Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

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COQue
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Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby COQue » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:21 am

Dear TX BBQ Forum

You've been a wealth of information thus far and I hope you don't mind me picking your brains re: insulated cabinets.

My whole push to upgrade my smoker has been a "fire and forget" cooker so I can sleep or watch the kids. As much as I treasure the fun of poking logs and catching whiffs of smoke, I can't babysit a fire like I did before the kids arrived--it's a stage of life thing. 2 questions:

1) What's your overall sense on the insulated cabinets? Lone Star Grillz claims their large cabinet can hold 40 pounds of briquettes and burn 30+ hours without opening the main chamber or tending a fire! If I understood Chris' video, it looks like the only work during a smoke would be refilling water through their tunneled water port.

2) What would you folks say about the criticism that insulated cabinets don't allow the meat to form a good bark/smoke ring? I'd greatly appreciate hearing from members that have smoked on regular stick burners versus insulated cabinets. Low maintenance sounds great but I won't spend thousands if the food is inferior.

I know the insulated cabinets are hella expensive, but I figure if I'm going for a new cooker, I should avoid duplication and have a rig that truly fills a niche I don't currently have.

CO Que
Lang 36 Hybrid Deluxe Patio (current)
Texas Original Pits Pearsall 16", 1/4" inch thick, single door, patio (sold)
Chargriller 5050 with OFB (sold)
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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby k.a.m. » Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:04 pm

You can buy a 22.5" WSM for about 399.00 It will cook plenty for your family and parties. Not sure why 30 plus hours is needed in any cooker You can have a 15 lb brisket done and resting in 7.5 to 8 hours.
Always remember slow and steady wins the race.

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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby Boots » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:16 pm

k.a.m. wrote:You can buy a 22.5" WSM for about 399.00 It will cook plenty for your family and parties. Not sure why 30 plus hours is needed in any cooker You can have a 15 lb brisket done and resting in 7.5 to 8 hours.


KAM is on to a great thing here, one I fondly embrace, the KISS principle. First, while it can be real finiky under windy conditions (experienced this last year first hand at the Kosher cookoff where they supplied them), the WSM is arguably the cheapest, most well made, most reliable, adequate capacity to feed a group smoker out on the market, and you can knock the top off and adequately grill with it too. And I experienced good multiple hour burn times (2-4 when the wind was still) burn times on a load of fuel. Baseline, a cool or hot breeze is yer worst enemy, second is tweaking the airflow through the unit until you really learn yer unit. So, what kin you do about it?

One answer: Heatproof water heater blanket or some other heat resistant material to wrap around the cooker while it's, well, cookin'. Ask around here, guys do it though I can't remember the specific source. You might ask Papa Tom, he is the resident rocket scientist and Bill Nye the Science Guy around here, he's got a PhD in every 1-2-3. So instead of investing $2 large on an insulated vault cooker (unless you are really serious, going on the competition circuit, or just comfortably numb to the cost), you can be into a WSM and a blanket for under $500. Just some food fer thought, pardon the pun.

As far as time, I would say I am probably about the slowest manjack of all of us on this forum, what with 18 hour briskets and 9 hour ribs and such. If I was from south of the Border, my name would be Slowpoke Rodriguez. And my stuff comes out juicy and tender every time; so I think the 30 hour deal is a great thing if your gonna fire yer wife's lastest pottery experiment in the cooker for her, but not much value if all you wanna do is cook a good piece of Bevo.

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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby txsmkmstr » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:55 pm

Just a few observations from someone who's had both....

ICS's (insulated cabinet smokers)are not truly set and forget. If that's your goal I would suggest a pellet pooper or electric smoker. Granted, ICS's hold a steady temp for a long time once your temp is reached but even then you'll want to monitor things as temps seem to rise toward the end of the cook (weird, I know) As others have noted, a 30 hour cook sounds ridiculous but you should have no trouble getting 8-10 hours of "easy" cooking.

I quit using water in my ICS - too much hassle, too much clean up and i didn't really care for the "steamy environment" effect on my food. Once I got my technique dialed in I gave up on water and never looked back. I did line the water pan with foil for easier clean up. ICS's are pretty easy on the pocket book for fuel consumption. Of course, I still controlled temps with fire size so rarely did I load it up with a whole bag.

Smoke rings have very little (OK, nothing) to do with flavor profile. I never did achieve the same depth of smoke ring with my ICS that I do with my stick burner but the food was always great tasting. Bark formation has more to do with your cooking technique than the style of cooker. Foil vs. B/P - water in pan, etc. can all affect the bark so I don't consider that a valid criticism.

Another nice thing about ICS's is the footprint is generally smaller than a stick burner. Finally, with little ones running amok you'll find the ICS's offer a slightly better approach to keeping kids safe. Not to say they don't get warm (even direct sun will render the exterior pretty hot) but the likelihood of 3rd degree burns is greatly diminished.

So.... After all this you'll ask why don't I still have one. Well, I'm at the point where I can tend a pit and enjoy doing so. I won't say the food is superior but I seem to appreciate the hands on method so perhaps it tastes better because of it. There are some who say nothing beats a stick burner for flavor - there are BBQ champions that prove otherwise. If I could have two smokers the one of them would be an ICS. Hope this rambling makes sense in some helpful way.
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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby COQue » Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:44 pm

Very helpful indeed folks! It does seem hard to justify $2000-3000 if I'm not entering the competition circuit. I may do a large cook for a party quarterly but I agree that I'll probably never get to use the 30+ hours cook time or all the available rack space. I'll keep to my stick burner for now and simply tend to it in the wee hours when the kiddos are asleep. Even though I'm sleep deprived, it doesn't take away from supervision time and it negates the risk of those 3rd degree burns!
Lang 36 Hybrid Deluxe Patio (current)
Texas Original Pits Pearsall 16", 1/4" inch thick, single door, patio (sold)
Chargriller 5050 with OFB (sold)
Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth, 4 Probes
Famili OT008 Digital thermometer, 2 probes
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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby bsooner75 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:26 pm

Sounds like you are about the same point in life as I am. I purchased an R&O Fatgirl from one of the forum members.

While I am in the learning stage still I will tell you I've really enjoyed it so far. I haven't quite got the smoke flavor I was getting from my stick burner but I have a few more tricks to try. My family and guests have complimented my que so maybe I am just being too critical. I still have some more experimenting to do.

If I were to buy new, LSG was number one on my list.

Feel free to reach out with any questions. If you were closer I'd say come over and check it out.


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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby COQue » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:29 am

Thanks bsooner,

I feel like we're part of a cohort of fellas that:

A) Want lower fire maintenance on our rig
B) Want to keep the same high level of quality Que
C) Want to avoid busting our wallets wide open since we have family spending

Ugh! I agree that Lone Star Grillz seems hard to beat. The videos have hooked me, especially when they have the secondary smoke stack that "tells" you that your water pan is low. However, I'm still wrapping my brain around $3000!! I know that I'd want some basic upgrades and I believe a Colorado resident like me would pay Texas sales tax. Thus, for what I'd want, I'd be well over the $3000 line for the lone star cabinet :(
Lang 36 Hybrid Deluxe Patio (current)
Texas Original Pits Pearsall 16", 1/4" inch thick, single door, patio (sold)
Chargriller 5050 with OFB (sold)
Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth, 4 Probes
Famili OT008 Digital thermometer, 2 probes
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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby bsooner75 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:45 am

Keep an eye on the for sale threads in the different forums. As well as Craigslist.


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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby COQue » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:25 pm

Agree bsooner!

Been scouring Craigslist in the heartland of America. Some interesting finds. Found some custom rigs going as thick as 1/2 inch plate on main cook chamber. The catch is how well they draft. My big fear is dropping 2000 greenbacks for a half ton of steel that doesn't work.

Lots of COS units for 100 bucks and then tons of trailer rigs in 3500-5000 range. I'm looking for an impressive patio rig for 2000, wish me luck!! I guess I'm probably a medium range buyer trying to spend 2000-2500. Not sure if there's much of a market for a guy like me.
Lang 36 Hybrid Deluxe Patio (current)
Texas Original Pits Pearsall 16", 1/4" inch thick, single door, patio (sold)
Chargriller 5050 with OFB (sold)
Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth, 4 Probes
Famili OT008 Digital thermometer, 2 probes
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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby COQue » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:06 am

Folks,

Talk about one heck of a journey. I've been spending countless hours mulling over a Bell Fab, a Lone Star cabinet, and it was bSooners tip that made me scour Craig's list again.

Sure enough, I found me a diamond in the rough: a Lang 36 Hybrid Deluxe Patio with some factory upgrades: genuine slide out upper rack (not the skimpy platform) in the smoker, third grate in the warmer box, and the swivel front axle with T arm!

I hit the road to pick it up this weekend. I'm so pumped that I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve just dying with anticipation. Can't believe it but the boss (wife) gave the green light cause she could probably sense the train had already left the station.

I guess I'll be joining the Lang side of the stands. To fit in, I couldn't help but order me online a Lang ball cap and t shirt!
Lang 36 Hybrid Deluxe Patio (current)
Texas Original Pits Pearsall 16", 1/4" inch thick, single door, patio (sold)
Chargriller 5050 with OFB (sold)
Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth, 4 Probes
Famili OT008 Digital thermometer, 2 probes
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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby bsooner75 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:43 am

Congratulations


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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby k.a.m. » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:28 am

Congratulations. :D
Always remember slow and steady wins the race.

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My Hybrid cooker.
Competition trailer #2.
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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby COQue » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:32 pm

Didn't want to leave you hanging! Here's my new baby: a Lang 36 hybrid deluxe Patio . It's an image of it coming into the trailer I'm using to pull it home!!
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Lang 36 Hybrid Deluxe Patio (current)
Texas Original Pits Pearsall 16", 1/4" inch thick, single door, patio (sold)
Chargriller 5050 with OFB (sold)
Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth, 4 Probes
Famili OT008 Digital thermometer, 2 probes
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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby Kiwiruss » Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:26 am

You ain't seen nothing til ya seen the tardis, I can't remember who has it now? Bsooner????

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Re: Fire and Forget: Insulated Cabinets

Postby bsooner75 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:19 am

That is a clean looking Lang.

Here is a pic of my "Tardis" (I call her Blue) for Russ' enjoyment :)

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