Brand aint the difference folks

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Aug 13, 2012
Northern Wisconsin
I just have to start this. Sooooo many people pumping Lang on this site. Like it it the answer for all things reverse flow. A poor guy complained that his 36" reverse flow had hot spots and people flooded him with advice to just buy a Lang smoker. Come on!

Funny to hear you compare an SQ 36 from Meadowcreek to 48" and up offerings from Lang and whoever. The smallest offsets like the SQ36 are of course going to differ greatly from anything 48" and up. In something as small as the 36, it is hard to not be close to the fire and suffer what you describe as hot spots. Even the smallest charcoal fire will be as hot as the ones on the larger smokers when you meat is right next to it. Where the size of the chamber alone provides room to get away from firebox level heat and in to the zone of low and slow required to produce what you are after. Also lining the pan of any reverse flow with simple foil will add additional protection from too much direct heat so the reverse flow design can work as intended and smooth out the hot end. Unfortunately this site has become a marketing board for Lang smokers. There is nothing special about the cooking ability of Lang over others. Maintaining correct temps is how well you know and use your rig. Thicker steel holds heat longer, yes. But it is up to the user to know how to tend the rig to hold temp. If you are exposed to,wind, fix that! If you are lazy and dont tend the fire, fix that. If you just load up the box with charcoal and let it burn away, fix that. If you want set it and forget it, you maybe wanted a pellet smoker and got caught up in the idea of stick burning from watching too much BBQ pitmasters. Reverse flows require understanding fire control, air flow control through the chamber not just the firebox, heat retension, patience and constant attention. The results are the best you can get though!

Now if you want a good looking smoker as well as a functional reverse flow. Look at mine as an example. I did not just say it was better at cooking Q. That requires all the above mentioned, experience, recipes and some skill too. There are many out there. Some of the most functional are home built. That takes skill and knowledge that few possess here. Brand aint the answer folks. Common sense solves most questions I see posted here. If you understand the process this food requires to make the good stuff. I wish this board would do a REAL 101's of the BBQ process in a reverse flow so this constant marketing for Lang could be replaced by exchange of knowledge. It would serve the community better! And not just help sell more rigs for Lang.
This guy is sooooo right on the money. Lang this lang that...blah blah blah. You can make great cue in a hole in the ground. Knowing your particular unit is the difference. I own a meadowcreek TS60 and have cooked on the comparable lang models: they are both great. really great smokers. But as far as the total quality of build apples to apples the meadowcreek is the better looking hands down. period. Nicer welds and better fit and finish. Again I own a meadowcreek and have live actual cooking experience on a lang as well. Meadowcreek is every bit the equal and in my opinion is the better choice. Klose, bubba grill, jambo, etc... There are a ton of great smokers out there for everyone to be happy....I think I'm just sick of people who haven't seen, felt, used any of the rigs they comment on. I follow up a lot of posts with a private message just looking for a reason beyond; hey dude, u should just get a lang. 99% of the responses are of this variety: I've never actually seen one, the guys on TV use this one, my wife bought it for me..etc.
Well said, Uncle Jim.  Lang does make a great smoker, as do Jambo, Klose, Gator Pits, East Texas Smokers and to many to name. Most have spent a tremendous amount of time perfecting their smokers so they will have a good product. But like I have said in other post, it's the person not the pit who turns out good BBQ. You have to know your smoker and how it cooks. I have been to BBQ cook-offs and tasted some of the best  Q that was cooked on an ECB and some not so good that came off a 15 -20 thousand dollar smoker. It's all about the man or woman tending the smoker. 

Langs are ugly, Meadow creeks are pretty, there is no debate about that.

But, in my opinion, our builds here are surpassing all of the big name builders in regards to cook-ability. Sure, there are some that the build quality is questionable, ( after all, these are back yard fabrications, not full fledge manufactures with professional eq. ) and some builders may be a bit off interpreting our ideals. But as a whole, if you look at all the technology we have incorporated into our cookers over the last few years , your don't see any of the manufactures utilizing any of these design improvements. They just keep pumping out the same old design year after year. You would think that with the profits they make off of the units they sell, a portion would go back into research and development.
RibWizzard I don't know you but I know of you. Your fabrication and design skills are legendary....between you and Dave Omak I don't know if there is a better source of detailed, truly expert advice/instruction. I spend many hours reading your threads.
So you are not the average forum user. You know dang well that the group of guys who can make a smoker equivalent to yours is incredibly small. Thanks for the nod for Meadowcreek, I've seen where in other posts you like their work. I run the TS60 and have little mans complex about it too.
Thanks for the compliment Delibsribs,
and thanks to Meadow Creek for all of the inspiration their smokers have given me in my builds.

And UncleJim, don't get s worked up over the Lang followers, There are just as many Big Green Egg, Weber Smokey Mountain, etc, etc followers that will swear that what they have is the Holy Grail of cookers, and just about every thing in life that people get passionate about, there will be groups of followers of different brands.

I'm just not much of a follower,
One more thought, if I had forked out that much for a Lang or one of the other brands, I would probably be bragging and plugging it ever chance I could.  But I kind'a like Homemade , That way I can take all the information that's out there and build what suits me.

That's the key Gary,

There is no " perfect smoker", .. There are too many variables, charcoal vs lump, vs wood, water vs no water, etc, etc. And the problem with buying any brand of smoker is that you will be adapting to the cooking style of the designer.

By building your own, you can trailer make the smoker to how " You" like to cook.

For example, I found myself wanting an easy towing compact cooker for party's of about 30 or so, I like to cook with live Oak, large pieces. I like to be able to leave the cooker unattended for at least two hours, and it want the ability to also use it for cooking steaks, burgers, hot dogs , etc. Show me anything on the market that will do everything I want to do, the way I like to do it. Nothing out there with out compromising in one way or another. So , I'll build my own!

So, for the people that don't have the skill, or the tools or facility to do the same, you still don't have to settle! I would suggest learning everything you can from sites like this, and sit down and design your own pit to your own liking. Plenty of people here willing to help review your plans and get you a good design going. Once you have the plans drawn up, find several local weld/ fabrication shops and get estimates for them to build it for you. More than likely, you should be able to build a better pit at a lower price than what you would pay for a name brand pit, and you could still call it your own.
Right on the money RW, Part of the smoking experience is tending your smoker, I don't want to have to watch mine every minute but I do enjoy the whole cooking process. I know there are some start and forget type smokers out there, but that's not me. Like the BBQ joints around here, some have the custom, high dollar, load and forget-it smokers, but the really good ones have a real pit. There is one place about a mile or so from me, that the first time I went there he took me out back to show me his pit, that he had made. Gets up early to get started and watches it all day, Real BBQ.  The first pit we built,(before I knew about this site) was a combination of looking at a bunch of different pits, and taking what I liked about each one ti incorporate into ours. And now with all the information available and pictures just want to keep building a better pit.

Like I posted at the start of this thread. Some of the most functional reverse flows are home built. That takes skill and knowledge that only a few possess here. Nobody mass produces a reverse flow pit that has all the stuff the best fabricators here have put together. But most of us cant weld well enough, have the shop or the experience to build one that has it all. Most name brand pits could do more to control not only firebox air, but also chamber flow and heat retension. I would lke to see some detailed pics from you guys that hand built the utimate reverse flows. Maybe they are out here already. Anyway, after years looking and reading a lot here and other sites, I went with meadowcreek for my budget. It werent cheap but its manly and works fantasitc. Oh and it is pretty as well. The stainless racks clean up way better than extruded steel I would guess.
I was fortunate enough to have found this forum when I wanted to build a reverse flow pit. I almost pulled the trigger on one made here in Texas for $1800, but just couldn't do it. I work with a little bit of steel...

I read a lot, asked a lot of questions, and received a lot of answers from some great folks who know what they're talking about; RW and Dave to name a couple. And some others as well. I'm very happy with my pit in the stage that it's at; unpainted, needing a few window dressing items, but I'm cooking on it.

I've been burning raw meat over burning wood for a few years now, but these rf pits are a different animal. I just did my first longish cook this weekend with a 10 hour brisket and some ribs. I am still learning my way around handling the pit, but I really like it. I already know how I'm going to build the next one.

My biggest point is that my post is over 5 pages of posting, with 70 something posts, and I don't believe anyone ever mentioned a Lang once. But I've seen them on tv. But I see where you are coming from on some of the other posts.

The way I see it, if you have the ability to fabricate one for yourself, do it. Start touting "homies" for homemade. Or call them RW's or Omaks....haha. Thanks again for all the help! 
All great points here. It all comes down to the man / woman running these things. I'm sure I'm not the only one who knows someone with high end equipment; that has absolutely no clue how to run it. Or how to properly, safely, prepare the protein to sizzle in the first place. The only thing I can add here is there is also a sense of pride in creating your very own masterpiece. Building what works for you.  I have built a few smokers for other people. While I may not agree with some of the things they want done in a build, at the end of the day, its theirs. They had a hand in designing it. Showed me some pictures. Gave me some measurements. Half way through the build, showed me more pics of other really cool smokers! Hey Tony, can we add this??!  And when they get "the call" they're happy. VERY happy!! 

 I'm in the middle of building my "perfect" smoker right now. Always looking for new ideas is what led me to this site. So whether its a lang, Meadow, or just plain Homemade, I want to see them all. (except for the "greasy knoll" LOL) IMHO home built cannot be beat !
I think the step from the box store cookers to a quality cooker is a very difficult one. Most people cant even fathom the difference until they have had a chance to cook on a quality cooker. Going from a brinkman or charbroiled, ip to a Lang or Horizon could easily make people fall in love with them. It's only after many years of experimenting cooking on the better built ones that you really start seeing the difference between them.

I'm sure if you went from a Jon boat to a bay liner, you would think it was a Caddy, but then get in a Yellowfin, and it would blow your mind.
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R W you are exactly right, One of wife's friends has had a charcoal grill and smoker, she likes grilling and smoking, She knew that my #2 son and me usually make a new smoker each fall or spring, she asked if we could make her a little smoker, of course we said sure, she then asked what do you think it would run? when I threw out a price (which was really a good price) I thought she was going to fall out. She said "You are kidding" I said no that's about what a good smoker runs, she promptly told me she could get just as good of smoker at Academy for a few hundred bucks. I told her she probably just needed to get one from there. There was no use trying to explain the difference.

Gary..... Put your smoker on a trailer and take it to her house and let her cook on it for a month or two....
Nah, let them put in the leg work of dealing with all the pit falls that those store bought cookers have for a few years, then invite them over and let them watch you cook and taste your food.

With out the experience and frustrations earned from cooking on those things, they will never truly appriciate what you have there.
Thanks, RW and Dave,  I agree with both of you. actually we had the smoker my son uses sitting there, and that was one of the first thing my son said, "she can take that on and see if she likes it"

But, she would have never wanted to pay what it was worth. I think a lot of people want a nice smoker, but don't want to pay the price and think they won't have to do anything or very little to turn out good BBQ.

I am just like you guys, been smoking for many years and tried all kind of smokers, some good  and some not so good. But it makes you really appreciate a good smoker. Kinda of like my gas grill, we cook out four or five times a week every week, rain or shine. I was rebuilding my cheap-o wally world special a couple of times a year. Got fed up with doing that and bit the bullet and bought an all stainless with a side burner, I paid $1,300.00 for it in 2000, 14 years old, still cook on it several times a week every week. You get what you pay for, if you know what to look for. So experience and years of cooking are a plus when you are deciding

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