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Old 02-23-2011, 11:51 PM   #1
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Join Date: 07-06-10
Location: Covina, CA
Default Horizontal vs. Vertical Smokers?

I'm new at smoking (meats that is), and I bought a Chargriller horizontal Texas style offset smoker. I'm still refining my methods, and improving each time.

But the more I navigate this sight, I'm seeing a lot of vertical smokers. They look like they would be more efficient and more evenly heated. I also noticed that some have water pans. What is the water pan for?

Also the BGE's and BDS's look pretty cool too. Is there any info on this site or anywhere else on the web where I can read the differences between different styles of smokers? I would also love to hear your recommendations on which smoker to purchase next. Thanks.
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:07 AM   #2
Babbling Farker
Join Date: 12-04-08
Location: Pearl River LA

Welcome to the addiction!

Verticals tend to be more efficient. Horizontal offsets are usually a cleaner burning cooker. To some the flavor from an offset can't be beaten. Others like the fat dripping on coals flavor from verticals like a UDS.

But there are so many types of cookers out there that it will just take alot of research to even begin to understand them all.

I would google "Chargriller mods" to start with and get some of those done if you haven't already. Then I would start the project of building your first UDS. I say your first one because there is a great chance that you will want more. They are in my opinion to paraphrase Pitmaster Donnie T, pound for pound the best smoker there is.

But one thing is for certain, with you using terms like "my next smoker" you are gonna fit right in here!
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:16 AM   #3
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It's all about how you like to smoke. I have an offset and love the taste of the que.

However, I have a UDS and love the set it an forget it (I also like the taste of the que).

It is all personal preference. Have fun, it's just a hobby, (for now, LOL.)

You do what you have to do, so you can do what you want to do!
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:16 AM   #4
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Which smoker to purchase next? Why not build a UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker)? Here's a link to the thread
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:53 AM   #5
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It's easy; he who dies with the most smokers wins!

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Old 02-24-2011, 01:12 AM   #6
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AHHH its starting to take affect you got a taste now you want more...if you are interested in vertical smokers you can always make a UDS (ugly drum smoker) it is a cheap way to see if you like smoking vertical. They use very little fuel and can pretty much be set it and forget it. An other nice thing is they are cheap to make and you can add the option to use a water pan or defusser if you want. You should be able to make one for 100 bucks or less also. There is a thread with more than anybody ever needs to know on building a UDS here on the forum.
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:32 AM   #7
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Join Date: 02-16-11
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I have a Chargriller offset and a Bandera clone.

I like both, but if I had to pick to just to keep, it would be the Bandera vertical style one.
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:00 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by gambler View Post
I also noticed that some have water pans. What is the water pan for?

Because there is direct heat underneath the grill, the food can get dried out. The water pan provides moisture in the form of steam, and depending on the configuration, the pan could be used to fully or partially block direct heat/flame.
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:43 AM   #9
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You cannot go wrong with a UDS, especially in terms of efficiency. Love my drum.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:36 AM   #10
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Welcome gambler!! I also have a Chargriller w/sfb. It was a decent grill/smoker to start learning on, and as it has been stated several times in this thread already, a UDS should be your next step. There is a taste difference, but I did 4 8lb butts last weekend and didn't use half a basket of coals. Read at least the first 100-150 posts in the link J'ville provided and you should be fine. Any other questions you could have will be in there somewhere, but if you can't read that many just PM me and I'll help you along. Almost done with my second, I think I'm going to start getting creative with the next one. This is the UDS picture thread to give you some ideas.

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Old 02-24-2011, 08:55 AM   #11
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I started out with an offset and quckly found out how much work went into monitoring the heat, recharging the fire, etc. Real PIA.

I researched the UDS, built a few, cooked a lot on them.

Haven't used my offset since. I need to sell it.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:32 AM   #12
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I have an UDS (love it) and am now looking into a vertical like a Stumps or Superior for the very reasons you mentioned. I'm just not into staying up all night and tending a fire.

Originally Posted by SmokerKing View Post
I started out with an offset and quckly found out how much work went into monitoring the heat, recharging the fire, etc. Real PIA.

I researched the UDS, built a few, cooked a lot on them.

Haven't used my offset since. I need to sell it.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:44 AM   #13
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Location: Culver City, CA

I'm one of those who like messing with the fire in an offset - a lot of times when I'm cooking, I like hanging around in my backyard around the cooker. I have a serpentine charcoal basket I can use if I need a few hours away, but I prefer stick burning. Sometimes we'll have 70 or more folks over for a party so I need the capacity (my offset has vertical & horizontal chambers).

While I thoroughly enjoy the process of cooking on a stickburner, I'll probably get a wsm or uds at some point because sometimes I may just want to cook a little bit & not spend a bunch of time tending the fire.

For me though, there's something about cooking on my offset that really works for me - not sure why - maybe I just like doing things the hard way sometimes.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:47 AM   #14
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I own a cheap offset and love it. Yes it wastes a lot of fuel, but that may be because it's just a cheap unit, Brinkmann. As cheap as it is, I love it. I love messing with the fire, throwing in sticks every 30-45 minutes. But I also love money in my pocket, so I decided to add to my arsenal and get a WSM which should save me some money in the long run with fuel. Both have their pros and cons I guess.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:49 AM   #15
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I've only smoked on cheap offsets and high end quality verticals so I'm biased towards the insulated verticals. I think you'd like the convenience and user friendly attributes of the insulated vertical smokers. I own a Stumps Baby and I can tell you from experience it is about as close to "set it and forget it" as you can get and I don't even use a guru or anything like that.

The Backwoods brands are about the same way. They are excellent built units but use a water pan. The water helps control the heat and create humidity/moisture in the cooking chamber. I've owned a BWS unit as well and again, can't go wrong with it either. Good luck on your venture and welcome to the greatest addiction in the world outside of Jesus Christ Himself.
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