. They are a mechanical marvel. Something to be said for the engineering that made them work!
I will also say those "quirks" make the pit fun, too. Our SP, in the winter we chose not to start ours with the gas at all. The old gas valves had a safety mechanisim on them, that required the ambient temp. of the probe to be 50 degrees, or the valve would not open. That probe was about 6" above the door opening, on the front wall of the pit. To get the gas to light on a cold cook, we had to pre-warm the probe with a lighter or butane torch... getting to it was a pain that got ya greasy, so we just started it with a weed burner in the firebox. I'm not bashing the SP, as I said it was a safety feature... just saying that older ones can be fun to play with too. I get to play with an Oyler, at Bob's shop now, and it is a site to behold for sure.
so to summarize... They are all fine units, I'd be happy to own all three... but, if I had to put my hard earned money down on one in 2010/11, it would be an FEC, for the objective reasons I have noted. I definitely like pellet cookers, and love my FEC, but I dont feel I was "bashing" the others, or giving them a slight. Just providing the objective input I had, as well as my opinion, which I believe was asked for.
I am going to discount your "pellet head" comment. I have as many years (probably more) using the SP/OH, and lots of other pits (Kingfishers for comps, Southern Style cookers, etc.)The HoDeDo's have owned just about every cooker out there, over the last 30 years. So only about 1/3 of my cooking life has been with pellet pits. Again, just trying to clarify that I'm not bashing either of the other pits, or owners of them that are happy.