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Stick Burners in New York State

Zaius

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I've been a lurker to many smokin' forums for a while (except for the AmazingRibs forums because I'm too cheap to purchase a pitmaster annual fee to view member comments), mainly to review comments related to which smoker to purchase and people's experiences with their purchase and reviews after they've used them for a while.

Currently I don't have a stick burner - just use a cheap kettle for pretty much everything - but I've developed a "hobby" of sorts for preparing/smoking foods and some of my experiences this past year (in the cool, upstate NY climate - right outside Rochester to be exact) have me longing for better equipment. I've read all the articles and watched all the "beginner" and "which smoker is right for you" YouTube videos to know that offset stick burners are not for the "set-it-and-forget-it" generation; I know that owning/using one will require a certain "labor of love" of fire mgt and tending to the process - but for me, the end result of smoked, wood-flavored food is worth it over gas/charcoal every time.

So the question I've been researching for a while is: where can I get a decent stick-burner in upstate NY? I know I could go for the box store Ok Joe models and mod them, but I would only go that route if I was a warmer climate - I plan to use a smoker even in the fall/winter/early spring months and not just during the peak-BBQ months from late spring to early fall...and that means you need a better quality than just the 1/8" Ok Joe/box-store models. I know Meadow Creek out of Lancaster, PA is the dominate brand of smokers in the Northeast US and there's a dealer (Big Pappa Smokers) that's located above Buffalo, I think - but even the SQ36 model is $1,600+ and that's just for a basic offset - no reverse-flow, no add'l features that you see w/ the Langs, Shirleys, Jambos and Lone Star Grillz of the smokin' world.

Here are my specs:

Budget - like to keep it in the $1k or less ballpark if I can (including shipping)
Fuel - predominately wood; I do have access to hickory, apple, oak, etc, and wood is much cheaper w/ a quality offset. The SQ36 specs states 15-20lbs of charcoal to "get started" - you kiddin' me? That nearly 1 bag of charcoal or $7-$10 right off the bat - not efficient at all.
Quality - obviously would love 1/4" steel thickness but realize $1k ain't gettin' you very far in the 1/4" steel world. But something that will hold up in the cooler months that won't take a whole bunch of fuel.
Size - either 20-24" X 36-40"; not the smallest, but not the big trailer size pits, either. Something you could use for 1 dinner for family, or a nice-size crowd if you needed it.
Multi-use - yes, I'd like an offset that has the capability to grill directly over the fuel source if you need too (burgers, steaks, char veggies, etc). And yes, I'd love a flattened griddle or plate to warm a bot of beans or perhaps slowly caramelize onions - but obviously the most important feature is the cooking chamber (I just think if you're going to spend high 3/low 4 figures on a piece of cooking equipment, you mine as well get as much bang for your buck as you can).
Made - would love for something to be made in US, but not a deal-breaker if not.

After my research, really the only offset stick burner that meets that is the Old Country Brazos. It's a good size (nearly a 20" X 36"), 1/4" steel construction in the chamber so it's heavy-duty (evens out temps), stack is at grate level, has a grate to cook directly over cools, warming plate on top of firebox, and a drain valve to get rid of the grease. The price is $999 from Academy Sports (Southern-based sporting goods chain) and I believe shipping is only $100 with no assembly (comes all in 1 piece). They don't always have one in stock so it's hit-or-miss, but I can't find anything else around that is comparable for that price. For a Lone Star 20" X 36-40" offset, you're talking $1,795 to start (before the add-ons) and that's not including shipping from TX to NY (I'm sure that's another $500+), and that's similar for most of your custom 1/4" steel smokers like Lang, etc.

Does anyone else in New York (upstate or downstate) have any other recommendations (other than watch the local Craigslist)?
 

jcam222

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Not in upstate New York but you did a fine amount of research and a great job of establishing your wants and price range. as I was reading Old country is what came to mind. I would say though with a $1000 budget you could shop for a used Lang 36 perhaps or a Meadowcreek. I’d also add that in your area giving consideration to an insulated cabinet smoker could make sense. Burning limp charcoal and wood chunks provides a darn good smoked meat. The insulation is very appreciated when cooking in the winter. Backwoods probably has a mew one in your range. Used you might also get into a Humphreys, 270 or Assassin.
 

TNJAKE

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Agree with jcam222 jcam222 . For a $1k budget the classifieds are your friend for a quality used smoker. Brazos will be a decent smoker but everytime I see one at academy they are beat up from shipping
 

Zaius

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Joined Mar 26, 2021
Definitely appreciate the replies jcam222 and TNJAKE.

I do fish on occasion and one idea that appeals to me is smokin' fish in a cabinet (hangin' trout or just flat salmon filets), and even though you can achieve some smoke flavor via wood chunks in a cabinet, I don't know if you get that true smoke flavor directly from the wood split/log itself. From my early research, the best of the offset "box store" cabinets was the Dyno-Glo offsets, but those are stand-alone units that you may need to mod-up a little to control the leaks.

Another thing that appeals to me is not just smokin' pork/beef/chicken/turkey, but smokin' wood-fired pizzas (putting a stone directly on the grate above the wood splits/coals) and even smokin' veggies and things in a cast iron pot (beans, stews, etc). I really anticipate using this thing most weekends - maybe every-other weekend - I use my kettle on the weekends probably both days on the weekends for dinners most of the time, either smokin' charcoal/chunks (and I don't have an S&S either - just basically push the charcoal to one side to create that indirect zone) or direct burgers/steaks over the hot coals. I try to use the grill for as much of the meal as possible - asparagus right now on the grill, yellow squash/zucchini in the summer and corn/potatoes in the late summer/early fall. I know you can use a cabinet for these things, but the duel use of an offset smoker just appeals to me - smokin' meat in the main chamber while you cook something directly over the coals or on the flat-top part of the firebox.

The last time I checked the local classifieds the only thing remotely interesting was a Ok Joe Longhorn Hybrid and when I looked at one at Lowe's, I wasn't impressed. I know upstate NY isn't exactly "BBQ country" as much as Texas, KC, Carolinas/TN Smokey Mountains are...but we do like our smoked meats as much as those in the Southern states, and we do have some real solid BBQ restaurants up here, too. I'm surprised that Meadow Creek is the only manufacturer of quality smoking equipment up in this region and I was hoping that someone might know of another that isn't as easily found via a quick Google search.
 

JckDanls 07

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First of all.. Welcome to the forums...

Depending on which way from Rochester you are.. I'm from that area as well (Brockport and Albion) ... But been in Fl. since 79 ... Still have family up there though ...

I'll have to agree for your price range the classifieds (Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and so on) are gonna be your best bet...
 

Zaius

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First of all.. Welcome to the forums...

Depending on which way from Rochester you are.. I'm from that area as well (Brockport and Albion) ... But been in Fl. since 79 ... Still have family up there though ...

I'll have to agree for your price range the classifieds (Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and so on) are gonna be your best bet...
Ironically enough, I'm close to where you were in the western 'burbs - more towards Spencerport but near Brockport....Brockport actually has a nice outdoor store (box retail) called Runnings and they do have a nice grillin' section - I get my premium lump charcoal from there. But as far as pits, it's all Weber products and Traeger pellets...

I've been to the Bass Pro over in Auburn (halfway between Rochester & Syracuse), but I haven't been there to specifically look at the Horizons they would probably have in-store. They are typically out of my price range though - at least the 20" Marshall "specials" that more fit w/ the size/quality I'm lookin' for.
 

JLeonard

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Welcome to the forums from Mississippi. Not much help on your search.
Jim
 

David Halcomb

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I watched Craigslist for years and finally found this 6' tall wood burner. For $500 I didn't need to think about it like someone else the seller was talking to. Charcoal for steady heat and wood piled on top makes this a great smoker.

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Zaius

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Joined Mar 26, 2021
D David Halcomb - great looking standing cabinet smoker there! Just curious - what brand is it?

The poster above, jcam222, also has a nice, insulated smoker cabinet and I will admit, they are nice...the only thing you can't do is grill directly over direct heat so it doesn't quite fit that "multi-use" functionality I'm lookin' for. Those cabinets do one thing, smokin' food, and they do it well.
 

David Halcomb

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I don't remember the brand, somewhere in rural Georgia.

Absolutely you could grill in my smoker, just pull out the water pan and use the lowest rack. Let me find more photos.
 
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Joined Apr 15, 2021
Ha I live in the lil town of Elba and I’m in the market for an offset… I own a Rec Teq 680, Trailblazer and OG Bullseye
 

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