Old Country BBQ Pits Wrangler Smoker Review

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by lphamilton1, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. grillin_all_day

    grillin_all_day Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

     I add from both from the top and the side door, so either or will work.  After I add the split, I open the side door open about half way or all the way depending on how high the heat gets.  I've even been known to prop the top door open if I add too much wood and the side door isn't doing the trick (I haven't had to do this much lately once I figured out much wood to add).  I'm doing a couple racks of spares on Saturday (almost 3 weeks w/o using it is killing me!) so I'll take a few pics and post to show my process.  I did notice though that the smoker was running a little hotter w/ hickory and pecan vs. oak, so don't forget the time of day, weather and what kind of wood you're using will all have an affect on temps.

    The nut on my intake dampener is a little loose, but not to the point where it restricts me from adjusting the vent properly.  It's just loose enough to where it gets hot and the metal expands, it's still functional.  On my brisket smoke, it expanded just enough to where it felt like the vent on my Webber Kettle.
  2. kingt36

    kingt36 Meat Mopper

    Welp, today's the day. I'm planning to buy the Wrangler this evening. Hopefully it isn't raining all day tomorrow and I will get it seasoned. It will probably be next Friday or Saturday before I can do my first smoke on it though...In any case, I'm excited. This will be my first stick burner. Previously I've used an old propane smoker from Lowes or my Weber kettle...
  3. kingt36

    kingt36 Meat Mopper

    Here she is! My friend Reggie helped me pic it up..that's him photo bombing the picture..

  4. grillin_all_day

    grillin_all_day Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Smoking some spares right now and learned a new quirk to my pit. With apple, it prefers to be almost buttoned up on the SFB to raise temps, and opened to lower them. That goes against everything I've ever learned about stick burners. Thankfully I have my vent adjuster handy haha!
  5. mickhlr

    mickhlr Smoke Blower

    kingt36, looking good!  Did you get it seasoned this weekend?  When I seasoned mine, I seasoned the first night, and the next morning...then, I just HAD to throw some meat on it, to go with the adult beverages it takes every time I light the smoker.  :)

    grillin_all_day, where are those spare pics?? 

    I'm having withdrawals...didn't get to smoke anything this weekend.  Out of town all weekend, and missed my Q.
  6. kingt36

    kingt36 Meat Mopper

    Haven't had a chance to yet. It's been raining everyday here for the last month and looks to continue doing so for the next week or so..I will probably try to do it this weekend, rain it shine.

    Question about seasoning..do I need to put anything on the outside of the smoker or just the inside?
  7. mickhlr

    mickhlr Smoke Blower

    Just the inside.  I used peanut oil in a spray bottle.  Liked it so much, I've been using it on my grill now every time I crank it up.  :)
    kingt36 likes this.
  8. kingt36

    kingt36 Meat Mopper

    Finally got a chance to fire up the smoker. I got it up to about 350 before I shut the vent by the firebox down to about the 2/3 mark. The temperature is decreasing slowly.

    I've noticed that I'm losing a lot of smoke out of the firebox. Can you recommend something I can a lot to get a better seal there? The door appears to have been cut slightly off.
  9. kingt36

    kingt36 Meat Mopper

    So, this is my first experience at all with a stick burner. To season it, I dumped a bunch of coals on a bed of a full load of hot coals from the Weber chimney, then threw a bunch of wood chunks on. About 30 minutes later, I put some more wood chunks on and then some more after about an hour. When I actually get ready to smoke something, I'm not sure I know what to do differently. I'm thinking I won't need to use as many coals, and I will have splits instead of chunks. My question, can any of you with the OC Wrangler briefly detail how you get yours up and running for a good smoke?

    Thanks a bunch!
  10. kingt36

    seasoning is not about creating smoke, its applying oil or fat to the inside of the smoker similar to what you do with a cast iron skillet to keep it from rusting.  Usually done by keeping it up around 400* and using a spray bottle full of vegetable oil and applying a coat every 20 minutes or so.

    As far as start up for a cook, most people use a small amount ( on your smoker, I'd probably use a 3rd of a chimney full ) of charcoal, and let it ash over good before stacking some splits on top of it. I usually start with two nice size pieces and let them flame up good and start to char over before I put one more on top of them and close the firebox door. With both the intake and exhaust vents fully open, watch your temp steadily rise and as it passes 300* start closing your intake vent until its holding 325* to 350*.  Hold it there for about a beer to make sure its not climbing anymore and to burn off any spiders , roaches or what not that crawled in there the night before. This is a good time to take a white wet rag and wipe the cooking grate down to remove any residue that would discolor your meat. But once its ready and your holding about 325* pretty steady, load it up with all your good stuff your going to cook, making sure to put a few sausages close to the door for easy grab-bins in about an hour or two. Also any flap meat from the back of the ribs should be put up front as well for easy access. You should see it drop to around 275* after loading up all the cold meat, so just play with the intake to try to hold it around there.  As far as fire management, I like to not add more than 1/3rd  fresh fuel at a time, so when the 3 splits you have burning are equal to about two splits, add one more, and then add again when they are now equal to two.  Having your splits all around about the same size and sized right for your smoker is an important strategy for stick burners. So if you decide to go with my fire management system, your splits will be the right size to create enough heat with only two and 1/2 splits  burning at one time.

    Now, many people go with much smaller splits ( hence "stick" burner) and will have half a dozen in there at a time or more. This will create more BTU , and the smoker will come up to temp faster, but you will also have to load it more often and your temperature might not be as steady.

    One more trick is to place the next log that you plan on adding to the fire, on top of the firebox to start drying it out. I like to pull any bark , leaves or moss that may still be on it, and knock or any sand or dirt before setting it up there.
    kingt36 likes this.
  11. kingt36

    kingt36 Meat Mopper

    Thanks! I will give that a shot tomorrow. I hope it isn't raining. Bought a pork butt and some spare ribs yesterday. I'm looking forward to firing this baby up for some smoke!

    That said, I do have one more question for those who have this particular smoker. How do you route your probes? I don't see any holes to route them in the lid or anywhere. Do you just run them under the door?
  12. mickhlr

    mickhlr Smoke Blower

    Ribwizzard gave some outstanding information there.  I quoted the most important ones above.  :)  I fired mine up twice to season before I used it...and I used a blended soybean/peanut oil, as it has a higher smoke point. A smoke point is the point at which an oil or fat (shortening, butter) gives off smoke. Smoking is an indicator the fats have turned rancid. For example peanut oil has a smoke point of 445* and soybean oil has a smoke point of 490*, whereas shortening is 325* and butter is 350*.  And, there are lots of others...but for the price, I just stick with the soybean/peanut oil blend, as it does a pretty good job.

    Yes, I just run my Maverick leads under the door...hasn't hurt them at all. 
    kingt36 likes this.
  13. kingt36

    kingt36 Meat Mopper

    Cool...I think that's all I needed..Thanks for the help!
  14. kingt36

    kingt36 Meat Mopper

    Reading through it again, the temperatures seem high..do I want to smoke the whole time at 275? I've been trying to get to the 225 - 240 range.
  15. kingt36

    kingt36 Meat Mopper

    Well, I can certainly tell that I've got some learning to do. I think my splits are too small. I'm thinking I'm going to have to go with 12 - 16" splits. Right now the splits I have are 6 - 10" and they are not producing enough heat. I'm adding two or more at a time and playing with the intake constantly to stay in the 225-250* range.

    I may also need to consider placement. Right now, everything is in the center of the firebox front to back, but closer to the cooking chamber lengthwise. I'm wondering If I should get it closer to the firebox door.

    It also seems to do the opposite of what I expect. I thought that the more open the intake is the hotter the fire burns, however it seems like when I close it more the temp in the cook chamber climbs quite a bit and I have to open it more to get the temp down. What's that about?

    I'll keep playing. I'm determined to get this joker figured out!
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2013
  16. kingt36

    kingt36 Meat Mopper

  17. glocksrock

    glocksrock Smoking Fanatic

    Has anyone found a cover that works really well for this smoker?
  18. kingt36

    kingt36 Meat Mopper

    I got this one and it works great for me so far. You may can go with the smaller version, but I wasn't exactly sure of the dimensions so I got this one. It covers the smoker completely and goes all the way to the ground and then some..The material seems fairly sturdy also.

    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
  19. I bought the large CharBroil cover at Academy and it works great

  20. I also recommend a scope or binocs so you can monitor temps from a distance.


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