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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 11-09-2019, 09:00 PM   #1
McDaddys
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Default Christmas Smoker Recommendations

New to the forum, I really appreciate all the experience and knowledge here. I have put in my request to my family for a new smoker for Christmas. I currently have a vertical masterbuilt pro (my starter smoker, please don't judge). I am looking at an offset under $400. I do not mind doing mods, as I did a few to the masterbuilt to get it where I wanted it.

In your humble opinions, what are your recommendations? Bandera? Highland? Pecos? Any others?

Best bang for the buck?

THANK YOU!!
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:29 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDaddys View Post
New to the forum, I really appreciate all the experience and knowledge here. I have put in my request to my family for a new smoker for Christmas. I currently have a vertical masterbuilt pro (my starter smoker, please don't judge). I am looking at an offset under $400. I do not mind doing mods, as I did a few to the masterbuilt to get it where I wanted it.

In your humble opinions, what are your recommendations? Bandera? Highland? Pecos? Any others?

Best bang for the buck?

THANK YOU!!
Going from an electric to a stick burner seems like a big jump, why not ask for a pellet grill like a traeger?
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:15 PM   #3
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The Masterbuilt I have is one of the dual fuels that I have converted completely over to charcoal/wood. I like the "big smoke" of stick burning, so that is my motivation regarding not doing pellets.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:25 PM   #4
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I believe that the Old Country Pecos and the OK Joe Highland are around that price. I have never cooked on an Old Country pit but have on occasion cooked on a OK Joe, they are decent IMO. In the world of offsets a higher quality pit will make the it much easier to use.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
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The Masterbuilt I have is one of the dual fuels that I have converted completely over to charcoal/wood. I like the "big smoke" of stick burning, so that is my motivation regarding not doing pellets.
When you say "big smoke" I assume you mean high volume clean smoke and not big bellowing smoke?
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:53 PM   #6
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Yes, clean smoke. Most definitely.
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Old 11-09-2019, 11:46 PM   #7
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I am leaning towards the OC Pecos because I like the grate construction and the fact that it slides out. Not to mention it is welded and not screwed together. Where I am torn is the allure of the reverse offset concept of the OJ smokers. I have a vertical now, know how to manage it, thus mentioning the Bandera as an option.

The reality is that I am upgrading with any of them, and probably overthinking this whole process. Lets just call it Analysis Paralysis.
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:08 AM   #8
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It seems like you have looked into it and are aware of the time commitment that a stick burner will require. I can't offer first hand info, but from everything I have read it seems that the Old Country line normally gets better reviews than OKJ. Except for the OKJ Bronco, but that isn't an offset obviously.
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Old 11-10-2019, 05:36 PM   #9
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Old 11-10-2019, 05:44 PM   #10
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I'd say the pecos will due in your price range for an offset.
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:22 PM   #11
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I have the OJ Longhorn, it works fine, but if I were to do it over I would go for the OC Pecos.
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
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...

The reality is that I am upgrading with any of them, and probably overthinking this whole process. Lets just call it Analysis Paralysis.
We have all been there at least once!

First, absolutely avoid the screwed together models and the ones that are thin. Air leaks can be a real issue with these types of units and, of course heat management is almost akin to alchemy and witchcraft for most beginners with cheap offsets.

I would start looking on Facebook, Craigslist, Letsgo and, ask around at any local welding shops.

Realistically, you are probably looking at around $600 for a nice 3/8ths thick "pipe" smoker with a simple shelf and descent firebox.
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:04 PM   #13
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Y'all are the best, thank you!
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:55 PM   #14
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In your price range I would second the motion of the Old country Pecos, what's right about it is stack mounted at grate level, fairly large diameter stack and reasonbly thick metal, or find a great deal on something a little higher end on FB Marketplace, Craigslist, etc.. they do happen from time to time
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
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We have all been there at least once!

First, absolutely avoid the screwed together models and the ones that are thin. Air leaks can be a real issue with these types of units and, of course heat management is almost akin to alchemy and witchcraft for most beginners with cheap offsets.
This is the absolute truth. Up until last year, I did all my smoking on New Braunfels offsets ($150ish or so). I went through...three of them over the years if memory serves. While I definitely learned all the finer points of fire management/smoking (and how to turn out some good 'cue), it is EXTREMELY difficult to do so on these cheaper, thinner gauge models. Not to mention the fact that they rust/burn through fairly quickly regardless of how you maintain them. Mine always leaked like crazy. There would be just as much smoke coming out of the edges of the cook chamber/firebox doors as through the smokestack. The fire had to be babysat relentlessly, lest it either flare up with the force of a thousand angry gods, or die out completely. And Lord help you if you are trying to smoke on a cold or windy day. Not to mention that normal size splits can't even fit inside the firebox...the issues go on.

All that said, my understanding is that the Old Country models are a BIG step up from the type of offsets I mention above, while still being relatively affordable. I would STRONGLY recommend saving up and buying a thicker gauge model, but if that isn't in the budget** then I don't think you can go wrong with an OC.

**I was in the process of saving up for a custom offset last year, squirreling away like $50-$100 or so a month, when some friends of mine flat out gave me one (it had belonged to a deceased family member and had fallen out of use). If that hadn't happened, well, I would probably STILL be saving and using that old rusty New Braunfels. Just wanted to clarify that I am painfully aware of how expensive those damn things are, and didn't mean to imply that such an investment can be made at the drop of a hat.

Forgot to mention, my cousin has on OC that he has used HEAVILY (at least 3-4 times a week) for probably close to a decade. To my knowledge, it is still holding up, though he texted me a few months back saying that the firebox door had warped a bit.
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