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johnnysmoke
12-29-2012, 11:24 AM
are there any good offset smkers for around 300 bucks?

Smoothsmoke
12-29-2012, 11:39 AM
Weber Smokey Mountain.

edit: Yup, just read the title only. :doh:

MilitantSquatter
12-29-2012, 11:56 AM
You may find an offset for $300 but a good one is less probable. Everyone has a different opinion of good though. For an offset, quality is in in large part in relation to quantity of steel... and steel costs $$.

try craigstlist too. sometimes you will find a great deal on a used pit.

Bludawg
12-29-2012, 12:00 PM
Yes & No If you don't mind putting in a little work to make it cook right YES If not No. At that price point you going to get thin metal not much of an issue in my neck of the woods but in Ct they are fuel hogs in cold weather. That being said Two come to mind CharGriller Outlaw and Old Country, They both need a few mods to regulate the temps and eliminate hot spots and seal up air leaks.

Militant83
12-29-2012, 12:02 PM
If you want something that you can just go out to the local Lowes, Home Depot, Menards or similar stores the Weber WSM and the Chargriller Outlaw with firebox are both good options.

It just depends on what kind of setup you want to use. While chargriller isnt a top of the line offset Ive used a buddies several times and made some good que with it. Like the above comment states the cheaper cookers have thinner metal and more air leaks which equals more work on your part to keep temp. The Weber from what little experience I have with it hold heat quite well.

GreenDrake
12-29-2012, 12:12 PM
Build an Ugly Drum and you will be happy forever.

johnnysmoke
12-29-2012, 12:31 PM
Is the longhorne from homedepo worth 500?

BBQ Bandit
12-29-2012, 12:59 PM
Is the longhorne from homedepo worth 500?

My opinion - no. Its out of sheet steel, bolted together and overpriced.
(Bolted construction will result to airgaps and rust down the road - a bad combination.)

As pointed out - finding an affordable, well-made, and reliable offset does not exist in that price range.
Better quality normally are welded together with thicker steel at a much higher price.

Buying a 22.5" WSM for 400 will provide nearly the same space, better efficiency, longer burning, and provide better possibilities right out of the box.


[FYI: The above advice is from a heavy-metel offset guy - who also plays with a WSM for his backyard needs]

stephan
12-29-2012, 12:59 PM
Your not going to beat a Weber Smokey Mountain. IMHO its the best bang for the buck in that price range

mr dirts bbq
12-29-2012, 01:09 PM
Buying a 22.5" WSM for 400 will provide nearly the same space, better efficiency, longer burning, and provide b etter possibilities right out of the box.

+1 - to be honest the $125 charbroil offset from home depot is fine with some mods made to her, yes it is thin, yes it leaks like crazy, yes it is not efficient but its cheap and easy to use and learn for a new member of the smoking community. i started with one and i still have it today (although its modified slightly), if you close all air vents and leave stack open 1/4" her airbox leaks enough through vents and clean out door to burn for about 6 hours on 8+/- lbs of lump at 225 degrees with a water pan (cheap loaf pan from walmart filled with water) with ambient temp around 60-70 degrees. that being said im doing a smoke tomorrow of 9 racks of baby backs (with rib rack) in 25-30 degree temps in the snow she with only go about 3.5-4 hours on 8lbs of lump with the air vent open 1/4" inch to allow more a flow thus burning hotter to compensate for lower ambient temp, i think i said enough, im sure whatever you decide it will be great for you and once you learn her the next begging on knee questions for the wife will be can you get a bigger one! :pray:

all that said the WSM is the best small smoker out there for the $

Bob in St. Louis
12-29-2012, 01:11 PM
22.5" wsm

jasonjax
12-29-2012, 01:21 PM
+x WSM - popped my BBQ cherry on it. I couldn't have asked for a better smoker. Of course, if you're like me, afterwards you will want MORE, but it is incredibly capable and easy to manage.

SchatzSea
12-29-2012, 02:14 PM
I have a cheap offset Brinkman - thicker steel than they use now even - I wish I would've bought a WSM back then instead. I'd have several more years of making "good" Q consistently if I had. Not that you can't on the cheaper offsets, it's just harder and more work.

Sent from my Incredible (2) Droid

Bob in St. Louis
12-29-2012, 02:42 PM
I like to chime in once more, if I may......

--in my opinion--

A guy that knows what he's doing can make great food on cheap equipment.
A guy that doesn't, needs better equipment to help him make "good" food...or at least help him to not screw it up.

Is that a fair statement?

JPS11
12-29-2012, 03:06 PM
I noticed this Brinkman Trailmaster Limited offset at Home Depot today for $299. It was up on a shelf so I couldn't get a good look at it but it seems more heavy duty than most cheap offsets. Weighs 170 lbs. Says welded construction and the reviews are pretty good.

http://www.homedepot.com/buy/brinkmann-trailmaster-limited-charcoal---wood-grill-and-smoker-855-6305-s.html#.UN9LKqxtVSQ

johnnysmoke
12-29-2012, 03:06 PM
i will take a good look at the wsm.

PatAttack
12-29-2012, 03:16 PM
i will take a good look at the wsm.

If you go that route, you will not be disappointed! Guaranteed.

BBQ Bandit
12-29-2012, 03:25 PM
I noticed this Brinkman Trailmaster Limited offset at Home Depot today for $299. It was up on a shelf so I couldn't get a good look at it but it seems more heavy duty than most cheap offsets. Weighs 170 lbs. Says welded construction and the reviews are pretty good.

http://www.homedepot.com/buy/brinkmann-trailmaster-limited-charcoal---wood-grill-and-smoker-855-6305-s.html#.UN9LKqxtVSQ

Within the link you provided - At the bottom of the Home Depot page; there's a hotlink to download the assembly instructions in PDF form.
It's a bolted DYI to assemble.

Bludawg
12-29-2012, 04:04 PM
Trailmaster Assy Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qcfev7sqRQ

yakdung
12-29-2012, 04:10 PM
If you enjoy staying up and maintaining a fire, purchase an offset. If you want to try and replicate a set it and forget it mode, UDS or WSM type smoker. Throw in a cheap controller and you will be ready to go.

Ole Man Dan
12-29-2012, 04:12 PM
Build an Ugly Drum and you will be happy forever.

ABSOLUTELY...
A UDS is a great smoker, and with the money you save, you can afford
lots of meat. :thumb:

Gig'em99
12-29-2012, 05:59 PM
I like to chime in once more, if I may......

--in my opinion--

A guy that knows what he's doing can make great food on cheap equipment.
A guy that doesn't, needs better equipment to help him make "good" food...or at least help him to not screw it up.

Is that a fair statement?

+1
I finished 4th in my very first competition with a New Braunsfels off set from Academy that was so rusted and used that the hinge broke on the main chamber right after we lit the fire. I stayed up all night tending that fire. If nothing else, the work you put into those little wood burners will certainly make you a better cook. I turned out a lot of good food with that cheap pit.

Cloudsmoker
12-29-2012, 06:00 PM
Agree with Bandit. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Seems particularly true with offsets. Guys here are terrific at pointing out values, but tends to not be offsets.

flyingbassman5
12-29-2012, 07:35 PM
I like to chime in once more, if I may......

--in my opinion--

A guy that knows what he's doing can make great food on cheap equipment.
A guy that doesn't, needs better equipment to help him make "good" food...or at least help him to not screw it up.

Is that a fair statement?

AMEN! Jimi Hendrix played a piece of chit broken down strat yet he became one of the best guitarist of all time. Its all in the hands and the passion put into cookin' great food.

But as for the 300 dollar question... As already mentioned a WSM is a good all around cooker. Commercially made and worth the money. The other choice is a UDS. Also a great all around cooker, but requires building rather than simply buying. With that said, $300 for a UDS is a very very wide budget. A lot less could be spent on building one, but a $300 UDS would be totally sweet if built up right. :thumb:

Offset wise, $300 will get you the Brinkmann Trailmaster and anything below that. Which is okay. If you really want the offset, go for it. You just have to learn the twitches and tweaks of the pit and put passion into your food. Every pit is different and putting in a little work to tend a fire builds character!! :laugh:

So, go with your gut. Pick whatever you think you will enjoy cooking on the most. The worst thing you can do is buy a pit that will never get used, for whatever reason that may be..

bbqwilly
12-29-2012, 07:50 PM
Take $100, build a UDS. Take the other $200, and have a throwdown.

jasonjax
12-29-2012, 07:53 PM
I like to chime in once more, if I may......

--in my opinion--

A guy that knows what he's doing can make great food on cheap equipment.
A guy that doesn't, needs better equipment to help him make "good" food...or at least help him to not screw it up.

Is that a fair statement?


Yes and no ....

Can that same guy who knows what he is doing make even better BBQ on a kick-ass cooker? My opinion is yes, but that's all it is, my opinion. :wink:

Lake Dogs
12-29-2012, 08:07 PM
I had one of the Brinkmann early bolt-together offset and another Smoke-N-Pit. Both were complete garbage and both were thrown away. I then (20 years ago) purchased a much heavier gauge welded steel offset which is no longer made (similar to a Yoder today), and this was MUCH better, but was $800 then... Getting something anywhere resembling fire control, consistent temps, and clean sweet blue smoke is next to impossible on these leaky ill-conceived models. I've since upgraded to a much nicer Lang and all those hassles are gone. Have a friend who had been BBQing on 2 char-griller offsets for the last few years with moderate success, but he'd judged competitions and had had mine on more than a few occasions and knew his BBQ was lacking. This summer he purchased a nice Bubba Grills offset (reverse flow, like Lang) and immediately went from making pretty good BBQ do damned great slap-yo-mama BBQ in just two cooks.

For under $1000, you're just not going to get a worthwhile offset, IMHO, and then I cant think of one in that $1000 range. Anyone seen how much Lang wants for a 48 patio? That's probably where you start getting fairly good equipment. Maybe a larger Yoder (I think they start at $1500+- for what I'm talking about, but they aren't reverse flow).

In the $300 to $500 range, it's going to be VERY tough to beat the quality and versatility of a WSM. Get the 22. There are competitors who compete, and I mean
compete effectively nationally in KCBS competitions using a few WSM's; they're that good.

BBQ Bandit
12-29-2012, 08:08 PM
I hope there wasn't a confusion on the basis of what was earlier discussed.

At no time - did I say it shouldn't, wouldn't, or could not be done successfully.

My opinion was based on years of a trial and error learning curve - on several cookers over the past 10 years or so.

(2) Brinkmann verical water smokers,
A Brinkmann Smoke King Deluxe - a Bandera clone.
Built a Double Barrel Smoker...
(2) Bubba Keg smokers
Lang 48 patio offset
Lang 60 mobile
Klose Backyard Chef
Lang 84 Deluxe kitchen
and a 22.5" WSM - latest addition.

That's 11 smokers over the last ten years - and have cooked edible BBQ in all of them.
Would I want to do it again on lower end equipment?
Only if there are no better options available.

Been there, Done that mod.

Was only trying to pass on my opinion based on the above background and experience learned.

The question I have is in three parts;
1. How often do you want to upgrade the smoker?
2. Do you want to modify the existing design to make it work?
3. How difficult of a learning curve do you want?


Those questions will lead you to the WSM - a championship proven, efficient smoker right out of the box.

Am only suggesting to chose wisely.

HuskerMan
12-29-2012, 08:37 PM
I would go one of two ways. Spend $100 building a UDS and take the other $200 and search craigslist until you find a older all welded thick steel offset. Or you could go get yourself a WSM.

flyingbassman5
12-29-2012, 08:42 PM
Just to throw it out there, just because you own a WSM which, yes, is proven to and regularly does win competitions, it doesn't automatically make your Q amazing and 1st class comp grade. I feel that sometimes, a lot of people get the notion that they can just buy a $300 cooker that wins competitions and expect awesome results. It takes practice to turn out good Q, not just good equipment.

Back in October, I competed in the Backyard Class at one of the late BBQ comps here in STL. The team next to my spot had 2 22' WSMs and 2 Ceramic cookers. Easily over $1000 in cooking equipment that ended up getting beat by a majority of the 22 teams. The cooks experience is just as valuable as the price tag on his equipment, if not more. That said, I had my Silver Smoker and my Coleman, both costing me a combined total under $100 from sellers on CL and with mods to the Silver, and I ended up with 5th in Ribs and 12th in chicken. Not too shabby for using two pits that are second or third hand with the Coleman being about 5-10 years older than me. You just need to find a pit that is going to compliment your cooking style and experience, and also give you room to grow. And once you find one, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!! :thumb:

**Disclaimer** I am in NO WAY discrediting the WSM. They really are fantastic cookers for the price. I am only trying to illustrate the point that cooking experience and a cheap pit can go a much farther way than a $500-$1000 rig and an inexperienced cook.

Bob in St. Louis
12-29-2012, 09:20 PM
Good conversation guys. A healthy debate. Love it!

Bassman, what STL comp were you in?

Trumpstylz
12-29-2012, 09:22 PM
3 choices-

1. WSM (18.5 or 22.5)

2. Akorn kamado (its a grill that does a great job smoking and like all kamados is extremely efficient, but some people don't care about this)

3. UDS

Any of these 3 would be a good choice. If you want a dedicated smoker, go with 1 or 3.

BigWhit
12-29-2012, 10:03 PM
I have two WSM 22's and have been really happy with how easy and consistent they are to cook with. I am glad I bought them. They should last me until I can talk my wife into letting me buy a Backwoods Competitor. Which will be awhile....

Lake Dogs
12-29-2012, 10:06 PM
Just to throw it out there, just because you own a WSM which, yes, is proven to and regularly does win competitions, it doesn't automatically make your Q amazing and 1st class comp grade. I feel that sometimes, a lot of people get the notion that they can just buy a $300 cooker that wins competitions and expect awesome results. It takes practice to turn out good Q, not just good equipment.

Back in October, I competed in the Backyard Class at one of the late BBQ comps here in STL. The team next to my spot had 2 22' WSMs and 2 Ceramic cookers. Easily over $1000 in cooking equipment that ended up getting beat by a majority of the 22 teams. The cooks experience is just as valuable as the price tag on his equipment, if not more. That said, I had my Silver Smoker and my Coleman, both costing me a combined total under $100 from sellers on CL and with mods to the Silver, and I ended up with 5th in Ribs and 12th in chicken. Not too shabby for using two pits that are second or third hand with the Coleman being about 5-10 years older than me. You just need to find a pit that is going to compliment your cooking style and experience, and also give you room to grow. And once you find one, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!! :thumb:

**Disclaimer** I am in NO WAY discrediting the WSM. They really are fantastic cookers for the price. I am only trying to illustrate the point that cooking experience and a cheap pit can go a much farther way than a $500-$1000 rig and an inexperienced cook.


Hopefully we didnt say anything contrary to this. Great quality smokers dont make great quality BBQ; experience (aka. practice, practice, practice) does.

But, like Bandit said, it's about his 3 factors (I cannot see them here), but things like learning curve really play into it. I'm probably the goofus that mentioned competition first. My point wasnt that he could or should compete (or not), but that the smoker is good enough that some quality competitors use them with very good success. Not me, mind you, I prefer my heavy-as-hell Lang, but that wasn't what he was asking. I think I understand the guy, because 20 years ago I was there. I wish I'd purchased the WSM then... I'd have saved a lot of money wasted on mediocre equipment and meat ruined.

Going a little higher in money, look to the very versatile cookers like Acorn, Primo, BGE, Bubba Keg, etc. They're darned good smokers and darned good grills (and please understand that smoking and grilling are quite different).

Then, towards the upper end of those prices you begin to get into the prices of (IMHO) worthwhile offset smokers and some cabinet smokers.

And up, and up, and up.... :-)

flyingbassman5
12-29-2012, 10:19 PM
Good conversation guys. A healthy debate. Love it!

Bassman, what STL comp were you in?

It was the Holy Smokers comp in Valley Park. Was my 1st one and did darn good with the ribs for my first time out.

Hopefully we didnt say anything contrary to this. Great quality smokers dont make great quality BBQ; experience (aka. practice, practice, practice) does.

But, like Bandit said, it's about his 3 factors (I cannot see them here), but things like learning curve really play into it. I'm probably the goofus that mentioned competition first. My point wasnt that he could or should compete (or not), but that the smoker is good enough that some quality competitors use them with very good success. Not me, mind you, I prefer my heavy-as-hell Lang, but that wasn't what he was asking. I think I understand the guy, because 20 years ago I was there. I wish I'd purchased the WSM then... I'd have saved a lot of money wasted on mediocre equipment and meat ruined.

Going a little higher in money, look to the very versatile cookers like Acorn, Primo, BGE, Bubba Keg, etc. They're darned good smokers and darned good grills (and please understand that smoking and grilling are quite different).

Then, towards the upper end of those prices you begin to get into the prices of (IMHO) worthwhile offset smokers and some cabinet smokers.

And up, and up, and up.... :-)

Agreed. Competition or not, its a combination of cook plus cooker plus experience that equals great Q.. And to think my teachers in high school said I was bad at math!! :crazy:

Harbormaster
12-30-2012, 12:08 AM
I cut my teeth in BBQ on a Brinkman Cimmaron offset. It's 1/4" steel, welded firbox. I have had it since the late 90's. Back then they were about $800 - $900 new. My dad bought it for me for Christmas. Even with the heavy steel and welded construction, it took some modifications to get it to work well. I cooked some kicka$$ BBQ on that pit and really learned about fire control, thin blue, and a host of other lessons.

Now take a look at my signature. I own 2 offsets (1 I bought because it needed to be saved from a slow death due to neglect) and I own 10 WSMs.

Does that tell ya something? (Other than I'm a WSM hoarder)

Can you cook great Q on a small, inexpensive offset? Yes, if you don't mind tending to the pit every 30 - 60 minutes.

Can you cook great Q on a WSM out of the box? Yes, and when you have learned the WSM you can tend the fire every 12 - 16 hours.

There is something special about cooking on an offset, and I commend you for thinking about getting one. But it all comes down to one thing: VALUE. When you spend your $300 on a pit, what's the best value? For you, the desire to cook on an offset may outweigh the need for long cook times. Therefore, the offset would be a better value for you. If long, unattended cooks are your goal, then spending your $300 on a WSM would be the better value.

Did I make sense?

Anyway, us Weber guys have a saying: "Buy the best, and only cry once."

BTW, at my first comp, cooking on the oldest WSM in the world, I placed 6th in pork and 5th in brisket. Since then I have placed second in pork and first in brisket, all cooking on WSMs.

NRA4Life
12-30-2012, 09:01 AM
are there any good offset smkers for around 300 bucks?

New smokers...I'd say no. If you're lucky you might find an old New Braufels on CL for that price range. I love cooking on my 2 offsets, and in my opinion the flavor from an offset is tough to beat. But for smaller cooks, I use my 22.5 WSM. For your price range, you will not find a better NEW smoker than a WSM.

Bob in St. Louis
12-30-2012, 10:45 AM
It was the Holy Smokers comp in Valley Park. Was my 1st one and did darn good with the ribs for my first time out.


I'll have to look for that. I drive through Valley Park on my way to work. :becky:

NRA4Life
12-30-2012, 12:34 PM
Here is one for $200. A little rehab will go a long way.

http://columbus.craigslist.org/hsh/3413967626.html

Smoothsmoke
12-30-2012, 12:43 PM
Get the WSM. Dont get a cheap-o offset, too much of a headache for me. If I were to get an offset, it would be a Lang 36 or something in that category. I started off on a Brinkmann offset and it was just a pita, made some kick ass Q, but just a hassle. Leaks galore, thin metal etc.

flyingbassman5
12-30-2012, 08:22 PM
I'll have to look for that. I drive through Valley Park on my way to work. :becky:

You must not be far from me then. I'm near hwys 141 and 30 in Fenton. They have the competition every year in late October and it was a blast to compete in. It was hosted by the Knights of Columbus at Sacred Heart Parish and really blew up in size this year. I'm already in for next year too! :cool:

Okay, hi-jack over! :tape:

J-Rod
01-01-2013, 02:14 PM
Just build a UDS and save yourself the headache of tending a fire like you're running a steam locomotive.