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Old 01-20-2011, 05:58 PM   #31
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Thanks for the help, problem is that I need it this weekend and don't have time to search for the stuff for a UDS. Maybe I could just mod/fix the old kettle grill (cheapo $30 one) and get one more piece of meat out of it.

Also, for the BBQ impaired (like me); offset smokers don't look like there is much to them. A 'barrel', the offset fire box, couple of vents, chimney, etc. Just doesn't look like much to screw up. What makes an expensive offset better than a cheap one (other than size and superior materials, neither of which should affect the product made inside).

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Old 01-20-2011, 08:25 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by SpanishCastleAle View Post
Also, for the BBQ impaired (like me); offset smokers don't look like there is much to them. A 'barrel', the offset fire box, couple of vents, chimney, etc. Just doesn't look like much to screw up. What makes an expensive offset better than a cheap one (other than size and superior materials, neither of which should affect the product made inside).
Those simple things make a HUGE difference. It all comes down to heat management. The cheap ones are made of real thin metal that doesn't seal at all. The thicker the steel the better they are insulated and the less the temp will fluctuate. Without them sealing very well it is almost impossible to control temps very well over an extended period of time without constantly watching over them like a hawk. The will also use drastically more fuel as well. Plus the overall design of them is not very good. There is actually quite a bit more engineering that goes into making a pit than most people think. The smokestack height and how far into the cooking chamber matter. As does the size and shape of the cooking chamber, along with the design of how and where the smoke enters the chamber. The cheap ones will have some extreme temp variations (75-100 degrees is not unusual) across the cooking grate.


If you are needing something for this weekend I would recommended getting the 22.5" weber kettle and using the minion method (I can explain better if you want) and indirect. You will be able to fit a couple rack of ribs or a brisket or butt on there like that. Then you can take your time and read more about pits and decide what you want for the future. If you decide to get a dedicated smoker or just decide that bbq isn't really for you then you only spent $90 (I think thats how much the OTS is) and still have a kick ass charcoal grill that you can use for 20 years.


Bottom line is that if you go with a cheap offset I can just about guarantee you will regret it.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:37 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by SpanishCastleAle View Post
Thanks for the help, problem is that I need it this weekend and don't have time to search for the stuff for a UDS. Maybe I could just mod/fix the old kettle grill (cheapo $30 one) and get one more piece of meat out of it.

Also, for the BBQ impaired (like me); offset smokers don't look like there is much to them. A 'barrel', the offset fire box, couple of vents, chimney, etc. Just doesn't look like much to screw up. What makes an expensive offset better than a cheap one (other than size and superior materials, neither of which should affect the product made inside).
It does come down to material thickness and design. The big guys are made of 1/4" steel minimum with 3/8" to 1/2" steel fireboxes. My lang 84 stick burner also is designed as a reverse flow smoker. The smoke stack is right next to the fire box because the heat and smoke travel from the firebox through a channel in the bottom of the smoker to the front of the smoker then flowing across the cooking area then to the smoke stack at the back of the smoker. This allows you to get constant temperature across the cooker without using tuning plates.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:43 AM   #34
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I had no idea those big smokers were so thick, they must weigh a ton. I'll prob regret it but I bought an inexpensive offset similar to the Brinkman from Lowes, just finished assembling it. Didn't see these posts until after I bought it. I'll try to measure the temp variation across the grate when I burn it in. It'll be a decent grill in any case and besides...it's Florida, this thing will be rusted out soon enough that I can upgrade.

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Old 01-21-2011, 02:43 PM   #35
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I had no idea those big smokers were so thick, they must weigh a ton. I'll prob regret it but I bought an inexpensive offset similar to the Brinkman from Lowes, just finished assembling it. Didn't see these posts until after I bought it. I'll try to measure the temp variation across the grate when I burn it in. It'll be a decent grill in any case and besides...it's Florida, this thing will be rusted out soon enough that I can upgrade.
Well since you already bought it there are a few mods that can be done to make it semi-decent. I know know about that one in particular but most of them in that price range are all the same but different names. Google it and you will find 4 mods that will make things much easier for you. If you can't find anything for the brinkman look for mods for the chargriller. I am sure they are pretty much they same.

Some of the things needing done are new thermos because the ones that are in it are a complete waste. Extend the exhaust down to grate level with some ducting from HD. Make a fire basket out of expanded steel to go in the fire box and also turn over the charcoal plate and use that as a heat deflector/quasi tuning plate.

Good luck!




PS- When you decide to build a UDS let me know and I will hook you up with a kit
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:49 PM   #36
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Thanks dataz. It is the Chargriller. Those friggin 'chinese' punchouts are anything but! I ended up drilling the holes, the football shaped punchouts came out. I was going to use several meat thermos, I could tell that pos that came with it wouldn't be very reliable. Good idea on flipping the charcoal plate.

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Old 01-21-2011, 08:46 PM   #37
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Yeah, I have heard horror stories about the "punch outs"


I would highly reccomend extending the exhaust down. The seems to be the mod that helps the most. Should only run you less than $5 at HD.

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Old 01-21-2011, 09:23 PM   #38
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You can make good Q on about anything. All you need is a heat source, wood for smoke and a good understanding of the cooker. Some require constant attending and some you just plug in and walk away. To each their own! Here's what I cook on. Both modified to fit my needs. Cheers!!!

Brinkman SMOKE'N GRILL


Loaded with a couple Turkeys


Char-Griller PRO


Loaded with Butts

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Old 01-21-2011, 10:43 PM   #39
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hamiltont,
That Chargriller Pro is the exact one I got but mine only had the middle thermo and no latch for the fire box door (and only 2 wheels but I'm OK with that). Is getting a good (enough) seal on that firebox door going to be a problem?

dataz,
Could I just roll up some heavy duty foil to extend the chimney? And what's the purpose of that mod? Maybe if I understood the problem we're trying to fix it might help.

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Old 01-21-2011, 10:54 PM   #40
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Guess: Is the problem that the firebox end is way hotter than the chimney end (at the grate)? Is that what extending the chimney and flipping the charcoal plate are trying to fix?

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