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More than a Char-griller, less than a trailer??

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey all,

I'm trying like heck to upgrade but I can't seem to find ANYTHING in my price range that fits the bill. My Brinkmann Cimarron is great for when I'm smoking for just my family of four, but I get the most enjoyment out of cooking for larger groups, maybe 10 - 15 people. My current smoker is just way too small for that.

I have about $600 - $700 saved up in order to finance this new smoker. I really would have a hard time spending any more than that - especially with the state of the economy these days...

The problem is, all I see available for purchase is cheaper offsets in the $250 range, or smokers that are $1200 and up.

What I WANT is: an offset, with a cooking area around 18 x 40", 20 x 40" at the most, no trailer rigs, just a "back yard" model with wheels. I want this to be made of 3/16" steel plate (minimum) - of course, 1/4" is preferred, but 3/16" is acceptable - and way better than the 13 - 14 gauge metal that most box-store models are made of. This size I'm looking for - although not huge - would be a substantial upgrade from my Brinkmann, which has a cooking area of only about 15 x 30".

I've chatted with a couple people online that build customs...but nothing under $1000. One guy uses 1/4" steel tanks that he seems to have unlimited access to. The other guy builds from scratch and quoted me $2000.

So...any suggestions? IS there anything in that price range I'm overlooking? I would entertain a quote from anyone in the MIDWEST that could build something in my price range...Midwest meaning I'm smack dab in the middle of Illinois, and I don't want to drive more than 250 - 275 miles or so. That means from East Central Missouri to Louisville, KY to Indianapolis to Chicago to Madison to the Quad Cities, etc...

OR - if there are any smokers available for retail in the Midwest that fit this description, I'd love to hear about them. I would think that there has to be something to chose from that is somewhere in the range of $600 - $700...just haven't found anything yet!


post #2 of 20
Good luck, you quest is like mine. Same size, although I could go a little smaller, same price range and the same luck. I'll keeping my eye on this thread. There's nothing in this state that I have found so far.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I know - what gives?!?

I think that the best option would be to find an existing tank and a welder that won't charge $50 an hour...but that has proved difficult. I just can't believe that if you want something better than a Char-griller Smokin' Pro for $250, you have to pay $1000 for a Lyfe Tyme 20 x 40, or $1200 for a Horizon of the same size, etc....there HAS to be something out there in my price range.
post #4 of 20
The best I've found so far, besides my usd, has been the Royal Oak smoker at Lowes. It's sure as heck isn't 1/4 inch steel but it far better than anything else I've found.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Interesting...I just heard about this Royal Oak brand smoker a few days ago, but I can't find a picture, or information or even anything on Lowe's website. If anyone has any info - please send it to me!
post #6 of 20
There is no kind of info on this smoker any where. It's new at Lowes for 09. You might have to call around as not all Lowes have them in stock yet. It looks a lot like this one . I think it has around 775 square inches for the main cooking area.
post #7 of 20
It might be worth looking for a used smoker - more bang for the buck.
post #8 of 20
I've been all over Craigslist and local adds.....................nothing.
post #9 of 20
I don't have one, but I hear really good things from people who own Traeger pellet smokers. It may not be something you are interested in, but they are running a speacial right now with 3 models for under 900. Check out this link.

post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
I appreciate the suggestion, but I am ALL about the wood, the tending of fire, the fact that my smoker requires NO electricity or gas, etc...

that is just as important to me as enjoying the taste of smoked food...

OF course, I know that everyone is not like me, and furthermore, if I want to smoke a brisket for 15 hours, it's gonna kick my @ss and I will have to be sleep deprived. But - someone with a Masterbuilt Elec. or a Bradley propane, can sleep like a baby...

and as far as a good used one that someone suggested - Like Rick, I have been ALL over eBay and Craigslist for more than 3 months...either they are located 8 hours away, or they are TOO used...and I'd have to damn near rebuild them. At this point, I would drive 8 hours if I KNEW they were in good condition, but you know how it is on Craigslist or eBay...pictures are shotty, or the details about how they were cared for are sketchy...no big deal if you're driving across town but 8 hours??

About these NB Longhorne smokers...what are the cooking diminsions?
(cooking grate ACTUAL cooking area) Are these fairly nice units?? I know they aren't 1/4" steel at all...but can anyone who owns one give me their thoughts?

Damn....closest Academy store that sells them is 7 hours away??!!

post #11 of 20
I hear some great things about Oklahoma Joe's, but not sure where to get them close to you. I'm sure they got a model in your price range and cooking area. I know Academy sells 'em, but like you said that is a ways away. Also heard southern style cookers were pretty good. Sell them in Tulsa. I figure that's only about eight hours from central IL. anyway you decide to go, good luck to you.
post #12 of 20
I am in iowa and understand the frustration of being a northerner with no pit builders around, I ended up ordering from Bellfab in Tulsa Oklahoma, his $450 pit is this 24 x 36 with 20 x 20 sfb made of 5/16 pipe, left and right hand fireboxes are available if you prefer one or the other, my pit is done and paid for so I ain't trying to sell you something, I am going to get mine from him next friday. The oklahoma joes at academy are 10 gauge sheetmetal also which is not even 1/8, I almost traveled to St Joe MO and spent $450 on one of them until I got to see one in person and I was shocked as the vintage joes I have been around are 1/4 and much nicer. maybe the IL boys need to make a combined run to pick up smokers in okie

post #13 of 20
forgot to mention he works at a steel company so its all brand new pipe so no worries there, he has a dock he can ship from, I would hope you could ship the $450 one for $250 fitting right into your $700 budget, the one I posted the pic of is the $450 dual interior racks, lots of cookspace, I ordered a little bigger at 24 x 48 with 24 x 24 sfb.
post #14 of 20
Those are some nice units for sure. I just emailed Craig today for the proper dimensions to get a better idea as to how much the freight charge would be.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
That is a good deal for a steel pipe smoker! I will look into this - thanks.
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
JDT - I just noticed you said you got a 24 x 48" model from this guy. Wow...that's a super-sized model! If you don't mind, PM me some more pics if they are available...I emailed this guy this morning for a quote.
post #17 of 20
mine is actually done but sitting waiting on me to go get it, 1009 mile road trip next weekend to go down and get it, of course that includes a slight detour over to my buddies in springfield mo for beers and steaks. I will post up some pics next weekend hopefully, I sent you a pm.
post #18 of 20


It took me a year to get my craigslist smoker for the price I would pay. It needed mods but that was good. I wanted something I could tinker with. I think if you can find a good welder you could get what you want for a good price. Should be some old tanks around. A salvage yard would be a good place to look.
post #19 of 20
The CG Outlaw is 34"x20", and with SFB still under $250. So in terms of cooking space, it kinda fits the bill - particularly with the upper rack, and an additional rack available at Lowes for $12.

But that bellfab thing looks awesome for those willing to take it to the next level!
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
I agree that the Outlaw and the Pro are both good size...but man, since I posted this originally, I've been foaming at the mouth over those Bell Fab units. I found a guy online today that has one, and he emailed me detailed pics...it looks sweet.

For those that don't know, he doesn't stock these...pretty much builds them after you order. So....since I'm getting one from "scratch" - I'm gonna offer a little extra to have him FAB the mods, so I don't have to do them myself.
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