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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 06-11-2013, 10:31 AM   #1
JussBuss
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Default just another "what's best" thread

Hi guys! New to the forum here but I have been burning wood for a few years now.

I have a delima and would love to get some feedback.

For a few years now I have used a traditional steel pit. Firebox on the side and smoke stake on the other side. Nothing out of the norm.

I have gotten more into smoking lately than grilling and have come to the realization that It takes me ALOT of attention to maintain a constant temp on my pit. I was smoking ribs the other day (3,2,1 method) and my family was all watching a movie. i was in and out probably 5-7 times with in that 2 hour window just making sure the fire was still going and the temp was where it needed to be. I had to adjust for things and it took up a lot of family time.

Here are my questions, I have several so bare with me.



Question 1.

If I get a box made out of expanded metal to hold my wood and coal in my firebox will this help with fire/temp control? I feel like my fire goes in and out with little control and it is very difficult to get the new wood started that I throw on. I am told that this expanded metal box will let the ash fall out with out smothering the fire and it will hold the wood and coal together for a longer stronger burn.


Question 2.

I was thinking about switching all together to a BGE. I have done a lot of research and it seams like an amazing smoker. with almost a set it and forget it type of day.


Question 3.

Electric smoker, yay or nay??? I honestly do not feel like an electric smoker is for me but I do not want to just write it off either. For me if wood and coal are not your main heat source then it just does not seem like BBQ.



So, should I just make the switch? Or is their hope for my pit at home?
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Unread 06-11-2013, 10:34 AM   #2
deguerre
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You're gonna get a million different opinions, several of which will be "Build a UDS!"...
Who made the pit your using now? That would be helpful knowledge for anyone suggesting a mod.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 10:53 AM   #3
JussBuss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deguerre View Post
You're gonna get a million different opinions, several of which will be "Build a UDS!"...
Who made the pit your using now? That would be helpful knowledge for anyone suggesting a mod.
Some crack pot that really ripped me off. A local guy built it for me, he advertised one thing and delivered another. His phone no longer works and I never heard from him again. It's ok. I see smoke coming out of places I wish it wouldn't, and the weld job is sloppy as can be.


Tell me more about the UDS. I have heard of it but not enough to know what it is.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 11:01 AM   #4
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The Mother Of ALL UDS Threads...

700 + pages of everything and anything you wanted to know.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=23436

Norcoredneck's build with a no weld mod...

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...hlight=redneck

Once you learn your UDS, it's a set and forget smoker. And it's INEXPENSIVE to build. Lump and wood chunks for fuel and smoke.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 11:05 AM   #5
JussBuss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deguerre View Post
The Mother Of ALL UDS Threads...

700 + pages of everything and anything you wanted to know.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=23436

Norcoredneck's build with a no weld mod...

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...hlight=redneck

Once you learn your UDS, it's a set and forget smoker. And it's INEXPENSIVE to build. Lump and wood chunks for fuel and smoke.
I want a BGE like a kid wanting something for Christmas really bad lol. The price tag is the only thing keeping me away for now. At the same time I do not want to cheap out and end up with something...ok.

Thanks for the UDS links. I will look into those. In the meantime I look forward to hearing from every one here.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 11:13 AM   #6
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1. A fire basket would be preferable but probably more helpful in longer burn times rather than better temperature controls. Now if you just have a pile of just sitting on the bottom of the firebox, yeah you should definitely get some type of elevated, ventilated box in there to assist you. Expanded metal is pretty cheap and you can get 24x24" sheets at your big box stores. It is located with the other small sheet metal pieces. Some tin snips and bolts, washers, and nuts can build you a box with no metalworking skills.

2. I do not have a BGE, but that is a pretty big investment and you are probably drastically reducing your cooking area when compared to your offset smoker. I would probably recommend a less pricey model to try first before jumping into a $1500 item.

3. I feel the same way about electric smokers. I recommend them for beginners who don't really want to get into the bbq a whole lot.

Some extra advice to help save you time and effort. You mentioned your smoker leaks a little bit, well they all pretty much do that but if it is relatively airtight in the firebox region there are several automatic temperature controllers out there that will handle keeping the fire going for you. I have two models of the BBQ Guru brand. Essentially a fan that controls the air going into the fire based on a temperature probe that goes into your cooking chamber. They are very effective. Another device that can help you from running back and forth is a nice wireless thermometer like the Maverick 732 that will monitor meat and pit temperatures and transmit them to a receiver that you carry around with you. The Maverick is probably the most popular but there other brandnames too.

If you like the pit you have now, I would stick to it and try to improve on it.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 11:15 AM   #7
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Really depends on your needs, how much food you need to make at once, and your budget. If you mostly just do cooking for the family you might consider the Akorn, its a Kamodo grill along the lines of the BGE at a fraction of the cost.Very versatile and easy to use as either a smoker or you can run the temp up and grill, do high heat sears, cook pizzas on it, etc...It weighs a lot less than the BGE so is more portable.Downside is its a little less cooking room than the BGE, theres not as many attachments available, and it will probably not last as long as an egg will.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 11:15 AM   #8
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^^^^ +1. and build a UDS.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 11:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JussBuss View Post
I want a BGE like a kid wanting something for Christmas really bad lol. The price tag is the only thing keeping me away for now. At the same time I do not want to cheap out and end up with something...ok.

Thanks for the UDS links. I will look into those. In the meantime I look forward to hearing from every one here.
I got a Weber Performer off of Craig's List for cheap and bought a Cajun Bandit conversion kit to make it a virtual WSM. Excellent smoker and I was only out about 350 total, including the rotissary ring and motor. Got my wife a Char Griller Akorn (Double walled steel Kamodo) which we love as well. Also 300 or less depending on who has them on sale.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 11:20 AM   #10
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I have been using a New Braunfels offset for about 17 years and I absolutely feel your pain, lol! The COSs are pretty difficult to control strait off of the sales floor but with a couple of mods you can get it under control. One problem with them is that they leak heat due to poorly fitted doors and a bolted on firebox rather than welded and the way I fixed that was to get some high heat silicone caulk which you should be able to find at Home Depot or Lowes and simply laid a bead of it around the firebox lid and the cooking chamber lid as well as the gap between the firebox and the cooking chamber. The next issue was that the heat from the firebox was going strait up the side of the cooking chamber, across the top of the lid and then out the stack which resulted in a 50 to 75 degree difference from the cooking grate to the lid. I remedied that by making a heat deflector or baffle from an old turkey roasting pan. I cut it in half and then not having the tools needed for welding I drilled some holes and attached the roasting pan baffle with screws over the opening of the firebox leading into the cooking chamber. Of all of the mods, that was one of the most important ones because all though it wasn't perfect it made a huge difference in heat distribution. When the heat and smoke leave the firebox it is then directed to the bottom of the smoking chamber and then begins it's rise to the top and to the stack as it should. Some guys have lengthened the stack pipe so that the opening to the stack was just above the cooking grate but I didn't since mine seemed long enough already. Finally I did make a simple charcoal basket with expanded steel and was able to get a longer, more controlled burn but I eventually just went with a small wood fire which I start with a chimney of charcoal and a couple of small splits. Once I get the blue smoke going I just add a split at a time every 45 minutes or so and the old offset maintains heat pretty well with that. Just maintain a small clean fire, keep your exhaust damper completely open and let your intake damper do the work.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 11:53 AM   #11
JussBuss
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Thank you for all of the advice so far guys!

I am sure there are a million how to videos on UDS's but is there one that you guys can recommend that would be a legit video on how to with them?

I would like to get a step by step idea but do not want to come across some bad instructions.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 12:10 PM   #12
JussBuss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajstrider View Post
1. A fire basket would be preferable but probably more helpful in longer burn times rather than better temperature controls. Now if you just have a pile of just sitting on the bottom of the firebox, yeah you should definitely get some type of elevated, ventilated box in there to assist you. Expanded metal is pretty cheap and you can get 24x24" sheets at your big box stores. It is located with the other small sheet metal pieces. Some tin snips and bolts, washers, and nuts can build you a box with no metalworking skills.

2. I do not have a BGE, but that is a pretty big investment and you are probably drastically reducing your cooking area when compared to your offset smoker. I would probably recommend a less pricey model to try first before jumping into a $1500 item.

3. I feel the same way about electric smokers. I recommend them for beginners who don't really want to get into the bbq a whole lot.

Some extra advice to help save you time and effort. You mentioned your smoker leaks a little bit, well they all pretty much do that but if it is relatively airtight in the firebox region there are several automatic temperature controllers out there that will handle keeping the fire going for you. I have two models of the BBQ Guru brand. Essentially a fan that controls the air going into the fire based on a temperature probe that goes into your cooking chamber. They are very effective. Another device that can help you from running back and forth is a nice wireless thermometer like the Maverick 732 that will monitor meat and pit temperatures and transmit them to a receiver that you carry around with you. The Maverick is probably the most popular but there other brandnames too.

If you like the pit you have now, I would stick to it and try to improve on it.
Just noticed your location. I traveled and cooked 5 years in a row with Larry, Darrel, and Darrel BBQ team at the Paducah BBQ on the river.

Small world!
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Unread 06-11-2013, 12:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JussBuss View Post
Thank you for all of the advice so far guys!

I am sure there are a million how to videos on UDS's but is there one that you guys can recommend that would be a legit video on how to with them?

I would like to get a step by step idea but do not want to come across some bad instructions.
I'd be really surprised if there isn't a ton of youtube videos on UDSs and also on the mods that I was describing for the offset.
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Unread 06-11-2013, 12:15 PM   #14
JussBuss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbill View Post
I'd be really surprised if there isn't a ton of youtube videos on UDSs and also on the mods that I was describing for the offset.
I am sure there is too. Just don't want to come across one steering me the wrong way.
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