Looking into a new smoker.

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by cop-medic103, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. cop-medic103

    cop-medic103 Newbie

    I am going to purchase a new smoker, hopefully in April or May. I would like some information on what should I purchase. This is what I would like in an Offset Wood Smoker.

    1. 1/4 inch metal wall

    2. 20 inch to 24 inch wide main cooking chamber

    3. 30 inch to 48 inch long main cooking chamber

    4. Ability to cook with the fire box

    5. Stander flow or reverse flow smoker does not matter

    6. Double shelf food grates in main cooking chamber

    7. Heavy duty removable food grates with the ability to slide out

    8. Last, large shelf just in front of the main cooking chamber

    I have been looking at the Old Country's, Gator, Lang, Horizon, Peoria, and few others. I would like to know good, bad, and the ugly of these smokers and some experiences that you may have with them and how you came to choose the smoker you purchased. I have been smoking and BBQing for 15 years now, mostly with homemade rigs and El Cheapo smoking rigs from chain stores that only cost a couple of hundred, and one electrical smoker, " hate to say it." Currently I have an El Cheapo Char-Broil smoker, made out of sheet metal. I have been able to keep the temps within 15 degrees from the firebox side to the opposite end of the smoker and always had good tasting products that are very tender, and my coworkers always seem to hit me up when they see my smoke going. So I think I know little of what I am doing. What I did notice is I am using twice the wood and charcoal in the winter than I did in the summer and I think this hobby deserves to get a real upgrade. I am not looking to go into any comps. just a backyard type of smoker and if I want to do a local comp, I will have the equipment to do the job right.

    Currently I am budgeting $1200 on a new smoker, but would raise my budget up another $1k or so if the product is truly worth it and will wait another year for a new gun safe. I know this would be like going from a Segway to a Mustang compared to my current smoker and I would wonder why in the hell I purchased a cheap POS in the first place, when I finally get to use a good smoker. So what would be the best smoker for me?

    Thanks, Stay Safe, Stay Free, and God Bless the Republic.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  2. dreel

    dreel Newbie

    Have you looked at ceramic cookers? Primo, BGE?
  3. glocksrock

    glocksrock Smoking Fanatic

    If you want a large shelf in front of the main chamber, forget about the Old Country BBQ Pits, their shelves are quite small. Have you looked at the Meadow Creek smokers? Your best bet may be to have someone custom build something for you so you can have everything you want built to spec.
  4. crazyq

    crazyq Meat Mopper

    Lonestargrillz is another good option for a backyard pit. And they can customize it with a larger shelf on front instead of the standard 10" shelf.

    Gators are a real good pit as well and will also custom make the shelf as you want it.

    For offset backyarders these are the two im fimiliar with and would reccomend from experience of using them. Alot of others out there make a nice pit but i dont have personal experience with them.
  5. cop-medic103

    cop-medic103 Newbie

    Dreel, I did look into the ceramic style smokers, Big Green Egg, Primo, and others. What turned me away from them is, I am way to hard on my stuff to trust me with one, and I cook way too much for any of the ceramic cookers I seen. With my current smoker it has 1600 square inches of cooking surface. 9 times out of 10 it's full of meats and other food. I know they do a very good job with some I have used in the pass.
  6. cop-medic103

    cop-medic103 Newbie

    I looked into having one custom built, however I would like a company or fabrication shop that fabs mostly pits. So I know they know what they are doing.

    I did look at meadow creek, but did not see any prices on their website, I kinda go with the old saying, if you have to ask about the price you can't afford it.
  7. cop-medic103

    cop-medic103 Newbie

    I have looked into Lonestargrillz and they are one I am thinking about, but I would like to checkout a pit to see the welds, how well they are sealed, and etc. One thing I wonder about, the top open square fire box, " if that is what it's call." how easy is it to flip steaks, burgers, etc. and how much room is the grate from the door. meaning will my burgers or inch 1 1/2 ribeyes get smashed if I used the very top shelf. 
  8. crazyq

    crazyq Meat Mopper

    I have the 24x48 ill take some pics for ya when i get home of the shelves and welds. Welds are good. Everything is nice and clean. Only problem i have with LSGrillz is there trailers since they are pulled down the highway but their pits are put together really well. This one was on a trailer of theirs that i scrapped the trailer and turned it onto a backyarder and sold to a friend i work with.

  9. cop-medic103

    cop-medic103 Newbie

    ok, thanks. I will be waiting.
  10. crazyq

    crazyq Meat Mopper

    No i never used the firebox to grill with so i welded it down cause having that some heat was lost there but ill install the grate and measure and get you a picture of how much space you'll be left with when the lid is closed.
  11. sidpost

    sidpost Fire Starter

    Check out Shirley Fabrication from Tuscaloosa, AL.  3/8th bodies and firebox, full welds, etc.  A lot of "bang for the buck".
  12. 64driver

    64driver Fire Starter

    +1 for Shirley Fabrication. You should at least give Paul a call. He can probably get you what you want for a lot cheaper than what the large companies charge. Unfortunately, if you order one from him today, it won't be ready until summer (June). That just shows how many people are in line, myself included.
  13. crazyq

    crazyq Meat Mopper

    Sorry, weather has been crazy here. I'll get you those pics this afternoon.
  14. crazyq

    crazyq Meat Mopper

    There is definitly plenty of room on the top rack for steaks and burgers.

  15. ambucher

    ambucher Fire Starter

    Hi there....just thought I'd give my 2 cents.

    I just upgraded from a Horizon Classic 16".  The Horizon was a great unit, but not quite big enough.  I did quite a bit of research before finally pulling the trigger today.  I considered pretty much every brand listed above and decided to go with the Peoria Cookers 24x48 with the insulated firebox.  I considered buying a larger Horizon, but the quality of the PC, along with the insulated firebox sold me.   I don't know where you live, but if you are fairly close to Pekin, Illinois, you should give them a call and stop by and check out their rigs.  These things are top quality and you couldn't find nicer people to work with.  You will pay a little more to get all of the options you want, but it's totally worth it.  Check em out....you won't be disappointed!
  16. cop-medic103

    cop-medic103 Newbie

    that looks real good, I appreciate the pictures. Just need to see how much the tax man gives me back.
  17. cop-medic103

    cop-medic103 Newbie

    I have look at this company and they are one of my top chooses.
  18. 64driver

    64driver Fire Starter

    PCC was one of my top choices as well. I'm originally from IL, my wife has family all over the Monticello and Champaign area, so I took a good hard look at them. Very top notch cookers, and they perform great. They were just out of my price range for what I wanted (3k was my limit [​IMG]). With the PCC 24x48, trailer, and wood box it was right around 3k, let alone the $567 for the insulated firebox. Ended up going with Shirley Fabrication just because I was able to trick out a 24x60 with 3/8" cooker walls, 3/8" firebox, 1/4" warming cabinet, trailer, and it was 3k. I went with SF was because they reminded me of PCC...no tack welds. Everything is seal welded with nice beads all around. To me, both are well built rigs.

    I wish I was rich cause I'd definitely get the MMOF from PCC. Saw it at a comp once last year....that thing is amazing
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014

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