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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 11-22-2019, 08:35 PM   #1
Sid Post
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Default Hunsaker, Gateway, PBC, BHC or ...

I was thinking about drum smokers, not UDS but, drum smokers people can buy without the time, skills, or access to make their own.

Hunsaker and Gateway are certainly nice but, at ~$900 shipped are pretty darn expensive (for 55-gallon models).

Then you have Pit Barrel Company and Barrel House Company which are ~$300 shipped for an 18"/30-gallon option.

Hunsaker has the Vortex basket and wheels with a lid hinge. Gateway seems to be the one with the better intake airflow option with two nice 'grab handles' for air intakes that are easy to work with.

PBC and BHC cookers seem to be almost "two peas in the same pod" with very similar specifications, costs, and general functionality.
  • Other than higher cooking capacity, what does someone get for the extra cash with a Hunsaker or Gateway?
  • What do they do the cheaper and smaller PGC and BHC don't?
  • How do Gateway and Hunsaker compare to each other?
  • How do PBC and BHC compare to each other?
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Old 11-22-2019, 08:46 PM   #2
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I don't believe Barrel House Cookers are available and haven't been since sometime last summer.
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Old 11-22-2019, 09:04 PM   #3
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Hunsaker and Gateway have precise control over temp with various dampers and ball valves.

The PBC has preset fixed holes and other than an adjustment for altitude it’s set and forget.

Also, the Hunsaker has a proprietary vortex type lid over the charcoal basket to stop direct dripping on coals and to theoretically create a better drafting.

Other than that it’s capacity.
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Old 11-22-2019, 09:12 PM   #4
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I have a Hunsaker and I love it. Easy to adjust temps and plenty of room for my needs. I like the big wheels and the parts are stainless steel so it should last for a good while. I don't regret spending the money at all.

However, you might want to look into the Oklahoma Joe Bronco. It is a similar size to the PBC, but it is more adjustable. You might be able to find it on clearance at Walmart for $184
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stlsportster View Post
Hunsaker and Gateway have precise control over temp with various dampers and ball valves.

The PBC has preset fixed holes and other than an adjustment for altitude it’s set and forget.

Also, the Hunsaker has a proprietary vortex type lid over the charcoal basket to stop direct dripping on coals and to theoretically create a better drafting.

Other than that it’s capacity.
The Gateway 30-gallon and the PBC are the same capacities aren't they? $700 vs. $300 delivered.
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Old 11-23-2019, 06:25 AM   #6
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There is a guy here in Missouri, North of St Louis, that builds drum smokers. I believe they are less expensive than some you are looking at. You might have to find him on facebook, The Ugly Drum Guy.
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Old 11-23-2019, 07:57 AM   #7
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https://wichita.craigslist.org/for/d...959137165.html
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Old 11-23-2019, 08:21 AM   #8
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I got an email from gateway yesterday announcing an upcoming sale. They didn't say what it was going to be though. If you are interested, you should sign up for their email list.

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Old 11-23-2019, 08:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LloydQ View Post
I get post not found for that link. It may have sold.
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Old 11-23-2019, 08:43 AM   #10
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I have cooked on both hunsaker and gateway drum. I honest rather gateway then hunsaker. The vortex on the hunsaker didn’t work well with my favor profiles because the the fat hitting the vortex and not the charcoal. I like the gateway on construction and they just work
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Old 11-23-2019, 08:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stlsportster View Post

Also, the Hunsaker has a proprietary vortex type lid over the charcoal basket to stop direct dripping on coals and to theoretically create a better drafting.
I know that this is picking nits but the vortex plate is not to create better drafting, but rather to create a circular airflow and convection. It you look into a drum with the vortex when there is visible smoke you will see it swirling.

BTW, quite a few folks who own other drums are buying the vortex basket to use in their drums.

Sid. I went through the same decision three years ago and chose Hunsake and have 4 of them for competition use. Any of the drums listed are good cookers, and you can produce good food an only of them, but I like the bottom air intake, vortex basket, multiple position grate system and wheels on the Hunsaker. Yes, the bottom intake will drip a little grease, but if you keep the bottom of the drum clean (I clean mine after each cook) the drip page is minimal. With my 4 drums I run one for brisket, on for butts, one for ribs and one for chicken and the only one that has any grease in the bottom at the end of the cook is the pork drum, and it’s it does drip it is usually less than a table spoon. If I am cooking on a surface that I care about I put the drums on oil change pans to make clean up easier and protect the surface.
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Old 11-23-2019, 09:15 AM   #12
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Ron mentioned above "the bottom air intake, vortex basket, multiple position grate system and wheels on the Hunsaker". Those reasons alone make the Hunsaker a great choice. Plus...the floating-hinge lid is fantastic.

I love my Hunsaker.
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Old 11-23-2019, 09:55 AM   #13
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I’m a PBC guy and love it. I make great stuff on it. Sako has made otherworldly stuff on it. Great cooker for reasonable price. But I’m hoping to upgrade to Hunsaker this year for the reasons enumerated above.

I don’t think it’s complicated: If you have the budget, go Hunsaker or Gateway (depending on which drum’s advantages appeal to you), and if you’re on a bit of a budget go PBC and you’ll love it. You can easily Craigslist it when you’re ready to upgrade.
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Old 11-23-2019, 10:13 AM   #14
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It's already pre-drilled so you simply bolt on the components. Easier than assembling some toys on Christmas morning. They have a SS version too which is definitely the route to take if you are considering paying Gateway prices.
https://www.bigpoppasmokers.com/bps-...rum-smoker-kit
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Old 11-23-2019, 10:20 AM   #15
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I have a Hunsaker and love it. I am still learning with it every time but you will find quite a few guys that leave the Vortex plate out during the first part of the cook, to get the "fat dripping on coals" bonus, and then put the plate in during the wrap phase to make it act more like an oven. To combat the grease dripping issue just put a small amount of Opti-Sorb oil absorbent in the bottom before cooking (tip picked up from Tim Scheers cleaning video). I like the lid design and I can hold steady temps for a long time. I am actually planning on building 2 more this winter.

All of that being said the Gateways have certainly made a name for themselves on the competition circuit and are very good, well built drums. I don't think you can go wrong either way, it all comes down to personal preference and which options are most important to you.
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