So I am in the market for a good new smoker. Over the past several years I have bought a series of cheaper smokers from various local places (Wal-Mart, Rural King, etc. etc.) having each only last a couple years before rusting out or succumbing to the long cook times and heat. They have been thin, cheap units and I want to get a good one that is going to last me for quite a while, if not outlast me in general.
I have done lots of research and have narrowed my choices down to a few and just thought I would throw out a post here asking for anyone's suggestions, experiences, or thoughts on these models.
First, I looked at the Lang 36" Patio . Quite a nice unit and have read tons of great reviews on it but one of the things I am looking for in my new unit is something that I can also grill on... kind of one way for me to justify the high cost of such a unit... replacing a grill and a smoker with something nice that I won't ever have to buy again kind of thing. The Lang's are nice looking and I love the idea of the reverse flow but with the reverse flow plate in the cooking chamber and the shape/design of the firebox, it isn't a unit that would make for good grilling on... The only way I see grilling on a Lang is to get the Hybrid model, which when paired with the cost to ship it, takes cost up over $2K and just beyond my budget.
Next I looked at an Old Country Brazos Smoker . About the same price range, more of a traditional offset smoker. Description and reviews I have read state it has a heat management plate built into it for aiding in keeping the "hot" side of the cooking chamber closer in temp to the far side. I have not yet confirmed this but have a local Academy Sports I will be visiting to take a further look at, hoping they actually have one in stock for me to see. 1/4" steel specs I like, should last and hold in heat well. Found a few reviews on this one referencing shoddy welding in some places resulting in leaks and what not but overall consensus is it is a good model. One of the things I like about it is that it is one of the few models I have seen with the stack at cooking surface level vs. being near the top of the cooking chamber.
Next in line I am looking at the Yoder Cheyenne model . So far, this is the one I really have my eye on. I have spoken with a rep there, looked at all the specs and reviews and it seems to be a good solid unit with a lifetime warranty on it.
I have also looked at a few others, Klose, Meadow Creek, etc. etc. and while a few I found I like most are either out of my range in pricing, cost of shipping puts them out of my range, or back to the requirement of wanting to be able to grill on it from time to time as well.
I have one other that I am looking at and it is just a guy locally here that makes them out of his garage. He is a retired gentleman, very nice, and I have stopped a few times and looked at the various ones he has outside for viewing as well as seen the ones he has been in the process of testing with fires going in them and see the quality of them. Price range is competitive, if not slightly cheaper than the name brand models
Open to any thoughts, suggestions, or experiences that anyone may have to offer, thanks in advance for any responses I may receive