PDA

View Full Version : Choosing my first offset smoker


keodark
12-13-2015, 01:47 AM
Hi all,

I've been doing some heavy research before buying my first real backyard cooker. I know I don't have the skills or tools to weld one, and I know I want an offset stick burner. I've read conflicting things about RF versus tuning plates (versus direct flow). Hoping for some opinions on the issue, as it pertains to a SMALL backyard cooker (36" - 40") such as the baseline Lang or Horizon. My budget is between $1200 and $1500.

First, I wonder if tuning plates (which must be close together near the firebox to prevent hot spots there) might cause food on the firebox end to receive less smoke? Also, along the grate there is relatively little open surface area until you get near the colder (stack) end... it seems to me like most of the smoke would exit the cooker without touching meat?

Second, I was inspired by Aaron Franklin and in his book he recommends direct-flow smokers, but he's not really talking about small backyard cookers. Still, he says Reverse Flow restricts airflow and makes it difficult to maintain proper (strong) convection. For that matter, he's against tuning plates for the same reasons.

Third, the website for Lone Star Grillz (FAQ) says (paraphrased): We prefer tuning plates to RF because RF requires a much larger fire and it's harder to maintain a good draw which can result in inferior smoke. Personally, I've seen that sentiment echoed on forums, with concerns about keeping the firebox in an RF at the right temperature without overheating it.

As a related question, I'm wondering what the recommended "first step" is for a newbie to learn offset stick burning. I've read plenty of stories about frustrated newcomers giving up after using a cheap (thin walled) offset smoker, so I'd like to avoid that. Is there another way to find out if I have the patience required (and to practice) before investing in a Lang? Perhaps something no-weld that I can try to build first? I don't think I'm interested in a UDS because it's direct heat.

Thanks for any opinions!

Richard_
12-13-2015, 02:08 AM
Kat smokers is in your hood

TuscaloosaQ
12-13-2015, 04:42 AM
Ken is right in your area with Kats... And people who knock reverse flows are misinformed... I build them everyday... They are excellent smokers and i will put them up beside a smoker with tuning plates all day long...Kats had a website.. Ken is a great guy... Honest as the day is long... Check him out..

Mattb82
12-13-2015, 07:30 AM
Hi Keodark. I started the exact process you just have after his book as well. I had been using a big green egg for two years and wanted to take the next step. A lot of what he says in his book is based on what works best form him. after about a month of research I ordered a Shirley which gets here next month. I read countless reviews and watched many videos. Just watch a video where you can see smoke pulling super hard out of the stack and you will see there is plenty of draw on a rf. Plus there are tons of experienced smokers in here that use Rf smokers. just take your time and get what's going to work best for you. Good luck and enjoy the process

mnbadger
12-13-2015, 07:48 AM
Shipping a cooker is a royal pain in the butt. I would go with a KAT smoker since they are close to you. You'll save a ton of money on shipping that way. TuscaloosaQ definitely knows what he is talking about. I was going back and forth with his son Tyler about building a small backyard pit and they were really accommodating. Just all around great people to work with.

In the end I located an 80 gallon tank and I'm going to build my own (in progress). If I was ever going to have someone else build me an offset I would get a shirley, I would also love to have an assassin grill, 270 smokers standard... The list goes on... Even though I'm building my own Tyler told me to give him a call if I have any questions while I'm building my cooker.

Doog
12-13-2015, 08:34 AM
Just make sure you get a smoker that is at least 1/4" thick. Reverse flows smokers work good,I have owned both types of smokers and my current is a RF.
Also Craig's List sometimes has some finds.

KevinJ
12-13-2015, 11:21 AM
If I lived in Ca, Kat would be my 1st call.

SmittyJonz
12-13-2015, 11:37 AM
I prefer Verticals. Living in CA. 3/16" would be fine. Save weight and $ and still have a BadAzz long lasting pit. I'd have Kat build me a vertical.



http://i1326.photobucket.com/albums/u645/bobjones79/582A9F33-0293-462D-8FF5-A7E335ABB555_zpsypmpbspu.jpg (http://s1326.photobucket.com/user/bobjones79/media/582A9F33-0293-462D-8FF5-A7E335ABB555_zpsypmpbspu.jpg.html)

http://i1326.photobucket.com/albums/u645/bobjones79/5651EF51-0533-405D-B7B3-E64DBCC21CA7_zpsio1nouhw.jpg (http://s1326.photobucket.com/user/bobjones79/media/5651EF51-0533-405D-B7B3-E64DBCC21CA7_zpsio1nouhw.jpg.html)

http://i1326.photobucket.com/albums/u645/bobjones79/C3319E10-B746-499D-B9DA-F8E738D26F17_zpsitihauuj.jpg (http://s1326.photobucket.com/user/bobjones79/media/C3319E10-B746-499D-B9DA-F8E738D26F17_zpsitihauuj.jpg.html)

http://i1326.photobucket.com/albums/u645/bobjones79/12440D68-6B6C-4D26-8C45-6825E4C1A3BB_zpszgsfzkyd.jpg (http://s1326.photobucket.com/user/bobjones79/media/12440D68-6B6C-4D26-8C45-6825E4C1A3BB_zpszgsfzkyd.jpg.html)

http://i1326.photobucket.com/albums/u645/bobjones79/43FFF79F-E995-4D33-999A-0EDF64DAEC1E_zpsq2iixpxd.jpg (http://s1326.photobucket.com/user/bobjones79/media/43FFF79F-E995-4D33-999A-0EDF64DAEC1E_zpsq2iixpxd.jpg.html)

SmittyJonz
12-13-2015, 11:41 AM
http://www.katbbqsmokers.com


Like the vertical section on this one.

http://katbbqsmokers.com/60x24_reverse_flow_vertical/

SmittyJonz
12-13-2015, 11:47 AM
What are you used to Smoking/Cooking on? A fair number of fellars read a BBQ book run out and buy an $ offset smoker and then Hate it.

keodark
12-13-2015, 12:39 PM
Thanks for the advice, all!

@SmittyJonz, I've always wanted to smoke but only just recently have a spot in my tiny California back yard for a cooker. I've smoked a few things in the past with cobbled-together boxes with direct-heat and wood chips, but that hardly counts. I do have a history of choosing the long-and-convoluted way to cook things, so I think I'm up for the challenge of 16-hour cooks. I just have a yearning to eat proper brisket again (there are no good bbq places near me), even if it takes a lot of time and money.

That said, you have a good point. Is there a better "stepping stone" I should take before committing to a $1500 (+shipping) cooker, that will let me learn offset stick-burning without quite as much cash? Welding it myself isn't going to be an option...

Thanks again!

keodark
12-13-2015, 12:42 PM
...
Also Craig's List sometimes has some finds.

There's actually a Lang Patio 36", used, on CL, about 250 miles from me right now, for $900. It looks to be in decent shape, although it looks like an older model that doesn't have the slide-out upper grate. Still, I'm stumped on how to move the thing 250 miles. A box-truck would cost $500 in gas and mileage, hiring residential freight would be even more. I could borrow a pickup, but even with a rental loading ramp I'm not sure two guys could load and unload a 600-pound smoker into a pickup... I don't know anyone with a trailer, either...

pjtexas1
12-13-2015, 01:59 PM
Do you have an Academy near you? They have some offsets in the $500 range that you can try and probably get half your money back if you need to sell it. Half of $500 is better than half of $1,500.

SmittyJonz
12-13-2015, 02:18 PM
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=202034

SmittyJonz
12-13-2015, 02:20 PM
And ugly drum smoker or UDS is probably the single best starter smoker there is .?you could build one for $150 or you can buy one for $500 . And you can do a right proper brisket on the UDS

MAB52
12-13-2015, 02:39 PM
I would give Ken at Kat a call and talk to him, tell him your experience and your desires and he will help you with some great advice. He build some great cookers but he is honest as the day is long and wouldn't want you in a cooker that is not right. He knows his cookers and not just RF cookers. Good Luck and keep us posted. :thumb:

brandenpro
12-13-2015, 02:56 PM
I built a RF offset and love cooking on it. But if space is at a premium a vertical has a much smaller footprint, easier to move around and will provide the same results.

You also need to consider fuel. If you are burning sticks you need a source and a spot to keep around a half cord.

Don't discount UDS or WSM type cookers either. I have my RF and a kettle and sometimes wish I had a WSM too.

As for fire management, it's much easier on a properly designed pit. My firebox and RF plate are 1/4" and the cook chamber is about 3/8". I start with a chiminey of charcoal and throw sticks from there. Occasionally I will have a coal bed issue but a half chimney or so of charcoal can fix it right up. Or I will throw a couple extra sticks and try and hold temps down.


I cook around 275 +/- 50 degrees. I learned not to stress about temps too much when I cooked hung over and my fire went out 3x during the cook. Food turned out great.

A vac sealer and a freezer will be your next purchase. My RF is built from an 86 gallon well pressure tank so it's not huge, but if I'm gonna spend the fuel and effort to run it I usually load up a bit. So if I want brisket, I will usually cook a butt along with. The butt will get pulled and packed up that night and whatever is left from the brisket after a day or 2 will get packed as well.

All that being said get a WSM.

LTG
12-13-2015, 02:59 PM
There's actually a Lang Patio 36", used, on CL, about 250 miles from me right now, for $900. It looks to be in decent shape, although it looks like an older model that doesn't have the slide-out upper grate. Still, I'm stumped on how to move the thing 250 miles. A box-truck would cost $500 in gas and mileage, hiring residential freight would be even more. I could borrow a pickup, but even with a rental loading ramp I'm not sure two guys could load and unload a 600-pound smoker into a pickup... I don't know anyone with a trailer, either...
Rent a 5x9 utility trailer w ramp gate from uhaul. $24.95 for a day.

landarc
12-13-2015, 03:31 PM
As a person who has cooked on both traditional and reverse flow cookers, I am of the belief you can get a great product off of any well built offset. Fact is, once you get good, you can get a good product off of anything that will hold fire. I understand what some folks say about not using tuning plates but, in a small traditional offset, if you don't have tuning plates, you end up with only being able to use a portion of your real estate on the grates, or planning your cooks so that you can use the grate and widely varying temperatures.

The idea that reverse flow cookers impede proper convection is a 'logic' argument that has been proven to be incorrect. However, it is important that you get a well engineered RF cooker, and that it is leveled properly.

In all cases, offsets require active fire management and fairly constant attention, they are a great way to learn to cook, as they do require that learning curve. I absolutely love the cookers that Shirley Fab makes, and for reasons I won't go in to, I am pretty loyal to Paul. However those KAT BBQ units look pretty danged nice, and he is close.

keodark
12-13-2015, 04:24 PM
Thanks again, all.

I'm pretty sure I want to stick with an offset, not an egg/uds/wsm because I want to learn to do all-wood fire (except a chimney of charcoal to start), and I just like the idea of indirect cooking.

Does anyone have any thoughts about this? http://www.instructables.com/id/The-No-Weld-Double-Barrel-Smoker-and-how-to-use-i/step2/The-Plan/

Seems like that could be an inexpensive and no-weld way to learn RF offset stick burning that would last me a few years until I can upgrade to a Lang or KAT...

landarc
12-13-2015, 04:46 PM
Okay, that is one cooker that I have never cooked on, however, my first thought is that you will be using thin, very thin steel for your cooker. Despite using the fire bricks, you are building a fairly inefficient cooker. And that spells frustration, although, you live in San Jose, so most days you are not going to be fighting terrible cold or winds. Still, I would recommend one of two routes, buy a $500 smoker that is reasonably built, or grabbing your huevos and jumping in with a true smoker. You'll be happier with the better smoker.

BowtieBill
12-13-2015, 04:52 PM
Keep your eyes open on craigslist for a used Klose smoker. I have seen a few backyard units down in SoCal recently. They are pricey, but you might find a used Backyard Chef in your price range. These are well made, top quality smokers.

Good luck,
Bill

Ag76
12-13-2015, 04:55 PM
36x20 Kat for $1,499.00, Modesto CA. Deliver for $150.00 within a 75 mile radius.

http://katbbqsmokers.com/36x20_reverse_flow/

Harrjack
12-13-2015, 07:03 PM
I currently have a RF I've had since 1977 made out of scd40 pipe and I bought a LSG offset vertical a few months ago. Both are very good. The new one seems a little easier to maintain my temps but both do very well. They do require lots of monitoring.

SmittyJonz
12-13-2015, 08:33 PM
Those double barrel pits suck.

SmittyJonz
12-13-2015, 08:36 PM
I'd start with an Ok Joe Longhorn from Lowes or WallyWorld for $429. Put a convection plate in it and buy a 1/4 - 1/2 cord of wood and a chest freezer and a bunch of meat. Order everything Oakridge makes in rubs brines etc....plus PlowBoys.

Cook on it for 1 year regular like then decide it you want a Cadillac Offset and call Kat.

http://m.lowes.com/pd/Oklahoma-Joes-Longhorn-1060-Sq--in-Charcoal-Horizontal-Smoker/999973180


http://i1326.photobucket.com/albums/u645/bobjones79/4C2E91E7-7C69-4EC9-B418-286C88F8F38C_zpsnrtblrz1.jpg (http://s1326.photobucket.com/user/bobjones79/media/4C2E91E7-7C69-4EC9-B418-286C88F8F38C_zpsnrtblrz1.jpg.html)


Ok Joe Longhorn:

http://i1326.photobucket.com/albums/u645/bobjones79/E3E6682E-F28C-4D43-A789-3AF496259259_zps0wdhj3ya.jpg (http://s1326.photobucket.com/user/bobjones79/media/E3E6682E-F28C-4D43-A789-3AF496259259_zps0wdhj3ya.jpg.html)
http://i1326.photobucket.com/albums/u645/bobjones79/51FE5B34-D555-4B9A-9783-CFBB009D9F30_zps6x1mljcw.jpg (http://s1326.photobucket.com/user/bobjones79/media/51FE5B34-D555-4B9A-9783-CFBB009D9F30_zps6x1mljcw.jpg.html)

keodark
12-13-2015, 08:41 PM
Interesting... are there any $500-range smokers (readily available, there's no Academy in CA) that are Reverse Flow, or are relatively easy (no weld) to mod for RF?

SmittyJonz
12-13-2015, 08:55 PM
Interesting... are there any $500-range smokers (readily available, there's no Academy in CA) that are Reverse Flow, or are relatively easy (no weld) to mod for RF?

No. And no cuz you would have to move the exhaust to other end and close off original hole besides the plate.

doug93003
12-13-2015, 08:57 PM
Lonestargrillz uses 24 inch pipe, where Kat uses 20 inch for the cooking chamber.

You would be hard pressed to find better construction than Lonestargrillz. The attention to detail in the construction is amazing.

ssv3
12-13-2015, 08:59 PM
Interesting... are there any $500-range smokers (readily available, there's no Academy in CA) that are Reverse Flow, or are relatively easy (no weld) to mod for RF?

Reverse flow? Shirley or KAT

Tuning plates? LSG (I went this route for personal preference)

Only problem with LSG or Shirley is footing the bill for shipping. Both are well worth it but well over your budget also when you add shipping.

As for Academy, I bought a ton of stuff from them since they ship to CA. Check out the Old Country smokers. CL is also an option for something like a Klose or a Lang that come up at times.

This one is 1/4" steel and ships for $99 and no tax. Downside is you can't return since there isn't a store here.

http://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/old-country-bbq-pits-all-american-brazos-smoker?repChildCatid=650566

mschwirian
12-14-2015, 07:42 AM
A used Lang 36 would be perfect for a small yard and learning on. I would regularly load my Lang 48 in my pickup by myself with ramp and a cheap come along. Two people could easily roll it onto a UHual trailer. It's more than enough capacity to start, easy to learn on and resale value is great if you ever decide to up your capacity.

markdtn
12-14-2015, 11:04 AM
Keep your eyes open on craigslist for a used Klose smoker. I have seen a few backyard units down in SoCal recently. They are pricey, but you might find a used Backyard Chef in your price range. These are well made, top quality smokers.

Good luck,
Bill

I too vote for high quality used. Borrow a trailer or rent one. Find a local wrecker company that is delivering a wreck on a carrier where you find your used one and get them to bring it back as a backhaul-this may require time and patience.

keodark
12-14-2015, 11:58 AM
Hmm.. A dilemna on the used Lang 36: I measured, and my backyard gate opening is 36", but the Lang is 39" wide, including the prep area/grate. It looks to me like it's welded on. The fence isn't going anywhere, so I'd have to take an angle grinder to 3" of the prep grate to get it into the backyard... Curse tiny California back yards!

SmittyJonz
12-14-2015, 12:15 PM
Curse Ca. Period............ I could never live there............ :mrgreen:

I need pics but could you cut it off and re-attach no weld style.? Or cook in your driveway like me. :shock:

hipowerix
12-14-2015, 01:05 PM
Talk to Ken @ Kat BBQ's. I know that he put folding workshelf on his cookers. ith out the big wheel mine would easily fit through a 36" gate.

http://katbbqsmokers.com/36x20_reverse_flow/

pgyrogear
12-14-2015, 01:07 PM
Thanks to all who are say KAT....... I love the Brethren

The most important thing for you when choosing a smoker is to do your home and pick one the fits your style of cooking and budget.

There are many vary good builders out there so make some phone calls:

Shirley
Lone Star
Klose
Lang
KAT
and many more...........

All good people and willing to talk to you to help you make the right discussion.

akoda
12-14-2015, 01:28 PM
Just looked at your site, some nice looking smokers there

Thanks to all who are say KAT....... I love the Brethren

The most important thing for you when choosing a smoker is to do your home and pick one the fits your style of cooking and budget.

There are many vary good builders out there so make some phone calls:

Shirley
Lone Star
Klose
Lang
KAT
and many more...........

All good people and willing to talk to you to help you make the right discussion.

keodark
12-14-2015, 02:09 PM
The most important thing for you when choosing a smoker is to do your home and pick one the fits your style of cooking and budget.


Thanks for joining in, Ken. Where I'm at now is:
* I want to learn offset stick burning
* I'd like to avoid the frustrations of doing so on a COS
* I don't think I'm ready for the commitment of a custom-built $1500 (+ shipping) smoker.

I could go UDS, but I feel that I wouldn't really be learning stick-burning. I could build a no-weld double drum smoker, but that's going to be no better than a COS. I could buy a $500 mid-range smoker and mod it, but then I'd be out $500 if I decide to upgrade in the near future. I could buy a $900 (+$300 in rental equipment and gas to get it home) used Lang, but I'd have to cut it up to get it in the back yard. [Edit: nevermind that, the Lang was sold]

Still got some thinking to do. :)

landarc
12-14-2015, 02:12 PM
Buy a KAT for $1500, you'll love smoking, I'm sure of it.

If you don't, I'll buy the smoker off of you for $500!

Win Win

:thumb:

bbq.tom
12-14-2015, 02:40 PM
I've got a 36" LANG and the prep grate folds down. TOTAL width is 36" EXACTLY. I know, as my deck opening is 36" and the wheel width is 36" which made for a TIGHT fit, but it did fit!

You won't regret getting the LANG!!!

Doog
12-14-2015, 05:28 PM
A quality smoker will give you a better smoking experience. A thinner metal smoker can put out just as good a quality Q,but you will worker harder trying to achieve it.
What kind of fence do you have? Gate openings can be changed...

dtyates
12-14-2015, 05:57 PM
The OK Joe's from Lowe's don't seem to be terrible for the price. I wouldn't consider them in the COS category. That plus the horizon smokers convection plate and you would certainly be capable of attaining close to even Temps across the grates and not have to fight to keep it up to temp like you would on a COS. I built a 20x40 offset and was seeing 50 to 100 degrees difference from side to side. I made a convection plate using the horizon as a model and now see 10 degrees or less across the grates.

Porcine Aviator
12-15-2015, 03:06 PM
Rent a small trailer, they're about $50 per day. That's how I haul my offset around.

SmittyJonz
12-16-2015, 11:13 AM
You reserve the UHaul yet?

keodark
12-16-2015, 11:54 AM
You reserve the UHaul yet?

Hi Smitty. I'm still debating. Also, it turns out the used Lang was already sold (before I even found it online), so it's now between a cheap "learning" smoker like an OK Joe, or a $1000 + shipping KAT 32x17 which is a big risk in case I end up hating stick-burning.

I've got time to decide, though, because I don't yet have the space in my yard cleared (have to remove a few bushes and build a small deck to fit it in).

Thanks to everyone for the input, it's been very useful!

SmittyJonz
12-16-2015, 12:05 PM
Just go Ok Joe with convection plate for 1 year.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=221942

keodark
12-18-2015, 12:03 PM
Thanks everyone for your help. I ordered my OK Joe Highland from Lowes for store pickup.. $263 out the door after taxes. Thanks coupons! :) Now to start modding...

SmittyJonz
12-18-2015, 01:07 PM
That's the little one. I'd of gone Longhorn.

Any how's, order a convection plate from Horizon or copy it and make your own.

http://i1326.photobucket.com/albums/u645/bobjones79/4C2E91E7-7C69-4EC9-B418-286C88F8F38C_zpsnrtblrz1.jpg (http://s1326.photobucket.com/user/bobjones79/media/4C2E91E7-7C69-4EC9-B418-286C88F8F38C_zpsnrtblrz1.jpg.html)

keodark
01-10-2016, 08:43 PM
Update:
I've got my OK Joe Highland (a shipping snafu at Lowes got me a discount, so I got it for $213 out the door after taxes! (used a coupon too)), and I've done some mods:


Extended exhaust vent down to the grate using a galvanized elbow. I know the debate on galvanized, but I'm pretty secure on this after a few hours of research.
Put gasket and RTV around cooker door and firebox door. Put RTV around firebox seam.
Built a basic convection plate and heat deflector by drilling holes in cheap AirBake aluminum sheet pans.
Installed two Tel-Tru thermometers near grate level.

I also built a wood rack and got 1/4 cord of oak. Its seasoned and dry, but some of it is a little on the rotting side. Will burn through it and try to find a better supplier.


This week when the rain lets up I'm going to do my burn-in and start testing temps across the grate. Soon: Restaurant Depot and my first brisket!


Thanks for all the help everyone! My plan is still to learn on the OK Joe and upgrade to a KAT when I someday have the budget to build my dream outdoor kitchen. :)

Smoke on Badger Mountain
01-10-2016, 09:22 PM
Keodark,

Just read through the whole thread. Great read with everyone weighing in.

Just a couple of thoughts after reading trough. I lived in San Jose for over 20 years. And the best place I have found to buy my meats, especially brisket and boston butt, is Cash and Carry on San Carlos st. Beats RD hands down in my book. Also, Lillie Mae's House Of Soul Food in Santa Clara on Coleman Ave always had some great BBQ when I lived there. And just across the street from them right by Costco, is a store called in-line sports. The also carry a bunch of Yoder smokers. It's kind of fun to just go look.

If you ever feel like picking up the skills, and tools to make your own pits, there is nothing like it!

Well, enjoy the new pit!

dummy que
01-10-2016, 10:09 PM
after you master your new pit get yourself a LANG or other quality pit i personally would suggest a r.f. they are really very easy to cook on and they seam to cook faster from the heat coming up from the plate used to create the r.f. there is plenty of smoke flow certain big time bbq restaurateurs like to dog r.f. and tuning plate smokers remember a JAMBO has tuning plates halve fun with your new smoker

Rockinar
01-10-2016, 10:17 PM
Congrats on the cooker, now lets see some pics!

If you upgrade to a better cooker, I would skip the Lang. It's a middle of the road cooker. There's a video on YouTube where Lang loans one to Aaron Franklin for a cook. They try to put the squeeze on him and ask his opinion. He clearly is not impressed and gives some "nice" answer like "Well, it's not what I'm used to. It's different...". Then Lang tried to claim that the long line at Aaron's booth "Is because the great food being put out by the Lang cooker!".

Lang in my opinion is just a shady company that whores out their junk to anyone who will listen. Gator Pit of Texas has a 9 month wait list and they don't advertise at all. The product speak for itself. How long is the wait for a Lang? 0 months. It's like a good doctor. Good doctors don't have to advertise.

Springram
01-11-2016, 09:07 AM
Congrats on the cooker, now lets see some pics!

If you upgrade to a better cooker, I would skip the Lang. It's a middle of the road cooker. There's a video on YouTube where Lang loans one to Aaron Franklin for a cook. They try to put the squeeze on him and ask his opinion. He clearly is not impressed and gives some "nice" answer like "Well, it's not what I'm used to. It's different...". Then Lang tried to claim that the long line at Aaron's booth "Is because the great food being put out by the Lang cooker!".

Lang in my opinion is just a shady company that whores out their junk to anyone who will listen. Gator Pit of Texas has a 9 month wait list and they don't advertise at all. The product speak for itself. How long is the wait for a Lang? 0 months. It's like a good doctor. Good doctors don't have to advertise.

Rockinar......please post a picture of your Gator pit. I am sure you own one. Right? Plus, I am sure it is at least a Party Gator because you would not have any of the lesser models that Ritchie builds. Only the best for you! Congratulations.

BTW, Ritchie at Gator Pits builds a great cooker. What he does not do is knock down other builder's products.

I am not a Lang owner nor plan to be. Just a guy that enjoys friendly help and opinions from others on this forum.

SmittyJonz
01-11-2016, 11:32 AM
I'd remove the exhaust extension. Actually hinders airflow and draft.

bbqwizard
01-11-2016, 12:25 PM
I hope you are saving your pennies. It won't take long for you to want a bigger, or more advanced cooker. welcome to the addiction! A long time ago, a friend of mine let me borrow his OK Joe (with mods). A few months later I got a homemade trailer unity, and about six months later, a nice shiny new one from Texas:)

keodark
01-16-2016, 10:06 PM
Seasoning and first cook complete! I did a pair of fatties: a classic pork-sausage-and-rub one, and a pork and ground elk one stuffed with mushrooms, onions, and swiss and wrapped in bacon weave. Turned out awesome! The classic fatty is a little tough on its own (probably didn't get one with enough fat in it), but on a biscuit sandwich it's perfect.

Smoker ran well, with about a 25-degree differential across the grates, likely owing to my aluminum heat deflector and convection plate, which weren't very scientifically made. I ran between 200 and 275 for most of the cook, and brought both fatties to 165 internal (of course the larger one took a few hours longer). I ran the cooker dry for 3 hours before putting on the fatties.

http://scotchnoob.com/images/other/forums/fatty1.jpg

http://scotchnoob.com/images/other/forums/fatty2.jpg

http://scotchnoob.com/images/other/forums/fatty3.jpg


http://scotchnoob.com/images/other/forums/fatty4.jpg


http://scotchnoob.com/images/other/forums/fatty5.jpg



http://scotchnoob.com/images/other/forums/fatty6.jpg

SmittyJonz
01-16-2016, 10:11 PM
Oh Ya! :thumb:

dsp2
01-16-2016, 10:46 PM
Nice - love it! Thanks for the pics - they look great!

Edonis13
01-16-2016, 10:50 PM
Awesome!

Springram
01-16-2016, 11:12 PM
Mmmmmmmmm...good!

AZRaptor
01-17-2016, 02:30 AM
That looks like it came out pretty good.

COS
01-17-2016, 02:51 AM
Looks good. Don't worry about the 25 difference from side to side, use it to your advantage.

ttix
01-17-2016, 05:33 AM
Outstanding !

smoke ninja
01-17-2016, 08:51 AM
I'd remove the exhaust extension. Actually hinders airflow and draft.

I agree %100 with this. Airflow is paramount, dont do anything to restrict it. Ditch the elbow, if the pit was designed that way the engineers woild have put the stack there in the first place

sturev
01-17-2016, 08:56 AM
Man, looks like you nailed that stuffed fatty... Great Job! :clap2:

revkab
01-17-2016, 09:29 AM
Go for something with a little more quality, something designed to actually cook good Q. If price nervousness is a concern, why not stalk Craigslist for a while? Guaranteed something will come up that will work well and be within your price range.

BTW - as you can see from my "signature," I have several cookers, one being a UDS I built (lotsa info on this forum on how to build). Despite it being the el cheapo approach, it does an amazing job of cooking, and yes, it does use a combination of charcoal (NOT briquettes) and wood chunks. But, it is extremely easy to control the temp, and although the fuel is directly below, it is far enough away, and carefully controlled, so that it really does not qualify as a direct fire. You can also, easily, add a pizza pan to the lover level grate if you want, to further isolate the meat away from any direct heat. I got one, but never use it, because it is not a problem. All in all, UDS's are about the least expensive, easiest to use, excellent results producing cookers anywhere. And did I mention they have a VERY small footprint?

BTW - one thing that I frequently do in my UDS that is more difficult in my big cookers is re-smoking bacon. I use a "vegetable wok" in the bottom of my charcoal basket to produce an extremely small "fire," and do a very effective cool-smoke. Makes my bacon taste like what bacon is supposed to taste like. That alone is worth the entire effort.

Thanks again, all.

I'm pretty sure I want to stick with an offset, not an egg/uds/wsm because I want to learn to do all-wood fire (except a chimney of charcoal to start), and I just like the idea of indirect cooking.

Does anyone have any thoughts about this? http://www.instructables.com/id/The-No-Weld-Double-Barrel-Smoker-and-how-to-use-i/step2/The-Plan/

Seems like that could be an inexpensive and no-weld way to learn RF offset stick burning that would last me a few years until I can upgrade to a Lang or KAT...

Ag76
01-17-2016, 11:36 AM
Great job on the fatty.