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Stick vs. pellet (on the fence and could use advice)

 
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Statik



Joined: 18 Sep 2012
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19 12 12:04 am    Post subject: Stick vs. pellet (on the fence and could use advice) Reply with quote

Hi everybody. I'm new to the forum and relatively new to smoking. I will hop over to the new member forums later to introduce myself, but thought I'd get right to the issue. I did this here instead of the wood thread since this mainly deals with the cooker itself.

I'm in the market to buy either a used pitts and spitts US2426 OR invest in a pellet grill like the Blaz'n grill works Gridiron or Yoder YS640. Living near a farm, I can get all the base wood I can handle for free, but with the pitts and spitts, I need to clean it up a bit. I have a friend that can powder coat the frame with ceramic coating (1800 degree temp rating) to make it look new (the current paint isn't all that bad). The stainless still looks new. I'll also have to get some fire rope to help seal off a few leaks around the oven and back of the smoke chamber door. The plus to this, is I know it was well taken care of despite it's age and that it's already seasoned. Price for this is $1300 not counting my upgrades that I'll have to do.

I was considering the Blaz'n gridiron ($1200) because of the location. I don't know much about them other than I haven't seen a bad review. The other pellet i was considering was the Yoder 640 $1399 with second rack.

Now, I've always been the kind of guy that never respected pellets cause lets face it...it's set it and forget it. I love being hands-on with my weber kettle, but I don't know that I have the time to tend to a stick burner for long smokes. I really want to get into cold smoking (don't know if the A-maze-n thing works for pellet smokers), and right now my wife and I just do ribs, holiday turkey, pizzas, fajitas, different types of chicken, etc. My weber works fine for just us, but we like hosting a lot of backyard parties, so I'd like something to start doing more in the brisket and butts dept. I want to really master the art of BBQ, and some people say sticks are the best smoke, others say they are the same depending on pellets, and some say no difference period.

Sorry for the long post and possible repeat topic, but I'm looking for feedback to help me make a decision on which to get. To me, it seems like i can justify a pellet easier because I always have time to use it, but if the stick is truely the way to go, then i'll do it right.

Thanks
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sprayboss
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Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 74
Location: Scott City, KS

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20 12 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have answered it yourself - you don't respect pellets. I have struggled with this issue myself, and I ended up with a stickburner. Stick burner is very economical to run. Pellets cost a lot. With most stick burners, you can load them with charcoal for longer unattended burns. It just boils down to what you personally want - be careful about talking yourself into something. Ultimately - either one will cook very well and you will be happy with the results.
Good luck
jk
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Statik



Joined: 18 Sep 2012
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20 12 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sprayboss wrote:
You have answered it yourself - you don't respect pellets. I have struggled with this issue myself, and I ended up with a stickburner. Stick burner is very economical to run. Pellets cost a lot. With most stick burners, you can load them with charcoal for longer unattended burns. It just boils down to what you personally want - be careful about talking yourself into something. Ultimately - either one will cook very well and you will be happy with the results.
Good luck
jk



Thanks for the reply. So I take it no regrets on the stick burner? I am surrounded by 3 neighbors that have traegers and they all love them, but they use them as a grill. I'm not going to lie, the thought of throwing on a butt or brisket when i go to work and taking it off by dinner time is a really nice idea.
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zski
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Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 1433
Location: Bartlesville,Ok

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20 12 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't beat the set it and forget of a pellet smoker. You will not get as much smoke flavor in your butts, briskets and other large pices of meat, as you would a stick burner. They still put out a good flavor, just not as smokey.

As for ribs, pizza, meatballs, moinkballs, fatties, ect., they put out a mighty delicious product. My Traeger is a rib cooking machine.
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animal
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Location: Wisconsin

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20 12 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Buy a stick burner and build a UDS for longer unattended cooks. I have a Lang and after getting advice I am building a UDS for just that reason.
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HuskerMan
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Joined: 17 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21 12 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was in the same situation as you not to long ago. I went with the pellet burner for the variety of things you can do on it and for it being a set it/forget it deal. While I don't regret buying the pellet burner I'm now building myself a stickburner. The flavor profile I wanted just isn't there when I use the pellets compared to stick burner imo. I will still keep the pellet burner and continue using it as a grill and in other situations, but if I had to do it all over again I would just go with the stickburner right away with a UDS for unattended cooks.
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Statik



Joined: 18 Sep 2012
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23 12 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback. I'm really leaning towards the Pitts and Spitts offset. The only thing I'm still researching is practicality. We do a lot of pizzas, thin carne asada, chickens, and 1-2 racks of baby backs on my weber. a few things we'd like to start doing more are prime ribs, briskets, and butts. We do entertain a lot so for pizzas, I need something larger to accomodate 3-4 at a time.
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G Spot BBQ
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Joined: 03 Jul 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23 12 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you considered a Weber Smoky Mountain? Kind of the best of both worlds. You can use charcoal with wood chunks for long unattended cooks. I have seen some mighty good BBQ come off a WSM. Get the 22 inch one and you will have plenty room. Plus you can pick one up for under $400.

I'm a stick burner guy. To me there is just no other way but thats me Laughing
I have a friend with a Traeger and he has buyers regret. He admits there is no comparison to what comes off my stick burner and his Traeger. He just can't seem to get the flavor out of pellets he's looking for.

If you are not familiar with the Weber Smoky Mountain Google it up and give it a look it may just fit the bill for what you are looking for! Good luck!!
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crestman



Joined: 26 Nov 2010
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25 12 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sprayboss wrote:
Pellets cost a lot.


I think with just a bit of time/money investment, this issue can be no longer. First thing to do is quit using Traeger brand pellets...Start burning either Cookin' Pellets, or BBQr's Delight or other such premium "real" wood pellets. That alone can cut the fuel bill almost in half. Second, build yourself a PID. I built mine early this year and love it and did it for about 75bucks. Once you get the Traeger smoking properly (eliminating the billowing white clouds that can be associated with some pellet poopers) this will also assist in extending the fuel. I can cook a 15Lb brisket for 16+ hours on about 6bucks in pellets at most. I still get adequate smoke flavor and a beautiful 1/4" smoke ring. With the PID you have the option of dumping the smoke to it so it smokes like an old locomotive going up hill, or slow it down to a nice thin blue smoke.

My 2c worth
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Statik



Joined: 18 Sep 2012
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25 12 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anybody know the cost difference between stick and pellet? From most research I've done, without the aid of PID controller, it looks like about $.75 to $1.00 per pound of pellets if you assume sales, shipping, etc. Most pellet grills I've seen burn about .6-.7 pounds of pellets per hour at 225-275 degrees and about 1-1.25 pounds at 350 degrees. That being said a 20 lb ($20 with shipping we'll say) bag of pellets would last approximately 28.5 hours at 225 degrees(all other factors considered equal). I haven't really been able to figure out how much the sticks would cost/last. But from what I've seen, it appears the pellets aren't any more expensive?
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crestman



Joined: 26 Nov 2010
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25 12 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Statik,

For me, I had to consider the availability and storage of the sticks as well as price. I'm also lucky to have both BBQr's Delight and Cookin' Pellets available locally in bulk for wholesale prices. I think 1$ per pound might be average to buy the pellets.

I have to say that I haven't cooked on a stick YET, bu,t will definitely grab one up, or build one eventually. I've done gas, electric, charcoal, pellets...just want to try it all and have fun with it all. More toys and versatility....cost, availability, space, flavor, time...all things to consider.

GL
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sprayboss
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Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 74
Location: Scott City, KS

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25 12 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A buck an hour for pellets would not be to bad. It might depend on what size of cooker you are using and the ambient temperature. (the weather affects all cookers to some degree) Some other things to consider. Pellets come presized. Ready to go. Sticks do not. Everything I buy is presplit, but not to the size that works best in my cooker. Generally, I run $1 of wood per hour. That might be $.50 if you are closer to the east end of the state. But, I can cook 15 to 18 racks at once or 3 briskets and 6 to 8 butts at the same for that cost. I believe pellets cooker owners will die of heart disease earlier because they don't get as much exercise hauling wood, splitting it into smaller pieces, sawing it to length and walking across the yard to check on the thing consantly. Maybe I will convert my stickburner over to pellets. Also, you can buy smaller amounts of pellets, wood tends to be in half rick or whole rick amounts and that can hit the budget pretty hard.
I have to admit - a pellet cooker will turn out real good food the first time - it took a while to learn how to tend a fire.
Good Luck
jk
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Statik



Joined: 18 Sep 2012
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26 12 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I can say is thanks for the great feedback from everybody. I have to say that it made the decision more difficult due to the great points for both sides. I was trying to justify one over the other, but when you compare apples to oranges, it's just not that easy.

Since I've never tasted anything off of a pellet grill, i can't say if the smoke profile is enough for me. That's probably why this is so hard. At this point, the pitts and spitts or the yoder/ Blaz'n pellet grills would be the same price by the time upgrades, sales tax, etc. was figured in. I guess I'll have to sit down w/ a few of my friends (the sam adams triplets) and really weigh all of your input. It's really a case where I'd fully enjoy either cooker.
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Jarhead
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Joined: 11 Oct 2009
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Location: Marionville, Home of the White Squirrels, Missouri

PostPosted: Wed Sep 26 12 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Statik, I have a FEC-100 for over 2 years and love it.
If more smoke is in your tastes, add an Amazen Smoker to it.
I use an AMNTS for cold smoking and hot smoking for more flavor. Think cheese and bacon.
I plug my temp probe in, set the finish IT or the meat, set the cooker temp, hit start and say "Goodnight". If it finishes early, then it automatically goes to hold at 140 or where you set it at. Handy for 2 stage cooks.
Am I spoiled? You betcha I am. Very Happy
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Statik



Joined: 18 Sep 2012
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28 12 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, i made my decision. I decided to go with the Pitts and Spitts. I see this being a two phase endeavor for me. In the near future I will add a small pellet grill to replace my weber kettle. That way I'll have the best of both worlds.
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zilla
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Joined: 09 Jul 2005
Posts: 1190
Location: Universal City, Texas

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28 12 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would think twice about a Pits & Spits. I know quite a few folks who battled with that pit to keep temps right. When they switched they were happy to see it go. Look elsewhere.

I was a long time detractor of pellet cookers. My BIL bought one and asked me to help him on it. All I can say is for a backyard cooker it's amazing. If I didn't own so much BBQ gear I'd buy one for home. Treager is not too bad.
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