Originally Posted by Flyguy333
Hi all, new member here. This group seems to be full of knowledge so I am asking for opinions.
About to buy replace my various charcoal smokers with a pellet and can't nail down whether to get the Jim Bowie or the RT-680. I would have purchased the JB already save for the abundance of reports regarding temperature discrepencies between the setting and the real temp, as well as the variation from one side of the smoking surface to the other. The finite settings allowed with the wifi is of particular interest to me.
On the other hand the 680 seems to be a solid construction, limited setting and controls but the 40 lb hopper is very appealing for those long brisket smokes.
I want something I don't have to modify or add after market upgrades to. In my opinion fr $1000 it should work out of the box. I would love to hear input from you guys so please feel free to chme in.
FYI I smoke a lot of pork including butts, ribs, briskets and pigs up to 60 lbs or so as well as cold smoking salmon and cheeses etc.
First off, welcome to the group! I own a Rec Tec 680, so I can give you my impressions and experiences with that unit. I've had it for 3 years, and I am very happy with it. I'd buy it again today, and have no reservations in recommending it to others. Very solidly built cooker, and IMO the best value at that price point. All I know of the GMG JB is what I've read and heard, but you already seem to have a grasp on it's features and limitations, and westby is correct that there have been some bugs in their wifi controller...but perhaps GMG has worked those bugs out by now. I can't say the JB is not a good product, because I believe it is...and there are many happy GMG owners out there.
I agree with westby...don't base your decision on that 40 lb. hopper. IMO, it is overkill. I've done many overnight cooks that didn't use even 20 lbs. of pellets. And the RT becomes a little top heavy and unstable with a full 40 lbs. of pellets in the hopper. Not a problem unless you need to move it across uneven ground.
Just one man's opinion, but that wifi feature doesn't interest me at all, especially with the tech problems they seem to be having with them. I use a Maverick wireless remote thermometer to monitor my cooking and meat temps, and since I have no interest in running my cooker when I'm not home to tend it, I have no need for wifi control...just something else to malfunction IMO. And just about any smoker with an exhaust stack is gonna have at least a little temp variance from side to side...in the RT, the slightly hotter side is the right side (stack side)...and I assume the same would be true in a GMG.
Don't know for sure what you mean by "limited settings and controls". Other than no wifi, the RT controller compares pretty favorably to most controllers on the market. Temp range is 180-500* in 5* increments, and I've never had a problem reaching and maintaining any temp setting.
Hope that helps...good luck! Half the fun of buying a new pit is the comparison shopping!