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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 01-29-2011, 04:09 PM   #31
nrok2118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ Bandit View Post
Here's an option that will only cost you some meat... that would assist you in your thought process?

If you desire to play with a stickburner... how about a live demo learning and burning on a Lang?
Drop me a PM to arrange a time to drive down, set-up, throw some meat on a Lang... and play with some fire.
^^^^This is why I joined this forum/bbq community. Its nice to have helpful passionate bbq'ers instead of a bunch of know it all D-bags. But I have to take a rain check, as of right now I'm working every day and 10hr weekdays mandatory so I dont have a lot of spare time. Plus the snow is getting a little much for me. But down the road if I havent pulled the trigger yet Ill definitely take you up on your offer. Thanks
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Unread 01-29-2011, 04:31 PM   #32
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I would start looking for a used FEC100 - those can be had for under $3K usually. Outside of that, A wholehog is great. I have used one in competitons for several years now. I cook in mine no less than 100 times per side per year. And it has held up great over the years.

An insulated cooker of any type however will really help you with fuel consumption and time/temp mgmt. Spicewine has a model that will fit in that range I believe as well.

Good luck on your search!!! I'm happy to answer any questions about my pits.
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Unread 01-29-2011, 05:13 PM   #33
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I think, after 4 - 5 cooks on the Traeger and being a stick burner for eight or nine years, that if you have the time to burn real wood, do it. If you find yourself wondering if you really want to stay up all night nurturing an offset, or you just don't have the time, get something you can set and forget. I think BBQ should be a labor of love so stick-burning is my sweet spot, but when the wind's howling and it's cold as hell, I sure love the Traeger. A charcoal burner that will run for several hours is a great compromise to consider, too.

Arlin
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Unread 01-29-2011, 05:21 PM   #34
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but can you actually trust those fec 100 after all the fires been mention.
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Unread 01-29-2011, 05:29 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jestridge View Post
but can you actually trust those fec 100 after all the fires been mention.
I said it in the other thread, and I'll say it again here... Grease fires happen in all kinds of pits. Don't condemn a cooker that is used hundreds of times every weekend in competitions and backyards all over the country without incident. Yes, a member posted about a fire, and a few others have shared their experience, but people will chime in on things like that. You don;t see a thread titled "I didn't have a fire in my FEC today". That's not something some posts about because they are looking for help.
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Unread 01-29-2011, 05:38 PM   #36
Lion Bout The Q
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Had our FEC for over 2 seasons...No fires... Just great consistant heat and smoke.. you couldn't get it pried out of my hands and I use to make fun of pellet heads.
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Unread 01-29-2011, 07:39 PM   #37
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I have an FEC 100.

I cook briskets and shoulders mostly. Ribs come in second.

I do everything hot and fast with success.

I have never, ever, had a fire.

I line the shield with foil, and I clean out the ash every other cook.

You need to prepare yourself for very low smoke flavor because the pellets burn efficiently and the smoke exits quickly because of the airflow from the design. (But the heat holds well)

Some people like low subtle smoke flavor. Sometimes they will suggest that anyone who likes a strong smoke flavor is used to "over smoked" or "acrid" smoke flavor. It is their opinion, and yet they will assert it with great authority.

I like strong smoke flavor from post oak reminiscent of the famous bbq restaraunts of Texas. I began adding extra smoke with smoldering post oak in the space next to the firepot when I finally figured out how to do it.

Two things to keep in mind--

1. Shipping cost on pellets will eat your lunch, so start calculating the cost. A local dealer bag will be marked up too so look at that too. I went up to Ponka city and loaded up my truck with bags of pellets and saved money.

2. If you like strong smoke, you will need to figure out how to get it in there which takes a lot of enginuity.

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Unread 07-21-2013, 07:25 PM   #38
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I too am in the market for a new smoker. I've struggled with a COS for about 5yrs and by tweaking it and practicing a bunch I've managed to get it to turn out some pretty darned good food. It's worn out though.

I do (to a degree) enjoy the process of tending the fire but set/forget is undeniably attractive. I've read in a few places that pellet cookers impart a much much milder smoke profile to the food. Is this a truism? Urban Legend? Easily modded fix? Further I do have concerns that 5yrs from now a motor or controller might burn out that cannot be replaced if the vendor goes teats up. I can weld well enough to effect any repairs to a quality offset cooker.

Anyone with experience on both that can comment on the above concerns?

Thanks,

True
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Unread 07-21-2013, 07:33 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn True View Post
I've read in a few places that pellet cookers impart a much much milder smoke profile to the food. Is this a truism? Urban Legend? Easily modded fix?
Milder than what? The fire in pellet smokers burn very efficiently so there is less smoke flavor than a traditional offset, vertical, UDS, etc. at lower temps, but it is about the same as some of the newer offsets where folks are typically cooking at 275+. I've compared food in an FEC-100 against food from a Jambo and there is almost no difference in smoke flavor.

As far as parts, pick one of the better known brands and you have a good chance that they will stay in business. I've been cooking in my FEC-100 for 6 years (maybe 7) and the only failure I have had was the ignitor, which you can live without. It was an easy replacement.
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Unread 07-21-2013, 08:10 PM   #40
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It's hard to beat the flavor of an offset but as you know they require more tending. The WSM has a real good smoke flavor but for some reason different from a stick burner but is almost hassle free, the pellet popper doesn't have as strong a smoke flavor as most are accustom to so they usually end up using a smoke generator to strengthen the smoke flavor but are stinking easy to use and yes they do require an electrical source how ever it doesn't have to be from a wall outlet, they will run off a 300 watt power inverter or at least a Traeger will. Now you have the fuel costs to deal with. You can find wood almost anywhere for your stick burner and a lot of times it's free, now the WSM can use lump or briquettes both are easy enough to fine and usually can be found on sale at certain times of the year which means you just have to find wood chunks for flavoring which can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot or you can cut chunks from the free sources stick burners use which leaves us the pellet popper, they will only burn the rabbit food looking pellets and they can sometimes be hard to find and are usually more expensive than charcoal or wood and if you find a cheaper distributor on line you'll more than likely have to pay a shipping cost which can make you wince a little unless you buy , oh lets say, about a ton of them then you may be able to get a brake on shipping. I like all of them, each has a place or purpose depending on my mood.
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Unread 07-21-2013, 09:03 PM   #41
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In the "for what it's worth Dept." if you order something now, you probably won't get it until late fall. My advice, take advantage of the many offers and cook on some of these toys, get to know them and make an informed decision based on first hand experience. Then get yourself a great new Christmas present and it will be delivered in early spring to start the season out right!!

Best of luck and keep us informed!
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Unread 07-21-2013, 09:44 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLR View Post
It's hard to beat the flavor of an offset but as you know they require more tending. The WSM has a real good smoke flavor but for some reason different from a stick burner but is almost hassle free, the pellet popper doesn't have as strong a smoke flavor as most are accustom to so they usually end up using a smoke generator to strengthen the smoke flavor but are stinking easy to use and yes they do require an electrical source how ever it doesn't have to be from a wall outlet, they will run off a 300 watt power inverter or at least a Traeger will. Now you have the fuel costs to deal with. You can find wood almost anywhere for your stick burner and a lot of times it's free, now the WSM can use lump or briquettes both are easy enough to fine and usually can be found on sale at certain times of the year which means you just have to find wood chunks for flavoring which can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot or you can cut chunks from the free sources stick burners use which leaves us the pellet popper, they will only burn the rabbit food looking pellets and they can sometimes be hard to find and are usually more expensive than charcoal or wood and if you find a cheaper distributor on line you'll more than likely have to pay a shipping cost which can make you wince a little unless you buy , oh lets say, about a ton of them then you may be able to get a brake on shipping. I like all of them, each has a place or purpose depending on my mood.
A couple of things... (color coded )

While there are some guys on here you have played with smoke generators, they are in the minority. There are ways to get more smoke flavor in a pellet cooker, but a smoke generator is not common, and would be illegal in KCBS competitions since most use electricity.

Define expensive :) I can cook a typical KCBS competition on 8 lbs of pellets. 8 lbs costs me about $3. That's running the smoker for 16 hours.

You can get pellets from anyone who sells pellet smokers or grills, plus some places like Big Poppa Smokers carry them and Big Poppa offers free shipping on orders of $40 or higher.
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Unread 07-22-2013, 04:23 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
A couple of things... (color coded )

While there are some guys on here you have played with smoke generators, they are in the minority. There are ways to get more smoke flavor in a pellet cooker, but a smoke generator is not common, and would be illegal in KCBS competitions since most use electricity.

Define expensive :) I can cook a typical KCBS competition on 8 lbs of pellets. 8 lbs costs me about $3. That's running the smoker for 16 hours.

You can get pellets from anyone who sells pellet smokers or grills, plus some places like Big Poppa Smokers carry them and Big Poppa offers free shipping on orders of $40 or higher.
Thanks for the extra input, I'll check out Big Poppa for the pellets, I've been buying Traeger pellets locally and at $19.00 for #20 it seems quite expensive to me, as for the burn time I haven't really tried a true low and slow but I burned up a bag of pellets doin 4 cooks in the 350 degree range and that just didn't feel right. The lack of smoke flavor, I'm open for some ideas on how to do it, I haven't had my Traeger that long and I'm still trying to learn the better tweeks, I've read a bunch and thats what I was basing some of my answers on and my brief experience as well.
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Unread 07-22-2013, 05:39 AM   #44
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The key to generating more smoke in a pellet pooper without the use of a smoke generator such as a amazin tube smoker or smoke daddy is to smoke low and slow at about 180 for a couple hours then bump it up to your actual smoking temps which is 275 for me. Now smoke adheres to moisture so something else I usually do to enhance my smoke flavor in pellet pooper is to spray the meat with some sort of liquid every hour depending on what I'm smoking at the time determines said liquid. This effectively gives me a much moister, smokier flavor to the meat. I to was a stick burner guy for a long time and bought a pellet unit and have not looked back. Yes I am thinking about getting a larger trailer model stick Burner for that holy crap that's a sexy smoker ambiance I want for catering. But that's mainly for aesthetics and to fire it up just to "reheat" what already came off my pellet cooker hahahaha
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Unread 07-22-2013, 06:14 AM   #45
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You have had a couple pretty generous offers to get some practical experience, take advantage before you decide. Oh yea, stickburners rule?
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