Hello Fellow BBQers,
I have decided to photo document my thanksgiving smoking experience with my newly acquired Lang hybrid 36 Patio and hope this can help some one that is thinking about buying a Lang hybrid 36. This review will hopefully answers some doubts and questions I had when I was researching to buy my lang and did not find clear answers.
I started smoking about six years ago with a smokey joe followed by the brinkmann "EL Cheapo Smoker". Then two years ago I bought a WSM 18.5 and have been enjoying it much but I wanted the burning stick experience. And I guess watching Pit Masters really got me curious about the different types of smokers being used. The langs got my attention by their design and how they have somewhat of a cult following much like a green egg. I was sold into the whole reverse flow, hot sizzling plate design and heavy duty built. Also were the cheapest 1/4 inch steel fully welded smokers I could find compared to the other big pit makers. So I gave them a call and at first they did not pick up the phone for a few days or returned my messages. It was until I posted a comment on their facebook page that I
called them back and Sarah was very helpful. I placed my order and I decided to go with the hybrid 36 patio with a wrap around non folding prep table. I preferred the extra working space over the folding convenience. Five weeks later my smoker was ready to ship. The shipping company took some time to pick it up and deliver but were the cheapest option available. The price was $575 to Los Angeles CA.
My first impression when I got it was how small the smoking chamber looked compared to what I have seen in pictures. But since this smoker is for my small family of four plus occasional guest. It is more than enough. My first question when researching was how many slabs of spare ribs can I fit? Well the smoker chamber has approx 850 square inches of cooking capacity compared to 420 for the WSM 18.5. The top sliding rack on the Lang has an available space of 21 inches X 14 inches. That is the space you have available to cook. The rack itself is slightly bigger but with the sliding angled iron support, you only have 21x14. The bottom rack has about 31X18. With that space available, I can fit four large racks in the bottom rack and three smaller trimmed racks on the top. Most spare ribs I have bough have a length of 16 to 18 inches. Those can go untrimmed on the bottom but must be trimmed to lay flat lengthwise by trimming them to be 14 inches long more like a baby back rib size. .
I was very curious to see how the chargriller worked and how it performed. I could not find clear answers to that as well. The chargriller is actually smaller than the smoker chamber. It is a 30inch size with two sliding racks and two removable 1/4 steel plates on the bottom to hold the charcoal with half inch diameter holes drilled on the plates. The top rack has an available space of 21X16 and the bottom 21X18. The distance from the charcoal plates to the bottom rack is about 7 inches and 11 to the top. That is good distance and allows for multi level cooking. When the coals are hot you use the top rack and grill some nice steaks also slow roast some argentinian cuts of beef and santa maria tri tip. I was able to use my cast iron grid from my weber baby Q 220 on the sliding frames to get some nice sear marks on steaks. Once the charcoal begins to ash from coals to embers you can move the grate lower and keep on cooking. The chamber holds the coals for a longer time when the smoker chamber is being used simultaneously. The 1/4 inch steel chamber plus the 1/4 charcoal plates allows for good heat retention . It does takes about a weber chimney full of lump and a half to get some good grilling temp for the char grill. I recommend using lump or wood coals and embers form the firebox because the holes on the plates can get clogged by the ash of briquettes since they are so far apart from each other. Cleaning is easy, I use a small broom whisk and the ash drops from the coal plate to the bottom chamber which has an angle plate to cover the air vent. I am sure I can also use this chamber to cold smoke because the chamber can easily get to 180 degrees when I have the smoking chamber at around 300 and I can use a compressed air pellet smoker to push smoke from the bottom vent. Here are some pics describing the chargriller.
Getting the smoker seasoned was a straightforward and easy process if you follow the how to videos on the lang web site. I get wood logs from a couple of local yards that have local wood available and even some that is imported from other states. I get local red and white oak, pecan and imported hickory logs. The average size on the logs are about 22 length by 6 diameter. I use a harbor freight 10 ton log splitter and circular say to cut down to 10in by 3-5inch diameter sticks. Pictured here in the far background from left to right separated by a board is hickory, pecan and red/white oak.
I use a weber chimney full of mexican oak lump to start the embers and ignite the logs. I begin by adding about seven peaces of a mix of red and white oak. Once I break the fire down to coals adjust the pin wheels to get the smoker down from around 300-350 to what ever temp I choose. Last night I was shooting for 250 chamber temp.
I had one pin wheel fully closed and the other opened to about 1/3 open to get 250 with that amount of coals on the pic. It took about an hour in all to get the chamber ready or as Ben says "to wait until someone is home". While getting the temp ready, I pulled my rib roast purchased ready and seasoned from costco. I put the meat in and added a couple of peaces of hickory to begin the smoking. My stack was pushing clear blue tint smoke before I added the hickory. Since the hickory I purchase is unseasoned it smoked white for a while. I was worried about being too smokey but it was actually very subtle smoke flavor on the food. I guess if people really wanted too, you could smoke with the smoke stack damper opened 3/4 to allow some white smoke in and still have flavorful food with out it being oversmoked as I have oversmoked before with the WSM.
After about two hours in I decided to get the turkey in. I brinned the turker and seasoned with salt, garlic pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. I stuffed the turkey with two small onions and also injected with a mix of butter, teriyaki sauce, whiskey, tequila aguave honey, and cayenne pepper. The smoker chamber maintained a good +/-250 with only adding about a couple of sticks every 30-40 minutes. The tel thru thermometer is also well built in nice and big and has serial number etched, looks very professional. I added hickory for the first two hours and pecan for the rest of cook. I decided not to get the deluxe version because I figured that the warmer was too small and I was going to use the chargrill for additional cooking. The fire box serves a good purpose. It gets really hot and enough to heat a cast iron skillet to 450 degrees and once you put food to grill in the skillet it gets down to about a perfect grilling temp of 350 and maintains it. Excellent for cooking onions, and bell peppers, heating butter and mixing simmering bbq sauces and glazes. I used it to mix my glaze for the ham and to heat the butter turkey glaze.
Three hours in with the turkey and roast smoking, I got a precooked ham and all fit nicely in the bottom rack of the smoker. After one hour in for the ham I decided to add slices of pineapple and cherries to the holiday ham. The roast was reaching 145 at the 5 hour mark and decided to pull and place in the chargriller chamber to maintain the temp. It was about 150 degrees and added a few embers to raise to 175. I pulled the turkey once it reached 165 breast temp and the ham was also nicely glazed after two hours. Total time was about six hours. 5 for the roast while keeping it warm in the chargriller for about an hour, it only went up from 145 to 155 the entire time it was resting. I shoould have pulled the roast at 135 since it came done more on the well done side. Still juicy and flavorful, but to my liking I like it medium rare. The turkey took about four hours and the ham two and a half. It was the best thanksgiving dinner my family and myself have ever enjoyed.
Holding temperature for roast
I would like to thank Mr. Ben Lang, Sarah and team for delivering this toy in time for the holidays. I will continue to smoke on it since I feel I still need to get to know her(her name is Jenny) and figure out what works best for keeping even temps and caring for her to last a life time. I have found some imperfections with grill and also need your help in figuring out how to keep even temps with the smoker. I will post my review on the temperatures and imperfections.
Edited by chipotleQ - 11/29/13 at 10:24pm