Did I Buy The Right Smoker?
In the later 90's I decided that I wanted to learn how to smoke meats and picked up a New Braunfels Bandera vertical cooker. At the time I really wanted a super heavy horizontal offset smoker but didn't want to spend too much starting out. After using the Bandera for a while I grew to really like it. My impression of the unit is that it seemed easy to hold temperature and produced very good BBQ. I also grew to love the versatility of the unit.
I had to move early last year and had to sell off a lot of my heavy stuff to keep the cost of the move reasonable. I sold the Bandera thinking I would buy another later. After visiting Academy recently I discovered that New Braunfels no longer produces high quality cookers.
There were no vertical units at Academy but the Old Country BBQ smokers looked decent. I would up buying an Old Country Ranch Hand that is an all welded horizontal unit that weighs 215 lbs and appears to be 14 ga. steel. It is the $300 unit that I got at a very substantial discount as it was a return unit. After getting home I discovered that many people do not hold horizontal units in high regard in terms of temperature consistency in the cooking area and ability to hold a constant temperature. This apparently is aggravated by thinner gauge sheet metal.
So I am wondering if I made a serious mistake buying this unit or are the problems with these units exaggerated. Can I get this unit to perform well? My other option at Academy would have been to spend over twice as much to get the heavier Old Country Pecos unit (350 lbs).
Sorry for the long text.