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Oklahoma Joe Bronco - Initial Thoughts And Impressions

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    Oklahoma Joe Bronco - Initial Thoughts And Impressions

    As some of you already know, I recently purchased the OJB based on a recommendation from Uncle Bob . I was seriously looking at the PBC based on comments over time, from all the members here who have one. Everything I’ve seen here is nothing but glowing reports on the PBC and how much the owners like it. But as I mentioned before, I decided to go with the OJB instead....mainly for additional features not found on the PBC. I’ve only done 2 cooks on it so far, and not even hung any meat yet, my thoughts here today might be a little premature, so I’m only going to comment on what I’ve actually found from my experience so far. There are other reviews here on AR, as well as an excellent review from Jerod Broussard So if you’ve read theirs also, some of this will be repetitive.

    1. Packaging and Assembly

    All parts came well packaged and put together in one box, along with an owners manual and easy to follow instructions on assembly. The owners manual provided detailed info. on properly using and lighting the OJB. It also included a list of accessories available for the smoker. Total weight was approximately 137 lbs. There is definitely some heft to this thing. I was very surprised at how easy the assembly was for this product. I had it unboxed and completely assembled in a little less than an hour. Of all the products I’ve bought in my life which required assembly, this was probably the easiest of all I’ve done. The instruction guide was well done with just a little worded instructions, but the pictures were large and easy to follow without reading in most cases. Every part I needed was included, nothing was missing and there were no leftover parts....thank God! I hate it when there’s extra parts leftover, makes me wonder if I missed something. Kudos also to OJ for making the few stickers that were on any parts....easy as pie to remove! 👍 I hate it when Mfgrs. use Gorilla Glue for a 2 inch sticker😡

    2. After Assembly And Features of the OJB

    One of the best features of the OJB are its hinged lid with an already installed Kevlar lid gasket. Easy to pass temp probe cables under without crimping them. It also prevents any air leaks when closed. The lid and hinges come already assembled to the upper barrel. Another thing I liked is the well made and hard rubber handle for the lid. No chance of burning your hands. Mounted below is an included “near grate” thermometer. I couldn’t test it’s accuracy, as I had no digital grate probes with me. A huge plus, for me, was the addition of intake and exhaust dampers, allowing for excellent temperature management. They are indexed with settings from 1-4, allowing you to remember settings for future cooks. The dampers worked great...more on that later.

    Also included are 2 metal wagon wheels allowing for “ kinda easy” maneuvering. The included side shelf was a great addition also, as well as an opposite side handle to use when moving it around, or to hang the cooking grate, utensils etc. on. Centered at the bottom of the cooking chamber is a removable drainage cap attached to the bottom of the intake tube. This allows you to remove the cap and hose out the inside of the smoker, allowing all residue to empty from the barrel.

    Parts inside the barrel and used for cooking are...an ash pan which sits on a ring at the bottom, a charcoal basket with removable grate, a heat diffuser plate which sits below the cooking grate when smoking. The cooking grate and all parts below it are porcelain coated. Three notched meat hangers and 9 meat hooks are all stainless steel. The notches in the meat hangers and the round tab they go in allow the hangers to remain steady and not move around. Also included is a hook used for removing the charcoal basket and ash pan.

    3. Cooking On The OJB

    I did 2 burn ins on it because I had plenty of time before my first cook, and it also gave me a chance to play around with the temperature management. On my first seasoning I sprayed canola oil all over the inside of the barrel and all the inside parts used when cooking. A few people have reported minor air leaks or juices leaking out when cooking. I had NOT ONE single air leak on this thing. During 2 burn ins and 2 cooks, the only place smoke was coming out, was the top vent! One thing I did to help with this was I tightened “by hand” every single nut and bolt as hard as I could without risking a stripped thread. I also went over and made sure all the factory installed bolts were tight. There were several I found that I was able to tighten a little more. I only had a small drip in 2 different areas when cooking and during the canola oil burn in, maybe 3 or 4 drops total. This should seal up completely after a few more cooks.

    Talk about holding rock solid temps! I smoked a ham on the cooking grate Saturday. Going by the factory thermometer, I was able to hold a steady 225 for 3 hours straight, for the entire cook. Temps might have varied 5-10 degrees at the most! Those dampers do their job...and fairly quick too. In about 45 minutes after closing both dampers, the barrel was just a little bit warm to the touch and I was able to keep my hand there with no discomfort. During the burn ins I was also able to raise or lower temps in a fairly quick amount of time.
    I really liked having a diffuser plate to use with this. It helps to create more evenly spread heat within the barrel, and also gives you the flavor from juices hitting the hot plate and smoking. You also don’t risk a fatty piece of meat, such as chicken, from extinguishing your coals. The ham I cooked on it came out juicy, flavorful and with just the right smoke flavor, I used 3 hickory chunks during the cook.

    To try out the grilling features of the OJB, I started out with an easy cook, which was just burgers and hot dogs. In order to get the coals closer to the cooking grate, you simply turn the diffuser plate upside down, then set your charcoal basket on top of the diffuser plate. By turning the diffuser plate over, it raises the cooking level up a few inches. Doing burgers on the OJB was not life changing or anything, just a good solid grilling machine as well as a great little? smoker.

    I haven’t used this enough to give a really thorough review of its cooking prowess yet, but from my little bit of time with the OJB, I have no doubt I’m really going to like it. It’s also a lot of fun to use, and has a lot to offer.....from its versatility to its many useful features. After I’ve done a few sets of ribs and a brisket, by hanging, I’ll report back with more.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention, all this for only $299.! I used my Lowe’s Card for $15.00 (5%) off that price.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Panhead John; June 11, 2021, 10:40 AM.

    #2
    And to think, you said I was long winded. Looks like a fun new toy.

    Comment


    • Panhead John
      Panhead John commented
      Editing a comment
      I was just taking after my hero! 😂

    • glitchy
      glitchy commented
      Editing a comment
      You searched the low rungs of the ladder for a hero Panhead John.

    • GolfGeezer
      GolfGeezer commented
      Editing a comment
      Panhead John and I thought watching The Ten Commandments last nite was long...ran out of popcorn reading this.

    #3
    Great review. Interested in learning more. Thank you!

    Comment


      #4
      Nice write-up. Add more as you learn more.

      One of the things I like about it is that it looks cool. It's got eyeballs, as we say on my business. Just another plus!

      Comment


      • Panhead John
        Panhead John commented
        Editing a comment
        I’ve thought the same thing since I first saw it, cool looking smoker.

      #5
      Hard to beat what it offers for the $$$.

      Comment


        #6
        How do you think it compares to your WSM as a smoker? I know you just did the ham, nothing else. I kind of like the idea of a small cooker like this that can smoke and grill.

        Comment


        • Panhead John
          Panhead John commented
          Editing a comment
          ecowper Yeah, It’s too early to make a comparison. I’d need to get at least 2 or 3 smokes under my belt before I could make a fair comparison. And I’d like to include a couple of those done by hanging the meat. But I can say one thing, as good as the WSM’s are for holding temps, I’m really impressed how little temp. variation there was with this thing. 3 hours straight was a solid 225. My Weber varies at least 20*-30* degrees sometimes.

        • ecowper
          ecowper commented
          Editing a comment
          Panhead John yeah, my WSM varies over time too, but not enough to bother me.

        #7
        Dang, I had to triple check this was ol PJ. Not a single zinger.

        Seriously, excellent review and very much enjoyed the read. Looking forward to more cooks!

        Comment


        #8
        Great Review, Much appreciated, even given th source... !

        >Eternally Impressed that ya were able, single-handedly, to instal 8-10-mebbe12 nutz an bolts into a pre-fabricated cylinder, in less than an hour...Reckon I mighta underestimated ya, Brother lol

        Smoke On, witcha Bad Self!!!
        Last edited by Mr. Bones; April 5, 2021, 02:48 PM.

        Comment


        • Panhead John
          Panhead John commented
          Editing a comment
          Hey Mr. Bones You dun hurt my feeling. 😢 In my defense there was 36 nuts and bolts, some of em had washers to be applied too! 😂

        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment

        • bardsleyque
          bardsleyque commented
          Editing a comment
          washer's, is it self cleaning?

        #9
        Great initial thoughts!

        I was seriously looking at the OJB myself. The two things that made me go with the PBC were that the OJB had just hit the market and also its weight. (And if I remember right, they did change some things for the better between then and now.)

        If I had to make that decision all over again today, I would really, really be tempted towards the OJB.

        Comment


        • Uncle Bob
          Uncle Bob commented
          Editing a comment
          The only change since intro was the two mounting bolts for the upper portion of the intake tube. Went to sliding bolts rather than fixed making fitment easier.

        #10
        cl

        oh, no. never mind.

        PBC, PBC, PBC!

        Comment


        • Panhead John
          Panhead John commented
          Editing a comment
          Oh.....you again? I heard BBQ Guys has some memberships available.
          Last edited by Panhead John; April 5, 2021, 03:36 PM.

        • HawkerXP
          HawkerXP commented
          Editing a comment
          I have the only membership I need thank you. ..., ..., ...!

        #11
        As an added bonus, it also comes with 2 Oklahoma Joe decals you can place wherever. I put mine on the back window of my truck. It drew immediate attention. I was at the red light yesterday and 2 hot chicks in a convertible pulled up next to me. They were oohing and aahing over my decal. I heard one of them say to me “ Hey hot stuff! You must be one of those studly Grill Masters we hear so much about” I said “Yeah, so what? Leave me alone please, I will not be used by y’all as some kind of sex object” Then I took off and went back to Mom’s house.
        Attached Files

        Comment


        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          glitchy yup.
          Reckon we do, at that...
          Last edited by Mr. Bones; April 5, 2021, 09:48 PM.

        • FireMan
          FireMan commented
          Editing a comment
          Quite the imagination!

        • gcdmd
          gcdmd commented
          Editing a comment
          Did you take your medication today, John?

          Asking for a friend (no, I won't tell you which one)

        #12
        Great write up. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

        Comment


          #13
          I want a pit barrel cooker
          And I want it painted black
          No colors anymore
          I want them to turn black


          Comment


            #14
            How long before you decide that it moves from Mom's house to yours so you can use it more?

            Comment


            • Jfrosty27
              Jfrosty27 commented
              Editing a comment
              Heck buy another one! Never be without. 😉

            • Uncle Bob
              Uncle Bob commented
              Editing a comment
              Jfrosty27, shhhhhh...........I'm settin' him up to buy a Pro.

            #15
            check out Jerod's review: https://amazingribs.com/grill-smoker...-smoker-review

            Comment

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