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View Full Version : Offset Options Needed From The Experts!


FIREPIT
12-30-2012, 01:23 AM
Hey everyone,

I'm getting closer to ordering an offset smoker from Gator Pit of Texas and was hoping to get some ideas on options. I'm a novice smoker, I don't compete and I cook for no more than 20 people at a time. The smoker's chamber will be 24 inches wide and maybe 42 inches long. For you offset owners, what options are a must for you? What options do you wish you had or wish you didn't have?

A million thanks in advance,

FIREPIT

gtr
12-30-2012, 01:37 AM
Get the thickest firebox you can, slide out shelves are great - 2 levels of shelves are great, not sure if a vertical chamber in addition to the horizontal is in the cards for you, but I really like mine.

MilitantSquatter
12-30-2012, 08:24 AM
agreed on the firebox thickness.

I would not go less than 42" wide.

also, if budget allows get the best casters you can. makes it easier to move around.

also, a ball valve drain if that's not standard.

stainless steel front shelf is nice, otherwise, you could spend a lot of money in foil longer term laying down a long sheet each time out to keep the expanded steel free of mess and drippings when you pull out racks.

superdan
12-30-2012, 09:12 AM
I cook on a 24x40 party Gator. It is a great pit.
Here's my two cents...
I do not have the upright and don't ever feel like I miss it.
It should come with removable upper shelves in the main.
Just on the main grate I can fit six big butts so feeding a large crew is easy.
I got the expanded metal front shelf that drops down. I like being able to drop the shelf out of the way especially with my kids running around.
I also had him put threaded probe holes on either side which to me is a must. I wouldn't want to close that door on a probe wire...
I also went with a 2" drain. It is nice for cleaning. His ash rake is also nice for scraping the grease down the hole.
I like the removable tuning plates. Klose, I've heard, welds his in place but Ritch does his removable. It is easy to tune to get roughly even temps left to right just don't go crazy trying to make it perfect.
Lastly I got the round fire box with the flat top. I don't use the flat top much but I do use the fact I can open the top of the fire box and put grates in and cook in there. Reverse sear is a breeze.
My only regret was I didn't do an insulated fire box. That would have been awesome I think. Other than that I would get the same pit again.

superdan
12-30-2012, 09:21 AM
I thought of some more...
I got two door gauges, left and right. They are really only good to see that it is even left to right so I know it's tuned. Like most door gauges it isn't real accurate for grate temp.
I also got a half rib rack. I don't use it that often.

Bludawg
12-30-2012, 09:27 AM
Log lighter, Ball valve drain, tuning plates,probe ports. Thats my list and I'm stickin to it.

stephan
12-30-2012, 10:29 AM
Im not an expert [ but I did stay in a Holiday inn once ] get a smoker bigger than the one you want at this time [ you will probably want a larger one in the future ] +1 on the thickest fire box steel you can get, slide out shelves also, again a ball valve drain, stainless outside shelves, and casters, but then again Im spending your money

FIREPIT
12-30-2012, 10:33 AM
Great suggestions, thanks everyone! Is there a noticeable difference between the 1/4", 1/2" and insulated fire box? I plan on getting tuning plates and a drop down shelf. I might just get the solid metal shelf instead of stainless though, not sure yet. I'll also get the 2" valve and the threaded probe holes sound like a great idea. I'm still debating on the log lighter. Superdan, could you explain the flat top firebox? I've seen Gators with a lid on the round fire boxes but is yours a flattop with the lid on top?

Thanks again!

FIREPIT

BBQ Bandit
12-30-2012, 10:49 AM
Get as many options, bells and whistles the above have mentioned. Must consider where and how the pit will move from the delivery truck to your intended location. You'll need 8" wheels, a few thick plywood boards to lay down across the lawn, and additional muscle to guide. The pit in question will be in the neighborhood of 1,000 lbs.

24 X 48 chamber, 1/2" firebox (will add significant weight and heat retention properties), side vertical chamber, sliding shelves, ball valve.

Enjoy for many many years.

FIREPIT
12-30-2012, 11:52 AM
Get as many options, bells and whistles the above have mentioned. Must consider where and how the pit will move from the delivery truck to your intended location. You'll need 8" wheels, a few thick plywood boards to lay down across the lawn, and additional muscle to guide. The pit in question will be in the neighborhood of 1,000 lbs.

24 X 48 chamber, 1/2" firebox (will add significant weight and heat retention properties), side vertical chamber, sliding shelves, ball valve.

Enjoy for many many years.

Thanks for the suggestions! I plan on driving to Houston and picking up the smoker myself. I live in the country and I'll be able to unload it with a tractor. The weight does bring up a great point. Do you think 1000 lbs. with 8" casters will be too heavy for a flagstone patio?

BBQ Bandit
12-30-2012, 11:58 AM
Something of a prepared surface - sitting on 2 ft. square paver blocks on the grass - no problem.

If you don't - the wheels will sink into the soft ground, tilt, and flop over like a wounded animal.
(Happened to somebody we know).

bbqbull
12-30-2012, 03:14 PM
I like the removable tuning plates. Klose, I've heard, welds his in place but Ritch does his removable. It is easy to tune to get roughly even temps left to right just don't go crazy trying to make it perfect.
Lastly I got the round fire box with the flat top. I don't use the flat top much but I do use the fact I can open the top of the fire box and put grates in and cook in there. Reverse sear is a breeze.
My only regret was I didn't do an insulated fire box. That would have been awesome I think. Other than that I would get the same pit again.

I have a Klose 30" X 8 foot long mobile pit. I have the tuning plates and they all are removable on mine. I also got the stainless steel wood/fire rack with the insulated fire box. When this monster is up to heated up with 400 # of pork but it requires a chunk of log every hour to hour and a half. I got everything else Dave suggested except for the s/steel shelf. I still kick myself in the arse every time I use it. :thumb:

superdan
12-30-2012, 03:49 PM
Here's my firebox. The removable cooking grate I like. The flat top, not so much. I've heard round boxes don't rust as easy cuz they're easier to clean out and not leave ash in the corners.
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/12/12/31/a9upupen.jpg
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/12/12/31/amydybap.jpg

FIREPIT
12-30-2012, 05:33 PM
I have a Klose 30" X 8 foot long mobile pit. I have the tuning plates and they all are removable on mine. I also got the stainless steel wood/fire rack with the insulated fire box. When this monster is up to heated up with 400 # of pork but it requires a chunk of log every hour to hour and a half. I got everything else Dave suggested except for the s/steel shelf. I still kick myself in the arse every time I use it. :thumb:


Thanks for the suggestions! According to everyone, it seems that a stainless steel shelf is the way to go. I'm still debating on a 1/2" firebox or an insulated one. Decisions, decisions.....

FIREPIT
12-30-2012, 06:04 PM
Here's my firebox. The removable cooking grate I like. The flat top, not so much. I've heard round boxes don't rust as easy cuz they're easier to clean out and not leave ash in the corners.
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/12/12/31/a9upupen.jpg
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/12/12/31/amydybap.jpg

Thanks for the pics! That's a nice pit! What do you not like about the flat top?

I'm really having trouble deciding on a firebox for my future Gator.
My choices (as of now) are:

1. Round Firebox with a grilling door like yours
2. Round Firebox with a square non-opening griddle top like Daryl Cincy's
3. Round Firebox with a square/flat grilling door on top (like Pits by JJ)

BTW, would a griddle top be effective on a 1/2" firebox or an insulated firebox?

BBQ Bandit
12-30-2012, 06:18 PM
Go for the hinged flat top... and ask for the grilling option.

My Klose pit has a hidden grilling grate inside the firebox (under the lid).
Keep the lid flat for warming purposes, too.

Swamp Donkeyz BBQ
12-30-2012, 06:26 PM
Enough counter space, so you don't have to worry about dropping a pan while opening the door and I wish I had sliding shelves.

superdan
12-30-2012, 06:27 PM
I wouldn't really say I don't like it, I just don't use it much. As long as you can grill in that firebox you're good!

FIREPIT
01-01-2013, 11:00 AM
Thanks all for the great advice! I'm not "as" confused as I was a couple of days ago, lol. I'm ordering the Party Gator and the options I'm definitely going with are:

24"
Tuning Plates
Gas Assist
Probe Ports
SS Drop Down Shelf
Birdhouse Smokestack
Large Locking Casters
Charcoal Basket

Options I'm still debating on are:

Fire Box Size, Thickness, Shape
Cooking Chamber Length
Counter Weight on Single Door

Thanks again for all the help!

DarylCincy
01-01-2013, 12:08 PM
I'm ordering the Party Gator and the options I'm definitely going with are:

24"
Tuning Plates
Gas Assist
Probe Ports
SS Drop Down Shelf
Birdhouse Smokestack
Large Locking Casters
Charcoal Basket

Options I'm still debating on are:

Fire Box Size, Thickness, Shape
Cooking Chamber Length
Counter Weight on Single Door

Thanks again for all the help![/QUOTE]

I would go 24"x 24" on a round firebox with a 48" length cooking chamber.
If you go say 40" to 44" cooking chamber I would go alitte shorter on the firebox say 20" for the 40" and 22" for the 42-44".
I did not mention before about the door counter weight, yes if I had it to do over yes on that counter weight.
You may have metioned before about front shelf ? Wider is better 12",13" or 14" wide is what you want, 10"or 11" not wide enought.
Wheels the five inch now standard may work just fine for you, the only reason I went with the 8 inch locking wheels was that I knew I was going to have to push it around the block when I moved and locking because it originally was on a driveway with a grade to could have rolled down, now that I've moved and its on a flat concrete slab I really dont need the bigger locking wheels.

FIREPIT
01-01-2013, 12:37 PM
I'm ordering the Party Gator and the options I'm definitely going with are:

24"
Tuning Plates
Gas Assist
Probe Ports
SS Drop Down Shelf
Birdhouse Smokestack
Large Locking Casters
Charcoal Basket

Options I'm still debating on are:

Fire Box Size, Thickness, Shape
Cooking Chamber Length
Counter Weight on Single Door

Thanks again for all the help!

I would go 24"x 24" on a round firebox with a 48" length cooking chamber.
If you go say 40" to 44" cooking chamber I would go alitte shorter on the firebox say 20" for the 40" and 22" for the 42-44".
I did not mention before about the door counter weight, yes if I had it to do over yes on that counter weight.
You may have metioned before about front shelf ? Wider is better 12",13" or 14" wide is what you want, 10"or 11" not wide enought.
Wheels the five inch now standard may work just fine for you, the only reason I went with the 8 inch locking wheels was that I knew I was going to have to push it around the block when I moved and locking because it originally was on a driveway with a grade to could have rolled down, now that I've moved and its on a flat concrete slab I really dont need the bigger locking wheels.[/QUOTE]

Thanks Daryl!

I'm thinking I'll go with a 24X42 with a counter weight on the lid and a 22" firebox. If I go with a 1/2" firebox, do you think the griddle option will get hot enough having to go through thicker metal? I live in Louisiana and there is not a lot of really cold temps here so do you think the 1/2" is worth it?

Thanks again

gaspipe1
01-03-2013, 09:38 PM
Since someone else is flipping the bill for this I might as well and ask. On a 48" smoking chamber I assume you would have 2 doors correct? I mean one massive door would allow too much heat to leave whenever you open the door. (I'm kinda asking not telling since I never used one)

How hard is it to smoke a whole hog on a smoker like this? Since there is a vertical metal partition in between the two doors. I never smoked one before but it would seem like a shame with such a large cooker.

I was wondering and I'm sure there is something wrong with this idea. Hopefully I don't get laughed away but, is it possible to make a left and right hinged double door with a built in diverter on the left door. Kinda think of it as a French door refrigerator or a cupboard in your kitchen.

The extra lip welded to the left door would stop smoke/heat leaks. You can still open one door at a time. And you can open them booth when dealing with something as large as a whole hog.


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