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Unread 10-21-2010, 08:58 AM   #1
Smokin' D
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Default ? about gravity feed cabinet smokers

We have been looking at all kinds of cookers for some catering and the occasional comp. I really like off set cookers and don't want a water smoker.
My question is: Are the gravity feed cabinet smokers, ie Stumps, Superior, SteelCraft etc., considered to be offsets? In the pics it appears as though the fire box is off to the side but pictures don't always tell the tale. Any help is appreciated.
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Unread 10-21-2010, 10:04 AM   #2
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No. The cabinet, or specifically, gravity feed smokers are not offsets. These are considered vertical smokers as the smoke enters from the bottom (side) and travels upwards through cooking chamber. An offset also has a firebox on the side, but smoke travels down the length of the bottom of the cooker before turning 180 degrees and being redirected through the cooking chamber. The tale/tale sign for an offset is generally that the firebox and exhaust are on the same side.

I love my insulated vertical cooker because I can hook up a fan/controller, set the cooking temp, and walk away to do other things during the cook. Offsets, at least mine, generally consume a lot of fuel and therefore I use wood that I feed about every hour. The gravity feed units or vertical are more efficient and I use charcoal. Perhaps a pic would help...
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Unread 10-21-2010, 10:25 AM   #3
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I love my insulated vertical cooker because I can hook up a fan/controller, set the cooking temp, and walk away to do other things during the cook. Offsets, at least mine, generally consume a lot of fuel and therefore I use wood that I feed about every hour. The gravity feed units or vertical are more efficient and I use charcoal. Perhaps a pic would help...
Nice did you build that?
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Unread 10-21-2010, 10:36 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by prudog View Post
An offset also has a firebox on the side, but smoke travels down the length of the bottom of the cooker before turning 180 degrees and being redirected through the cooking chamber. The tale/tale sign for an offset is generally that the firebox and exhaust are on the same side.
That would be a reverse flow offset. Offset just means the firebox is not in line with the cooking chamber. They can be vertical or horizontal.

Now I want to know if Prudog built that and how much he charges.
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Unread 10-21-2010, 10:38 AM   #5
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Now I want to know if Prudog built that and how much he charges.
Hey no cutting the line
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Unread 10-21-2010, 10:40 AM   #6
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Well thanks PruDog. Your cooker looks to be a Stumps and your pic shows the inside of the unit better than any I've seen from any manufacturer. I did know that the verticals would not be a true offset but was curious about the location of the fire in the gravity feed units. To me the fire off to the side of the unit is a plus. Ease of use and efficiency aside, do you notice any flavor difference from your offset and the vertical? The reason I ask that is I have a COS, a WSM and 2 drums with diffuser plates and I prefer the flavor and textures that come off the offset a bit better. Thanks again for the info.

Hey don't get in a fight, it's just BBQ!
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Unread 10-23-2010, 01:27 PM   #7
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The net effect of the firebox to the side is not always positive. It IS easier to load BUT that is one more door to worry about sealing and then you typically have to tune the offset with plates or use a reverse flow design to help even out the cooking temps.

You COULD use the temp variances to your advantage like using the higher heat zone on chicken and the side away from the firebox on the brisket etc

Can you describe how/why you like the flavor and texture or the meat smoked on the offset more?
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Unread 10-23-2010, 07:07 PM   #8
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Can you describe how/why you like the flavor and texture or the meat smoked on the offset more?

I'll try Mike. An offset is a very innefficient design as heat wants to rise up and not go sideways. As a result more air needs to flow through the firebox and into the smoke chamber to produce the higher heat needed to give good tasting results. I think this increased air flow and the cleaner burning fire are a couple reasons I prefer the product off my COS. The resulting cleaner tasting smoke flavor and deeper, darker, and more firm bark appeals to me more than the product off the verticals.

It's that, or I'm just full of crap and really just prefer playing with fire!

Now what I really want to know is this. Do these insulated verticals give similar results to drums and the WSM, and if so are they really worth the extra expense? We are going to be getting a larger cooker and keep bouncing back and forth between the reverse flow cookers and the cabinet verticals. Thanks.
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Unread 10-23-2010, 10:47 PM   #9
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I'll say my two cents, and thats about all they are worth. I have built a large stumps clone. I think that it cooks great food, I think that the food is around the same as the drum or WSM becuase of a charcoal fire, and a low air flow design. However, I would not trade my stumps for anything. I have 5 shelves with a total of 30 square feet of cooking area. I have done a whole pig in it, as well as loading it with around 200 lbs of bork and chicken. It runs for what seems like forever with little to no effort, and that is with no fan. I do want a large offset, however I think you can not go wrong by adding a cabinet to your cookers.
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Unread 10-23-2010, 11:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Smokin' D View Post
I'll try Mike. An offset is a very innefficient design as heat wants to rise up and not go sideways. As a result more air needs to flow through the firebox and into the smoke chamber to produce the higher heat needed to give good tasting results. I think this increased air flow and the cleaner burning fire are a couple reasons I prefer the product off my COS. The resulting cleaner tasting smoke flavor and deeper, darker, and more firm bark appeals to me more than the product off the verticals.
I agree 100% and will add that the hotter, cleaner burning fire produces a deeper 'smoke' ring because the increased airflow moves more nitrogen dioxide over the surface of the meat. The down side is increased fuel consumption and more variation in temperature in different parts of the cooking chamber (which can be improved with tuning plates).

I use several different kinds of cookers. The offset is the least convenient to use but in my opinion produces the best results for me. Just an opinion of course, and I have produced excellent BBQ on my BGE, my Stumps and my kettle.

In fact, I have a brisket and two butts on the Stumps right now, and I'm going to bed. I could never do that with the offset!
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Unread 10-23-2010, 11:51 PM   #11
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However, I would not trade my stumps for anything. I have 5 shelves with a total of 30 square feet of cooking area. I have done a whole pig in it, as well as loading it with around 200 lbs of bork and chicken..
So that's what happened to the ex-Supreme Court nominee. I had been wondering what had become of him.
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Unread 10-24-2010, 12:34 PM   #12
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So that's what happened to the ex-Supreme Court nominee. I had been wondering what had become of him.
Well sorry... I have fat little sausage fingers and miss some letters... pretty sure some big boy beverages were enjoyed as well...
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Unread 10-24-2010, 12:45 PM   #13
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my two cents is if you are looking at catering and comps the savings in charcoal and time is worth more than a smoke ring and deeper bark. I personally wouldn't want my profit margin shrunk for a smoke ring which I can get on other smokers or manufacture myself. I want the most efficient smoker I can have with the minimal amount of my time.

I use my FEC-100 for a lot of catering. I don't have to tend to it, the cost is minimal and I ca use my free time for other things.
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Unread 10-24-2010, 03:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Smokin' D View Post
I'll try Mike. An offset is a very innefficient design as heat wants to rise up and not go sideways. As a result more air needs to flow through the firebox and into the smoke chamber to produce the higher heat needed to give good tasting results. I think this increased air flow and the cleaner burning fire are a couple reasons I prefer the product off my COS. The resulting cleaner tasting smoke flavor and deeper, darker, and more firm bark appeals to me more than the product off the verticals.

It's that, or I'm just full of crap and really just prefer playing with fire!

Now what I really want to know is this. Do these insulated verticals give similar results to drums and the WSM, and if so are they really worth the extra expense? We are going to be getting a larger cooker and keep bouncing back and forth between the reverse flow cookers and the cabinet verticals. Thanks.
Ahh that makes sense but then the next logical question is do you prefer a clean burning fire which is hotter over the traditional low and slow that might not burn as clean OR is it just the offset?? Basically have you ever smoked anything @ 250+ on the wsm or uds that might be more likely to have the greater airflow and cleaner fire that you prefer? I ask because I am also already researching my next smoker and can't decide between a reverseflow or a cabinet. I always smoke around 250 degrees on my WSM AND ONLY have one smoker or I would definitely conduct a bbq Experiment :)
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Unread 10-24-2010, 04:05 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by bocephus View Post
Well sorry... I have fat little sausage fingers and miss some letters... pretty sure some big boy beverages were enjoyed as well...
If you were a le$bi@n you would be well hung...
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