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smoker question; looking at backwoods party or a baby stump

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Does anyone have experience with either of these smokers?


Myself, I'm familiar (and comfortable) smoking on a Brinkmann Snpp. I do have to watch it alot, but I've come to know the unit quite well. The SnPP is the smoker I use at work... But I need to get a smoker at home!

I like the horizontal smokers but have been finding myself gravitating toward the Backwoods Smokers. I'm interested in a (somewhat) upgraded Party. I've heard that the Backwoods smokers have rust problems, although i seen this on a competitors forum...so who knows???

Once my search finally narrows it seems to widen again :rolleyes: which led me to look into the Baby Stump smoker. It's a bit different type of vertical from the water Backwoods...but still seems to be a good smoker just the same (some say better).

I also looked into a few horizontal smokers as well. I thought the Horizon looked to be built like a tank. I also liked the idea that the grate above the firebox was large enough to grill on (hey...I've got a single family residence and limited space. If I could get rid of a grill all the better). The problem I have with the Horizon are the same problems that people complain about the Brinkmann smokers. The exhaust stack couldn't get any closer to the top of the smoker if they tried. Also...the transition from the firebox to the body of the smoker is a wide open hole. I'm sure that any smoker could benefit from some "tweaking", but I hate to buy a smoker that could really benefit from some mods right out of the box.

any thoughts?

yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm,
dan

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post #2 of 31
Bre'r Dan,

Wheelhouse!

I've cooked on a Backwoods a Party, a couple of Fatboys, and a Competitor. Also, once on an original Stumps (whatever they call that model now).

While I preferred the Backwoods, it was largely because the Stumps jammed -- a problem which has been solved. They're both really well made, insulated cabinets which function pretty much the same -- You probably can't go wrong with either.

Rust sounds more like a care issue than a design defect, but I'd look into it on the Backwoods forum before purchasing. For that matter, both manufacturers maintain enthusiastic forums. The collective knowledge bases are fairly large and there are plenty of honest owners -- you should definitely visit.

Another type of insulated cabinet worth thinking about is a Cookshack. If you've got electricity on your patio you might want to take a serious look at the AmeriQue as well as the model just under that. Another possibility -- but probably out of your price and size range is the Fast Eddy (also a Cookshack). You can compete KCBS with them -- but not the more "electric" Cookshacks. There's a similar series of cabinets to Cookshacks with "Texas" in the name, but I forget the exact name offhand.

The issue with all cabinets is air flow. You can't load them up in such a way that the heat and smoke can't circulate. You can buy a Backwoods with a convection option (costly, though), but they're really only

If I were ordering a new smoker tonight it would either be a Backwoods Fatty, Comp or (in my dreams) Piglet.

Horizons are indeed well built -- if a little crudely designed. However the basic mods only take a few hours -- including the drive to the hardware store, parking, etc. So don't let that deter you. If you want an offset -- on the small side of medium, just barely large enough to be a true "stick burner" with a lot of trouble -- it's a decent choice. If you look around you can probably find steeply discounted Brinkmann Longhorn cookers as well. FWIW, the basic design is called "Longhorn" by pretty much everyone BUT Horizon.

While Longhorns can serve double duty as grills in a pinch -- iin my opinion it's not a great choice for someone who does a lot of grilling. There's no way to adjust the difference between the charcoal and food grates and you don't exactly have the same air control as with a Weber. At least not in the cooking chamber. FWIW, the big offsets put a grill on top of the firebox, which does have plenty of air control.

There are much better pipe section and square section offsets. Klose for instance which come fully "tuned." (Got there before Mary! :lol: ) Another great choice would be Lang which use a "reverse flow" design to take care of the tuning. Let me plug another really great manufacturer -- and that's Peoria. barbecue pit smoker trailer custom barbecue pit Peoria Custom Cookers

They can and will build you an excellent combination smoker/grill with a "Santa Maria" style high-rise food grate to boot. But it's a custom and will set you back a few bucks. They're also on my short list.

If you're interested in ultra convenience you might also want to consider one of the pellet burners like Mary's new Traeger. They're really very good.

Your most bang for the buck -- portable, good grill, excellent smoker is a Weber Smokey Mountain (Why kokopuffs! Is that you? :roll:). The new 22-1/2" WSM looks like it's got plenty of room. You can pack the 19" pretty well and feed an army, but it's a little too small if ribs are your thing. That said, the 19" is the ultimate portable.

Finally, you're in the right price neighborhood for some of the lower priced ceramics like the Big Green Egg and the Primo. You're not going to get the same capacity as a Party or even a 22-1/2" WSM for that matter -- but it does most poeple pretty well. Excellent smokers, excellent grills. The range of temperatures they can hold steadily for long periods with very little fuel is eery.

Since you're looking at Stumps and Backwoods you're undoubtedly aware of the BBQ Guru. I know they're expensive, but if you get anything other than a Cookshack or Trager type -- go Guru, and go wireless. They free your life up considrably and since smoking is usually a weekend thing -- that's important!

Let us know how your thinking develops,
BDL
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post #3 of 31
Checkout this bullet smoker built by Weber. It's really very well built.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #4 of 31
When it comes to smokers and smoke marinades and timeing listen to BDL, he knows this part of culinary possibly better then anyone on this site. I think he has smoked near everything that can be smoked, and he has experamented with it.
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post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 
Chef Ed, your so right! :) (and on that note...thanks for your post BDL, it's always appreciated.



Thanks for the link koKopuffs :)

dan
post #6 of 31
The good thing about the Weber Smokey Mountain cooker is, unlike typical horizontal units that require hourly intervention for temperature monitoring and refueling, its ability to hold a steady temperature for hours on end. Usually around 10 pm at nights I'll fire up the WSM, put a boston butt on, bring the unit up to smoking temperature (230-260F measured at the lid) and then retire for the night. When I arise the next morning the WSM's temperature will be hovering within 30F of its setting that was made the night before and so all I need to do to bring it back to proper temperature is either readjust the bottom vents or add another handful or two of charcoal.

Be advised, however, the the WSM is strictly charcoal fired and requires a couple or three chunks of smokewood for proper smoking. It is not wood-fired. The unit holds a really steady temperature for the longest time and is capable of cooking for 18-20+ hours on a single load of charcoal (about 1/2 bag of Kingsford). And now a word from our sponsor!!!!!! :roll:

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #7 of 31
I am running a little slow BDL :lol: recovering from back surgery. In a larger size than the WSM look at the Big Drum Smokers. They are brand new metal shipping drums converted into vertical smokers. You can also build one pretty cheap if you can find a food grade used drum. The Traeger is great for set it and forget it but as a grill it performs poorly (not enough heat at grate level to sear, max I have seen is 460). My Klose had the grill in the fire box and steaks cooked over an all wood fire were great but I can do the same thing in a cheap firepit.
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice Mary :)


Yeah, I gave up on the grill being an added feature after reading BDL tell me to use a grill if I want to grill some food (so to speak). It's just hard to argue with logic :smiles:


thanks,
dan
post #9 of 31
Real bbq afficionados separate the grill from the smoker totally, two entirely separate units and each with their own separate approach.

The one advantage of the Weber Smokey Mountain over the BDS is its lighter weight and being able to be broken down into 3 separate pieces - making it easier to transport the unit to an outing. And the WSM is built with two racks instead of one unless you get the weighty standard size BDS.

On the other hand the BDS offers way more stability during gusty winds.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 
I have to admit that I wasn't even looking for a smoker to also function as a grill until I looked at a Horizon smoker in person. It certainly was well built and did offer a grate above the firebox for grilling. I also noticed that the Brinkmann Southfork had very similar construction to the Horizon models, and the same grilling option. Even though both of these grills were built quite well, I just didn't like some of the design issues that they had. Like the top mounted smoke stack and the wide open transition from the fire box. I know that these issues can be easily modded, but I didn't want to make those compromises on a brand new smoker. Sure, both of these smokers would be an upgrade from my SnPP at work. But there's just so many options out there I decided to keep looking.

Even though there are still lots of other good offsets out there, I think I would get a Peoria 24 x 48 Backyard Smoker. Weighing construction, design, and location to my house...Peoria Smokers just makes sense. Well, if I was to choose an offset that is ;) . With all that aside...the Peoria BackYard smoker also offers the grilling grate on the firebox.

Like I said at the beginning, I really wasn't considering this as an option until I noticed it on the Horizon. Then I kept seeing it on other offsets. I believe it comes down the fact that if the design is capable of pulling it off or not. While it certainly is possible on an offset style smoker, you just couldn't pull this off on a WSM type smoker.


I've been leaning toward a Fatboy now instead of the Party Model. We'll have to see how things develop :)

Thanks,
dan
post #11 of 31
Those look like well built units that will require a small pile of logs for firing whereas the WSM is charcoal fired and requires just a couple of woodchunks for smoke. However, should the chef want to smoke a pig, then the Peoria would be more accomodating. Should the chef live in an urban environment, then it's the WSM.

I'm just trying to cite differences for consideration for the first smoker purchase; and, one doesn't need to cry more than once when deciding on the unit that's for them.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 
No worries KoKoPuffs, I understood :)


Even though I don't own a smoker myself, I have been using an offset for a good number of years now, maybe ten years or more years. I used to use my brothers years back...but I greatly improved once we got a smoker at work (maybe the last 1 1/2 to 2 years).

No matter what smoker I end up getting I know it'll be a whole lot less work than a Brinkmann Snpp. For some reason...I'll miss that :(

dan
post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help everyone! I really appreciate all the advice that you all give!


I just gave the Ok to start the build on my FatBoy, with some of the fixins :D

I can't wait!

dan
post #14 of 31
We want pictures when you get it!
post #15 of 31
Dan,

Really happy for you. And when it finally arrives...

Use it in good health,
BDL
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post #16 of 31
Thread Starter 
Hi all :D

I got my Backwoods FatBoy this past weekend. This thing really seems to be a good design. From reading on the internet I didn't get a clear picture of how the water, the interior walls came into play.

Because I had to work Sunday, I only cooked on this thing one day. I am impressed! Aside from being a bit bored, not having to tend to the fire/dampers etc every 40 minutes...this thing turns out some nice food!

Thanks to everyone for your help and suggestions! I only wish BDL was still stopping by :( (hope all is well)

thanks again,
dan
post #17 of 31
So happy it's working for your bad self. BDL may start stopping by again. All is -- if not well -- at least better than before.

BDL
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post #18 of 31
Thread Starter 
welcome back BDL :)


Here's some pictures of my outdoor tools :D





take care all!
dan
post #19 of 31
Wow! What awesome outdoor tools you have!

Do you have custom covers for everything?

Is the Weber Performer modified, it looks a little different.


H.
post #20 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks Henry :)

I do have custom fit covers for everything, living in the Chicago area I think you have to have decent covers. The custom cover on the BackWoods FatBoy is really nice and thick.

I haven't done any modifications to the Weber but it is an older model, which may be why it looks a little different. It also doesn't have the gas igniter. I've been using my MAPP torch for a long while now to light the lump, works pretty good.

I'm still trying out different foods on the FatBoy, but boy do I like this thing! My last cook was a pork shoulder. I got my smoker with the "hide setter" option which allows you to pump in some direct dry heat from the fire box below. You still have the filled water pan in place. After one hour of "setting the hide" on the pork shoulder I closed the hide setter and let it ride.

I let it cook until an internal temperature of 195f . After that time I let it rest-n-rise an hour in a cooler. I prefer my shoulder sorta squashed...it was soooo juicy. Sooo tender with a nice bit of bark to mix into the meat. Yum Yum Yum!

I need to smoke some ribs next!


dan
post #21 of 31
Thread Starter 

   Just thought I'd update this little thread...I've been feeling compelled to purchase a Bbq guru.  I think for most cooks not having one is fine...but for longer (brisket) cooks I'd have a little piece of mind having the temperature control on there.  Anyways...BDL, you had a lot to do with me purchasing the smoker I did...and I haven't regretted the decision at all.  I just thought I'd give an update.

 

  Take care all!

 

  Dan

post #22 of 31

@gonefishin nice to see you again Dan

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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from ...

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post #23 of 31

I love my 22.5" weber smokey mountain. Stack up 10+ racks of ribs at a time and the temperature control is rock solid!!

Apprentichef - Six stitches to go home early and you can't die until your shift is over.

 

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Apprentichef - Six stitches to go home early and you can't die until your shift is over.

 

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post #24 of 31
Thread Starter 

   Just thought I'd update 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohegirlinaz View Post
 

@gonefishin nice to see you again Dan

   Thank you Kaneohegirl!   I was kind of surprised that I bought my Backwood that long ago.

 

   The Bbq Guru arrived today!   I'm excited...but I'm at work so I'll have to wait until I get home, in the morning, to play with it.

 

 

  Apprentice Chef...the Weber Smokey Mountain is certainly a solid smoker...nice choice.

post #25 of 31
I fancy one of these Weber Smokers, the price is not bad and it looks portable.
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by PotNoodle View Post

I fancy one of these Weber Smokers, the price is not bad and it looks portable.

 

Then you're going to need to visit the Smokey Mountain's pre-eminent website that also hosts a forum and lots of great information to get you up and running with your soon to be Weber Smokey Mountain.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #27 of 31
Could one do jerky in a Smokey Mountain? Thanks for the link.......I can see me smoking lots of fish though.
,
post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by PotNoodle View Post

Could one do jerky in a Smokey Mountain? Thanks for the link.......I can see me smoking lots of fish though.
,


Absolutely but  until a buildup of "gunk" on the inside walls appears, you might end up micromanaging the temps a bit.  I make jerky weekly on my 18 incher and as as time goes on the temperature remains more stable.

 

On my 18 incher with an additional top grate placed upside down on the top grate, I smoke 5# max of freshly seasoned beef for 5 hours at 145F.  I do this weekly and sell enough to pay for both the meat and charcoal but not my time.  Yield ranges from 45-52% of the original weight.

 

And yes, fish, too, can be smoked on it.  Checkout this page at the smokey's website.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #29 of 31
I'm drvinitelyn the market for a Smokey Mountain after your post. Its going to e very useful indeed.

My partner loves beef jerky and biltong. I was considering making biltong like my son does, hanging in the shed under a big flie net. He's in Australia and the last time he Skyped he did a full demonstration of preparing the meat then walking me, on Skype, to his hanging area in the shed. I would prefer to do it in a smoker!
My dog would otherwise sit outside the shed all day. ;-))

Its just a matter of size now!
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by PotNoodle View Post

I'm drvinitelyn the market for a Smokey Mountain after your post. Its going to e very useful indeed.

My partner loves beef jerky and biltong. I was considering making biltong like my son does, hanging in the shed under a big flie net. He's in Australia and the last time he Skyped he did a full demonstration of preparing the meat then walking me, on Skype, to his hanging area in the shed. I would prefer to do it in a smoker!
My dog would otherwise sit outside the shed all day. ;-))

Its just a matter of size now!

 

Then checkout this thread at the smokey mountain forum to help you decide.  At that thread it seems that the 18 incher needs less refueling than the 14 incher and the 22 incher.

 

(EDIT) And please let me know which one you get.  8)

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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