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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 01-22-2009, 10:47 AM   #1
Mo-Dave
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Default Stump type smoker?

I don't really have a desire to have this type of smoker but there are a number of recent and past post talking about them, as well as clone builds.

My question is what are the pros/cons, of having this kind of gravity feed smoker? If you have a smoker that can cook for 20 or more hours without fire tending, do you need a smoker to go longer than that and if so why?

Not knocking the design just interested.
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Unread 01-22-2009, 03:13 PM   #2
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The pros are that it is a set it and forget it type smoker. It allows you to get sleep at competitions when other folks are tending to their stick burner. It is also insulated therefore impervious to temperature swings. It has a small footprint for the amount of space. With the GF223 you get five 20"x20" racks. The main thing the stumps has going for it is that it will hold within 1/2 degree of set temp when using a stoker.

the cons, you can not use all 5 the racks due to temps differences. You would have to keep moving racks around to prevent over/under cooking, that defeats the purpose of what is good about this smoker. That said, the top three racks are easily utilized without worry. If not cleaned they are succeptable to flare ups. This is also true of other verticle smokers.

These are just a few pros/cons, I will try to post more as I think of them.
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Unread 01-22-2009, 05:41 PM   #3
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I've got one of the new Superior Smokers. (www.SuperiorSmokers.com) It is a continuous feed cooker much like a Stumps. (I can't say 'gravity feed' because Viking Corporation trademarked that term after they bought Stumps) It has five 22.5" x 22.5" cook grates. I had probes on the top four grates after I finished my cook just because I want to see how even they would be. There was only a 7* difference between the top rack and the 4th rack down.
Tony is right... the reason you want this style cooker is they will hold temps 'rock solid'.
The small amount of fuel used is another big plus of this type cooker.
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Unread 01-22-2009, 06:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finney View Post
I've got one of the new Superior Smokers. (www.SuperiorSmokers.com) It is a continuous feed cooker much like a Stumps. (I can't say 'gravity feed' because Viking Corporation trademarked that term after they bought Stumps) It has five 22.5" x 22.5" cook grates. I had probes on the top four grates after I finished my cook just because I want to see how even they would be. There was only a 7* difference between the top rack and the 4th rack down.
Tony is right... the reason you want this style cooker is they will hold temps 'rock solid'.
The small amount of fuel used is another big plus of this type cooker.
How about the temps while the racks have meat on them? I've been looking at these cookers myself.
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Unread 01-22-2009, 06:53 PM   #5
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The size of the racks is actually 24x25 ... There is about a 10 deg difference in the top 4 racks, the bottom rack is a little warmer but it's where I keep my drip pan, so it's not issue... I've never rotated meat, and have never had an issue...

I've had one grease fire in the 4 stumps smokers I've owned, it was at the royal this year, I forgot to dump my drip pans from the contest the week before on the way home and had crap all over the inside of my cooker, I started the cooker about 3 hours early to burn off my mess...

Not trying to start an argument here, just stating what I know....

Mine is a year old, he just came out with a new line that has some new changes...

Hope this helps..

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Unread 01-22-2009, 06:55 PM   #6
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(in response to bigabyte)
Well the other weekend when I was doing chicken and ribs I was using the 2nd and 3rd (from the top) racks and the probes that were on the were exactly the same (but sometimes varied by a degree). And the same as the door therm.

I still need to do a more 'loaded' cook to see, but then I would have to wait until the meat was at least warm to see how even the temps were. Because the cold meat would be throwing the readings.

Last edited by Finney; 01-22-2009 at 10:10 PM..
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Unread 01-22-2009, 08:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mo-Dave View Post
I don't really have a desire to have this type of smoker but there are a number of recent and past post talking about them, as well as clone builds.

My question is what are the pros/cons, of having this kind of gravity feed smoker? If you have a smoker that can cook for 20 or more hours without fire tending, do you need a smoker to go longer than that and if so why?

Not knocking the design just interested.
Dave

There is no real advantage to a 20+ hour burn time other than bragging rights. I've used many different models from Stump for a variety of contests. Even during a 16-20 hour shoulders or whole hog cook for a MIM/MBN type contest we will add smoke wood and tend to the meats while cooking. The continuous feed and temperature control does allow for unattended operation if desired.

The long burn times are just a bonus from the design of super efficient air tight, insulated all purpose cookers.
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Unread 01-22-2009, 08:22 PM   #8
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Pros: Great food, easy operation, and most of all I dont have to watch it like my old off set.

Cons: None so far.
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Unread 01-22-2009, 08:24 PM   #9
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One thing I didnt see mentioned was its a very moist cooking enviroment.
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Unread 01-22-2009, 09:22 PM   #10
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Some have experienced "bridging" where the charcoal burns out underneath a bridge and fire burns out. Some who have built clones have had burn throughs in the shute area. I have read where cooker has to be very level for correct draw. People that have them seem to really like them.
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Unread 01-22-2009, 09:26 PM   #11
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BIG TOM ! !

Hey man, good to see ya..
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Unread 01-22-2009, 10:20 PM   #12
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Well, I have a stumps type clone that I built and although there are a lot of differences between mine, and the stumps/superior cookers, they basically work the same. Here are some items I can tell you about mine:

I don't leave mine unattended for longer than 4 hours, so I hardly ever fill my chute up.

Due to the placement of my chute and ashbox, I tend to use more fuel than a Stumps cooker does, but my cook chamber is quite a bit bigger as well (48X30X24).

I am using a heat deflector that is made of 1/4" steel and has 3 sides, with holes cut into the sides and open on the end, I have a drip pan that sits above that. I have one hot spot in the very back corner on the chute side, but to be honest, I think I've fixed that hot spot, so I may not have it anymore, regardless, it was very small.

I don't have a problem cooking on my lowest shelf, but keep in mind that my chute/ashbox is over 14" away from the entry into the cook chamber, so I don't have fire that licks up into the cook chamber. I have 8 racks in my cooker, but generally only use 5 or 6, depending on what I'm cooking.

I have an 8" chute, so I've never had a bridge created. I figured the size of the chute is the reason why.

I don't use a stoker, and haven't had the need for one. I can keep it between 225-235 for 4 hours, and that's all I've needed since I'm sure to check it at least every 4 hours, even for long cooks.

I have a gas assist to heat up the cook chamber, as a cold chamber is what causes the long time to get to temp....I don't have that problem now.

It is a very moist cooking environment, very different from my offset. Not better or worse, just different

The biggest load I've had on it so far is 60# of pork butts, 7 racks of ribs, 20# of bologna, and a few fatties, ABT's and chicken leg quarter thrown in for good measure. I still had room left, and didn't have a problem with temp recovery from opening/closing the door every 30-45 minutes......but it was fairly warm outside as well.

Well.....that's about all I've got to say about it. I like it a lot, but not more than my offset....I love them equally:) (just in case they are reading this)

I plan to add a stickburner firebox option to my cabinet cook (aka mr. potatohead) in the future, but I got bigger fish to fry right now.
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Unread 01-22-2009, 10:30 PM   #13
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The temp swing thing is one of the reasons I made my clone a stumps with backwoods insides. I have only run one load because I am still in testing but had no trouble with bridging. We are going to use a stoker because it is cool, not because we need it!
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Unread 01-23-2009, 07:31 AM   #14
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More pros and cons... and a little clarification on temp differences between racks.

another pro... definitely a very moist cooker, great for cooking ribs especially when you do not have to spritz the meat hence adding to not having to deal with recovery times. what do they say...add 15 minutes to the cook time for each time you open the door?

con... I wouldn't run a stumps without a stoker..... but is that really a con? clarification here.... it eliminates recovery times plus will hold you true to temp. Is it manditory? no, but if you talk to those who use them.... i doubt that those folks would do without.

now to clarification on temp differences between racks.... If you load this thing up (not empty) you will experience a difference in temps between top and bottom racks that will be quite noticable.

One thing I have noticed with verticle style cookers is unless you utilize a convection fan, you will have have a temp difference. I have seen these in stumps clones and I believe backwoods makes them.

bridging.... well it happens but.... I have only had three of them (in three years) and none since I switched from lump (too many irregular shapes) to briquettes with the exception of one time when I had old charcoal (smoker hadn't been used for a while and we had lots of rain) which had gotten moist inside the chute. It was actually stuck to the sides and created a bridge, it was not a bad bridge as an easy poke dislodged it.

another pro....I am a low and slow kind of cook and this smoker is the ideal smoker for that style of cooking. Many of my cooks exceed 10 hours.

con... well it helps to utilize foil where you do not want to clean. remember if you cook on the top rack drippage will land on all of the racks that are in the smoker and since the racks are easier left inside the cooker, that is most likely where you will leave them.

....the pros and the cons
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Unread 01-23-2009, 01:17 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the info. As far as bragging rights I only need to tend my sw at the beginning and for maybe the last hour or so when the fuel is running out but I am usually about done if not totally by that time. So I have very little tending going on and if my gauges and remotes are working the temps are not varying much between shelves.

Never had to worry about a bridging effect and that would really keep me from getting any rest if I thought I could have a problem with it.

Flare ups can happen to anyone and I have not had it happen yet but I keep it clean and have not maxed out the meat capacity which could make for a better chance of that happening.

I use the guru and really find it helps a lot. My cooking enviroment with or without water is still very moist.

In conclusion all smokers seem to have there pros/cons its just up to the individual if they what to deal with them. I have had several smokers in the past that were just a pain in the arss but could put out decent food if I worked hard at it, even my sw has some quorks I could do without but they are not as bad as some cookers I have dealt with.

Guess I am getting old and since I can't drink like I used to I don't like staying up all night tending to the smoker but thats just me.
Dave
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