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Help selecting an offset smoker for Dad’s birthday

ehill03

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Hi all. Total novice here who has enjoyed poking around these threads. This forum is obviously full of experts, so my apologies for what is probably a very pedestrian question.

My mom & I would like to get my Dad a new offset smoker as a 70th birthday gift. My Dad is almost blind, so he can’t do this kind of research himself (he would love to be able to read all the different threads on this forum!) He has enjoyed smoking on his old offset pit for years, but he’s been complaining of issues with his old pit that isn’t worth refurbishing- so, we’d like to surprise him with a new one . Not necessarily looking for the fanciest model with a lot of bells and whistles- just a solid, heavy, high-quality pit that is long lasting and will be fun for him to use. For reference re: what it will be used for: he smokes 2-3 briskets/month, enjoys smoking turkeys for the neighbors at Thanksgiving and will smoke steelhead a few times a year.

They live just outside of New Braunfels, Texas and I‘m sure folks on here have suggestions for smaller companies or semi-local Texas based pit builders we may want to look at (we would prefer to support a small business rather than buy something at Cabellas if we can). Would be happy to pick up ourselves within a 300 mile radius to avoid shipping costs, and budget is about $1,200-2000. Because this is a surprise, I can’t ask Dad about special features he’d like- but would appreciate any thoughts/feedback.

Any advice as to a few different builders, models & features we might want to look into would be much appreciated!
 

chef jimmyj

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That is a nice gesture. Just a question...Are you confident Dad wants another Stick Burning Offset, verses something that is more Set and Forget, like a Insulated Vertical Smoker, Pellet Smoker or Gravity Feed Smoker?
Lone Star Grillz is Willis Texas based. A Family owned biz. Chris the owner, is a great guy to work with. Their 1/4" Steel, fully welded smokers, are certainly heavy duty and they offer a big selection of sizes and designs. I have been looking at their Pee Wee Insulated Cabinet. A Charcoal and Wood fired smoker that is pretty close to set and forget, without the Electronics...JJ

 

ehill03

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Thanks for the quick replies, folks! I’ll def give LSG a look- my grandma lives in Willis, so we travel there often- def a plus.

Pretty sure it’s the offset smoker we’re looking for. Agree there are probably many more convenient & practical options, but Dad really likes “the process”.

*Mom would probably chime in here & say she likes that HE likes his offset smoker b/c it keeps him busy & out of her hair- and would prefer it to something that required less of his time or vigilance ;)
 

HalfSmoked

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I know as said its a surprise but like JJ suggested may be better to ask dad. But either way a great tribute to your dad's 70.

Warren
 

ofelles

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I will jump on the Lone Star Grillz wagon. They made very well built products and are great to work with. I was looking at the offsets and ended up getting the large insulated cabinet cooker. I have not regretted it for a moment.
 

robrpb

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I know as said its a surprise but like JJ suggested may be better to ask dad. But either way a great tribute to your dad's 70.

Warren
I would agree with JJ and HalfSmoked, especially when you are spending that much money. Get him what he would want and be happy with and not what you think he may want. You may even be surprised at what he may say.
 

BBQBakas

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Looking for recommendations for a backyard offset smoker as well. I live in Sonoma and can only seem to find offset smokers at Lowe's and Home Depot. The brands they carry are Oklahoma Joe's and a few Horizon smokers.

Anyone have suggestions about the best offset in Northern California?
 

daspyknows

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I doubt Home Depot or Lowe's sell Horizon. Bass Pro Shops does. KAT out of Modesto is somewhat local although I couldn't get them to respond to emails or voicemails. I ultimately ordered a Horizon directly and had it shipped.

The Oklahoma Joe's are similar in design but with thinner steel and lower quality. Definitely a case of you get what you pay for though.
 

HalfSmoked

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Thanks robpbr for the like it is appreciated.

Warren
 

ehill03

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Appreciate everyone’s recs!

So, taking your advice, last night my mom casually asked my Dad what he would like were we to replace his current smoker. He did confirm he thinks he’d want another offset smoker, but admitted he is not very sophisticated or well educated in this arena- he just does what he saw my grandpa do, and enjoys it. He has Aaron Franklin’s book, so he does have some modern “education” & understanding of technique, but his visual impairment makes any sort of reading or watching videos difficult.

He did say he is “committed to sticks“ (they have good access to quality wood) and only stressed that he wants something heavy with quality welding & casters/wheels (the area where he smokes has uneven ground). He is very practical & cautious with money, and would never spend over $1k on something like this for himself. Still, my mom & I have agreed it is still worth us splurging a bit to get him something better than what he’d ever get himself.
 

daspyknows

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My dad is the same way. Won't spend the money on himself. This will be a great gift. Getting him what he wouldn't buy for himself is the way to go.
 

chevydiggs

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Lyfe Tyme makes a real nice heavy duty offset. Got a small one and it cooks awesome, was going to get a bigger one in Lyfe Tyme but none locally here to me. Believe they are made in Uvalde Texas. Mine was 20 years old when I bought it and still in good shape.
 

JWFokker

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If you have an Academy store nearby they sell Old Country smokers which are heavier than Oklahoma Joe.
 

TNJAKE

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If you have an Academy store nearby they sell Old Country smokers which are heavier than Oklahoma Joe.
Heavier maybe but you will sacrifice in build quality and lack luster welds.
 

ehill03

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Appreciate all the input- pls keep it coming! Sounds like my folks are headed to
Willis to see my grandma next week, and Mom is going to try to get Dad over to the
LSG showroom. May help narrow things down.
 

seenred

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There’s a custom pit builder in Tulsa (which may or may not qualify as “local” for you) called Bellfab. Nice guy and builds quality pits at very reasonable prices.

I’ve never seen a bad word written about Lone Star Grillz, and seeing as how they’re a Texas outfit, they might be your best bet. However you might should check with them about current lead times, if it’s something you want to give him on his birthday. Seems like I recall hearing that they are sometimes several months out between order and delivery...just something to consider when you make your decision.

Red
 

ehill03

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Update: my folks visited LSG and Dad was very impressed!Thanks for everyone’s feedback helping us get to this point. I think we will likely go with the 20x36 offset smoker with a few add-ons. Unfortunately, the base cost of these smokers has just gone up $100 in the last few days, so our budget has tightened in terms of how many extras we can spring for. If anyone has strong feelings (pro or con) about add-ons, would love to hear them!

*Another item we are very keen to find: a very good bbq lamp or light for evening & night use (the brighter and more user-friendly the better given my dad’s vision problems).

Thanks again, smoking pros!
 

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