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EdLo
11-28-2017, 09:31 PM
Good evening,

I am brand new to this forum, and this is my first set of questions for the Brethren!

I have always smoked on a pellet smoker and an offset stick smoker with friends in the backyard. I joined the Brethren with the goal of becoming a better smoker. I would like to start to compete too. What does the Brethren recommend buying for competition smoking? I canít afford a trailer. I have seen at some of the local events folks using Reverse Flow Vault Smokers, Direct Fire Vault Smokers, and Gravity Feed Smokers.

1) Which smoker is better and more widely used in the competitive world out of these three?

2)What brand too?

Thanks for using your celestial wisdom to help me in my journey.

Ed

Jason TQ
11-28-2017, 09:41 PM
Welcome Ed. You are going to get a lot of different answers here. Not one smoker better than the others. We've gone from gravity fed to using two Backwoods insulated cabinets and now have 3 Hunsaker drums. No reason for the switching other than I like to tinker.

Point being is folks win with all kinds of stuff. If you are just starting out thinking of factors like budget, volume, portability come to mind. Do you want to cook it all in one smoker at one temp or use varying temps across multiple smokers.

Lots of pellet guys out there still. So that's my initial feedback and you'll get a lot more helpful stuff coming your way I'm sure. It can be a lot to think about so just remain calm as the competition fire hydrant opens up :-D

pjtexas1
11-28-2017, 09:41 PM
These threads get interesting. Most will recommend what they have. You need to figure out what is more important for how you cook. Lots of insulated cabinets out there. Portable, heavy beasts an everything in between. What's your budget?

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

SmittyJonz
11-28-2017, 09:46 PM
Build a couple UDSs or buy Hunsaker Drums.......

TJR89
11-28-2017, 09:48 PM
Where im at in at here in Texas, I see alot of people using Backwoods smokers. Never personally used one but they seem solid. BUUUUT, if you are comfortable with the smokers you have already I would suggest using them. No fancy cooker will make you good at a competition. Use what you have, and turn in the best food you possibly can.

SmittyJonz
11-28-2017, 09:49 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg3dRSph3wk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K-58GQyv8g
.

EdLo
11-28-2017, 09:50 PM
My budget is 1,500-3,000. I would really only be doing brisket or butts. I have thought of a barrel smoker for chicken. Limit on the barrel is 1,000.

SmittyJonz
11-28-2017, 09:53 PM
BackWoods, Humphreys, Lone Star Grills Vertical Cabinet, 270 Smokers, Assassin, T&K, Deep South, and many more......

https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=186946
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EdLo
11-28-2017, 09:53 PM
Where im at in at here in Texas, I see alot of people using Backwoods smokers. Never personally used one but they seem solid. BUUUUT, if you are comfortable with the smokers you have already I would suggest using them. No fancy cooker will make you good at a competition. Use what you have, and turn in the best food you possibly can.

Your point is a good one. Just didn't know if a pellet smoker was acceptable in competition.

TJR89
11-28-2017, 09:56 PM
Your point is a good one. Just didn't know if a pellet smoker was acceptable in competition.

Absolutely acceptable, many people use them.

mcyork28
11-28-2017, 10:00 PM
Do you use a second grate in comps in your Hunsakers?

Welcome Ed. You are going to get a lot of different answers here. Not one smoker better than the others. We've gone from gravity fed to using two Backwoods insulated cabinets and now have 3 Hunsaker drums. No reason for the switching other than I like to tinker.

Point being is folks win with all kinds of stuff. If you are just starting out thinking of factors like budget, volume, portability come to mind. Do you want to cook it all in one smoker at one temp or use varying temps across multiple smokers.

Lots of pellet guys out there still. So that's my initial feedback and you'll get a lot more helpful stuff coming your way I'm sure. It can be a lot to think about so just remain calm as the competition fire hydrant opens up :-D

SmittyJonz
11-28-2017, 10:01 PM
Absolutely acceptable, many people use them.

Depends on the Comp - some say no Electricity - wood or charcoal Only.

I'd build or buy 2-3 UDSs and a small 5x10 trailer to haul them and tables, supplies etc.......

https://www.hunsakersmokers.com/

https://www.gatewaydrumsmokers.com/

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23436
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.

SmittyJonz
11-28-2017, 10:03 PM
Many compete with 2-3 Weber Smoky Mountains........and a Mini Van.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_eluy7dwEA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zG8V3lnAVE
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Jason TQ
11-28-2017, 10:06 PM
Do you use a second grate in comps in your Hunsakers?

No we just use the one grate in each drum. Though I've cooked at home on multiple grates in one of them.

EdLo
11-28-2017, 10:08 PM
Depends on the Comp - some say no Electricity - wood or charcoal Only.

I'd build or buy 2-3 UDSs and a small 5x10 trailer to haul them and tables, supplies etc.......

https://www.hunsakersmokers.com/

https://www.gatewaydrumsmokers.com/

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23436
.
.

Thanks for the insight and links on the drum smokers.

TJR89
11-28-2017, 10:09 PM
Depends on the Comp - some say no Electricity - wood or charcoal Only.

I'd build or buy 2-3 UDSs and a small 5x10 trailer to haul them and tables, supplies etc.......

https://www.hunsakersmokers.com/

https://www.gatewaydrumsmokers.com/

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23436
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.
I've never been to a competition where pellet smokers were not accepted. Pellets are a "wood product" after all

Joshw
11-28-2017, 10:17 PM
I've never been to a competition where pellet smokers were not accepted. Pellets are a "wood product" after all

Want to start by saying I am not a comp guy, and I love my pellet cooker. Having said that, I don't think I would be willing to invest a lot of money in a comp cook with my pellet grill, going against some of the very good offsets. Just seems like you would be fighting a losing battle. I would suggest going with what you are comfortable with though. You are already changing a lot about cooking, by going into the comp world, you don't want to have to try to learn the ends and outs of a new cooker too. You can always add a cooker later, if you feel you are missing something, in the end product. Which is what you will be judged. Not what cooker you are using.

EdLo
11-28-2017, 10:31 PM
Want to start by saying I am not a comp guy, and I love my pellet cooker. Having said that, I don't think I would be willing to invest a lot of money in a comp cook with my pellet grill, going against some of the very good offsets. Just seems like you would be fighting a losing battle. I would suggest going with what you are comfortable with though. You are already changing a lot about cooking, by going into the comp world, you don't want to have to try to learn the ends and outs of a new cooker too. You can always add a cooker later, if you feel you are missing something, in the end product. Which is what you will be judged. Not what cooker you are using.

It has taken me a Ĺ a year to master my Pellet smoker. I have to use an A-MAZE Tube and put the setting to smoke for two hours to finally get the smoke flavor that the family, friends, and I love. The the rest cook is set at 225-250.

Joshw
11-28-2017, 10:40 PM
It has taken me a Ĺ a year to master my Pellet smoker. I have to use an A-MAZE Tube and put the setting to smoke for two hours to finally get the smoke flavor that the family, friends, and I love. The the rest cook is set at 225-250.

There are learning curves to all cookers, but a good cook can turn out excellent food on any of them, with enough practice. So I should have said an uphill battle, instead of a losing battle, because anything is possible. But as much as I love the convenience of a pellet cooker, I think stick burners have the edge on flavor.

EdLo
11-28-2017, 11:27 PM
No we just use the one grate in each drum. Though I've cooked at home on multiple grates in one of them.

Jason, What made you chose this brand of drum smoker over others?

Notorious Q.U.E.
11-29-2017, 08:02 AM
I’m totally biased since I’m on New Smoker Honeymoon but check out Pitmaker Vault. A brethren in Alabama has one in bright red and the beauty is you can be sure of stable temps in all weather conditions while still having wood flavor.

Granted it’s far away from you and it’s at upper limit of your budget. As they say: Buy Once, Cry Once!!

EdLo
11-29-2017, 08:52 AM
Iím totally biased since Iím on New Smoker Honeymoon but check out Pitmaker Vault. A brethren in Alabama has one in bright red and the beauty is you can be sure of stable temps in all weather conditions while still having wood flavor.

Granted itís far away from you and itís at upper limit of your budget. As they say: Buy Once, Cry Once!!

Thanks, I have heard of Pitmaker. Looks like a well-made product. Unfortunately, everything is far away from West Texas.

JS-TX
11-29-2017, 10:08 AM
+1 for getting some fairly inexpensive smokers like WSMs, drums, or ? and a small trailer to hall them. Trying to load and fit everything into a pickup is a chore and tiresome.

People use and win on all sorts of equipment, how you use it is what really matters.

Raider18
11-29-2017, 10:35 AM
If in West Texas Evie Mae's in Wolfforth has started selling reverse flow pits just like the ones they use at the join, but on a smaller scale. Hunsaker has free delivery and for Pellet Smokers Rec Tec will deliver too and they are beasts compared to most pellet smokers out there.

2PigsBBQ
11-29-2017, 11:15 AM
Ive only done 1 backyard competition and 1 kcbs competition so im no expert. I cook on a Meadow creek bx50. The thing is a tank im really happy with it. With that said, it has been a bit of a pain bringing to competitions. It weights about 620lbs. Previously I didnt have a trailer so I had to either rent something from uhual or get a friend to help. The uhaul rental wasnt cheap but it was easier then waiting on a friend to show up. I would suggest get somethijng you're comfortable cooking on and something you can transport with relative ease. It will make the whole experience more enjoyable. Hope this helped a bit. Oh and the Grand Champ at the backyard comp cooked on a pellet smoker. They sat there all night playing video games while we tended to the fire. Haha

Bacchus2b
11-29-2017, 11:53 AM
David Bouska of Butcher's BBQ does pretty well at 30 plus competitions a year using his FEC-100 pellet smokers. https://www.butcherbbq.com/ You can slide these in and out of a pickup truck or trailer using a sheet of plywood, and they can be set up with marine batteries and an inverter if power is not available. Consistent cooks allow you to focus on rubs, injection, etc.

I'm actually jazzed to be taking a competition class with him next weekend in Oklahoma.

JeffJ
11-29-2017, 02:25 PM
It's more about the cook than the cooker. Harry Soo wins competitions with a pair of 18.5 WSM's.

Notorious Q.U.E.
11-29-2017, 05:01 PM
Agree, he's got one cool website. Harry Soo has some colorful names like Slap Yo Daddy BBQ Rub

To each their own. To me, the fun factor is having cool gadgets that hold a fire with lots of bells and whistles. I used to have cars in my younger/single days, now it's BBQ rigs. Enjoy

JVM59
11-29-2017, 05:47 PM
Welcome to the forum, Ed.
There's lots of good people here with lots of good advice.
You'll do great on whichever you choose. Hope to hear many good stories from you.

EdLo
11-29-2017, 06:51 PM
Ive only done 1 backyard competition and 1 kcbs competition so im no expert. I cook on a Meadow creek bx50. The thing is a tank im really happy with it. With that said, it has been a bit of a pain bringing to competitions. It weights about 620lbs. Previously I didnt have a trailer so I had to either rent something from uhual or get a friend to help. The uhaul rental wasnt cheap but it was easier then waiting on a friend to show up. I would suggest get somethijng you're comfortable cooking on and something you can transport with relative ease. It will make the whole experience more enjoyable. Hope this helped a bit. Oh and the Grand Champ at the backyard comp cooked on a pellet smoker. They sat there all night playing video games while we tended to the fire. Haha

Thanks for the opinion, I currently do smokes (he uses an offset stick burner) with a friend and he is always busting my chops on my pellet smoker and the easy of effort needed by the cook (me).

2PigsBBQ
11-29-2017, 07:31 PM
Thanks for the opinion, I currently do smokes (he uses an offset stick burner) with a friend and he is always busting my chops on my pellet smoker and the easy of effort needed by the cook (me).

Yea i was pretty jealous. Ive been thinking about buying one but then the bills come in. Haha

SmittyJonz
11-29-2017, 08:59 PM
You Need Help PICKING a Smoker - I Need Help BUYING a Smoker - as in All Yall chippin' in.......:heh: . I still NEED a Humphreys Pint And an Asassin Grill.

EdLo
11-29-2017, 09:48 PM
You Need Help PICKING a Smoker - I Need Help BUYING a Smoker - as in All Yall chippin' in.......:heh: . I still NEED a Humphreys Pint And an Asassin Grill.

Well I have yet to present my purchase to the family CEO/CFO (wife) and the family Board of Directors ( 2 daughters, my mother, mother-in-law) :doh:

TJR89
11-29-2017, 10:50 PM
Well I have yet to present my purchase to the family CEO/CFO (wife) and the family Board of Directors ( 2 daughters, my mother, mother-in-law) :doh:

In that case you better start practicing with what you already have 😁

didisea
11-30-2017, 01:48 AM
Your lowest cost would be two 22" WSM's plus your pellet cooker to cook a 4 meat contest. I'd cook the chicken on the pellet cooker. You could find some used WSM's on Craigslist for less than new gear. New WSM's would run you $400 each.

Next step up would be Gateway Drum Smokers instead of the WSM's.

You didn't say how you could transport your gear to the contest, so that would have a great bearing on what kind of gear you could get. Maybe a used cargo trailer?

Sid Post
11-30-2017, 04:45 AM
Thanks for the opinion, I currently do smokes (he uses an offset stick burner) with a friend and he is always busting my chops on my pellet smoker and the easy of effort needed by the cook (me).

Using a rig that is harder on the cook is a false sense of honor. What matters is the quality of the food, not the arduous effort (or lack of) of the cook.

BigHatBBQ
12-01-2017, 06:16 PM
Buy Texan made Ed....

http://www.bighatbbq.com

EdLo
12-01-2017, 09:20 PM
Buy Texan made Ed....

http://www.bighatbbq.com

Thanks for the information, in the market for RF or GF insulated Vault smoker. The Big Hat "Meat Locker" is nice.

Ed