Buying a Smoker

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by mike spearman, May 29, 2014.

  1. I have a cheap offset smoker and I would like to upgrade to a professional offset smoker and I have been looking for a while now and I have narrowed it down to a Lang 36' hybrid (price 1395.00), and a HBT welding 500 gallon offset (price 2000.00). The only thing that is bothering me is the HBT smoker leaks a little smoker around the top of the doors but it comes with everything I want, its on trailer so i can go to competitions, it is big, and has a warmer box. The only question I have is if i spend 2000.00 is it expected to have a little smoke leak from the smoker or is it expected that a little smoke will leak out regardless? Pic below is the HBT welding 500g smoker. 
  2. Hello and welcome, a little leak can be fixed with a little high temp silicone, If it's a big gap I would address that with the seller. Lang's are great smokers several members on here have them and could probably tell you all the pluses and negatives (if there are any)  Be sure and check out the other smoker and make sure FB to CC opening is sized correctly as well as area under the RF plate, opening at the other end dampers on the FB etc.

    Gary S
  3. Thanks for replying to my post Gary, my question is what do you mean by FB, CC, and under the RF plate mean. Sorry, but Im still new to some of these abbreviations. And I like Lang but for the price you don't get much. However, I'm still considering them bc they do have a good reputation and I will bend my budget if needed to get what i want. Do you know of any other good quality brands. I have been looking for a while now and my favorite is meadow creek but they are to expensive. My budget is about 2000.00 and I'm looking to start going to competitions by next spring. Only BC i return to the states late september and have a lot of other stuff i got to do.

  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    A little smoke leak around the doors shouldn't make too much of a difference unless you are losing a lot of heat.  FB = fire box,  RF plate =  reverse flow plate  CC =  cooking chamber

    There is a calculator often used in the Build threads that defines the size of he opening between the FB and CC.  Check in that part of the forum for a link to the calculator.

    Good luck on your decision.  
  5. I'm sorry my bad, Al explained it , but if you have more questions please ask.  The calculator is Feldon's Pit Calculator   

    One thing on the calculator  Size the firebox  as close to 100% as you can, regardless of the size of yours. then look at the size recommended for the Firebox to cook chamber opening and multiply that by 1.5 that should be the ideal opening size, your firebox can be larger, most recommend over sizing anyway.   Also how thick is the material used in that smoker ?

    Hope we are not throwing to much at you at one time.

    Gary S
  6. Albancher, Thank you, yeah i was just worried if I spent that much money and had a light leak if that would be ok and if I would still be getting my moneys worth. I do understand that it is not a insulated smoker though and there will be some thing I will have to do on my own to make it perfect. And the calculator is really cool. I do not have all the dimensions of the smoker yet i had to ask for them from the salesman but as soon as i get them I will plug them in. thanks for the help!
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
  7. Gary, when you say ideal opening size what do you mean. And it say it is 1/4 inch thick steal, I think that is pretty much the ideal thickness, but not sure. 
  8. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    The more metal or heat absorbing mass the easier it is to maintain steady temperatures, in well made smokers that is.   That's one reason we use sand or water in less expensive smokers, to add heat sink.
  9. Alblancher, so by me buying a 500 gallon smoker to start off with do you think that, that is too much or because it has a lot of mass it will cook better thus in the end being a over all good buy? or should I start with a 400g? 
  10.  The ideal size has come from lot and lots of builds by various members, Feldon's calculator is great but has a couple of problems. If you put the  actual size of your fire box all the opening sizes change. That is why it is best to figure the fire box at 100% use those opening sizes, then make you fire box larger, Also several members have said that by increasing the size of the firebox to cook chamber opening by 1.5 really improves heat/air flow and heating efficiency . Now in saying that I know there are a lot of builds and smokers that just used the opening size as stated, me being one of them. My smoker works quite well. But the next smoker we build we will oversize that opening, and I will have a side by side comparison. It the smoker you are looking at is 1/4" that's good we build all ours out of 1/4"  Hope this helps

    Gary S
  11. So i got my dimension i ask for from the pit maker and hear is what they are.

    60"x38" tank/ it says online it is a 500 gallon

    38"x20"x20" firebox

    36"x18"x36" rib box

    I plugged it into the online calculator and i do not fully understand what I was looking at, but if i had to guess it was telling me my fire box is to small, it says it is 15200.00 cu and recommended size is 35796.00cu. So does this mean I should not buy this pit? 

  12. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    Mike how much are you planning to smoke at once? The reason I ask is because I have the hbt 400 and can do quite a bit of meat at once on it. Have a guy I talk to in Indiana that has a 500 and he fits 200 leg quarters at a time on it. The hbt rigs are good for the money. I can pm you his number and you can talk to a person that owns a rig like you want and go from there
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  13. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    The amount of mass in relation to the size of the pit is important.  400 or 500 gallon is your decision to how much food do you want to load, how much wood do you want to burn.  I bought a Lang 36, a bit small maybe but I normally smoke for 10 to 12 people and I can cook a lot of food on the 36.  I have ecbs and an old Smokie Joe if I need more room.

    I couldn't imagine using the wood required to heat and run an 500 gallon smoker when cooking for only a couple of people.  I would not use my smoker as much as I do if it  was larger.

    Good luck with your decision,  it would be great if you could talk to someone that uses the smoker
    mike spearman likes this.
  14. Brooksy, Could you give me more info on your HBT 400. Like how well does it hold temp, how much meat, how big of a hog, anything you would change about it. I am intrested ni getting one but I don't want to spend 2000.00 on a smoker that is not perfect or at least close to it.  The reason I chose the 500g was basically because it was only a couple hundred dollars more and i got more cooking space. I plan to start going to competitions, and maybe cooking for small parties or anywhere else I can and i just want to be prepared. It will be hard for me to call anyone right now as well, I am station in Germany, but will be moving back to the states soon thats why Im looking for a pit. Thanks for the help, i sure could use it! 

  15. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    Holds heat just fine! I haven't maxed it out as far as meat goes yet. I would figure a 75/100 lb hog easy. It has its leaking issues but there is another thread on here about Lang's having issues. I really like it and am 100% satisfied with it. I'll be cooking for my girls ever open house this weekend I'll be posting pics.
  16. Oh cool man, are the leaks around the doors or is it more around the welds and in cracks? and could it be fixed with some high temp silicone?  how do you like the grill that is attached to it. I was thinking about getting it without the grill to save some money and just bring a weber kettle grill or something with me. But if you think it is nice and worth it I might just get it. Also is it easy to clean up! One last question how much wood or charcoal does it take to maintain a temp of about 250 for 6 hours. I know these are a lot of questions but thank you for the help! 

  17. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    From what I can see its just around the door and could be sealed but it's only noticeable when you are heating up and have some thicker smoke. I haven't even worried about it since it cooks just fine. Funny thing is I haven't used the back grill except to light my chimney for starting the firebox. I plan on doing some mods to it and making it a rotisserie. I use a full chimney and about 5/7 splits to get it up to temp then 1/2 every hour to keep her at temp. As far as clean up goes I clean the grates by taking them out and hosing them off and a scrub. Also scrub the RF plate. It's an attention grabbing smoker. People stop just to ask about it. The other day I actually saw another one going down the road while I was working at my girls shop. They are getting popular and I'm sure it's all because of the price. I like miner so much almost thought about selling for them down here in FL. Any more questions just give me a holler
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  18. Brooksy, Thanks for all the great information and help! It feels good to be able to talk to someone about the pit who owns one, beside the people trying to sell it to me! Is there anything tips that you could pass along about the smoker and if there is something you would add to it or change about it?

  19. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    If you can afford the couple hundred extra I would get the wood basket other than that it's good to go. Its a pretty straight forward rig easy to use. No problem hope you get one and show some good q coming off of it
    mike spearman likes this.
  20. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2014
    mike spearman likes this.

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