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Newbie and needs some solid advice on purchase


Joined Oct 26, 2016
I've asked on another forum, but thought I would ask here :)

It is normally just the wife and I but once I tell the kids(>21) that I'm smoking meat, it ends up like 5-10+ kids show up. So, I need something that can cook everything (beef, chicken, pork, turkey) but not normally all at the same time. It would be nice to put on a turkey and ham on for Thanksgiving/Christmas tho.

This is for the backyard so don't need a trailer to move it around and don't want too big of a unit so it looks/becomes overwhelming to fire up and use.

I'm probably in the 1000-2500 price range. The wife won't like the 2.5k but she likes the idea of ME cooking outside.

1. Reverse flow ? Good, bad or just a personal preference?

2. Vertical box only or as addition? Why the need for this?

I've looked and searched on why have one, but can't find a cut and dry answer. What a vertical or Upright smoke box would be used for? I just don't see or couldn't find out what the additional space would be used for or how to use it.

I noticed that most of the top manufactures have a damper to close or limit the amount of smoke/heat from going into the vertical/upright chamber. Obviously, this is the best setup or is it?

3. grill height from ground (taller/longer legs/base) - does this cause issues? I'm tall so if would be nice to have the grill at waist height.

Some that I have looked at online -

LANG 36"- http://www.langbbqsmokers.com
Johnson - http://www.johnsonsmokers.com
Lonestar - http://www.lonestargrillz.com
pitsbyjj - https://pitsbyjj.com
Gator Pits - http://www.gatorpit.net
Horizon - http://www.horizonbbqsmokers.com/

Local guy at a Trailer company via craigslist/facebook (Dallas area) - Lone Oak Smokers - http://bigtextrailerworld.com/rockwall/

Any and suggestions welcome.

pit of despair

Meat Mopper
Joined May 18, 2011

I have a Lang 36", like you, its just me and "what's her name" but at any time the house could be full of family and friends.

It's very sturdy, made well.  Heavy(608lbs) but easy to move around the yard.

I've smoked pork butts,brisket, fish, chicken....you get the idea.  I don't have a warmer box...if you are going to 

do most of your smoking close to your house(oven) you wont need it.  I like the reverse flow I think it evens out the heat

and all the drippings that hit the plate sizzle and smells wonderful.  I'm 6ft and the shelf is at perfect working height for me.

I had to learn how to control the fire on a stick burner but that is the fun part for me and the all night smokes are social gatherings 

in my neighborhood!  

Good luck and enjoy the ride.



SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Joined Jun 22, 2009
I have a Lang 36 too.

No warmer box either, it never leaves my back yard.

So if I need a warmer the oven is right in the house.

Plus you can cook something on the top of the firebox.

I've had bacon & eggs in a CI pan on an early morning smoke.

It's usually just my wife & I, but the first run on it was for 20 people.

It was no problem.

If you think you may need a little more space, the 48 isn't that much more $.

As said above there is a bit of a learning curve with the fire management.

But the Lang holds temps very well.


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