MMMM.. BRISKET..
The BBQ BRETHREN FORUMS.  



Our Homepage Donation to Forum Overhead Smoke Signals Magazine Welocme Merchandise Associations Purchase Subscription Amazon Affiliate
Go Back   The BBQ BRETHREN FORUMS. > Discussion Area > Q-talk

Notices

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.


Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-22-2014, 12:16 AM   #1
woodsider
On the road to being a farker

 
Join Date: 07-21-14
Location: Woodside, CA
Default Questions On Gas Fired Wood vs Pellet Smokers

Reader for some time – just joined so I could submit this first post.

I have been smoking with sticks in twin Weber 600s for a while. Decided to spring for a quality smoker to increase capacity and reduce amount of fussing so I can smoke more often, throw bigger parties and be a better, less occupied host.

Narrowed it down to Ole Hickory QTS or Cookshack FEC 120 - high quality gas stick burner vs high quality pellet.

Leaning toward QTS due to higher density and quality of smoke flavor (this is what we like about burning wood in gas fired Weber smoke box). However, incredible FEC pellet system with digital set and forget operation and automatic meat probe shut down option is very tempting for reducing workload and increasing multi-tasking capacity. FEC would also be easier for my better half and daughters when they want to do some smoking.

A few questions before making the final call:

* For those who have experience with both gas fired wood and pellet smokers - Can you say definitively whether or not the general wisdom is true that the FEC 120 will have a significantly lighter smoke flavor than the QTS? If you believe the pellet can achieve similar smoke flavor quality and density, what is the trick?

* QTS owners – What is the temperature variation at a given position in the smoke box with the same temperature dial setting? Does the temperature vary much as the wood burns down and as the outside temperature varies through the day?

* QTS owners - Can you comment on the internal temp variation from top to bottom racks in the QTS? If you have a large top to bottom variation, how do you compensate for it? There are posts that say the variation in the QTS from top to bottom is pretty high (as much as 50 degrees?). This requires rack swapping for heavy single-meat loads and seems like a lot of variation since one of the main ideas with the convection fan is to maintain consistent temp.

* QTS owners - How much wood do you burn on a 6 hour heavy smoke? How often do you need to change wood to keep the smoke density high?

* FEC owners – Can you confirm that there is very little temperature variation at a given position in the FEC 120 even with large outside temperature variations through the day?

* FEC owners – Can you comment on the temperature variation top to bottom in the FEC smokers? Would expect the FEC 120 to be more than the FEC 100 since it is taller.

Thanks!

Last edited by woodsider; 07-22-2014 at 12:35 AM.. Reason: Tittle too narrow - no one reading thread
woodsider is offline   Reply With Quote




Old 07-22-2014, 09:33 AM   #2
headbanger
Is lookin for wood to cook with.
 
Join Date: 07-07-14
Location: Lawrenceburg, KY
Default

I cook on a PG500 and can honestly say that I can tell little to no difference in the finished product compared to my old stick burner regarding smoke flavor. Temps will usually fluctuate ~ 10 degrees depending on how the controller is set but mine is not insulated like the FEC 120. Though I can't comment on the 120 specifically (sure wish I could though) I can say that based on the quality of Q I'm turning out on the 500 I don't see how you could go wrong with the 120.
headbanger is offline   Reply With Quote


Thanks from:--->
Old 07-22-2014, 11:11 AM   #3
woodsider
On the road to being a farker

 
Join Date: 07-21-14
Location: Woodside, CA
Default

Thanks headbanger. Which stick burner were you using before?
woodsider is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 07-22-2014, 12:03 PM   #4
headbanger
Is lookin for wood to cook with.
 
Join Date: 07-07-14
Location: Lawrenceburg, KY
Default

I used an old COS and a UDS with a controller for several years, experimented with a few electric smokers after wearing those out but never liked any of them much at all. I ordered the PG500 on a whim one day and have never looked back, I'm turning out better food than ever with it. One day I hope to step up to a FEC but pretty happy right now where I'm at and I can't see ever living without a 500/1000 around regardless of how I'm smoking my Q.
headbanger is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 07-22-2014, 05:41 PM   #5
woodsider
On the road to being a farker

 
Join Date: 07-21-14
Location: Woodside, CA
Default

Thanks. Do you need to do anything special to increase smoke density, or is the normal pellet feed sufficient? Did you play around with pellet brands?
woodsider is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 07-22-2014, 05:59 PM   #6
jimbloomfield
Full Fledged Farker

 
jimbloomfield's Avatar
 
Join Date: 12-04-08
Location: Saugus, CA
Default

We have a Ole Hickory Pits Ace BP and two MAK pellet cookers. With the Ole Hickory I can control the smoke flavor from a light flavor to a very heavy smoke flavor that we like on turkey. Which the pellet cooker couldn't do . Before the Ole Hickory we did the turkey on a WSM along with others when a heavier smoke flavor was needed. I had the chance to visit Ole Hickory Pits and see how they were made. If we didn't already have one on order, I would have placed a order before leaving.
Both units set the temps and they run at that temp within a few degrees. The Pellet cooker we have can get over 450º where the Ole Hickory Pits have a safety limit of 325º.
When doing high heat chicken we use the pellet cooker. If slow cooking we use the Ole Hickory.
Both units you are looking at are from good companies. Which ever you choose will do a good job of cooking. If having control of the smoke flavor from light to heavy, My vote would be the Ole Hickory Pits
jimbloomfield is offline   Reply With Quote


Thanks from:--->
Old 07-22-2014, 06:21 PM   #7
MikeJ65
is one Smokin' Farker
 
Join Date: 09-03-12
Location: GRETNA
Default

The FEC-120 is reverse flow convection and has less temperature variation shelf to shelf than the FEC-100. I see roughly 20 deg. total variation in the 100. Bottom shelf is the hottest followed by the top, second from top, third from top. Also slightly hotter on the left than the right. In practice, this can turn out to be an advantage since you can place larger cuts in the hotter areas, or start pulling off meat in the hotter areas while the cooler areas finish cooking.

Neither the FEC-100 nor the FEC-120 cares what the outside temp is. I don't change anything cooking in single digit temps to triple digit temps. Smoke flavor on the FEC depends on cook temps. Large cuts can be smoked overnight at 180-200 deg. for maximum smoke and then kicked up automatically to finish. Some people do use an extra smoke generator, but I have never seen the need.

I don't have anything against the Ole Hickory pits, I don't don't have much experience with them. I do think you would be happy with either a FEC-100 or 120. You can't go wrong with either company.
__________________
Mike Chief Cook - When Pigs Die CBJ - KCBS
MikeJ65 is offline   Reply With Quote


Thanks from:--->
Old 07-22-2014, 09:05 PM   #8
woodsider
On the road to being a farker

 
Join Date: 07-21-14
Location: Woodside, CA
Default

Thanks jimbloomfield, this is very helpful.
woodsider is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 07-22-2014, 09:14 PM   #9
woodsider
On the road to being a farker

 
Join Date: 07-21-14
Location: Woodside, CA
Default

Thanks MikeJ65. I wouldn't have expected the larger FEC 120 to have less temperature variation than the FEC 100, but now that you point out that one has convection and the other doesn't this makes sense. Bigger and less variation is a double benefit. Since the 120 variation is less than the 20 degrees you get with the 100 this is very good and much less than what some posts say about the QTS.

Do you know if the extra smoke generator for the FEC units can be tied into the same controller that comes on the FEC 120 (as an option?), or does it need to be a completely separate smoke generator that is separately regulated? If it is completely separate, does this mess up the FEC 120 temp controller operation?
woodsider is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 07-22-2014, 09:46 PM   #10
MikeJ65
is one Smokin' Farker
 
Join Date: 09-03-12
Location: GRETNA
Default

Some guys will just run an amazin' tube smoker in the bottom of the 100. I suppose that you could either put it in the cooking chamber or by the firepot on the 120. Another option is to add an expanded metal rack to the firepot that you can burn chunks on. The FEC controller will compensate for the small amount of heat that a smoke generator produces.
__________________
Mike Chief Cook - When Pigs Die CBJ - KCBS
MikeJ65 is offline   Reply With Quote


Thanks from:--->
Old 07-22-2014, 10:14 PM   #11
woodsider
On the road to being a farker

 
Join Date: 07-21-14
Location: Woodside, CA
Default

Thanks MikeJ65 - didn't know the tube smoker would keep burning at the bottom of a sealed electric smoker.

Has anyone used the a-maze-n pellet smoker? Just need to put a tented sstl cover over the pellet smoker so drippings stay out of smoke pellets. Will this keep pellets burning at the bottom of the FEC 120 with a sheet metal tent over it or will it starve for air?

Seems like this might be a good way to go to increase pellet smoker smoke density. Will burn the same pellets as the FEC.

http://www.amazenproducts.com/Produc...tCode=AMNPS5X8
woodsider is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 07-22-2014, 10:45 PM   #12
TailGateJoecom
is one Smokin' Farker

 
Join Date: 02-01-10
Location: NYC & WPB FL
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodsider View Post
Thanks MikeJ65 - didn't know the tube smoker would keep burning at the bottom of a sealed electric smoker.

Has anyone used the a-maze-n pellet smoker? Just need to put a tented sstl cover over the pellet smoker so drippings stay out of smoke pellets. Will this keep pellets burning at the bottom of the FEC 120 with a sheet metal tent over it or will it starve for air?

Seems like this might be a good way to go to increase pellet smoker smoke density. Will burn the same pellets as the FEC.

http://www.amazenproducts.com/Produc...tCode=AMNPS5X8
I have used the tube, I stand it up leaning against the wall in the furnace, keep it out of the cook chamber completely like the firepot. I was worried about the convection forced air circulation in the cook chamber maybe stoking the pellets too much.

As far as temp variation, I see a little bit on the top shelf toward the back, but I don't think it is much. I actually use that to my benefit in comps with chicken.

I was at cookshack this week, and was given a log burner attachment. It is a shelf that bolts onto the end of the firepot using the existing screws. You can then put a wood split there hanging off the edge to add some smoke flavor. The sales manager Dave said he was getting positive reviews from customers while Stuart, the owner, didn't particularly think it was necessary.

In the end, smoke flavor is subjective. I think to say sticks give "better" smoke flavor to pellets is not the right wording as I have seen first hand a good percentage of people who prefer the lighter flavor. I was with some friends and family at a joint cooking on oyler convection units a few weeks ago, and the entire group thought it was too overpowering. Different strokes.......

I will say one thing for sure, the absolute ease of the fec120 has me using a smoker a LOT more now, and for all types of things.
__________________
TailgateJoe.com -- the #1 NY Jets gameday fanclub/tailgate party
Fast Eddy's Cookshack: Dual FEC120s
Meadow Creek: BBQ42
Weber: Ranch Kettle, 22.5 WSM, OTG 22.5
Pit Barrel Cooker
Crown Verity gassers: 4 MCBs from 36-72 inch
Instagram/Twitter/Facebook: @tailgatejoe
Youtube: @tailgatejoedotcom
TailGateJoecom is offline   Reply With Quote


Thanks from:--->
Old 07-22-2014, 11:09 PM   #13
woodsider
On the road to being a farker

 
Join Date: 07-21-14
Location: Woodside, CA
Default

Thanks for the log burner tip TailGateJoecom. Looked up some blogs on it and it seems like a good solution for heavier smoke with larger sticks. There are now a couple of options to get more smoke with the FEC 120 so it seems like I can fine tune this to our taste. Now leaning pretty heavily toward the FEC pellet rather than Ole Hickory gas due to convenience and consistency - especially for the rest of the family when they want to smoke.

Some of the posts say the FEC 120 product is a bit drier than the 100 - do you think this is the case?
woodsider is offline   Reply With Quote


Old 07-23-2014, 06:57 AM   #14
headbanger
Is lookin for wood to cook with.
 
Join Date: 07-07-14
Location: Lawrenceburg, KY
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodsider View Post
Thanks. Do you need to do anything special to increase smoke density, or is the normal pellet feed sufficient? Did you play around with pellet brands?
I use the tube when I do turkey, otherwise it's really not needed IMO. As for pellets I like cookshack brand, bbq delight and smokin' brothers the best. I also use some good quality pure oak "heating" pellets much of the time, especially when cooking vs smoking. I can get these for $5 per 40# locally compared to about a buck a pound for "cooking" pellets. I've heard there are much better deals to be had on cooking pellets if you buy in bulk.
headbanger is offline   Reply With Quote


Thanks from:--->
Old 07-23-2014, 05:33 PM   #15
woodsider
On the road to being a farker

 
Join Date: 07-21-14
Location: Woodside, CA
Default

Thanks for the help. This thread changed my mind - there are ways to get extra smoke with the FEC when its needed so set and forget consistency wins out for our needs. Ordering the FEC 120...
woodsider is offline   Reply With Quote


Reply

Tags
Convecture, Cookshack, Cookshack FE100, Cookshack FE120, Ole Hickory, Ole Hickory QTS, smoke density, smoke quality, temperature variation, variation top to bottom

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


Forum Custom Search: Enter your Search text below. GOOGLE will search ONLY the BBQ Brethren Forum.
Custom search MAY not work(no display box) in some configurations of Internet Explorer. Please use compliant version of Firefox or Chrome.







All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:12 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
2003 -2012 © BBQ-Brethren Inc. All rights reserved. All Content and Flaming Pig Logo are registered and protected under U.S and International Copyright and Trademarks. Content Within this Website Is Property of BBQ Brethren Inc. Reproduction or alteration is strictly prohibited.
no new posts