Smokin' in Virginia

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Original poster
Jan 2, 2024
Hello all,

Glad to be part of a huge source of knowledge and experience. Been smoking in a little Char Broil (<500 sq inch) side smoker since my wife bought it for me ten+ years ago. Well, the box finally is rusted bad enough it is threatening to fall off.

Did a bunch of research here and decided to upgrade to something like an entry level side-smoker Oklahoma Joe after looking at a bunch of pellet smokers. Decided against the pellet smokers from a cost/smoke point of view. I live on the side of one of the first foothills of the Shenandoah's and I have Oak and Maple logs I haul up and split so I've got plenty fo fuel for smoking on property--no need for pellets unless I want to add some extra flavor in the fire box.

After looking for new ones and figuring my budget, I found a Bar B Chef (at LEAST 15 years old if Bar-B-Chef's parent went out of business in 2009) that was well loved with a new cover for $100. It's the newer model with the temp guage low on the front (just above grill height) and the stack that goes down to the level of the grill (just above). Thing has to weight 400lbs...holy crap. I'd say the metal is 3X thicker than my little Char-Broil (my wife gifted a fathers day present in 2010). I has a pretty good technique for ribs and pork shoulder--but would finish in the oven because I could get good smoke (light blue) but consistently poor temp management. BUT even with that my kids don't order barbeque when we go out--they like mine better unless it's brisket.

I'm going to add some fire-brick in the side box (help keep the thermal and rust to a minimum and increase efficiency) as well as a scoop on the inlet to divert gas u and stright over the meat (I like this mod, makes sense to me). But, other than that I'm getting a MeatStick probe or two and starting smoking and see if I can beat my old smoker pretty much as-is.

I'm not a big tinkerer--once it works I'll adjust my smoking technique rather than gear and make slow changes. I'm outside the Plains Virginia so just to the East of the Shenandoah mountains in the foothills. I've had some good barbeque here, but I'm preferential to North Carlonina barbeque and Texas Barbeque (San Antonio and Austin).

Love the forum, lots of knowledge shared--and doesn't seem like people are snippy or bitchy.

Matt Zupatun


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Welcome from Mississippi! We tend to be a pretty good group of folks on here. Love helping each other out and offering advice. Shoot there is some of us that may even finds way to help you spend money!!! :emoji_laughing: :emoji_wink: :emoji_sunglasses:
We like show and tell around here. So share your cooks with us! And let us know what you think about the new to you cooker.

Welcome to SMF from Southeast Missouri!

Your plans are solid and should serve you well! Looking forward to your first cook!

Welcome from Iowa! Look forward to seeing some cooks from you!

Welcome aboard Matt. Anywhere near Winchester? You found a great place where typical Internet forum bs is really close to non existent. Great place to share and learn. I'm unfamiliar with that smoker brand. How thick is the steel?
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Welcome Matt, you have arrived, but I think you already know that. Remember, a picture is worth a 1000 words, so post them up... is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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