Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

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Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby bsooner75 » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:16 am

What are y'alls thoughts on RF vs regular Off Set? Positives / Negatives etc. Please feel free to share your opinions, I really want to know from the people that use them. I have been looking at some reverse flows and just got a call from a friend of mine wanting me to go talk to his pit builder with him. He says the guy has some pretty hot anti reverse flow opinions. Thought I'd get some knowledge and thoughts from you guys before I go so I can ask the right questions.
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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby Bockbock » Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:44 pm

I cook on RF myself. I find that it has a more consistent heat and less hot spots. I can control the temp better. I think it comes down to what you are comfortable with, and knowing your pit. I just sold a 500 gallon propane tank pit that we built as a RF. That pit was just too big for my needs. I liked it so much I turned around and purchased a Lang RF 36" patio pit. I have only had it 3 weeks and have done 2 cooks, with great success. RF is just my preference. I know KAM built his with tuning plates that can be removed, so that may be an option as well. As long as your "smokin", it doesn't matter, just preference.
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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby BluDawg » Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:47 pm

I thought you orders a Shirley Fab??? :scratch:
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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby sparctek » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:03 pm

I've been cooking on a reverse flow for about 2 1/2 years and just upgraded to a new cooker from LSG. It is a standard offset with tuning plates. There is nothing wrong with the RF, I just wanted a bigger cooker.

The RF cooker works very well and keeps pretty even temps all the way across. However, I found myself cooking multiple meats, at the same time, that I like to cook at different temperatures i.e. brisket and chicken. I like to cook brisket ~260 and chicken ~325. I could not do that with the RF cooker.

The new cooker I just picked up has 4 tuning plates and while I was seasoning it and curing the paint I played with them. I could get the temps within 5 degrees from one end to the other, and I could get the firebox end ~100 degrees hotter by removing plates.

I am not saying one is better than the other, but for the things I like to cook and the temps I like to cook at the standard with tuning plates was the better choice this go around. Something to think about if you like to cook meats at different temps.

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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby bsooner75 » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:22 pm

Thanks for the feedback. All good info.

Blu - I really like the Shirley but haven't placed an order. Still trying to decide my wants & needs. Not to mention what I want to spend.


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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby k.a.m. » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:58 pm

I have built both and cooked on both. My cooker Bahama Mama is a Hybrid by my deign she will cook both ways reverse flow or tuning plates. Personally I like tuning plates I can run my cooker with in 5° to 15° left right up down with my plates. I can also change on the fly and cook at 300° on the firebox side and have the other side humming at around 250°

Much like any other cooker a reverse flow has its own flavor profile because the meat juices are cooking off on the plate while a tuning plate cooker sets middle of the road with some juices cooking off but mostly going to the bottom. Most R/F cookers have a hot spot at the firebox they are not all that even cooking if you measure actual grate temps. They DO NOT burn more fuel as some will post. They put out really good BBQ in my opinion I just prefer my tuning plates.
In my opinion I would be afraid of a cooker builder that dogged a reverse flow cooker that was properly built because that builder is lacking in cooker knowledge.
These are just my thoughts. :D
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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby bsooner75 » Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:11 pm

Thanks KAM. Glad to hear you reference the flavor profile difference. I was curious about that.

Not saying this guy is going to dog RF's. My buddy just told me there were some characteristics I should be aware of. I'm going to talk to him Saturday so we'll see.


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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby bsooner75 » Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:50 pm

Well I was wrong about that. Just spent an hour getting told how RF smokers are a POS that burn the meat, might as well cook in an oven. Insulated fire boxes are a waste of money. The best method is building your fire box inside the cook chamber is the way to go…

It was good for entertainment anyway.


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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby Okie Sawbones » Sat Jul 25, 2015 4:52 pm

I think that people who cook on Lang's reverse flows will argue they are the best out there. :cheers:
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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby k.a.m. » Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:15 am

bsooner75 wrote:Well I was wrong about that. Just spent an hour getting told how RF smokers are a POS that burn the meat, might as well cook in an oven. Insulated fire boxes are a waste of money. The best method is building your fire box inside the cook chamber is the way to go…

It was good for entertainment anyway.


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I had a feeling he was gonna dog the design. He knows nothing about cookers. I could spend a day telling him his idea of a cooker has flaws as well. :lol:
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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby bsooner75 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:40 am

k.a.m. wrote:[quote="bsooner75"]Well I was wrong about that. Just spent an hour getting told how RF smokers are a POS that burn the meat, might as well cook in an oven. Insulated fire boxes are a waste of money. The best method is building your fire box inside the cook chamber is the way to go…

It was good for entertainment anyway.


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I had a feeling he was gonna dog the design. He knows nothing about cookers. I could spend a day telling him his idea of a cooker has flaws as well. :lol:[/quote]

I agree KAM and could have done that as well. But I'd just have wasted my breath. I just shook my head and wondered how quickly I could get out of there.

I know both offset & RF work. Just trying to figure out which is going to be best for me. I still haven't really visited with a true offset pit builder. Guess that's next on my list. Any suggestions there would be appreciated. Closer to Dallas (north side) the better.


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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby sparctek » Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:15 pm

I know Lone Star Grillz is a good distance from you, but I would definitely suggest a trip there to talk with Chris. He doesn't build a reverse flow unit, but his offsets are very good cookers and he is a pleasure to visit with. He will not try to sell you anything you don't want.

Definitely worth the drive there and back, specially when you consider the investment on the smoker.

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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby bsooner75 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:34 pm

Thanks Jesse. I've emailed back and forth with Chris a couple of times. He was very helpful. Good looking pits as well.


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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby riseabove50 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:42 pm

I had the same experience with Lone Star. he doesn't make RFs. too bad - his product is good quality. you would think that a good business practice would be to give the customer what they want if it's within reason and leave your personal opinion out of it.

i've used both a RF and a tuner-plated off-set. both work just fine. it's really a personal preference. IMHO, i think the size of the cook chamber might make a difference as well. if you're going to get a back yard cooker that's under 3 feet long, i don't think RF is absolutely necessary and might be an unnecessary expense. if you're looking to get a bigger rig with a 3+ foot long cook chamber, it might be worth considering for a more evenly temped chamber - but then again you can also use tuning plates in a bigger rig as well. i think with the larger cookers, it may take a little more 'fiddlin' with the plates to find that sweet spot where your heat is well distributed, but then you don't move them after that - or maybe use tick marks to note where your plates go if you take them out. with a reverse flow there's no 'fiddlin.' plus they're a little less hassle to clean out.

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Re: Reverse Flow vs regular Offset Stick Burner

Postby bsooner75 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 3:28 pm

Thanks riseabove. I appreciate the feedback.


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