Help me select my first smoker

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by walt408, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. I am new to smoking and am trying to determine what smoker to purchase. I have investigated many web sites during the past few weeks; this is what I have thus far.

    I think I want an offset firebox smoker; not too big, not too small. It should be large enough for 2-3 butts and/or several racks of ribs. I want it to be heavy duty enough to maintain heat and last a while.

    I have several constraints.
    Costs: I do not have unlimited funds, but can spend up to $800 or so. I don’t think I can afford a $750 smoker and have it shipped from Texas.
    Location: I live in a beautiful part of Tennessee with limited shopping.
    Distances to possible stores in miles; Lowes (30), Home Depot (60), Sams (70), Bass Pro Shop (80), Academy (250).

    Some of what I have seen thus far on the internet:
    Char-Griller Smokin Pro, Super Pro, and Outlaw, $200-300 (Lowes, Amazon)
    New Braunfels 20 inch (Oklahoma Joe) Longhorn, $400 (Academy)
    Old Country, 16 inch $350, 20 inch $500 (Academy)
    Horizon 16 inch Classic Backyard Smoker $740 (Bass Pro Shops)

    What do y’all think? Do I need a 20” or will a 16” meet my needs? What modifications would the Old Country or the Horizon require?

    Thanks for your advice.
  2. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm sorry I'm a gasser and I don't know much about charcoal or stick burners either. Some one will be around soon.
  3. jaxgatorz

    jaxgatorz Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Lang now makes a 36 patio that wouldnt be much more than your limit.. Not sure about the shipping tho, i picked mine up......Good luck and happy smokes !!
  4. garyt

    garyt Smoking Fanatic

    When did they do that, I want to see pictures! It is not listed on their website but that is not a real shocker.
  5. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    For what you're looking to cook the 16" Horizon would be a great choice. It is the only one you listed that is 1/4" steel.

    The Lang, if within your budget, would be a great choice also.
  6. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  7. garyt

    garyt Smoking Fanatic

  8. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I want to see the pics too.
  9. ga.rick

    ga.rick Smoke Blower

    hi walt408, down here in ga. at academy sports they have good prices on quality 16 and 20 inch offset firebox smokers. you can seeum on there website.
    good smokn.
  10. garyt

    garyt Smoking Fanatic

    I have 4 smokers, If I could only go back in time and bought a Lang first I would have paid less for the Lang and not spent $400 on the others, not that they were a waste of money, but the quality of build cannot be beat, It is a learning experience. Wisconsin is not exactly the center of the bbq world and I have not seen all of the smokers out there and I am not trying to say Lang is the best because I don't have all the other quality grills around me to compare. But if your budget is $800 Don't spend it on a pit that you will have to modify to make it more efficient. you are almost there if not already there for the top of the line, save a little more and you will be happy.

    Just my opinion, Ill shut up now.
  11. ermot

    ermot Fire Starter

    Brother-in-law has the Horizon 16" and loves it. I have a Horizon 20" on order. So obviously I agree the others that it would be a good choice.
  12. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The only "mod" I would suggest for the Horizon would be their convection plate.
  13. jaxgatorz

    jaxgatorz Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey Gary.They had it January of 09 when i picked up my 48... I almost got it but Jerry and the gamg talked me out of it and im glad thery did..Lot less room [​IMG]
  14. jaxgatorz

    jaxgatorz Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sorry Rick and Gary, i think when the whole me buying and the smf guy buying the 36 lang was during the time that was lost here on the site....Im sure if u ask Jerry he will remember cuz i asked if that might be a better idea for me and he talked me out of it ( and im glad he did )...Plus when i went to Nahunta to buy my lang i looked at the 36".. Identical to the 48 minus the size... Sorry guys, i searched for the thread cuz i had the guy( i think he was in Tenn.) even send me a bunch of pics of the 36 so i could decide. But it aint here no more...Call Ben and im sure he can fill u in.....Happy smokes...
  15. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    For that amount of cash I'd build 3 UDS and be able to smoke at least 9 butts at at a time.
  16. slim

    slim Meat Mopper

    i personally would save up and buy a lang....thats what my next smoker will be after my uds build
  17. buffalosmoke

    buffalosmoke Meat Mopper

    Man...a smaller lang would be cool. I just don't need the capacity of the 48.
  18. jdt

    jdt Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I agree the horizon is the only one on that list worth getting, the old countrys sold at academy are not the same as the ones you can buy in certain parts of texas, the ok joes at academy are embarassments to the OK joes name IMO, the horizons are nice pits but they are pretty costly,
    check out this guy

    his 24 x 36 out of 5/16 steel is $450, one guy on this forum got his shipped for about $200 to chicago, it includes a pot warmer, a very heavy duty grate for the firebox and upper and lower shelves all free. He will mod it however you want for little or nothing.
  19. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    my advise to someone new to smoking is to start a little smaller and make sure you like smoking meat, learn the basics of the craft , and find out what you need/want/like from a smoker before dropping $800 on one.

    Maybe start with a WSM, or a UDS and then move on up later(you can always find a buyer for a WSM or a UDS imho)

    good luck.
  20. Have you looked into Pellet Grills! The ease and taste are well worth the time to check them out!!Did a brisket for family Christmas---Put it on at 10:30 pm---went to bed---got up at 5:00am to an internal temp of 153 and finished it to perfection!!!
    Can't do that with a stick burner!!!

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