View Full Version : Drum Smokers

04-11-2019, 10:27 PM

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week. Been looking to add to the lineup and am considering adding a drum, specifically a Hunsaker. Im curious how the texture and taste compares to an offset stick burner. Hows the bark, smoke ring, cook times? Im considering getting into comps and these might just be the way to go with ease of transportation. Are guys winning comps with these? Thanks for the help


04-11-2019, 10:37 PM
If you check the top KCBS teams, about half are using drums. I hate that I regularly get beat by teams cooking on burn barrels.
They tend to cook hotter (though they don't necessarily have to). One of the big differences is that the drippings fall directly on the coals and burn, creating a bit more of a grilled flavor.

04-11-2019, 11:08 PM
I had Hunsaker drums. They work great. I regret selling them and will own one again. Cook times seemed shorter on my drums compared to my Shirley at similar temps, I assume that is related to convection or more direct heat in the drum. The flavor is different than a stick burner, not necessarily bad or anything like that but different, as JWACKS mentioned. Dripping fat/juices onto the charcoal basket does produce a different flavor, aside from the fuel source...matter of personal preference.

I dont really consider whether or not one cooker or another wins in competition barbecue to have that much to do with anything other than competition barbecue, personally :thumb: everyone seems to turn their noses up to saucey injected things here anyway.

04-11-2019, 11:17 PM
Thanks guys. Very tempting to buy one. I know comp success based on smoker type is very subjective with many variables but I think trends can be found in anything

04-11-2019, 11:24 PM
I think the fast cook times, ease of use, and portability make them great candidates for competition barbecue. Plus you can get 3 or 4 drums for half the price of some of the popular stick burners you might find at a competition.

04-12-2019, 06:51 AM
i have cooked on gateway drum for about 2 years now. i can tell the bark is great and it has a beautiful smoke ring. i can let you know next week how the hunsaker compares. i will be taken my order of a hunsaker next Tuesday.

04-12-2019, 07:25 AM
You can check out friends of hunsaker vortex smokers on Facebook. I don't own one, but have used a UDS I made for years and it puts out great BBQ. I know a couple people personally that use Hunsakers and they seem to be really happy with them. They seem to run a little hotter but very consistent temps. They are made in Columbia MO, 90 miles from me, and Mark and Ryan appear to have great customer service.

04-12-2019, 10:41 AM
I don't think you'll be disappointed with a drum, I've had my two for 11 or 12 years and I can honestly say the convenience and flavor are hard to beat. I pulled the trigger after Danny Gaulden posted a review of a Big Drum Smoker (BDS). In that review Danny called the aroma when cooking the Grandpa smell, which gave me a flashback to being in my Grandfathers back yard on weekends when he was cooking.

Whatever brand you decide on, I would recommend getting some sort of rig for hanging meats, this will triple your capacity for doing things like ribs, and you can hang skewers vertically as well.

The claim that drums cook faster is partially due to the flow of heat and the cone of heat in the center. Most drums have a short stem thermometer mounted on the side. I experimented with cable thermometers and found the pit temp in the center of the grate could be as mush as 35 or 40 higher than at the edge of the drum. I went with 12" long thermometers and they help me keep a more accurate pit temp.