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Old 11-12-2013, 08:06 PM   #1
Knows what a fatty is.
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Join Date: 10-21-13
Location: Calhoun, GA
Default Greasyhill Customs Model 400 Smoker w/rib box: Review and Modifications

So I decided that if I was going to really be a serious competitor and vendor I needed a bigger pit that was more mobile that the backyard trio I have been using. I wanted a cooker that could give me added capacity but wouldn’t be one that I felt overly tied to because of a large investment. That way when I was ready to sell I could part with it and get the pit I really want (right now that would be like something from Pitmaker).After looking at several cookers and evaluating what the budget could handle I was about to postpone when I found Greasyhill Customs. The price was very attractive but reading posts here and elsewhere I was a bit concerned. Not living too far away, I decided to drive over to the shop to check one out. My wife and my competition teammate both came along to help evaluate. We arrived at the shop, looked the smoker over, did some bargaining and came home with a new smoker. So here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The good:
John was a very pleasant fellow who was easy to talk to. He showed us around the smoker and was not hard to negotiate with. He apparently is much aware of the negative comments that have been made about his past builds and has addressed many, but not all, of the concerns others have had with them.
· The smoker chamber is now rolled ¼ inch steel.
· The trailer is well built and balanced (probably the best part of the unit).
· He has increased the number of intakes to 2 both now even and low on the firebox
· The exhaust is 6 inch now (instead of 3)
· Mine also has a ¼ inch steel firebox (though he said that is not standard)
The bad:
· The most critical issue with the smoker is still airflow. The two vents don’t quite give it enough air
· The firebox is about 75% the size it should be for maximum time between fuelings
· The firebox grate is too high and the opening into the pit chamber too low which makes it harder to build a good fire and get draft going
· Attention to detail: Rough edges, skip welds and uneven cutouts lead to leaks, sharp edges, reduced performance and just not as professional a look close up (though none presented structural problems)
The ugly truth:
You may wonder why I decided to buy with some of the issues listed above and it comes down to three things.
1. The smoker has good bones. John was very honest about the smoker and said that he does them the way he does so that he can keep costs low and make them affordable. For instance he made no attempt to try to pass off the temp gauges as anything other than low cost gauges that I should probably replace before serious competition. So build quality is not in the same range as Lang or Tuscaloosa. That being said, it is built well enough that it will cook as is and with some work can be made into a very nice smoker.
2. The price is right. My teammate and I are still trying to figure out how he makes money on these things. Although some will say “you get what you pay for” I can’t complain one bit. If I didn’t think it was worth it I would not have bought it.
3. I have the resources to make this into what I want. I don’t have the money, the time or the talent to build a smoker of this size nor do I have the money to buy one at the level I want. However, I do have access to the tools and resources to take this one and improve it. And it really didn’t take much to make it into a really nice rig.
So my advice if you are looking at these smokers is: if you don’t mind not having a perfect smoker and just want a cooker at a low cost this is not a bad deal. You will have to work this smoker a bit more than say a Lang but that can be fun too. You may find that you have to at least leave the door cracked open or add an extra intake. You may even have to get a weld fixed or modify something. If you want a smoker that you don’t want to have to consider modifying this may not be the one for you. If you do decide to go with Greasyhills make sure to request the ¼ inch firebox.
Next up: what we did to improve the smoker
Brick Pit "47", Greasyhill Customs 400 w/warmer, Char-griller Trio; Team Q-inator!

Last edited by ag80n; 11-12-2013 at 08:07 PM.. Reason: added text
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