Backyard offset smoker options?

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scott french

Newbie
Original poster
Nov 27, 2013
11
4
I am looking to switch from a WSM to an offset smoker for my back patio. As such, I am looking at 16 to 20" barrel, 1/4 inch steel. My price range is $2000 or less. I live in the DFW, TX area. So, shipping is needed unless it is relatively local.

I have been eyeing several online:

Old Country Brazos from Academy
Horizon 20" Classic or Icon from Horizon
Lyfe Tyme Single door - various retailers in Texas.

A local guy has refurbed a couple. One is a Yoder Cheyenne and the other is an older Lyfe Tyme single door. I've read some issues with air flow in the Yoder Cheyenne. Will as the local guy about that.

Thoughts or others to consider?
 
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DougE

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Apr 13, 2010
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Bell fab would be my answer as far as bang for your buck, even though I don't have one, but I really don't think you're going to see that big a difference between your WSM and an offset as far as the food that comes off either. Cook chamber capacity, if that's what you're after may be better, but I don't see any advantages beyond that.
 
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sawhorseray

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OTBS Member
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Offsets are like boats, you are thrilled when you get one, and happy when you see one go down the road. I know that to be fact, got off my boat and offset last year. RAY
 

Marknmd

Meat Mopper
Jun 22, 2022
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I like your thinking and the offset options you're considering. I would just suggest you hang onto the WSM rather than switch it out. You will likely find times where you want to use one or the other depending on what you're cooking, when you're cooking, etc. Good luck.
 
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Smoke-Chem BBQ

Smoke Blower
Aug 20, 2021
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I'll not try to talk the OP out of what he wants, and I don't have hands-on experience with an offset anyway, so I can't make recommendations.

But I often think about getting an offset...it seems more authentic, more closely tied to the roots of BBQ, and they certainly turn out great food.

But then I always think how nice it is that my WSM can hold temp unattended for 3 hours or so, allowing overnight cooks with minimal loss of sleep, while still turning out great food with as much or as little authentic smoke as I want. And where I live, it's a lot easier to source charcoal and lumps of smoke wood than it is to find suitable smoking wood in quantities sufficient to run an offset. So I always end up deciding to keep my WSM.

So Marknmd Marknmd 's suggestion to get an offset and keep the WSM might be your best bet.
 
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Displaced Texan

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Nov 11, 2020
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How do you avoid overnight cooks? Just don't do it. Start early in the morning and let it rest/hold overnight then serve. Or, do what I do. Smoke for 6-7 hours in the afternoon. Finish in the oven overnight. Pull, rest, and hold until serving. Takes a little planning.

I don't recall the OP asking how to avoid overnight cooks, rather, looking for offset smoker options.
 

scott french

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Nov 27, 2013
11
4
The WSM has been quite reliable and can smoke a brisket and three racks of ribs or 6 racks of ribs and no brisket. Keeping it is a good suggestion. I need to contact Bell Fabrication and see what they can do for me. Shipping from North of OKC to DFW may be expensive. My buddy wants me to check out the two refurb smokers that his guy did. Could save some coin there.

Currently in the running:
Horizon 20 Classic or Icon
Old Country Brazos
Johnson Custom Smoker Compact Patio
Lyfe Tyme Single Door
Bell Fabrication

Still checking out what else is out there in my price range.
 

GonnaSmoke

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Sep 19, 2018
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Thoughts or others to consider?
I have 2 offsets. One is a Oklahoma Joe Highland, or cheap offset smoker (COS). It is small and made of light weight, thin steel. The other is a TMG Pits 52" Copperhead. Large, heavy custom offset made of ¼" steel. With a little experience, each will do really good when used for what they are.

IF I had it to do over again, I'd buy a fridge style custom smoker such as the TMG Pits The Fridge 48". Reason being is my shoulders are a wreck and I have trouble lifting the lid on the Copperhead because it's heavy. You seem young so for now that probably isn't an issue, but custom offsets are lifetime smokers, not disposable. At the end of the day, these smokers are outside of your stated price range, but that may change. Just some more food for thought if you choose the path of custom offsets...
 
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scott french

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Original poster
Thread starter
Nov 27, 2013
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I spoke with Edwin Bell on Friday. Pretty sure I will be ordering one of their smokers. Likely 24"x36". Now for options. It comes with the temperature gauge and t handle for moving around. I am going to get a wood rack below the smoker. Is it worth it to get the pot warmer? What about a temperature probe port? I don't think I want the stainless handles. I definitely want two wheels. Any other upgrades to consider? Will one door be too heavy on the 36? Should i go with two doors?
 
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kevin james

Smoking Fanatic
Jul 30, 2012
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Sacramento, CA
You're in the Dallas/Fort Worth area? You should definitely check out Big Phil's Smokers offshoot brand Blue Smoke Smokers. He's located in Caddo Mills Texas, which is right in your area.

His Blue Smoke Smoker brand offers what seems like the best bang for the buck for a back yard offset... it's a 24x48 cook chamber with a 24x24 round fire box. The Pipe used for both the cook chamber and the fire box are 3/8" thick steel, while the end caps, collector and stack are 1/4" steel. The base model includes a single grate, and single Tell True guage for $1,700.00, which is right in your budget. It has a huge 6" wide 42" long stack. He also offers all kinds of add on's at very reasonable prices. If nothing else I would HIGHLY recommend you get the stack damper added as that is not standard, but it's a $100 add on. That's all you need.

Bell Fab is nice too, but Big Phil's/Blue Smoke Smokers is much closer to you. Another thing to consider is how you like your heat and smoke to flow. Think about cooking a brisket or a pork butt... do you prefer fat cap up, or fat cap down? If you like fat cap up you want a traditional open pit design that cooks from the top down. If you like fat cap down you want a bottom up cooker. Big Phil's Blue Smoke Smoker is a traditional open pit design (meaning no baffle, no tuning plates) and is a top down cooker. I understand Bell Fab's are Bottom up cookers as that is Craig the owner's preference. Both are good, which is better is based on your own personal preference.

I'm firmly in the top down cooker camp, as I like to cook fat cap up. I have a Blue Smoke Smoker and couldn't be more happy with it. I'd buy it again in a heart beat. Mine was a lot more expensive, but that's because I added just about every possible option, but it was still only $2,600 even with all those options. The pit draws like a freight train, and keeping a screaming hot coal bed is super easy. I also love the way it renders fat... the huge stack causes a ton of airflow and convection which just renders fat in an incredible way, much different and much better than any other pit I own, including a reverse flow stick burner I have.

Here's his website link:
https://bluesmokesmokers.com/

And here's mine:
Big-Phil-s-Blue-Smoke-Smoker-Pic-1.jpg
 

GonnaSmoke

Master of the Pit
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Everyone wants an offset, or a boat until they have had one awhile.
I might could live without an offset because I've only had one for about 3 years or so, but not my boat. Kind of like a farmer and their tractor...:emoji_wink: In addition to the enjoyment I get, it does provide a source of income...
 

scott french

Newbie
Original poster
Thread starter
Nov 27, 2013
11
4
You're in the Dallas/Fort Worth area? You should definitely check out Big Phil's Smokers offshoot brand Blue Smoke Smokers. He's located in Caddo Mills Texas, which is right in your area.

His Blue Smoke Smoker brand offers what seems like the best bang for the buck for a back yard offset... it's a 24x48 cook chamber with a 24x24 round fire box. The Pipe used for both the cook chamber and the fire box are 3/8" thick steel, while the end caps, collector and stack are 1/4" steel. The base model includes a single grate, and single Tell True guage for $1,700.00, which is right in your budget. It has a huge 6" wide 42" long stack. He also offers all kinds of add on's at very reasonable prices. If nothing else I would HIGHLY recommend you get the stack damper added as that is not standard, but it's a $100 add on. That's all you need.

Bell Fab is nice too, but Big Phil's/Blue Smoke Smokers is much closer to you. Another thing to consider is how you like your heat and smoke to flow. Think about cooking a brisket or a pork butt... do you prefer fat cap up, or fat cap down? If you like fat cap up you want a traditional open pit design that cooks from the top down. If you like fat cap down you want a bottom up cooker. Big Phil's Blue Smoke Smoker is a traditional open pit design (meaning no baffle, no tuning plates) and is a top down cooker. I understand Bell Fab's are Bottom up cookers as that is Craig the owner's preference. Both are good, which is better is based on your own personal preference.

I'm firmly in the top down cooker camp, as I like to cook fat cap up. I have a Blue Smoke Smoker and couldn't be more happy with it. I'd buy it again in a heart beat. Mine was a lot more expensive, but that's because I added just about every possible option, but it was still only $2,600 even with all those options. The pit draws like a freight train, and keeping a screaming hot coal bed is super easy. I also love the way it renders fat... the huge stack causes a ton of airflow and convection which just renders fat in an incredible way, much different and much better than any other pit I own, including a reverse flow stick burner I have.

Here's his website link:
https://bluesmokesmokers.com/

And here's mine:
View attachment 649069
Looks nice. I am thinking a 24x36 is a better size for the space I have in my patio. How heavy is the cook door? If very heavy, I would want 2 doors. I like the 2nd cook grate. It is standard in a Bell Fab.
 

kevin james

Smoking Fanatic
Jul 30, 2012
439
318
Sacramento, CA
Looks nice. I am thinking a 24x36 is a better size for the space I have in my patio. How heavy is the cook door? If very heavy, I would want 2 doors. I like the 2nd cook grate. It is standard in a Bell Fab.

For the Blue Smoke Smoker, he only offers one size, 24x48, but honestly I wouldn't go smaller than a 24 x 48 for a backyard offset anyways. You have to remember you're going to have a hot spot on the firebox side, and with a 24x48 you get about 36-40 inches of actual usable cooking space. With that in mind I would think a 24x36 is going to be a little cramped, but that's just my opinion, and it's about what YOU want.

On the upper rack, it's an add on priced at $150.00 for the Blue Smoke Smoker. If you want the extra guage, that's another $50, and the stack damper (mandatory IMO) is $100. So $300 for all the extras puts it at $2,000 even and it's close enough you could pick it up rather than having it shipped which will save you a lot of money. The Bell Fab needs to be shipped to you from Oklahoma... which is going to make it more expensive.
 

DougE

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Apr 13, 2010
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2,756
Richmond,KY
Kind of like a farmer and their tractor...:emoji_wink:
Bad analogy. We have tractors because we need them. I have smokers because I want them, but I have tractors because, well, unless I want to go back to using draft horses and mules to pull implements, I need tractors.
 

jcam222

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Jun 13, 2017
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Northeast Ohio
I’ll take the contrary position. I have had electric, pellet, competition quality charcoal cabinet and my Lang. I love the Lang and haven’t used the others for almost two years now. That said I still have my charcoal cabinet as if the need ever arises off overnight cooks it runs all night on a load of coal. Someone mentioned wood too. The one thing I underestimated when I bought the Lang was how much wood I’d need. Took me the first year to find sensibly priced wood sources. Make sure you have that.