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Size for new smoker


Joined Mar 2, 2011
Hey folks.  My old cheap smoker has bit the dust and I am looking to replace it.

Two options to consider  a not so expensive one from academy


Or i can splurge on one from Klose or pitts by JJ.

The academy version is not quite 1/8th inch steel and of unimpressive quality.

My questions:

Is it worth the extra for  thicker walls?

and how large do I really need?

 A large cookout for my family may be two-three briskers, two pork shoulders and a few racks of ribs.

Any thoughts would help.




Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Apr 19, 2010
Go big or go home.  Thicker steel = stable temps for your smoke.  Three Briskets means you need some grillestate -- at least 16x32" in a SFB or an upright with at least 3 grates.  Let us know when you get your new rig.



Joined Mar 2, 2011
My (former) char-broil was 16x34 and it was always a tight fit. If I can't get a 2nd shelf in a 16" I will have to pony up for a 20" model.

Is a SFB worth the extra money?

All this time shopping and not smoking. 

Pity, the weather is perfect

Thanks again.


Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Jul 16, 2008
J, I was always told that when you get a pit,get one larger than you think you need
You'll thank me later!

However,in reading and talking to some of the posters here and there,I have found that Old Country in South Texas has about as good a smoker as Klose and JJ at a lower price
you can afford more add ons that way

I got a Tejas20x40CC and love it,only because it was a little more than the Wife agreed on

I,m not saying to go cheaper , just that there are some as good

Which ever you get,remember you will be making friends and wil shortly need some more room to cook

Have fun and as always, 


Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
Joined Sep 8, 2009
my thoughts are BIGGER IS BETTER !!! I started out with a "small" smoker and then upgraded to a "bigger one" and then had to up grade again to "BIGGER one" ,  yet and i may need to step that up again . nothing wrong with the first three just not enough room

Plus you get what you pay for the better built and thicker walls will help the smoker keep the heat in and also will not rust thru as quick.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
Have you checked out Lang smokers. There are several Lang owners on here & they swear by them.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Mar 16, 2010
I agree bigger is better. The thicker steel IMO is worth it. Even though the up front cost is more, they'll last a life time. I faced the same decision just about a year ago. Some one this site recommended going with a 20". I was looking at the 16" models because of cost. Decided to bite the bullet and go bigger.

I'm partial to the Yoder brand smokers as they were close and I had it delivered free of charge. Any of the recommended smokers would be good. Shipping cost could be the deciding factor.

If you are interested, Yoder smokers can be found at this website www.atbbq.com


Meat Mopper
SMF Premier Member
Joined Feb 8, 2009
I would see if you could find someone close to you that builds smokers as a hobby.  These builders seem to be cheaper and you will get one that will last for ever if you keep care of it. 

Good luck!


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Sep 25, 2007
Buy your 2nd smoker FIRST!

Words to live by


Joined Mar 2, 2011
It is much too late to be my first but I would love it to be my last.

I was considering this 20x36 from pits by jj here in Houston.


Anyone have anything good or bad to say about them?



Smoking Fanatic
Joined Mar 16, 2010
In reading the description on their website, I would say that it should be what you are looking for. Nice size cooking chamber, 3/8 in steel pipe construction, etc. Since it's close, no shipping cost to add. I would be happy with this smoker if I was in your place.
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