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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 12-29-2012, 08:20 PM   #31
Bob in St. Louis
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Good conversation guys. A healthy debate. Love it!

Bassman, what STL comp were you in?
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Unread 12-29-2012, 08:22 PM   #32
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3 choices-

1. WSM (18.5 or 22.5)

2. Akorn kamado (its a grill that does a great job smoking and like all kamados is extremely efficient, but some people don't care about this)

3. UDS

Any of these 3 would be a good choice. If you want a dedicated smoker, go with 1 or 3.
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Unread 12-29-2012, 09:03 PM   #33
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I have two WSM 22's and have been really happy with how easy and consistent they are to cook with. I am glad I bought them. They should last me until I can talk my wife into letting me buy a Backwoods Competitor. Which will be awhile....
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Unread 12-29-2012, 09:06 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingbassman5 View Post
Just to throw it out there, just because you own a WSM which, yes, is proven to and regularly does win competitions, it doesn't automatically make your Q amazing and 1st class comp grade. I feel that sometimes, a lot of people get the notion that they can just buy a $300 cooker that wins competitions and expect awesome results. It takes practice to turn out good Q, not just good equipment.

Back in October, I competed in the Backyard Class at one of the late BBQ comps here in STL. The team next to my spot had 2 22' WSMs and 2 Ceramic cookers. Easily over $1000 in cooking equipment that ended up getting beat by a majority of the 22 teams. The cooks experience is just as valuable as the price tag on his equipment, if not more. That said, I had my Silver Smoker and my Coleman, both costing me a combined total under $100 from sellers on CL and with mods to the Silver, and I ended up with 5th in Ribs and 12th in chicken. Not too shabby for using two pits that are second or third hand with the Coleman being about 5-10 years older than me. You just need to find a pit that is going to compliment your cooking style and experience, and also give you room to grow. And once you find one, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!

**Disclaimer** I am in NO WAY discrediting the WSM. They really are fantastic cookers for the price. I am only trying to illustrate the point that cooking experience and a cheap pit can go a much farther way than a $500-$1000 rig and an inexperienced cook.

Hopefully we didnt say anything contrary to this. Great quality smokers dont make great quality BBQ; experience (aka. practice, practice, practice) does.

But, like Bandit said, it's about his 3 factors (I cannot see them here), but things like learning curve really play into it. I'm probably the goofus that mentioned competition first. My point wasnt that he could or should compete (or not), but that the smoker is good enough that some quality competitors use them with very good success. Not me, mind you, I prefer my heavy-as-hell Lang, but that wasn't what he was asking. I think I understand the guy, because 20 years ago I was there. I wish I'd purchased the WSM then... I'd have saved a lot of money wasted on mediocre equipment and meat ruined.

Going a little higher in money, look to the very versatile cookers like Acorn, Primo, BGE, Bubba Keg, etc. They're darned good smokers and darned good grills (and please understand that smoking and grilling are quite different).

Then, towards the upper end of those prices you begin to get into the prices of (IMHO) worthwhile offset smokers and some cabinet smokers.

And up, and up, and up.... :-)
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Unread 12-29-2012, 09:19 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob in St. Louis View Post
Good conversation guys. A healthy debate. Love it!

Bassman, what STL comp were you in?
It was the Holy Smokers comp in Valley Park. Was my 1st one and did darn good with the ribs for my first time out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
Hopefully we didnt say anything contrary to this. Great quality smokers dont make great quality BBQ; experience (aka. practice, practice, practice) does.

But, like Bandit said, it's about his 3 factors (I cannot see them here), but things like learning curve really play into it. I'm probably the goofus that mentioned competition first. My point wasnt that he could or should compete (or not), but that the smoker is good enough that some quality competitors use them with very good success. Not me, mind you, I prefer my heavy-as-hell Lang, but that wasn't what he was asking. I think I understand the guy, because 20 years ago I was there. I wish I'd purchased the WSM then... I'd have saved a lot of money wasted on mediocre equipment and meat ruined.

Going a little higher in money, look to the very versatile cookers like Acorn, Primo, BGE, Bubba Keg, etc. They're darned good smokers and darned good grills (and please understand that smoking and grilling are quite different).

Then, towards the upper end of those prices you begin to get into the prices of (IMHO) worthwhile offset smokers and some cabinet smokers.

And up, and up, and up.... :-)
Agreed. Competition or not, its a combination of cook plus cooker plus experience that equals great Q.. And to think my teachers in high school said I was bad at math!!
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Unread 12-29-2012, 11:08 PM   #36
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I cut my teeth in BBQ on a Brinkman Cimmaron offset. It's 1/4" steel, welded firbox. I have had it since the late 90's. Back then they were about $800 - $900 new. My dad bought it for me for Christmas. Even with the heavy steel and welded construction, it took some modifications to get it to work well. I cooked some kicka$$ BBQ on that pit and really learned about fire control, thin blue, and a host of other lessons.

Now take a look at my signature. I own 2 offsets (1 I bought because it needed to be saved from a slow death due to neglect) and I own 10 WSMs.

Does that tell ya something? (Other than I'm a WSM hoarder)

Can you cook great Q on a small, inexpensive offset? Yes, if you don't mind tending to the pit every 30 - 60 minutes.

Can you cook great Q on a WSM out of the box? Yes, and when you have learned the WSM you can tend the fire every 12 - 16 hours.

There is something special about cooking on an offset, and I commend you for thinking about getting one. But it all comes down to one thing: VALUE. When you spend your $300 on a pit, what's the best value? For you, the desire to cook on an offset may outweigh the need for long cook times. Therefore, the offset would be a better value for you. If long, unattended cooks are your goal, then spending your $300 on a WSM would be the better value.

Did I make sense?

Anyway, us Weber guys have a saying: "Buy the best, and only cry once."

BTW, at my first comp, cooking on the oldest WSM in the world, I placed 6th in pork and 5th in brisket. Since then I have placed second in pork and first in brisket, all cooking on WSMs.
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Unread 12-30-2012, 08:01 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnysmoke View Post
are there any good offset smkers for around 300 bucks?
New smokers...I'd say no. If you're lucky you might find an old New Braufels on CL for that price range. I love cooking on my 2 offsets, and in my opinion the flavor from an offset is tough to beat. But for smaller cooks, I use my 22.5 WSM. For your price range, you will not find a better NEW smoker than a WSM.
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Unread 12-30-2012, 09:45 AM   #38
Bob in St. Louis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingbassman5 View Post
It was the Holy Smokers comp in Valley Park. Was my 1st one and did darn good with the ribs for my first time out.
I'll have to look for that. I drive through Valley Park on my way to work.
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Unread 12-30-2012, 11:34 AM   #39
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Here is one for $200. A little rehab will go a long way.

http://columbus.craigslist.org/hsh/3413967626.html
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Unread 12-30-2012, 11:43 AM   #40
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Get the WSM. Dont get a cheap-o offset, too much of a headache for me. If I were to get an offset, it would be a Lang 36 or something in that category. I started off on a Brinkmann offset and it was just a pita, made some kick ass Q, but just a hassle. Leaks galore, thin metal etc.
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Unread 12-30-2012, 07:22 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob in St. Louis View Post
I'll have to look for that. I drive through Valley Park on my way to work.
You must not be far from me then. I'm near hwys 141 and 30 in Fenton. They have the competition every year in late October and it was a blast to compete in. It was hosted by the Knights of Columbus at Sacred Heart Parish and really blew up in size this year. I'm already in for next year too!

Okay, hi-jack over!
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Unread 01-01-2013, 01:14 PM   #42
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Just build a UDS and save yourself the headache of tending a fire like you're running a steam locomotive.
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