New Backwoods Party

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by swinefan, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. swinefan

    swinefan Fire Starter

    All right, so I got my new backwoods party and finally have a few smokes under it to review properly.  For record, my previous (and only) baby before was a masterbuilt pro which I did enjoy.


    1) I literally love this thing.  It holds temps incredibly.  I was very nervous about using charcoal instead of gas, but this thing can be adjusted just as quick and as easy as gas with the opening of a vent 1 inch, and in 15 minutes you are settled.  

    2) The color it puts on meat is amazing compared to gas.  It colored my sausages the most beautiful brown I have ever seen.  Same for the pork shoulder.  

    3) It heats up relatively quickly, it comes to temp almost as quick as my propane smoker did.  

    4) You can stage the wood in the firebox so there is literally zero maintenance at all until the charcoal dies (more on that in the CON)

    5) Huge space. I can cook a feast on this bad boy. 

    6) The charcoal definitely adds flavor.  It's more "smoky" without being bitter.  


    1) There aren't many, but the primary one is the charcoal run out.  For my 10 hour shoulder cook I had to replace the charcoal three times, which I thought was excessive.  I was using generic kingsford briquettes, if lump makes a difference please let me know!!  

    If anyone is on the fence regarding a backwoods (the price indeed scared me) let me know.  I can try to help answer any questions.  One of the primary reasons I spent the money I did on this bad boy is the potential longevity, I expect this cooker to last me 10-15 years easy (which based on the construction I wouldn't be surprised if it survived the apocalypse).  
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  2. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey this post needs a few pics!
  3. swinefan

    swinefan Fire Starter

    Yessir! Here are pictures.  

    The cover is awesome- double zipper so you can access the front for cleaning without taking the whole thing off.

    Legit cover- extremely thick.

    Deflector shield, I wrapped mine in heavy duty foil to protect it.

    I got the upgraded firebox.  This thing is heavy as hell and could probably survive a grenade point blank. Ash catcher below, I covered with foil as well.  It doesn't cover the entire bottom but 90%.  I use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the ash that misses the catcher.

    The size of the racks is hard to capture, they are big.  My arm for comparison.  

    The bottom two racks are doubled up top from when I cleaned the water pan.  It holds 6 racks total.  

    Water pan.  It seasoned/stained a little, but it is rock solid.  I wrap heavily with foil and place a half size hotel pan in it for the water to keep it clean.  I haven't had any temp problems with this method.  
  4. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks for sharing,it looks great!
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Nice rig!

    Looking forward to seeing it in action!

  6. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nice pit SwineFan...congrats!  I've always admired those Backwoods rigs.  

    As far as your charcoal usage goes...that amount of charcoal for a 10 hour cook seems excessive to me too.  Your OP didn't say, but are you using some form of the Minion method?  If memory serves, I seem to recall seeing that Backwoods offers a maze-type insert as an accessory...that you can drop into your fire box, allowing for the snake method of charcoal burning.  This setup would drastically increase your burn time on a single load of coal.

    You could certainly try lump coal and see if it makes a difference over's been my experience that lump actually burns up faster then briqs, but YMMV.

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
  7. bbqwillie

    bbqwillie Smoking Fanatic

    SF, you won't be disappointed with your Backwoods. I have a Patio I bought back in 2001 and it's still going strong. You are right about their charcoal usage, they like to burn charcoal. The best I've ever been able to get out of mine is about 4 hours before it needs fuel but it's got a small fire box. I do use a minion method with mine and that helps a bunch but it still eats charcoal compared to other units. As far as the food, some of the best pork butts you can eat have come out of mine. I can just squeeze 4 butts into mine and 12 hours later.... perfection. It a rock solid 220 degree smoker.
  8. gr8day

    gr8day Smoke Blower

    You should be able to get 8 to 12 hours cook time depending on cooking temp and load 8 to 12 pounds of charcoal in the charcoal basket. Do you know how many pounds of charcoal you used for your cook? Congrats on your new smoker getting ready to pull the trigger on a G2 Chubby. 
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
  9. jeremi

    jeremi Newbie

    Nice!!! I have two Backwoods Piglet Plus. Gr8day you are absolutely right. I get 10 to 11 hours with about ten pounds of coal. Seenred, I've tried lump coal and find that it still burns fast even in a beast like the backwoods. I use briquettes and hardwood chunks. Gr8day, hope you get your G2 Chubby sooner rather than later!
  10. swinefan

    swinefan Fire Starter

    I'm not sure how many lbs I use per load, but it is very full.  I did some briskets last weekend and I got about 6 hours straight no problem, so maybe I just need to keep testing it.  I may also have been lighting too large an area in the corner before beginning.  Either way, I am loving this cooker.  It adjusts and holds temps as easy as a propane smoker, I adjust a side door .5 inches and bam, it moves 10 degrees!
  11. swinefan

    swinefan Fire Starter

    Another note- for cleaning any tips?  I have been taking the water pan inside and scrubbing it, and soaking the racks in water and soap until I can wipe them down.  I loosely wipe down the insides if I see any large build up, but mainly leave it alone.

    I heavily foil everything I can, including the bottom ash tray, the heat diverter and the water pan (I put in a hotel pan in the metal pan for the water) to prevent any wear and tear.  I usually use a vacuum cleaner to take out the leftover ash.  I am paranoid about this baby rusting or wearing out.  
  12. jeremi

    jeremi Newbie

    I don't blame you for wanting to wrap to whole damn thing in foil! As far as cleaning up goes, seems like your doing everything your supposed to do. I wouldn't worry too much about it wearing out, but definitely watch for rust. The piglet plus is a monster so cleaning up for me is a bit more involved, I like to apply a light coat of some type of cooking oil on my water pan when I'm done cleaning up and have ensured I don't have any water puddles laying around in there.on the bottom.  
  13. gr8day

    gr8day Smoke Blower

    It's going to last you a long time as long as it's kept out of the weather, you are cleaning out the charcoal and ash after every cook as you should, the biggest problem with BWS is the bottom rusting out.  I wouldn't worry about scrubbing down the grates just hit them really good with a grill brush or wadded up foil, when you fire up your cooker the for next cook you'll be waiting for the fire to clean up and the cooker to come up to temp those grates will be nice and sanitized. The rest of the cook chamber of course clean out the water pan as you're already doing, if you see some flaking you can hit it with a brush or a putty knife. 

    Another thing you can do to help with clean up is set a pan or as I prefer a disposable pan on the next rack under the meat or if you are loading it up pretty good put one on lowest rack just above the water pan (if you have an open rack) to catch all the drippings, then you only have to dump the water and dry out the pan. I don't own a BWS yet but have a good friend who competes with a G2 Chubby and G2 Party and he's never had issues with running out of fuel during a cook, we both use a Weber compact chimney which holds about 25 briquets and he dumps this in the back of the charcoal tray, then gives the cooker about an hour for the fire to clean up and come up to temp.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
  14. Argh, I am going to have to lie to my wife on how much I will pay for a Backwoods.
  15. swinefan

    swinefan Fire Starter

    Been cooking on this bad boy for well over a year and I love it even more. I have gotten better with the charcoal usage- I can usually get 8 hours easy without refilling. Overloading the firebox and making sure to light a tiny corner helps the longevity of the batch.

    The only tricky thing is the temperature differs per rack, but this also has its benefits. I also imagine all smokers have this characteristic.

    The top is usually 10-15 degrees hotter than the bottom rack. If you keep an eye on what you are cooking there isn't much of an issue. If I am doing smaller items I usually swap the racks halfway through. This is actually great for chicken as I can finish them off up top and get an incredible skin.

    Once again I have to say I love that smoker- I can cook a feast and it is incredibly easy to use. I have smoked in 15 degree weather with zero issues regarding heat. I also smoke in 90 degree summer temps and I can put my hand on the outside without feeling any heat. A very impressive machine.

    If you are on the fence and are going to spend the money I would consider the extended party. I do run into slight trouble with larger briskets. They fit- BARELY...but after an hour or two of smoking they shrink up and I don't have much issue. Just something to consider.

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