Seeking Advice - Horizon 16" Classic v. Big Green Egg

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by mmelrod, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. I've narrowed my choice of a smoker to these two. I totally understand they're different designs however I'm torn between them. What has made my decision even harder is my cousin's recent acquisition of a Big Green Egg. He more or less introduced me to charcoal smoking on his weber kettle so I value his opinion (similar likes in food and BBQ), however I thought I'd ask the crowd a few questions that should help me make this decision.

    1. Those of you that have used or do use the offset style smoker (similar quality build to Horizon), how often are you adding fuel to maintain consistent temperature over the course of a 6-8 smoke? Any issues with temperature leaks? (While I want to be somewhat hands on while smoking I definitely don't want to babysit the smoker)

    2. Should I expect a difference in the flavor of the food I cook between 1/4" steel v. porcelain?

    3. If I plan to use this smoker for daily charcoal grilling, does anyone have experience charcoal grilling with either of these? Definitely would like to know if anyone can tell me which one will heat up faster for charcoal grilling too.

    4. Based on your experience, what can I expect on-going maintenance to be like, given I follow manufacturer recommendations and use a cover? Does one require more maintenance versus the other?

    I've seen both of these smokers in person but I smoked/cooked on either of them. I was damn close to outright buying the Horizon until my cousin get his Egg.

    Really appreciate the advice. Probably make for an interesting debate too.

    Mike
     
  2. tbjoebbq ss

    tbjoebbq ss Fire Starter

    Mike,

    For more than 2 decades I did everything on my 22.5 kettle  (still have it, just not sure when I will use it again....maybe a steak has a future??"  I am a recent convert to the offset smoker.  I just picked up a Horizon 20" RD a couple of weeks ago. 

    As I sift through the many posts here, I really think that the choice of cooker you get needs to ift your personality/life style.  There is not one correct answer in my book.

    For me, I intend to not even use charcoal in the cooker other than to get it started.  If I could get a fire going consistently with straight wood I wold do that, however I was never a boy scout.

    After only a few cooks, and following the advice of this artice  http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/a/stickburning101  I have it down to about every 20-30 minutes to add wood. The time is really based on how big the sticks/chunks are that I am adding.  As for using charcoal, I would search for the Minion method and read a few article on that.  Compare those to what your cousin is doing with his egg and figure out which is best for you. 

    One other thing to think about is how much you need/want to cook.  From the eggs I have seen, It seems to me you could cook more on the Horizon.  I know I have WAY more room than I normally need on the 20".  However, my cooker has already been requested for my nieces graduation party.

    Wish I could help you with the maintenace quesiton.  however I think the egg would be easier to keep up??  I live in florida and we tend to get a littel bit of rain.  over time, Steel + Rain = Rust so I am sure to keep it covered, wired down, and painted/oiled as needed. 

    For me, the extra time in cooking and maintenance is worth it as I prefer to cook with wood. 

    Keep us updated on your decision.  Either way you go, I am sure you will be able to crank out great food!
     
  3. hi Mike

    i have a small BGE as well as other grills and smokers including a weber kettle UDS . i have built and used large stick burners. the reason i bought the small BGE was i traveled for a living and i thought i could travel better with a small instead of a large or ex-large.

     as far as which will use less fuel with less hands on and less maintenance. i have to say BGE hands down. a 10lb bag of lump will last for several long smokes, verses 1 smoke with a metal smoker.  you can do low and slow. or you can do screaming hot 700+ deg steaks. you can light it and be cooking in about the same amount of time you can with gas.

    just my .02

    happy smoken.

    David
     
  4. tstalafuse

    tstalafuse Fire Starter

    DFW
    Mike,

    Just me, but I think TBJOEBBQ hit on it.  At the end of the day there really isn't a right choice as it will be your life style and how much you are going to use it.  The offsets use a lot more fuel and require tending a lot more than the BGE.  While the BGE isn't a set it and forget it by any means, it isn't nearly as intensive as the offset.  I just happen to like working in the yard and playing in the pool as part of tending the fire.    

    I will toss out one other thing for you to consider.  While the offset can rust, they are really hard to break.  I know two people that have lost their BGEs to hail storms and another to poorly thrown baseball during a game of catch.  If you get a crack in a BGE, it is game over.  Here in N. Texas hail storms are just part of life and while we don't get baseball/softball size hail every year, it only takes one strike to take out the BGE whereas hail just bounces off of the offset.  If you can store and/or protect the BGE when not in use, they do have a lot of advantages.   

    Tim
     
  5. I have had many smokers over the years both horizontal and vertical even a Sparkman Ice Box made into a smoker. I now own a Vision Kamado Pro, comparable to the BGE, and it will be my last or another like it. Available from Home Depot the Vision comes with many of the options available on BGE for extra and also has an ash drawer where others require a specific tool to clean out ashes.

     Check one out, videos available on you tube.
     
  6. Thank you for the replies. I went ahead and bought the Horizon this weekend from Bass Pro. I seasoned it on Saturday and cooked yesterday though no pics, sorry. Struggled to maintain consistent temperature but it's to be expected the first time so I'm looking forward to trial and error. I'll throw up some pics in the future.

    Mike
     
     
  7. I have been using my Horizon 20" for two years now. I love it. How often you need to add wood depends on the size of the wood. I use split logs of Mesquite or Hickory, and need to add another Log about every Hour or so. It also depends on Whether it is hot or cold outside.
     
     
  8. I have the 16" Horizon and love it. There is an initial learning curve on the right amount of charcoal or wood to use. I use one container of  lump charcoal in the chimney starter and then add 2-3 Hickory logs and then add one one or two every hour or so. I leave the smoke stack wide open and only adjust the side vent. I do use a cover I got from Horizon and it still looks like new after 5 months. Hail will not hurt the Horizon, it is built like a tank. What I like about the Horizon is you can smoke so many different things at the same time. You can have Brisket and Pork Butts going in the smoker and then cook Ribeyes or Burgers on the fire box. Also, I would recommend getting the convection plate to help regulate the temperature directly from the Horizon Factory at horizonbbqsmokersstore.com .
     
     
  9. I have a large Big Green Egg and to me nothing compares with it as far as ease of use and quality of cooking. I also have an Oklahoma Joe smoker with the fire box on one end and a smokestack on the other. While I use it from time to time I have always had trouble regulating the smoke, so that most of my cooking efforts come out looking almost blackened. I have sought much adice and tried many things all to little or no avail!! So the BGE is my favorite. One caution. A storm felled a tree on my first BGE and  cracked the case. My homeowners insurance wouldn't cover it and the BGE folk did not gaurantee against a tree falling on the cooker!! so I bought another!
     
    metcalf likes this.
  10. Ive read that you already made your purchase, and I feel you made the wise choice.  The BGE style cookers are nice and can produce some good eats, but for real BBQ, you need to be able to burn wood and for that you need a pit style smoker.

    I hope you enjoy the Horizon and post some pics so we can see your putting it to good use.
     
  11. Fully plan to post some pics soon. Just found a few places around the block from my apartment in downtown chicago that sell seasoned split wood. Need to get some of that for my next cook. Regulating temperature and smoke was a challenge but after additional reading I learned that depending on a mix of kingsford charcoal and chunks of lumpwood and apple wood just will not keep the temperature and smoke were I'll want it at.

    Thanks again for the replies. Hoping to get another, longer cook in two weeks.  
     
  12. for real BBQ you have to be able to burn wood? did i read that right?







    what about the MES? i bet better than half of the BBQ resturants in the country only use wood for smoke.

    i also use a stick burner and it make great Q but i can do just as well with other heat sources.

    not stepping on toes here. just my .02

    happy smoken.

    david
     
  13. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Offsets use more fuel than the BGE would but offsets sure are fun to use and cook with. Too many times the enjoyment of using and learning how to use your grill is not figured into the equation.  I have a unique home made offset and ABSOLUTELY love it but that said you could put a kettle grill and a UDS in front of me and i'd be a happy camper....it would be all i would need for any of my BBQ and smoker needs. 
     
  14. I've got three eggs, a Backwoods Party, WSM, weber kettle, Weber Summit & Genesis, and I have had an offset stick burner.  If you like tending the fire, go with the stick burner, but don't believe you have to throw logs on the fire to make real BBQ!  Ya know, pellet grills use real wood to cook too!  Lump is carbonized wood.  And, if you really want to, you can use chunks of wood in an egg--it's just a lot of unnecessary work.  Strike the gasers above, and any of my cookers can be used to make excellent (or terrible) BBQ.  The eggs are probably the most cook-friendly. Get the fire going, load them up and plug in a guru.  Go to sleep, or go fishing.  A few pounds of lump will get you through some butts or brisket.  For good BBQ, it's not the cooker, it's the cook.
     
  15. wingzofsteel

    wingzofsteel Fire Starter

    Since your cousin has a BGE why not get the horizon? Then you can offer some real value by way of comparison of the two.I owned a BGE for a few years, and quite frankly, it was too fragile, too heavy, and too little cooking surface for my liking. But, to each his own, lots of people like them.
     
  16. I used propane on a side by side smoker. I have used charcoal for almost 2 years. sense I have converted to propane the heat Is super easy to control and the cook time got cut in half. I love the propane temp control over charcoal. charcoal is very hard to maintain temps. plus are more pron-ed to flair ups... hope this helps some of your needs... yes the charcoal smoker was a ugly drum smoker. heat on the bottom with a water pan then the food or meat your smoking. side by side smokers just seam TO ME much easier to control. yes mine is a home made side by side propane smoker. I made it out of a Weber grill.... [​IMG]
     
     
  17. I didnt mean to offend anyone with my comment about having to be able to burn wood for real BBQ.  I've had plenty of good eats off of a propane grill,  but....I am a Southern Boy...and when it comes to Judging what we down here consider to be "Real BBQ", you have to be able to burn real wood in order to create that.  This might be hard for someone to understand that has never experienced the kind of BBQ Im refering too, but it is something that just can not be done in a easy bake oven.
     
    neumsky1 likes this.
  18. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Fl
    Here's some not real BBQ for ya... sheesh....









     
  19. it looks real to me.

    happy smoken.

    david
     
  20. I to am from the south. i don't have to use sticks to make real bbq. you might drop by Memphis in May, their will be a lot of Kingsford there. someone will leave with awards. i bet some of them will have the blue bags.

    happy smoken.

    david
     

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