In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

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In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby Wrangler » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:16 pm

I am in the market for a backyard smoker 1/4 inch with a square firebox. I've done my homework to some degree and am considering pits by JJ and pits by Klose. I'm thinking 20X30 or 20X36 would be about what we need. However, since the price difference between the two models isn't really significant, I'm on the fence about which size. I'm a little concerned that the larger model will eat up wood faster, and require more fuel to keep the temp up. I cook basically every weekend for my family/friends, but rarely cook for more than 10 people. I cooked in my first competition back this summer, and plan to probably compete in the same competition again this year but competition is not what I am purchasing this pit for. I currently have a cheep chargriller with an offset fire box that is about to burn through, so It's time to upgrade. Also - I live in Alabama, so the shipping costs for these pits is pretty high (Klose quoted me $480 and JJ $300 to ship).. Since this is a factor in the overall price, it makes the 20X30 look more attractive.

OK to summarize - I would very much appreciate any suggestions/input about JJ vs Klose (or any other good builders you all may know of), and whether to go with the 20x30 or the 20x36 model.
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Re: In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby limey » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:42 pm

I would go with the bigger model, I have heard many people which they would have upgraded to the bigger model and they basically will burn about the same amount of wood. Klose and JJPits are both great pits as well as Gator pits which is also out of Houston. Out of those three my choice would have to be a Gator pit, I have witnessed one of these pits( Redneck) at his cooking school and it cooked at a constant temp. with very lil wood. Very tight seals, tuned, great welds and very well built. Wish I had the funds to get one myself but my Okie Joe is doing fine.
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Re: In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby Wrangler » Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:22 pm

Thanks for the reply limey. I went to the gator pit website and they look like really great pits. I guess I have it in my head that I need a pit with a square firebox, but I'm not sure what the benefits are. I've just seen several that I like and they seem to be very popular. I do like the idea of flipping the klose or JJ fire box top up and cooking up some sausage or burgers while smoking something in the main chamber, but it wouldn't really surprise me if people who have these pits said that they never use the firebox grill.. Seems like it may loose too much heat like that, and I've also heard that the round fire boxes last longer. Any thought from you guys about round vs square fire box?
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Re: In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby Speed » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:58 am

Here are a couple of links that you might look at. They are both in Texas still so the shipping would still be an issue but they look like decent pits.

www.lonestargrillz.com

www.joebqpit.com
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Re: In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby ecto1 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:28 am

I don't know what part of Alabama you are from but Lang Smokers out of GA make some nice smokers as well and the shipping might not be as much. I know this may be sac-religious on a Texas BBQ Forum to recommend a pit from another state but in your case it may be better due to proximity. I think what ever pit you wind up with as long as you learn to use you you will love it.
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Re: In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby 3 star redneck » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:58 am

Well yall know that I am True gator by now!lol..lol...but I have to agree with Speed 100% on these pits for the price! www.joebqpit.com
How he can build such a thick and quality pit for these prices is unbeleiveable........If I were in the market for a pit I wouls call him for sure....cant go wrong..
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Re: In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby Wrangler » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:21 am

Thanks a bunch for the suggestions guys. I have to say, that Lang 36 is the strong front runner right now. With the under $900 price, and the decreased shipping cost from the builder being in GA, it's hard to beat that. I've heard they are great smokers from several people. You Texas guys have it made with so many great pit builders in your area though. Thanks again for the feedback - very helpful.
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I'm also in the market for a Backyard Smoker

Postby TXCajun » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:35 pm

I look around at these rigs and they are obviously well made, but the prices are steep. I'm not saying that they aren't worth the money, but at the same time, it seems (just my perception here) that once a pit by a certain manufacturer is used by someone who wins at competitions, all of a sudden that is the new hotness and prices go through the roof. Then again, I am not a welder, I don't know the going prices of steel, so what do I know?

I'm an average guy smoking for his family and maybe some friends now and then. I don't plan on entering competitions or catering, so I can't justify spending $2,000 on a pit. At those prices, the net cost of the food that you are eating is mind boggling.

What would really be helpful is solid information, reviews, etc. on pits based on price ranges. For the average joe cooking for family, I would think that the price point would be under $1,000. Surely someone in Texas (excluding Lang due to being in Ga) has to build a decent quality horizontal, offset-firebox, backyard smoker in the 20"x36" to 24"x40"size range that you don't have to get a bank loan for.

Guys?
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Re: In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby jbtx » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:46 pm

I was browsing the cooking section at Academy Sports this week and saw a well built smoker for $500. It was a 20x36 w/ 2 shelves. The smoke stack was placed right, and they had 3 different models to choose from. The brand was Smokey Mtn. or Old Smokey or something like that. They had them displayed next to the New Braunfels and Kingsford offset somkers. If you lift the lids on the different smokers, you will tell the difference right away.

But, for the money, I like the lonestargrillz.com. I am eagerly awaiting the completion of my new rig from them.
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Re: In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby Que'a Syde » Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:50 am

If i was just going for a BYS i would get a green egg...Im still considering one after i get my pig coffin next year...u can get a good one for under 1k and they are some of the best smokers out there for ceramic types..as im sure these fellows know all about...thats what i would think would be the best route unless u just have ur heart set on the offset type.... :wink:
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Re: In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby DATsBBQ » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:16 pm

Que'a Syde wrote:If i was just going for a BYS i would get a green egg...Im still considering one after i get my pig coffin next year...u can get a good one for under 1k and they are some of the best smokers out there for ceramic types..as im sure these fellows know all about...thats what i would think would be the best route unless u just have ur heart set on the offset type.... :wink:


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Re: In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby jbtx » Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:37 pm

The smoker I was referring to is an Old Country Smoker. I appears to be made of 1/4" pipe. The top shelf is kind of small, but could hold 12 pcs of chicken. I would say you could put 2 briskys or 2 butts or 4-5 racks of ribs on bottom shelf. Their website says $499 plus TT&L. Hope this helps.

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Re: In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby el patron » Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:45 pm

jbtx wrote:The smoker I was referring to is an Old Country Smoker. I appears to be made of 1/4" pipe. The top shelf is kind of small, but could hold 12 pcs of chicken. I would say you could put 2 briskys or 2 butts or 4-5 racks of ribs on bottom shelf. Their website says $499 plus TT&L. Hope this helps.

Image


that old country at Acadmey is not built out of 1/4" steel.

i was looking at it too..
it is much heavier duty than others at academy
they do advertise on the old country website that this grill is 1/4" but what they are selling online and what they have at academy is not built out of the same gauge steel, even though they are designed to look the same..

you will also notice a significant price difference on the old country website for the "same" pit.
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Re: In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby jbtx » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:07 pm

Maybe so, I didn't have anything to measure the thickness of the steel.

I can say this though, it is by far one of the best and heaviest built offset smokers available at any of the large chain box stores. It is definitely worth the money and is a happy medium between the el cheapos the OP was asking about and not as high as the custom made models. If that was what I was looking for, I would by that and not have any doubts about the quality. As far as the price goes, I would venture to say that Academy should be able to get them a little cheaper than you or I off the lot due to their high volume buying power.
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Re: In the market for a Backyard Smoker - Input appreciated

Postby RWBTEX » Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:25 am

Hi guys, I am new to this forum but not to bbq or cookers. There are many many fine quality pits out there now days including the ones mentioned. I have built several myself too looking for that perfect cooker. Probably have owned and cooked on more than 50 personal pits over the last 14 years. Lyfetime, Texas Smokers (now gone) Tejas Smokers, Lone Star, an I could go on and on.
Just my opinion from my own experiences. Round fireboxes are rarely ever big enough or placed low enough for long cooks like brisket and they always wind up filling up with ashes below the screen and choking the fire, too much smoke, ugly taste. Square fireboxes always seem to work better because you can at least spread the ashes around and keep the fresh oxygen coming in. Most fireboxes are too small for the cooking chamber too, a little bigger is a lot better, longer stack (flute) is better too, much better draw and keeps the fire going good. It should also be placed towards the center of the grate to draw heat evenly across the cooking grate. All that said practice makes perfect and you can learn to cook on any one of those cookers as they are with some trial and error, get to know your pit, wind ambient temp, weather can change things up too so keep practicing, you'll get good and your family and friends will love you.
To the OP, find a good quality cooker that meets your budget goals and practice.
Good luck and have fun.

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