Old Country Wrangler/Pecos vs CharGriller Grand Champ XD

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TexAg00

Newbie
Original poster
May 28, 2024
4
4
Houston, TX
I've read a lot of posts on a lot of websites but it seems like this site has a lot of helpful info so hoping to help get to my final decision!

For the brief synapsis - Need a new offset smoker, am mostly narrowed down to Old Country Wrangler/Pecos or Chargriller Grand Champ XD but have questions to help decide which.

As background, smoking-wise I've only ever cooked briskets and that is probably the majority of anything I do in the future. That said I do also grill steaks/burgers more frequently.

First question then is - can the three smokers I've called out be used for grilling as well? I currently have a old (15 years probably) basic Char-Griller that I eventually added a fire box onto but I could still put charcoal in the main area to grill when not smoking.

Assuming the answer to #1 doesn't immediately call a winner, looking for thoughts/opinions as to which of the three is best. I've looked at the two OC smokers at my local academy and plan to visit Home Depot to see the Chargriller but it seems like both are very similar except one is welded and one is bolt together. And just for reference, this is a birthday gift/fathers day gift to me from my family so I cannot double the budget over the 5-600 range to jump to a Brazos or such.

Sorry if this is wordy trying to throw out anything that might be helpful in assisting my decision making.
 
First, welcome to the forum from New Mexico.

I know nothing about the grills you mentioned, but my instinct says get the welded one.

That's all I got. Others will most likely have more info.
 
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Welcome to the site! I have owned the Grand champ for about a year now. Yes you can grill in the main chamber. It has a removable ash pan so it is easy to dump. I have never grilled on it though. I have only used as a smoker. I think it is a great smoker and had all the things I was looking for like slide out racks, grate level exhaust, charcoal fire basket, slide out ash pan in the firebox etc.

I wish it was a bit thicker gauge but it is not bad. I did a couple of mods that I saw guys do on You Tube. I extended the stack to 40" with a stove pipe that I got from lowes. I added 2 temp gauges where the ports are on the CC. I have also messed around with fire brick in the fire box for insulation. All in all it is a solid smoker and I am very happy with it. Plus it fit my budget. I would love a high end smoker but that was not happening and the Grand champ ticked all the boxes for me.

As far as cooking on it. I am very happy with it. I have smoked up some amazing meals on it. It is easy to maintain temps and fire management is easy once you get it dialed in. Few other things I did. Used high temp food grade sealant between the FB and CC when assembling and I removed the gasket it comes with and Installed Lava Lock gasket material to seal up the FB and CC. Also used the sealant on the exhaust coming out of the CC. It is sealed up good and has no leaks. Hope some of this helps.

Sean
 
For me being in Hawaii it was a no brainer as Home Depot shipped to my local store for free and I just had to go pick it up. Shipping for me is a killer if I was to have a smoker shipped to me. almost doubles the cost. I know it has to be put together but it was not that hard and actually bolts up very solid.

Another thing I did was cut a piece of expanded metal I got from work to fit the FB. I place it on top of the fire basket if I want to grill something. I have smoked TRITIP roasts and flank steaks and then reversed seared them over the fire. Not a dedicated FB grill like the wrangler but it works just fine. After a year of solid use it is still in great shape and I expect to have years of use out of it.

1716947118885.png


My XD with stack extension. Guys also do this on the Old Country pits.
 
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I've never looked at the Char Griller, never seen one in person.

That said, I would go with the Pecos. The Wrangler may have a little thicker steel in places but that shorter cook chamber bothers me. I like being able to put some distance between a brisket and firebox.

I could grill with my Brazos, I've no idea if the Pecos has a grate in the firebox.
 
I've had the Pecos for several years and never had a Chargrill so I can't speak to that.
The Pecos does have a grate over the firebox so you can grill on it. It's big enough for a few steaks or burgers. I use it to reverse sear stuff. If you really want to grill in the cook chamber I guess you can, I wouldn't really suggest it on an offset but if you look on the interweb you can find anybody that will do anything.
Like Smokin Okie Smokin Okie said the cook chamber is larger on the Pecos vs the Brazos but the steel is a little thinner. Good thing is you have both available to put an eye on and get a feel for.
 
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I had a chargrill smoker from 2009-2013, before moving and I did not move with me. In 2014 I bought a Wrangler and have had it since.
My thoughts:
CHARGRILLER- Had a lot of challenges with air leaks, I was able to make some mods to seal it up, but it leaked until the day I gave it to my neighbor. It was a good entry level unit for me to learn by. Also the paint burned off right away and I tossed quite a few rattle cans of high temp paint on it over the few years I owned it.
OLD COUNTRY WRANGLER- I have spend a lot of time modifying it to balance the cook chamber temps and seal it up. I learned after buying it that they have quality control and it is best to buy one in person so you can find the one that lines up and seals the best. The paint job is better than the Chargriller, but I still have had issues with the paint on the fire box and give it a light sanding and hit it with high temp paint touch up yearly.

Final thoughts: Both units are entry level and are decent, but will require a bit of work to seal them up and balance the cook chamber temps. The Wrangler / Pecos are made with heavier gage steel and better paint which gives it the edge in my book. I would probably choose the Pecos over the Wrangler as the Pecos cook chamber is better sized with the fire box. There are quite a few threads on here on both units.

Welcome to SMF from North Texas and excited to hear what you end up doing.

- Jason
 
In all Old Country offsets, they cut the cook chamber door out of pipe. And when steel is rolled into pipe, it doesn't always join perfectly. They weld it together with the steel under tension.

When they cut the door out, the door will " spring " , as the tension is released. That will cause the door to not close evenly. It almost always shows on the lower left corner. Sometimes it will be a small gap that ya can live with, but it can be larger.

My Brazos had a gap in the lower left corner that was every bit of a 1/2" , IDK, I never measured it exactly. I tried gaskets and the sealant in a tube, can't recall the name. It was too large. I eventually put clamps on both lower corners and that sealed it up.

So when ya shop for one, look at it in person. If there is a large gap, talk to the Academy manager and you can get a discount. But the gap can be healed with clamps.
 
This is how I closed up the Brazos , used RTV sealant and clamps. And I ran a gasket across the bottom of the cook chamber door.

clamps.jpg
 
As others have already covered very well, those Old Country pits are welded construction, and made of heavier gauge steel than most box store smokers. But there is that quality control issue. Every time I'm in an Academy, I look at the OC smokers. Sometimes they'll have one where the fit and finish is so bad that I wouldn't own if it were half price. Other times they'll have one where the fit and finish looks as good as some of the high-end pit builders.

So what I'm saying is, if you can be patient and look at them in person, I think you'll find an OC pit that you'd be very happy with!

Good Luck! And let us know what you decide to go with.

Red
 
I've been keeping an eye out for a used offset in the cheaper end and there's a grand champ xd for $200 plus cover and wood. Probably gonna pass, but I'm curious what you end up deciding on. Keep us posted!
 
Have yet to be able to get hands on with the Char-Griller, but continued looking at online pictures and reviews. Although I REALLY like the idea of fully welded Old Country, the lack of a means for using the main pit for grilling is pushing me toward the Char-Griller. Don't want to make a decision till I can see one in person though so in a holding pattern till one of my local Home Depots has it back in stock.
 
Have yet to be able to get hands on with the Char-Griller, but continued looking at online pictures and reviews. Although I REALLY like the idea of fully welded Old Country, the lack of a means for using the main pit for grilling is pushing me toward the Char-Griller. Don't want to make a decision till I can see one in person though so in a holding pattern till one of my local Home Depots has it back in stock.
My Wrangler came with a grate in the Firebox for grilling.

Thanks,

- Jason
 
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My Wrangler came with a grate in the Firebox for grilling.

Thanks,

- Jason

I think he wants to be able to grill in the cook chamber, best I understand.

But me, I'd buy a Kettle to grill and buy a smoker to smoke. I used the grate in the firebox on my Brazos a few times, I seared steaks over live fire. And decided that the flavor improvement wasn't there and building a wood fire was more trouble, over just reverse searing in my Kettle.
 
I think he wants to be able to grill in the cook chamber, best I understand.
Yes, this exactly. Sorry if I wasn't clear!

Patio space being what it is, I cannot currently have a grill and a smoker otherwise I definitely would and the selection would be easier.

Ultimately I'd probably even like to have a gas grill for the simple burger/dogs days and the smoker dedicated to what it does best. For now though not enough space so one and done and when grilling I end up cooking more than the firebox itself allows space wise.
 
I think he wants to be able to grill in the cook chamber, best I understand.

But me, I'd buy a Kettle to grill and buy a smoker to smoke. I used the grate in the firebox on my Brazos a few times, I seared steaks over live fire. And decided that the flavor improvement wasn't there and building a wood fire was more trouble, over just reverse searing in my Kettle.
I agree, I used the grate in the cooking chamber once and decided the kettle was a much better option. I would not want the mess nor burn off the seasoning in my cook chamber.

- Jason
 
I learned how to smoke on an offset using the older chargriller smokin pro. It had its challenges but I turned out some good food with it. Now I own an old country pecos and I would never go back. The pecos has thicker steel and holds a good temp. The flavor of bbq is on another level from my old char griller. If you want to grill the pecos has a grill in the firebox. Like others have mentioned you need to see the old country pits in person to pick out the best one. I made several trips to academy before I found the one that was put together well. Added a stack extension and some fire bricks in the fire box and the pit runs great.
 
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Reverse Searing steaks using my Wrangler along with warm smoking pork belly for bacon. Loving my Wrangler but as others have said it’s not for large quantities. I managed a 22# Brisket for a neighbor which filled it up less the top rack
 
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