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Alternative to Assassin 17?

msdunkel

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Joined Nov 20, 2019
Hello all! I'm new to smoking and want a dedicated smoker. I considered pellet and kamado grills and while they both look appealing I can duplicate most of what they do in my cast iron skillet and oven. What I can't do inside is smoke, which is why I'm looking for a more specialized piece of equipment. To this point my research has pointed me to the Assassin 17 gravity fed smoker. Even though this is their smallest smoker, it's complete overkill when it comes to size as my last child will leave for college next year and it will be just me and my wife. I haven't had dinner guests in years so a single pork butt, a turkey, or 2 slabs of ribs is all this thing needs to hold. I don't want to give up on any of the features of the Assassin 17 but I need something about 1/3 the size, does it exist? Price is not an issue, I don't want any sacrifice in the quality of the cook (will a small electric suffice?), and it needs to be set and forget, thanks for your time.
 

justmattb

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Why not a Backwoods Smoker Chubby 3400 if you're looking for something small and not overkill? Reviews on those have been pretty dang good and sounds like it would fit your bill. From what I understand, they hold temp really well. I'd still add an internal probe (FireBoard) to monitor temp, but based on what you mentioned, that's what I'd be going with.
 

JC in GB

Master of the Pit
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A Stump's Baby has three racks and works great as a backyard cooker. It is small enough to cook a single chicken in yet can handle 6 pork shoulders if your are throwing a party.

I have had mine for one season so far and can't say enough good about how well it works.

If you do go with the Stump's Baby smoker, I would recommend the wheel upgrade, slam latch, and heavy duty handle upgrades. If you plan on putting the unit in one place and not moving it then just the slam latch.

The one and only drawback to this smoker is that the gravity feed chute occasionally gets charcoal bridges which need to be knocked down.

The only thing I would trade my Baby Sarina for is maybe a larger Stump's smoker.

Stump's also offers a variable burn pattern style cabinet too called the Stumpster. That may be smaller than the Baby.

JC :emoji_cat:
 

jcam222

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I’d agree with the Backwoods or Stumps. If gravity feed us a key for you it’s the Stumps. If it is not I’d highly recommend you check out 270 Smokers Sumo model. Built in the US and customer support is phenomenal. I bought mine used and they still take my calls and emails despite not making money off me. I have a KC model and love it. Once you get temp dialed in it holds steady for up to 14 hours on a load of charcoal. They also have a patented design that gives a convection effect decreasing cook times.
 

msdunkel

Newbie
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Joined Nov 20, 2019
Thanks, those all look like good options. Just so happens I live just south of ATL so I can go directly to the manufacturer for the Stumps or Assassin. I am pretty sure I want a gravity fed and the Stumps Baby is similar in size to the Assassin 17. The Assassin has a lot more standard features so I'll probably stick with it.
 
Last edited:

JC in GB

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Thanks, those all look like good options. Just so happens I live just south of ATL so I can go directly to the manufacturer for the Stumps or Assassin. I am pretty sure I want a gravity fed and the Stumps Baby is similar in size to the Assassin 17. The Assassin has a lot more standard features so I'll probably stick with it.
There are a lot of good quality units out there. I agree the Baby is slightly smaller than the Assassin you wouldn't be saving much space.

I know a lot of pit masters like drum smokers. I like that they are easily portable and can still hold a good amount of food.

Good luck in finding the right fit for your needs if you decide to part with the Assassin. I have not seen one up close but they look like quality cabinets.

JC :emoji_cat:
 

msdunkel

Newbie
4
3
Joined Nov 20, 2019
Why not a Backwoods Smoker Chubby 3400 if you're looking for something small and not overkill? Reviews on those have been pretty dang good and sounds like it would fit your bill. From what I understand, they hold temp really well. I'd still add an internal probe (FireBoard) to monitor temp, but based on what you mentioned, that's what I'd be going with.
I've been mulling over this decision and watching a bunch of videos. I'd really prefer a gravity fed smoker but after an honest assessment of my needs even the entry level models are just ridiculously big for me. I don't mind spending money but I can't stand wasting it and as of now that's what I'd be doing if I were to buy a giant smoker that would probably get used once or twice a month.

Regarding the Chubby 3400, is there any significant downside to having the fire directly under the food as opposed to the insulated fire box like you see in the gravity fed smokers? One of the reasons I shied away from the BGE was that you need a pretty hot fire to get the "good" blue smoke instead of the lower temp dirty smoke, but to do that in a BGE the overall temp would be too high and you'd overcook whatever you're trying to smoke. Would I run into a similar problem with the Chubby 3400 or does the water pan and lower level of insulation keep the heat off the food while getting a good smoke? Also, is the FireBoard just a bluetooth thermometer with an ambient and meat probe?

Thanks!
 

jcam222

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There are a multitude of people cranking out great Q on cabinets with fire box directly below the cooking chamber. I wouldn’t hesitate to use one.
 

justmattb

Newbie
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Aug 16, 2018
I've been mulling over this decision and watching a bunch of videos. I'd really prefer a gravity fed smoker but after an honest assessment of my needs even the entry level models are just ridiculously big for me. I don't mind spending money but I can't stand wasting it and as of now that's what I'd be doing if I were to buy a giant smoker that would probably get used once or twice a month.

Regarding the Chubby 3400, is there any significant downside to having the fire directly under the food as opposed to the insulated fire box like you see in the gravity fed smokers? One of the reasons I shied away from the BGE was that you need a pretty hot fire to get the "good" blue smoke instead of the lower temp dirty smoke, but to do that in a BGE the overall temp would be too high and you'd overcook whatever you're trying to smoke. Would I run into a similar problem with the Chubby 3400 or does the water pan and lower level of insulation keep the heat off the food while getting a good smoke? Also, is the FireBoard just a bluetooth thermometer with an ambient and meat probe?

Thanks!
You won’t have any problem maintaining low temps with the fire on bottom. The water pan in these units keep the temps rock steady and right where you want them. I’ve not heard of issues with the BGE or other ceramic cookers and dirty smoke at lower temps. I know a bunch of people doing low/sow cooks on a ceramic cooker and not having issues maintaining a clean smoke.
 

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