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View Full Version : Thinking about getting a new smoker..


digital
05-01-2017, 11:22 AM
Howdy everyone!

Greetings from Northern California. I've been smoking on a homemade UDS for about 10 years and it's starting to rust some on the outside which got me thinking about getting a new smoker (imagine that).

I've been eyeing some reverse offset smokers but wow.. that price tag...any recommendations online or if anyone is local in my area (Chico, CA) give me a holler!

Thank you

SmittyJonz
05-01-2017, 11:34 AM
What price range ?

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=186946
.

digital
05-01-2017, 11:36 AM
$1k?

bwram1
05-01-2017, 11:37 AM
Would help to know a price range/budget and how much meat you are planning to smoke at once...Otherwise answers will likely be all over the board.

Edit:. I see Smitty beat me to the question as I was fumbling with large thumbs and tiny keys. :heh:

bwram1
05-01-2017, 11:43 AM
For $1k, you could get the OC Smokehouse straight vertical from Academy Sports ($699)...No store near you, but they ship that thing for under $100. Will need to add a couple of River Country 3" thermometers with 4" stems (under $20 each).
If you are set on an offset reverse flow, check into the OKJ Longhorn RF for under $600...Make mods during assembly...Under $700 altogether.

bwram1
05-01-2017, 11:46 AM
OC Pecos for $399...add 3-4 tuning plates...
Another drum smoker or 2...
Couple of WSM...
OC Over & Under for $499...

SmittyJonz
05-01-2017, 11:49 AM
Most "Quality" offsets - traditional and reverse flow - start at $1600 plus shipping. Most are $2k plus......

Old Country from Academy, Ok Joe at Lowes/Walmart or Bayou Classic from Costco are the Best of the Cheaper offsets, vertical smokers.

I'd go with the Old Country Smokehouse myself.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=202034
.

SmittyJonz
05-01-2017, 11:52 AM
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=245829
.
.

digital
05-01-2017, 01:22 PM
Thanks for the replies, it looks like both of you recommended the OC Smokehouse which is a vertical smoker..you think I'd be better off with that than a stick burner? Appreciate it.

KevinJ
05-01-2017, 01:22 PM
KAT BBQ Smokers (http://www.katbbqsmokers.com) in Modesto makes custom Reverse Flow Offset Smokers.

32" x 17" starts at $999

https://youtu.be/4ZXH5mWx1IM

SmittyJonz
05-01-2017, 01:23 PM
Thanks for the replies, it looks like both of you recommended the OC Smokehouse which is a vertical smoker..you think I'd be better off with that than a stick burner? Appreciate it.

It is a Stickburner - just not an offset.

digital
05-01-2017, 01:28 PM
Gotcha, this is the one you're talking about? http://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/old-country-bbq-pits-smokehouse

SmittyJonz
05-01-2017, 01:31 PM
Gotcha, this is the one you're talking about? http://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/old-country-bbq-pits-smokehouse

Yup. I have a 20x20" 3/16" version I received from Old Country. Store Models are 24x20" 14 gauge but they are BadAzz.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=220797

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=233751

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=245826

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=245481

digital
05-01-2017, 01:33 PM
Right on, how do I get the 3/16 version like yours? :)

THoey1963
05-01-2017, 01:36 PM
You have smoking on a UDS, and now thinking of making the jump to a stick burner. You do know they take a lot more hands on attention? From experience:

I have been grilling foods for years, with mostly good results, and some not so good results. I had used gassers and kettle type charcoal pits, and preferred the kettles as I got to play with the fire. I also was the one that loved the few cold days we get here in SoTex, as it gave me a chance to light the fireplace at the bar and play with it. Yeah, probably a pyro at heart.

About 4 or 5 years ago, I was out somewhere and had some BBQ, and thought that I could probably make this. Now, at this point, I only had a gasser, as the little woman needed somewhere to cook some of her Korean food that should not be cooked in enclosed spaces. I missed the kettle, but had been doing ok with the gasser, especially after I learned about cooking indirect. But, trying to get my gasser down to exactly 225* (another thing I have since learned is not required) was difficult, especially on a 100* day. After a couple times of doing "ok" ribs and a couple briskets for an event (one was great, the other was shoe leather), I started researching smokers. It had to be the pit, not the master.

In February 2013, I got my first smoker, a 22.5" WSM and the BBQ bug bit me hard. I was smoking two or three times a week, and trying to smoke some stuff I'd never thought of trying (some good, some even the dogs wouldn't eat). That WSM loved to hum along at 275* with very little input from me, maybe a slight adjustment a couple times during the cook. I learned a LOT thanks to the knowledgeable people on this site, and got to the point where I had a process for most things, and could consistently produce good Q. Well, at least that's what my friends told me. Either that or those drunks just liked free food. I started to get more and more requests to make some BBQ for a friends birthday or whatever gathering at the bar. Enough that I started running out of real estate on the WSM.

After two years on the WSM, I decided it was time to upgrade, and if I was going to do it, I was going to buy my last smoker. It was going to be big, heavy, and with lots of room. And if I was going to become a true "pitmaster", I knew that it had to be on a stick burner. I researched several of the name brands, Shirley, etc., but decided on LSG due to the way it looked, the quality, the love for it from several Brethren, and because it was close to home, meaning I could pick it up. I placed my order in March of 2015 with Chris and Amber for the Vertical Offset with the works for about $3600 and started the long wait for it to be mine.

I got the email and made the drive to LSG to pick up my new BEAST on July 3rd, 2015. Got her home and six of my buddies helped me move 1700 pounds of the most beautiful steel I had ever seen to the back yard. Got her all seasoned and played around with a couple fires, and got down to what I knew was going to be my best BBQ ever.

Well, there was a learning curve coming from the WSM. Managing a fire, getting the tuning plates set up, etc. My process I had previously set up was shot and I had to start over. Instead of grabbing a bag of KBB and a handful of wood chunks, I now had to cut and split wood, so set up time was longer. Instead of getting the WSM up to temp, throwing the meat on, and letting her ride, I now had to keep a constant eye on temps, throw another log on, fiddle with the coals, oh crap, way too high of temp, cut my splits shorter, crap, now my coal bed is dying, what the Fark am I doing wrong???

Now, if I was just doing this when I had time off, I might have enjoyed it more. But I did a lot of my cooks during the week while I was working from home. And getting up from my desk every 30 mins started to really bother me.

By early December, I realized that I had only cooked on the Beast about 10 times and had fallen back to using the WSM most of the time, unless it was a bigger cook that needed the space. It hurt me to come to the conclusion, but I realized I had made an expensive mistake. I sent an email to Chris on December 3rd, 2015 asking to him about reselling it and posted here on the Brethren soon after. Chris and I also discussed it and I placed my order for a large Insulated Cabinet, more my style, and still big enough to handle most anything I will ever need to cook.

Now came the fun of trying to sell the Beast. She’d be a great smoker to someone, but who wants to pay that much for a (slightly) used smoker, when for a little more they could get it brand new. I listed it everywhere. The Brethren, Craigslist, Newspapers, and every Facebook sales page I could find. I got offers from scammers and others that were trying to low ball me to less than half price. In January of 2016, I got a PM and email from a Brethren who wanted it. In Washington. The state. He was willing to work with me on shipping, so I started trying to find a shipper that would do it and an insurance company in case something happened on the way. Finally, I got that all figured out, but unfortunately, he had to back out as it was too heavy for the spot he planned to put it. <Sigh>

Went back to the boards and started dropping the price. February came and went with no bites. I got my cabinet from LSG and it was wonderful. Ran similar to the WSM, stable around 250*, a little lower than the WSM, but I could load it up around lunch time and we’d have BBQ for dinner without taking a lot of time out of my work day. In March, the Brethren that was interested in the Beast before, contacted me and said he had decided to pour a slab and wanted her if she was still available. Hell yes.

This started the nightmare of the shipping process. I went back to the company I had talked to before, the price had gone up, of course. So, I got a bunch of buddies together and we moved the smoker out to the driveway and we built a pallet around it. Finally the day arrived and the shipper came, notice I didn’t say shippers. The pallet jack he had on the truck was a one size fits every pallet except the one we built, so we had to build a new pallet using their jack measurements. Finally, a week later, a shipper (again, just one guy) came again to pick up the 1900 pounds of smoker and pallet. Me, him, and a neighbor who just happened to come home got it barely loaded onto the truck and off it went.

This is the point where the story should end, but this is my luck we are talking about, so no. They went to drop it off at the new owner’s house and realized they couldn’t get it off the truck, so had to reschedule. The second time, on April 19th, 2016, they were finally able to get the pallet on solid ground, but it was obvious that something was wrong. We don’t know what actually happened, but it appears that they dropped it. From some height. Hard enough that the metal casters broke through new 2 X 4’s spaced an inch apart and covered with 1” plywood. Did over $200 worth of repairable damage to the smoker and shredded the custom cover I had made for it. Good thing we had the insurance. It took another couple weeks of dealing with the insurance, and ordering replacements for everything, and the ordeal was finally behind me.

The Brethren in Washington got a smoker that he is in love with. I got the smoker I should have bought in the first place, and learned a very expensive lesson. They say look before you leap. In this case, buying a smaller stick burner for a couple hundred dollars and figuring out if that was what I really wanted to do, and deciding against it would have saved me a lot of time, stress, headaches, and probably a couple grand when all was finally said and done.

SmittyJonz
05-01-2017, 01:37 PM
Right on, how do I get the 3/16 version like yours? :)

Not possible. I got 1 of 2 - original prototypes. :mrgreen:
Me and another fellar on here were invited down to Old Country Smokers in Laredo Tx to met with the owner and discuss our likes and dislikes of his smokers and it was my Reward.

SmittyJonz
05-01-2017, 01:41 PM
I will always have both a stickburner and a charcoal smoker. Buy a stickburner AND build a New UDS.

digital
05-01-2017, 01:48 PM
WOW! Great story Terry, thanks for sharing! Yea I'm still shopping around. I could easily stay in the WSM market and I greatly appreciate you sharing it with me. :) I just always wanted something nicer than the UDS in my backyard.

SmittyJonz
05-01-2017, 01:52 PM
Or a Stickburner AND a WSM.

dwfisk
05-01-2017, 02:49 PM
In your position I would sure be considering one of these Bayou Classics from Costco if I could find one.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=245829

THoey1963
05-01-2017, 02:53 PM
I need to add a disclaimer to that book I posted above. I am not trying to talk anyone out of buying a stick burner. I just don't want anyone to go through what I went through. It was truly painful...

DaveAlvarado
05-01-2017, 03:28 PM
I will always have both a stickburner and a charcoal smoker. Buy a stickburner AND build a New UDS.

Same here--OC Pecos and WSM 22" is a heck of a good combo.

I need to add a disclaimer to that book I posted above. I am not trying to talk anyone out of buying a stick burner. I just don't want anyone to go through what I went through. It was truly painful...

Definitely the advice of "buy a small stick burner and see if you like it" is fantastic.

digital
05-01-2017, 03:32 PM
Thanks for the help everyone! I pulled the trigger on the 22" WSM, I think it will fit my style of cooking well. Can't wait!! :)

Richard_
05-01-2017, 04:04 PM
Thanks for the help everyone! I pulled the trigger on the 22" WSM, I think it will fit my style of cooking well. Can't wait!! :)

You made a good choice , great cookers and plenty of mods to make it better