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Old Country BBQ Pits Wrangler Smoker Review

post #1 of 235
Thread Starter 

Just went out and bought this from Academy this past week when i finally couldnt take the cheapo smoker i had before anymore.   I have to say this smoker is outstanding for the price range its in of right at 499 right now.  This smoker is fully made of 3/16" steel which for 500 bucks you cant beat that.   Being im a welder anyways i naturally look the build of something before i buy it but for anybody who looks into buying this smoker i recommend you take a quick glance over it before purchasing.   there constructed very well but if you ask the workers at academy to see there inventory of them in the back they will gladly let you look to see which one you want.   Look at the welds between the smoke chamber and firebox, the door seals, and the hinges and pick the best looking one you find.   i spent the first two nights i had it seasoning it and playing around with temps and i gotta say i was extremely impressed.   without any modifications and using lump for a coal bed and two splits of oak it gets up to temp in around 20 mins at 225 to 275 range and it will hold this temp for atleast an hr and fifteen minutes and then consume a split every hr or so after that.    very easy to maintain that temp by just opening stack all the way and intake vent at about 25%.   the big shock for me was when i put to oven thermometers in mine one by baffle from firebox and one by stack and gota say at grate level the stack side is about 50 degrees hotter then firebox side but i cut out 3 tuning plates at work for mine and it was fixed now even temps across the whole chamber.    if you need the deminsions of those they are 4"x15.75" and they will fit like a glove to tune it for you.   For total size you can fit two 11 pound packer briskets in these smokers and you have a 6in wide rack at the top that works awesome for sausages.   oh almost forgot but another huge plus for this smoker is that when your fire dies down and its time for another split just close the stack off completly and open your firebox top door.   then throw your split in and leave door open till the bark burns off if your the kind of person that prefers that and even if you leave it open or 10 to 15 mins till your new log or split is caught good enough you will have only dropped temp inside the smoking chamber by about 15 degrees.   now this changes based on weather and location but even when its around 65 here in texas at about 3 in the morning thats all she dropped.   and last but not least with this smoker theres no need to worry about a windy day throwing your temps off because with the 90 degree elbow in the stack where it goes from grate level up even wide open and a strong gust the draft wont reverse and youll still have your heat and smoking going the right way.  

 

I hope this review helps somebody out if so just shoot me a message so i can atleast feel like i did something because i went out on a 500 limb on this one since i had only found one old country bbq pits review and it was the pecos smoker not the wrangler pit.  Lucky enough i just so happened to make out like a bandit thank god.   

post #2 of 235

I checked out the site, looks like nice smokers for a nice price.

post #3 of 235
I have seen the Pecos in store but no one around carries the Wrangler . Do you know what the main difference is between the two.

I'd like to have the Wrangler but theres none nearby.
post #4 of 235
Thread Starter 
I looked at the pecos smoker as well when i was at my academy and size wise the pecos is about 8 to 10 inches longer but is a 20in diameter where the wrangler is 24in diameter by about 30in long smoking chamber. Also the pecos smoker is all constructed of 1/8th in steel rather then the 3/16th. But its amazing how much better that 1/16th of an in will help you hold in your heat. Plus with 1/8 in its plyable so easy to bend it by hand with right amount of force so id say from knowledge of being a welder for a living that if you intend on burning wood over a coal bed in that smoker you run the risk of the higher firebox temp warping it I hope this helped you out and for a tip if i were you i would go into your local store and ask them if they could order you the wrangler model. Or if you are willing to pay more they have a 999 dollar model thats all 1/4 in steel with flat bar welded to the doors to help seal and reduce warping. If i had the money at the time i woulda got that model but ill stick with the wrangler for a few years.
post #5 of 235
So the Pecos has more cook area? one challenge I have now is I can only get 4 st. Louis slabs in my New Braunfels smoker. I thought the wrangler was 3/16 thick but also had a larger smoke chamber?
post #6 of 235
Thread Starter 
Overall if you look at sq in the wrangler and pecos is almost the exact same. Pecos is smaller diameter meaning grate is not as deep as the wrangler but the pecos is longer grate then wrangler. Just mainly a different shape grate But if you get a rib rack or even two rib racks you can greatly increase your cooking capabilities and with the wrangler smoker if you add the 3 tuning plates by getting them made like i did then you can create even temperature throught the cooking chamber so two rib racks side by side would still cook the same instead of one rack worth being done sooner then other due to unequal temps by firebox and stack.
post #7 of 235

Old Time seems to have a good ,well built smoker, they just didn't have what I wanted when I got My Tejas.

post #8 of 235
Thanks for the great info. I found a Wrangler about 90 miles away, not too bad.
post #9 of 235
@old school, where do you buy a Teja?
post #10 of 235
Nevermind. I googled it and they are nice just a little too pricey.
post #11 of 235

When I looked at the Old Country site, it reminded me of Tejas Smokers , There is some similarity at quick glance.  Ive dealt with Tejas Smokers and they are very helpful and do know what they are talking about. It seems the people I talked to are not just Salespeople, they are really into the products.

post #12 of 235

 Yes, they have since my purchase, started to make a Verticle smoker on the side of the Horizontal chamber. Nice , but still alot of shipping charges.icon_eek.gif

post #13 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by lphamilton1 View Post

Overall if you look at sq in the wrangler and pecos is almost the exact same. Pecos is smaller diameter meaning grate is not as deep as the wrangler but the pecos is longer grate then wrangler. Just mainly a different shape grate But if you get a rib rack or even two rib racks you can greatly increase your cooking capabilities and with the wrangler smoker if you add the 3 tuning plates by getting them made like i did then you can create even temperature throught the cooking chamber so two rib racks side by side would still cook the same instead of one rack worth being done sooner then other due to unequal temps by firebox and stack.

What do you mean by "tuning plates".  I'm new to the side firebox smokers, but want to learn.  I have gone through a lot of cheap smokers and grills through the years, some a lot of trouble and hard to cook on, others not so much.  Some have cooked better than others, some have been more convenient.  I currently have a Weber Genesis propane grill, and a large Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain Series propane smoker.  I've smoked a lot of meat on the Smoky Mountain smoker, and many times have smoked 8 racks of ribs at a time.  Have also smoked a lot of chicken and brisket on it.  The water pan seems to keep everything moist, and it's been easy to regulate the temperature.  It has actually been a good, very convenient smoker.  The Weber Genesis has been a great grill...and I love the cast iron grates.  It is very convenient, with a large cooking area, and I've grilled everything on it.  However, both are getting a little long in the tooth, and I'm debating about how to replace them...and that's how I found this site. 

 

Just from reading, and what I've known in the past about smokers, I had just about narrowed it down to 5 before I even started looking...and I'm looking in the sub-$500 range.  But, I narrowed it down to both the Old Country Wrangler and Pecos, the Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe, the Weber Kettle, and another Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain Series, like I have. 

 

I have to say that I've looked at a lot of smokers this week, in the sub-$500 price range.  And, I do believe the Wrangler would be hard to beat...period.  It is BY-FAR the heaviest smoker on the market in that price range.  Same way with the Pecos in the sub-$400 price range.  I've looked at the Oklahoma Joes, and all the rest...and from what I've read, the older Oklahoma Joes could compare...before they started making them in China.  But, the one I looked at, at Lowe's, just wasn't built very sturdy.  It said the steel on it was 1/8", but I think it would be closer to 1/16".  The big selling point to me with the Wrangler is the 3/16" thick steel.  VERY NICE and VERY HEAVY.  However, I really like the Pecos smoker and larger cooking space better.  If they Pecos was made with 3/16" steel, I'd probably get it.  However, you can really tell the difference in them side-by-side, just by opening the lid.  That lid on the Wrangler is HEAVY!  I also like the 16" wheels on the Pecos, as compared to the 10" wheels on the Wrangler.  And, I doubt you could go wrong with either one for the price.  I looked at the $900 Old Country that is 1/4" thick steel...and for a sub-$1K smoker, it is pretty good.  However, for the difference in price, to go from 3/16" steel, to 1/4" steel, I just don't see it.  Not yet, anyway. 

 

But, your review of the Wrangler is excellent...and I appreciate what you said about being a welder and that extra 1/16" on the Wrangler steel.  I was debating between the Wrangler and Pecos...but you helped make up mind to get the Wrangler.  Thanks! 

post #14 of 235

BTW...has anyone found a good cover to fit the Wrangler????? 

post #15 of 235
Thread Starter 
If you google search bbq pit tuning plates you can see photos of them. Basically i cut out 3 1/4in steel plates and i placed them in the smoking chamber. They are long enough so tht they sit against the side of it about 5in above the very bottom of smoking chamber an right above the edge of the baffel coming from firebox. What they do is allow you to manually place them with smaller gaps closer to firebox and larger gaps twards tge stack so that you have even heat rising through the gaps and smoke as well and were the gaps are not at you get radiant heat off the plates due to heat and smoke flowing below each one to the next gap. It helps you use oven thermometers in your pit and some fine tuning to get an even temp across the whole grate. All offset smokers without any tuning plates will have a hot spot near firebox and cold spot near the stack unless a baffel is present them you will tend to get a smaller cold spot bear firebox and stack where the heat is rising natuaraly. With even temps you dnt have to worry about one end of brisket burning or rack of ribs. Or say two briskets one by stack and one by firebox and the firebox one being cooked fully say an hr or two before the other one. It essentialy makes ur smoker almost as even across te grate as inside an oven. You dont have to have them but i would recommend it as it will make your smoking alot more easier for you and reduce the heat loss of opening lid constantly to rotate your meat so one end dosent burn and it cooks evenly
post #16 of 235
Thread Starter 

also if anyone is intrested i posted some photos of the wrangler pit i own on my profile and pictures of tuning plates as well if anybody is curious

post #17 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by lphamilton1 View Post

If you google search bbq pit tuning plates you can see photos of them. Basically i cut out 3 1/4in steel plates and i placed them in the smoking chamber. They are long enough so tht they sit against the side of it about 5in above the very bottom of smoking chamber an right above the edge of the baffel coming from firebox. What they do is allow you to manually place them with smaller gaps closer to firebox and larger gaps twards tge stack so that you have even heat rising through the gaps and smoke as well and were the gaps are not at you get radiant heat off the plates due to heat and smoke flowing below each one to the next gap. It helps you use oven thermometers in your pit and some fine tuning to get an even temp across the whole grate. All offset smokers without any tuning plates will have a hot spot near firebox and cold spot near the stack unless a baffel is present them you will tend to get a smaller cold spot bear firebox and stack where the heat is rising natuaraly. With even temps you dnt have to worry about one end of brisket burning or rack of ribs. Or say two briskets one by stack and one by firebox and the firebox one being cooked fully say an hr or two before the other one. It essentialy makes ur smoker almost as even across te grate as inside an oven. You dont have to have them but i would recommend it as it will make your smoking alot more easier for you and reduce the heat loss of opening lid constantly to rotate your meat so one end dosent burn and it cooks evenly

 

Outstanding info.  Thanks Lance.  I looked at the pics in your profile.  And, I read your first post, and see you're an Army troop...thanks for your service to our country.  I'm retired Air Force myself.  Retired in the mid-90's, during the Clinton drawdown years...just couldn't take it anymore.  Anyway, I don't want to get started on politics. 

 

I really appreciate the explanation of the "tuning plates" and it makes a lot of sense. I'll have to see if I can get me some made, as I have a couple of nephews who are welders.  I had to order my Wrangler from Academy yesterday, and pay $90 for delivery...which isn't bad, as much as that bad-boy weighs.  Hopefully, it will be here next week, I can get it all seasoned and play with it, then do some smoking the next weekend or two.  Thanks again for the info...and I'll probably be hollering back at you.

 

Mickey

post #18 of 235

BTW...I searched everywhere trying to find a cover for any of the Old Country smokers...couldn't.  So, I just ordered this Oklahoma Joe cover.

 

http://www.charbroil.com/oklahoma-joe-s-longhorn-smoker-cover.html

 

I hope it will work.  I know the Oklahoma Joe smoker this cover was built for is little longer than the Wrangler, and this cover would probably fit the Pecos perfectly.  Anyway, we'll see.  At least it was a great price at $30...so if it doesn't work, I wasn't out too much money.  I bought a new cover for my Weber Genesis grill at Lowe's last week, and it was $50. 

post #19 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by MickHLR View Post

BTW...I searched everywhere trying to find a cover for any of the Old Country smokers...couldn't.  So, I just ordered this Oklahoma Joe cover.

 

http://www.charbroil.com/oklahoma-joe-s-longhorn-smoker-cover.html

 

I hope it will work.  I know the Oklahoma Joe smoker this cover was built for is little longer than the Wrangler, and this cover would probably fit the Pecos perfectly.  Anyway, we'll see.  At least it was a great price at $30...so if it doesn't work, I wasn't out too much money.  I bought a new cover for my Weber Genesis grill at Lowe's last week, and it was $50. 

I have that cover for my OK Joe

 

its a real nice cover.

post #20 of 235
Thread Starter 
Yea i saw the same one at lowes last week. I was just leary about it because te stack on the wrangler is 6in diameter but even if its to small on the cover you can always trim some off the excess and cut the original part of it off and replace it for the larger stack
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