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Old 12-23-2008, 09:12 AM   #1
Prisoner
Is lookin for wood to cook with.
 
Join Date: 12-20-08
Location: Killeen, TX
Default $400 Budget, Which Smoker????

Ok, being new here, I came here for advice. I am treating myself by retiring my smoker that is similar to This
(I hope posting he link doesn't violate the rules)

Anyway, I have about $400.00 to spend, so what would you suggest I buy? I am leaning toward the New Braunfels Bandera Smoker from Academy. Or Oklahoma Joe's Wild West Traditions S.E. Smoker

I smoke brisket, ribs, salmon, turkey legs, turkey breast and anything else that I think might taste good.

What would be the advantage of one over the other. I read the Bandera 101 and am not sure I want something that would need to modded so heavily.

Thank you.

Prisoner/Rick

Last edited by Ron_L; 01-22-2009 at 09:23 AM.. Reason: Edited at OP's request
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:17 AM   #2
BBQ Grail
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Are those the only choices?

If it's between those two I'd go with the Bandera. If you are willing to consider other options I'd get the new 22 inch WSM or build a UDS.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:23 AM   #3
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Nope, certainly not the only options. I am here for advice.

(I kind of don't like the top access WSM's. They seem inconvenient)


Thanks.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:23 AM   #4
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You are going to get all kinds of info on the Bandera from folks here, but not me.
The Ok Joe's looks like a right handed Brinkman Cimmaron. If it's 3/16 or 1/4 inch steel, that's a good price. However, with a smaller offset like that you will find the temps are uneven across the cooking area, being considerably higher at the firebox. One of the Brethren (Coz) set me up with a batch of 1/4" steel plates that I put in my Cimmaron under the cooking grates and it helps to even out the temp. I also removed the stock baffle between the firebox and cook chamber and attached a different style that directs all of the heat from the firebox under the steel plates. It's a rib machine now.
There is another direction you can go too. With $400 you could get everything you need to build a UDS and buy a WSM. That way you get two very versatile smokers for the price of one.
Good luck on whatever you decide to do.
Merry Christmas.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prisoner View Post
(I kind of don't like the top access WSM's. They seem inconvenient) Thanks.
This shall be an interesting conversation. Stand-by for some strong opinions. Don't take anything personal...

The WSM and UDS are both top access and loved by millions...
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prisoner View Post
(I kind of don't like the top access WSM's. They seem inconvenient)
Thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by trp1fox View Post
This shall be an interesting conversation. Stand-by for some strong opinions. Don't take anything personal...

The WSM and UDS are both top access and loved by millions...
The top access is not an issue really. It just takes a little thought and advance planning. Though not done to all of mine yet, I used some ceiling tile wire to make handle extensions for the lower cooking grate. Makes it much easier to remove when hot.
Don't discount the advantage of grate over grate cooking. Imagine the tasty goodness you will achieve when you cook butts over brisket. Or butts over Keri C's hog-apple baked beans. No way to duplicate these on an offset.
For me, the biggest advantage is once you get a WSM up to temp, it's pretty much hands-off cooking.
Prisoner, I love all of my cookers, and wouldn't get rid of any of them. Each serves a purpose in my arsenal.
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( DR, DR); 2 Smokey Joes (A, K); Genesis Silver C (DU);
Brinkman Cimmaron; Chuckwagon Cooker; .
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:15 AM   #7
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I would get the new 22" WSM and build a UDS. I have zero experience with a stick burner.
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:42 AM   #8
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Dont knock the WSM until you try it. No better cooker for the $. Although, I firmly believe you need to experience one of the mass manufactured department store offset smokers to fully appreciate the WSM's greatness.
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:04 AM   #9
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if you want a stickburner, and THATS IS TRULY A NEW BRAUNFELS BANDERA, DONT PASS IT UP!!!. NB bandera are far and few between. Forgo the horizontal and get the vertical. More even temps, larger capacity, more versatile, and more useable cooking space. It will teach you fire management, uses charcoal or all wood, and once u get used to it, you will talk to it likes its your best girl.

But its apples and oranges comparing it to the WSM. The WSM is a cooking machine.... that u dial in and go away. (I have 3.) it will chug for 12 hours nearly unattended and it performs consistent each time. But the capacity is no where near the banderas and like i said, its a different machine, filling a different niche. U want to be a stickburner.. starting with a bandera is a great start.



For 50 bucks over budget, u can get both. Start with a bandera, save the extra 150, and in a few months or a year, throw in another 50 bucks and get a WSM for those overnight briskets and u dont want to get up every hours or 2.
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQchef33 View Post
For 50 bucks over budget, u can get both. Start with a bandera, save the extra 150, and in a few months or a year, throw in another 50 bucks and get a WSM for those overnight briskets and u dont want to get up every hours or 2.
The Poobah is wise.
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My Boys: Joseph (EI); Andrew (EE); Daniel (EE)
My Toys: 11 WSMs (B, C, E, DH, DA, EZ, DZ, EO, DU, DR, EE/DU); 5 - 22.5" Bar-B-Q-Kettles; 2 - 18.5" Bar-B-Q-Kettle; 3 WGAs (EZ, DE, N); 2 SJPs
( DR, DR); 2 Smokey Joes (A, K); Genesis Silver C (DU);
Brinkman Cimmaron; Chuckwagon Cooker; .
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:18 AM   #11
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ProQ XL. for easy access if considering a WSM.


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Last edited by Dr_KY; 12-23-2008 at 11:38 AM..
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:19 AM   #12
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Build a UDS and pocket the remaining $350.00.
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:19 AM   #13
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Like Harbormaster said..That is why he is the Great, and Grand Poobah
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:25 AM   #14
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A WSM will allow you to sleep. With either of the units from Academy you will be up tending the fire. The Bandera will give you more capacity than the WSM or horizontal you've looked at. It all depends on what's important to you.
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:27 AM   #15
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Prisoner, you asked for opinions so here is mine and I am prejudiced.

To start with, to me it depends on how much fire tending you like to do. Offsets take alot of tending while a WSM or UDS does not.

On the top access on a WSM, I have an old WSM and tend to agree that it's small diameter was a bit of a pain to me, just MHO. So the new WSM should be much better on that front.

The UDS is big enough that getting to the meat is not a problem even when your cooking on two racks.

Building your own smoker and or grill is also great fun. For less then $200 you can build a UDS and a UDG(rill) and spend the other $200 on something else fun like a Red Thermapen, Thirdeye's grill lifter, Maverick ET remote thermometer or whatever suits your fancy.
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