• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Middle of the road upgrade? Or go all out?

JBinGB

Fire Starter
47
68
Joined Aug 24, 2020
Hello everyone. I have been lurking for a while but just signed up. I am new here and new to smoking. Just got started in March.

I have a Chargriller grill i received as a wedding gift and in March i finally bought a side fire box to turn this into an offset "smoker". When it comes to smokers i am pretty sure this is close to the bottom of the barrel "pun intended" as far as quality.

As far as quality of food i couldn't be happier. I have churned out delicious brisket, ribs, and pulled pork.

The problem i an having is the Chargriller has pretty poor heat retention. I use a lot of charcoal and wood to keep this thing fed. Maybe it's my inexperience, but this weekend i used about 4 chimney's full in about 6 hours to cook 2 8lb pork butts. Maybe this is normal?

I am hooked and i would like to purchase an upgrade, but I don't know where to start. Should I be looking at something like a Yoder or outlaw? These things cost thousands but you get what you pay for i guess. I live in Wisconsin so in the winter the insulated firebox I am assuming would really help with heat retention. I have also been looking at the loaded witchita from Yoder.

Or are these way overkill for a backyard BBQ enthusiast. I have had people tell me even an oaklahoma Joe's is an upgrade from my current rig, but I have been hesitant to try it in fear that I would spend $300 for little improvement.

I am not super interested in making mods to my current rig because it's 5 years old aready, although the firebox is 5 months old, and after building fires I have been scorching paint off in areas and they have started to rust. I'm ready to start fresh.

So do I spend a moderate amount of money and get something like an oaklahoma Joe's highland? Or do I continue to use my current setup until I save enough for a Yoder or outlaw? Or is a really expensive smoker complete overkill for a weekend warrior smoking a couple butts and racks of ribs? Is there a quality smoker between an oaklahoma Joe's and a Yoder?

I'm sorry if this topic has been beaten to death, but I have no family or friends that smoke and I don't know where to turn for advice. I have been doing a lot of reading on the internet and it makes me even more indecisive. Hoping some folks with experience can point me in the right direction. Thank you!
 

Attachments

mike243

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
2,729
1,156
Joined Feb 25, 2018
If I lived up north and wanted to cook year round, go all out, insulation will save you a lot of $ and not just in the firebox imo. labor will also be reduced
 

JC in GB

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
2,734
1,773
Joined Sep 28, 2018
I live in Wisconsin and smoke all year round. If you want to smoke in the winter, there is no substitute for an insulated cook chamber. Not only does it retain heat and reduce fuel use, it also works great if you want to cold smoke in the winter. You can keep the cook chamber at 40 degrees F easily with a small electric burner modification.

I am not sure what your budget is. Give me a budget number and I can help you a bit better.

Here is my Stump's Baby, Sarina. It can hold 6 pork shoulders or 3 briskets, or 9 racks of ribs.

Fully insulated cook chamber and gravity fed fire box.

I run it with a home brew PID controller and get professional results.

I have done a few competitions with Sarina and one competition where the overnight temp went below freezing, the large offset pits couldn't keep up temp.

20190526_062014_HDR_resized.jpg
baby 3.jpg


Welcome from Wisconsin.

GO PACK!

JC :emoji_cat:
 
Last edited:

jcam222

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
5,456
5,163
Joined Jun 13, 2017
If you can afford to buy top of the line and love the hobby you do it. A quality Lang, Meadowcreek, Outlaw or Yoder will last your lifetime and beyond if you take care of it. If you go cabinet Stumps , Humphreys, Backwoods, Deep South , 270 and many more are great options. I have a 270 KC model. If you have the disposable cash go for it I say.
 

JBinGB

Fire Starter
47
68
Joined Aug 24, 2020
I live in Wisconsin and smoke all year round. If you want to smoke in the winter, there is no substitute for an insulated cook chamber. Not only does it retain heat and reduce fuel use, it also works great if you want to cold smoke in the winter. You can keep the cook chamber at 40 degrees F easily with a small electric burner modification.

I am not sure what your budget is. Give me a budget number and I can help you a bit better.

Here is my Stump's Baby, Sarina. It can hold 6 pork shoulders or 3 briskets, or 9 racks of ribs.

Fully insulated cook chamber and gravity fed fire box.

I run it with a home brew PID controller and get professional results.

I have done a few competitions with Sarina and one competition where the overnight temp went below freezing, the large offset pits couldn't keep up temp.

View attachment 460046 View attachment 460047

Welcome from Wisconsin.

GO PACK!

JC :emoji_cat:
Go pack! Although it will be a different season this year. I usually get to hear the roar of the crowd from my house so I know when they score, but there won't be as many fans this year.

I guess I'm not too constrained on budget but I can't spend thousands on an ole hickory nor do I have the room, but I am not opposed to spending some money.

I guess if there is something quality in the $1000-$2000 range or I can keep saving for something more expensive if I have to. I really like offsets but I am starting to think they aren't efficient for year round cooking in the frozen tundra.
 

jcam222

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
5,456
5,163
Joined Jun 13, 2017
Go pack! Although it will be a different season this year. I usually get to hear the roar of the crowd from my house so I know when they score, but there won't be as many fans this year.

I guess I'm not too constrained on budget but I can't spend thousands on an ole hickory nor do I have the room, but I am not opposed to spending some money.

I guess if there is something quality in the $1000-$2000 range or I can keep saving for something more expensive if I have to. I really like offsets but I am starting to think they aren't efficient for year round cooking in the frozen tundra.
$1000 - $2000 will get you a very nice cabinet if your are patient and peruse the used smoker groups and Craigslist. You can also get into a new Backwoods for that range. What are your capacity needs? Check out the Chubby and G2 Chubby https://shop.backwoods-smoker.com/collections/frontpage
 
Last edited:

JBinGB

Fire Starter
47
68
Joined Aug 24, 2020
$1000 - $2000 will get you a very nice cabinet if your are patient and peruse the used smoker groups and Craigslist. You can also get into a new Backwoods for that range. What are your capacity needs?
I don't need super high capacity. Being able to do 2 briskets, 2-3 butts, or 4-5 racks of ribs is ideal
 

JC in GB

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
2,734
1,773
Joined Sep 28, 2018
I live less than a mile from Lambeau and love hearing the crowd noise too.

A Stump's Baby is just over $2000

I love mine. Worth every penny.

JC
 

JBinGB

Fire Starter
47
68
Joined Aug 24, 2020
I live less than a mile from Lambeau and love hearing the crowd noise too.

A Stump's Baby is just over $2000

I love mine. Worth every penny.

JC
Ha. Depending on which direction there's a possibility we could be neighbors
 

JC in GB

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
2,734
1,773
Joined Sep 28, 2018
PM me if you would like to take a look at it.
 

hoity toit

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
1,903
477
Joined Nov 4, 2011
you can spray those rusted areas with olive oil or pam, they will keep it from rusting and also turn the metal black,,,,forget painting the pit...waste of time.

HT
 

thedude99

Newbie
18
19
Joined Oct 28, 2013
I wouldn’t bother upgrading to an Oklahoma Joe. It would be a bit better than what you have, it you will still battle all the cheap offset smoker issues with it.

I had an OKJ Highland for a while. I turned out great BBQ with it, but it was a constant battle with it.

I upgraded to a Horizon and it’s a night and day difference. So easy to hook on.
 

jervid

Newbie
18
14
Joined May 22, 2015
I ordered a Lang 48 and it's being delivered this week.. can't go wrong with a Lang..lots of sizes and options ..
 

Xendau

Meat Mopper
199
75
Joined Jul 23, 2018
Welcome to SMF...

To reiterate what some have already said, and to share my own experience....

Do NOT settle for the OKJ. I did, and two years almost to the date, I've ordered a beast stick burner from Lone Star Grillz (08/10).

The OKJ runs about 20*-50* different from side to side. Depending on the day... it works, and I have been happy with it, but its not what I want or need. Its very inconsistent.

So ya, to echo the others here... get what meets your needs and makes you happy. It will pay for itself in the long run.
 

JC in GB

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
2,734
1,773
Joined Sep 28, 2018
So did you decide on a smoker?

JC :emoji_cat:
 

Smokin Okie

Smoking Fanatic
336
172
Joined Jun 27, 2018
I feel extremely fortunate to find my Brazos. It was used, but only 3 times. Fella bought it with Christmas money and sold it in April. I got it for $600.

This gave me a somewhat quality smoker to learn if I liked stick burning. If I did not like it, I could sell the Brazos for about what I paid for it.

Now , I've found I love burning sticks and I can sell this Brazos and apply proceeds to a quality smoker.

That's optimum, find a used quality smoker to learn on, learn if you like stick burning and learn about stick burners.
 

JBinGB

Fire Starter
47
68
Joined Aug 24, 2020
So did you decide on a smoker?

JC :emoji_cat:
I really want to stay with an offset stick burner, and I might save up and get an outlaw pit because of the insulation.

That or I have been tossing around the idea of putting my fabrication skills to use and build one. If I sourced some 20" pipe welding one up wouldn't be to bad. And I have all the tools I should need to do it.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.