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What would you buy?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I'm going to be in the market for a new smoker soon. I'm seriously thinking of an offset this time. I'm like 99% sure this is what I want. I have only used verticals so far one being a cheap Brinkman propane and my UDS. I've searched high and low around these parts (northern IL.)but to no avail.

I have a budget of 1k or a little more and that would have to include shipping. I want this to be a model with at least 1/4 inch steel.

Right now I have my eyes set on a Horizon 20" classic . I called and they told me they would give a 15% discount to IL residents to off set shipping. So this unit shipped to my door will be a tad over a grand.

Any and all suggestions are appreciated.
post #2 of 27
Hi RickW,

I saw another thread last weekend where someone was in the market for a unit under 1K or so, and I followed a link to Bell Fabrications and it looked like they had some nice units. I don't know if you saw this thread, but I thought I would bring it to your attention in case you didn't.


Happy Researching.

BBQ Eng.
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply, yes I did read it. There are a couple of things that concern me with BellFab. One is, do a search of his products and you come up with very little about them. I talked to Mr. Bell an while he seems like a very nice person and well versed in the art of BBQ I would still like more feedback about his products before I send that kind of money to a virtual unknown.

Secondly you have to be the one to arrange freight shipping for his units. I personally know absolutely nothing about this process. So I'm not to enthused about this either.

I have time and if there is more I can find on this ol boy I very well might consider his products.
post #4 of 27
DOH! I reread the thread, and you are one of the thread participants...of course you saw it!

I don't have a dog in that fight and no interest in bellfab, I just recognized a similarity in the question. It does seem to me that there is a bit of a hole in the market place for quality smokers in the $ range and size that you are looking. Your caution in dropping a grand on an unknown is certainly justified. I would want to see it and touch it first before I took the plunge too.

BBQ Eng.
post #5 of 27

Academy Sports- Old Country


Zoom product image.

Select Stores

Item#: 15078066
Style#: OC-20X52
SKU: 0263-40121-0200
  • Handcrafted, all-welded construction
  • Wagon-style wheels
  • 20-in. x 35-in. cooking chamber
  • Commercial- grade temperature gauge included
Hey Rick. For the $$ I like the above.

post #6 of 27

New Braunsfels---LONGHORN ---Academy Sports

New Braunfels Longhorn Smoker

Zoom product image.


Item#: 16622862
Style#: 09201555
SKU: 0263-02219-3369
  • 1038 sq. in. of total cooking surface
  • Heavy gauge steel construction
  • Professional quality temperature gauge
  • Large 10 in. wagon-style wheels
The Longhorn is even less $$ and will last a life time.

post #7 of 27
Their is also this link for cheap shipping.


post #8 of 27


I searched for a long time but found my offset on craigslist. LOVE IT! Am making mods to it but that is what I wanted. Have you considered having one made by a local welder? That way you get just what you want.
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
I have asked a couple of local welders and they said no. I'll keep searching till I find something that's for sure.
post #10 of 27
To bad you dont live in K-Town. would be glad to make you a custom build.
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
I appreciate the thought. I put in an order today for the Horizon 20" classic with a couple upgrades. I added a pot warmer, second shelf for the main chamber and the convection plate. It will be a few weeks until delivery, I'm really looking forward to it.
post #12 of 27
I can't find any specs on the Horizon link, but I assume its made of the weight of steel you are looking for. It looks like a quality unit. I'm sure you are going to enjoy it.
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
It's all 1/4 inch new steel. Most of the pits that I researched were 1/4 inch. I was told it weighs around 450lbs so it's fairly stout.
post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
The smoker shipped out Friday and should be here early this week, pics to follow.
post #15 of 27
Do the smokers I posted even come close to the one you ordered? I think at least one of them is 3/16 inch which is very close to 1/4". For less than 1/2 price I would be tempted to go for Academy Sports. I've seen them up close and they actually are more or less hand made but I haven't smoked with any of them.

post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
The newer Ok Joes and Old Country offsets from the discount stores are of very thin metal, I believe less than 1/16 inch. They are not in the same league as the Horizons.
post #17 of 27
Oops, I must have missed this thread. That's cool, Rick!!

One of the things I love about the UDS over my SnP is the UDS's ability to ignore the wind. I will be curious to see how you like your new offset under these conditions.

My SnP is pretty thin so I was wondering if that's why the temps fluctuate so much in the wind. If your new smoker is 1/4" then it is probably 2 or 3 times as thick as the newer SnP, plus their convection plate looks pretty cool as well.

Keep us posted.

post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
I'm certainly going to keep the usd in the line up, that's for sure. I mainly got the off set for bigger parties we like to host during the spring and summer months.
post #19 of 27
Congrats Rick. Going to be a nice pit. Hopefully I will be ordering mine from Gator pits in a few weeks.
post #20 of 27
Rick, LOL - it's me again! cool.gif

You know where I stand on the Bell Fab units...I've only cooked on mine 3 times, but I CAN report a little more than I did before.

#1 - I was nervous about sending a check to someone I'd never met, but I just couldn't EVER afford $1,000 + for a smoker, so I bit the bullet. Mr. Bell held on to the check until the day he started my build. He completed my smoker in one full day, and then he took it to the shipping company of MY choice...ended up only costing me $155 to ship that bad boy to my warehouse. Total cost for 24 x 36" unit was just over $600 and that includes shipping.

#2 - Quality of build. This does not look like a smoker made by robots and/or machines. There are very, very subltle imperfections that in NO way affect the quality of cook...in fact, it leaks far less than my machine- made Brinkmann Cimarron. These "imperfections" make it look like it was handmade, which I love - and it works perfectly.

#3 - at lower temps (220°) there is a noticable difference between the temps at the lower cooking grate and the upper. If the upper is at 220°, the lower might be at 185°. However, I don't - and never have - liked cooking at 225°, but closer to 240 - 250. So, it's interesting to note that once I get the top grate to 240°, the bottom is like 230...a lot more consistent. Keep in mind that so far I haven't done any mods!

#4 - The extras. The ash dump is awesome, and the super heavy duty wood/fuel grate that he includes inside the firebox, will never ever burn out as long as me and my kids are alive. The grates are made of heavier expanded metal that I had ever even seen before! Temp guage on it doesn't work for sh!t but none of the stock ones ever do PDT_Armataz_01_01.gif

I'll report more once I've had a few more cooks. Someday, I might even post some que view again! Damn the luck, but every weekend that I get to cook, the Mrs. has a photography gig out of town, or some sort of deal where she has run off with the only digital camera (she paid for it, so what's a fella to do? Buy a cheapo-point-and-shoot, I guess!)

Good luck in your search for a new smoker!
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