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Cooker advice / opinions sought

 
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Slamdunkpro
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Joined: 06 Sep 2005
Posts: 130
Location: Springfield.VA

PostPosted: Mon May 22 06 10:29 pm    Post subject: Cooker advice / opinions sought Reply with quote

Iím looking to ditch my Pitts and Spitts this year and Iím curious as to the board memberís opinions on several things.

So, what are your opinions / thoughts / advantages / disadvantages to:

Rotisserie style cookers vs. static shelf units.

Center or full length fire boxes vs. offset units

Favorite manufacturers
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Michael
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
Posts: 15474
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue May 23 06 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1st off, why are you ditching the Pitts and Spitts?

2nd, it depends on your needs. A trailer rig is good for cooking anywhere, but needs space to park it. Buy something bigger than you think you might need. You can use less space, but you cant get more.

3rd What is your budget? Can you afford a Corvette, or a Chevette?

I think it was Zilla or Adolpho that had a very comprehensive list of pit manufacturer's.

Be careful what you choose, it will be something you have to live with for a long time! Very Happy
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OkieJay
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Joined: 04 Aug 2005
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Location: Oklahoma City area

PostPosted: Tue May 23 06 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allow me to add two more questions to BBQMAN's post.

4th, are you going to be doing comps with the pit?

5th, do you want "set and forget"?

Most important!
Since you are looking to ditch you Pitts and Spitts, give me a call.
I would be happy to haul it off (NO CHARGE)!. Always ready to help another BBQer out. Very Happy
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zilla
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Joined: 09 Jul 2005
Posts: 1190
Location: Universal City, Texas

PostPosted: Tue May 23 06 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here yar!Smile

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2920&highlight=
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Zilla

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Slamdunkpro
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Joined: 06 Sep 2005
Posts: 130
Location: Springfield.VA

PostPosted: Tue May 23 06 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses, but what I want to know isÖ.

(Letís try this again)

I currently have an offset unit. What Iím asking is; for those of you with different style units or multiple cookers of different styles , what do you like/dislike about the various style units?

Examples and questions:

Offsets smokers tend to have a hot and cold end.

Cabinet / upright cookers are more compact, but is there a large temperature gradient between the top and bottom?

For those of you with reverse flow smokers; what is the advantage of reverse flow?

If you have say, a rotisserie cooker; what do you like / not like about it vs. other styles you have used.

For Yukondude1: you cloned a Stumps unit. Why did you pick this type? I saw in the other thread that you have an offset as well; where do you see differences in each unit typeís performance?

BBQMAN:
I see from your website that you have both offset and upright units. Was this simply a space issue or do you use one or the other depending on the cook type/meat/etc?


This type of thing.

Iíve heard / read all the builder hype; Iím looking for user experience.
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Regards,
Michael


Last edited by Slamdunkpro on Wed May 24 06 2:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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zilla
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Joined: 09 Jul 2005
Posts: 1190
Location: Universal City, Texas

PostPosted: Wed May 24 06 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Michael,

Your right, I didn't answer your question and I apologize. I have a large backyard offset pit made by "Gator Pits of Texas" and I really like it. I think that the problem with most offset pits is that they are too small.

In a small offset the hot spot near the firebox is a problem because the pit is so small there is no place to put the meat and no room to adjust the heat. In a larger longer offset the "hot spot" is not a problem but a versatile cooking area.

My opinion is that smaller diameter offset pits 16"-20" are unstable in regard to heat defussion in the cooking chamber and cannot not be made otherwise. Modifications do help but never completely solve the problem.

Larger diameter and longer pipe allows for tuning plates to actually work in helping to distribute the heat more evenly. If you put tuning plates in smaller pit you will not see much of a difference. The larger the pit the better the plates work.

I am of the opinion that offset pits should be a minimum of 24" diameter with the horizontal section at least 40" long. This gives you a fair amount of horz rack space plus the hot end for cooking fast/indirect at the same time.

Offsets work well if they are the right size.
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Slamdunkpro
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Joined: 06 Sep 2005
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Location: Springfield.VA

PostPosted: Wed May 24 06 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Zilla, this is the kind of information Iím looking for. I concur about the small offsets. Mine is a 24 x 48 and Iíve still got a 50+ variance at the hot end even with plates. I think the main reason for this on my Pitts is the common wall between the firebox and the cook chamber allows for radiant heat on the common wall to elevate the temperature on that end. Iím considering sawing off the firebox and adding a 2 inch insulated spacer.

I guess ditching my Pitts in my original post was a little harsh. Perhaps a better scenario is augmenting my Pitts.
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Michael
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zilla
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Joined: 09 Jul 2005
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Location: Universal City, Texas

PostPosted: Wed May 24 06 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On my last cook my temps in the upright were 25 from the main. I think you should be able to do better than 75. How do you run it and how big a fire do you maintain? How do you have the plates set?
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CHRIS 1237
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Joined: 15 Jun 2005
Posts: 229
Location: PA

PostPosted: Wed May 24 06 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slam, I own the gator budget moblie and I could not be happier with it. I have gotten it so with the tuning plates it runs about a 10-15 difference. I think one reason your pit was runing so different was it was SS steel and I do not think the steel is a thick as the gators. I dont know to much about the rotisserie smokers I have heard with smokers like SYBBQ the temps are harder to controll. And you have to worry about keeping the shelves balanced. And what happens when you cannot get power to run the rotisserie then your SOL.


Chris
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Wed May 24 06 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Zilla 100% on his offset observations. My large offset smoker is 8' long with a 40" dia. I use a log lighter (not for heat) and straight logs. I use the hot spot to my advantage same as Zilla, as space is NORMALLY not a problem! Laughing Wink The upright box is a double walled insulated gas fired oven. Great for large lobster bakes, side items like baked potatoes, etc.

I have seen and used several other types, but not personally owned any others. My above questions still hold true, as what you finally decide on is directly linked to what your needs and budget are.
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nmayeux



Joined: 12 Nov 2005
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Wed May 24 06 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I'll chime in on the reverse flow style pits. My little Lang is one hell of a cooker, but works a little different from the Gator style pits. It has a pan which runs the length of the smoker, which forces the heat and smoke from the firebox end under the cook chamber, and then flows over the food to exhaust on the same side as the firebox. The baffle is sloped towards a dam at the tonge end, and has a drain for the grease. The baffle will hold water (or beer!) if you want to water smoke, and you can use it as a griddle in the morning if you want. This method eliminates hotspots, but like most smokers has warmer and cooler spots. The temps can run from 5 to 20 degree differential.

As for size, there is good advice above. Buy as much as you can store, as you will be suprised how much cooking you will be doing!
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Ron G



Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Posts: 13
Location: California

PostPosted: Wed May 24 06 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got an 8' Austin National and I really like it. Like any other pit, you have to learn how it cooks. The nice thing about a rottisiere is that there are no hot spots. The bad thing is, you will have to buy a generator. You won't need a very big one though. I've done 36, 12lb turkey's at the same time and used a 1000 watt generator with no problems at all. Smile
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EastTennQcrew
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Joined: 23 Feb 2006
Posts: 1083
Location: Kingsport, Tenn.

PostPosted: Wed May 24 06 4:56 pm    Post subject: Cookers Reply with quote

I have a Kingfisher, and I love it. I just want a larger one now. I'm doing an open house this week at work, and I'm doing 7 racks of ribs and 36 thighs for three days in a row. Then 12 racks for a company picknick on friday along with 4 butts. And then doing chicken and ribs on the weekend for a volleyball tourney.

I do use my water jacket and I feel there is a difference when Ihave a smaller load of meat. I have the smaller combo unit which lets me still do steaks and burgers or use everything for smoking or dong both at the same time. I just want the large unit now, I've max'ed this one out a few times.

East Tennessee "Q" Crew
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kickassbbq
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Joined: 06 Jan 2006
Posts: 664
Location: mn

PostPosted: Thu May 25 06 3:58 am    Post subject: Smoker Reply with quote

I have a Lang 84 and I like it having a difference in temp from one end to the other. This allows me to Finish Off some things that are nearly ready but may need a little QUICK heat, like chicken and maybe some LOW heat on the other end like Salmon.
Works for me.
Go to a comp and look at ALL of the smoers out there if you can. Talk to the boys using them. Remeber, it AIN'T the smoker, it's the COOK. All smokers work good once you learn how to use them.
My little Brinkmann PitMaster smokes just as good as my Lang.
Smoke On!!!!!
ed
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
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Location: Florida

PostPosted: Thu May 25 06 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ed, I would certainly take the Lang anyday over the Brinkman! Wink
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JamesB
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Joined: 19 Oct 2005
Posts: 2406
Location: Irving, Tx

PostPosted: Fri May 26 06 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with all of the above posts... Having said that, when I get ready for a new mobile offset smoker, I'll be calling on Steve Bate's...

http://www.batespitts.com

James.
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BBQMAN
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Joined: 13 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Fri May 26 06 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Added benefit to a Bates is the "joke" factor! Very Happy
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