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PBC vs WSM

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    PBC vs WSM

    Ok, it’s not really nearly that controversial. LOL And isn’t really meant to be a debate as such. But I do want some insight.
    It’s only posted here because it has more threads/replies than the WSM subtopic...

    With that...
    Here’s the thing.
    As some may know after reading many of my posts, I think the WSM is the bees knees. HUGE fan.
    Quite possibly my favourite general purpose dedicated sub-$1k smoker. I love the versatility, ease of use (though it does have a learning curve), and fully understand the “care & feeding.” My WSCG is the only reason I don’t still own one.

    But...my SO has a son that is currently using a truly craptastic electric smoker. FWIW, I HATE everything about that thing. Everything. Seriously. Everything.

    He likes to cook ribs mostly...and wants to do more...but I’m not totally convinced that he would be willing to learn the ins & outs of the WSM.

    As I understand it, keeping in mind that I’ve never used or even seen a PBC...the PBC is “easier” to use.
    Seems the learning curve would be much less steep. Is that true?

    What about maintenance & cleaning? Easier...the same...faster..? How is ash removal handled?

    Looking at a Xmas purchase...and like I said, I’m not convinced he’d put in the time to fully take advantage of the WSM.

    Oh yeah...I’ve already discussed pellet cookers with him and he’s SERIOUSLY not interested. Probably for much the same reason that he completely discounts gassers... He can’t see beyond what he thinks he already knows. LOL

    If the PBC is THE choice... Which one? They seem to have like six different tiers/price points.

    #2
    There's a learning curve, but honestly not much of one. Just figuring out a lighting routine that works for the fuel you're using and realizing that you just need to trust it to do it's thing. Other than that it's mostly timing. Since it cooks around 275-300 it cooks pretty fast and seems to cook faster than if I ran my kettle at that temp, probably because it's such a humid environment.

    Cleanup is mostly lift the charcoal basket out and dump it. Having the ash basket makes it easy, but you can just line the bottom with foil also. The ash basket does a pretty good job of catching any grease, but maybe a couple times a year I knock any crap off the bottom and vacuum it out. That's about it other than cleaning the grates and such.

    Which one? I'd say the PBC Select package would be my sweet spot, that's all accessories that you either will certainly use or are almost certain to use. At the very least the PBC with the ash pan and the hinged grate.

    Comment


      #3
      If you really value versatility and ease of use you should add the Bronco to your considerations, the only concession would be portability.

      Comment


      • surfdog
        surfdog commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah, forgot about that one. Portability is pretty much a non-issue.

      #4
      Actually I'm of the opinion the determining factor may be the final product. But each to his own device. I went from charcoal to gas because of the convenience factor. A couple of years ago I switch to a pellet grill because my family and friends truly enjoy the final product. Although there is more cleaning and maintenance. But after a few cleanings I got a system down, a routine. I consider it part of the prep to BBQ.

      Comment


      • surfdog
        surfdog commented
        Editing a comment
        I fully agree. He’s a bit more stubborn though. LOL

      #5
      I agree with mnavarre and Uncle Bob. The PBC is a rib cooking machine and would be a fine choice and at about the same price point the OKJ Bronco gives you temp flexibility and control with designed in different configurations for smoking and grilling. I have a PBC and love it and have a Bronco on my MCS list for the added versatility.

      Comment


        #6
        Well, I don't want to be cantankerous but if, as you say, "He can’t see beyond what he thinks he already knows. LOL", then perhaps a different type of gift might be most appropriate. Now, with that said, I have a PBC and it is quite easy to use. The learning curve most has to do with how you start your fire, which will have much to do with how hot it runs. Simply following the mfg.'s recommendations will generally give good results, but better control can be achieved but with a learning curve. I have had mine for about 3 years and have no intention of ever letting it go.

        My son has a WSM which I have used and it is a great smoker with better heat controls and its arguably just as good as a PBC, especially with the meat hanging accessories available, but it takes more fiddling to keep it where you want it. Both are great smokers, especially for the investment.

        Tom

        Comment


        • surfdog
          surfdog commented
          Editing a comment
          Personally, I agree. While I’d like to see him take up this “way o’ life” I’m not convinced he has the required patience. But it’s not my money. LOL

        #7
        My thoughts were along the line of Alabama Smoke. Maybe something else will be a better gift. I have a WSM and love it but it does have a learning curve and does require fiddling of which I enjoy. Not everyone does or is willing to put that kind of time in. The PBC may be the right choice if there is a right choice. He seems to be happy with the set it and forget it setup of an electric smoker. Maybe one day he’ll let on that he’s ready to graduate up to charcoal or gas.

        Comment


        • surfdog
          surfdog commented
          Editing a comment
          I agree...but as I said above, it’s not my money. ;-)
          I love the WSM, but am not convinced he’d take the time to really learn it, or be patient enough to fiddle with vents.

          As much as I hate his little electric...I think he needs to upgrade on his own.

        #8
        I agree with the others that the only learning curve with the PBC is the lighting approach. Although some people like to fiddle with it to control the temp, it is not required. The only adjustment to temp is when cooking poultry and I want a higher temp to get crispy skin. But I’m not chasing a specific temp so it’s as simple as cracking the lid or removing a bar.

        ive cooked everything on it from steaks to ribs to pulled pork. The only thing it doesn’t do is sear, but I just used my gasser or a cast iron skillet to sear my steaks after cooking them on the PBC.

        I’m happy with my PBC and would def recommend it. There are really only two options as far as price. The regular and the PBC jr. everything else is just about which accessories are included. The PBC Select package does have the main accessories you’d want (cover, ash pan, hinged grate)

        Comment


          #9
          Let me think about this.................

          PBC!

          mnavarre pretty much covered the learning curve and needed to start equipment. To be honest the best thing IMO would be a kettle. Start with the basics, fire control and various options on how to cook. Good luck with your choice!
          Last edited by HawkerXP; September 19, 2020, 10:24 AM.

          Comment


          • surfdog
            surfdog commented
            Editing a comment
            I fully agree that fire management is an important skill to learn. I’m not sure he’s in that mindset though.

          #10
          How significant is your SO to you? Cuz this has the potential to backfire.

          Give him a gift certificate for high quality meat that he can cook on the device you hate but he likes.

          Comment


          • surfdog
            surfdog commented
            Editing a comment
            Well, not sure that any of this will come out of my pocket...so there’s that. I’ve purchased grills as gifts before...but always for people that either really needed a new one, or wanted to truly learn the art/craft. I think this is more of a case of them enjoying the stuff that I make, and recognizing that his current smoker is barely adequate.

          • RobertC
            RobertC commented
            Editing a comment
            surfdog Then another (safer) approach is to nonchalantly mention next time, "hey, you seem to like the things I've been making. Have you ever tried charcoal smoking?" and his reaction can help inform your decision.

          • kill2grill
            kill2grill commented
            Editing a comment
            Excellent point. Give the gift of some tasty meat. Then slowly throw down some seeds to later grow. For example make a meal that he does on his electric to taste the difference without being too obvious about it. Good response gives you some room to move – if he doesn't really care/notice then I'd check into something else. Maybe consider the sous vide/sear on bbq combo?

          #11
          Well, let me be the contrarian ..... WSM all the way! Learning curve? Not even. My first cook was awesome and it only got better from there. Fiddling with temp? Not even. I start the fire, I set the vents, and away it goes. And the amount of food you can cook on the WSM is amazing. Without even trying hard, I can lay out 6 racks of ribs. With rib holders, I could probably do 15 or so. A pork butt looks tiny on there. A spatchcocked turkey does fill the entire top rack, so that’s something.

          I’m certain the PBC is a great smoker. I might even consider one if I didn’t yet have a WSM.

          But all this stuff about learning curve and all that? Totally can’t agree. I spent a few hours reading and watching some YouTube videos and I was set.

          Oh, here’s a couple cooks on the WSM per FireBoard. Rock solid on temps, no fiddling. A shorter cook with ribs, a longer cook with brisket.

          Temps dipped when I open the lid to check the cook. You can see the temp drop, then spike a bit from all the air I just added to the WSM, then settle back and get stable again. That’s a classic pattern for the WSM.
          Click image for larger version

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          Temp goes up at the end because I pushed the temp higher to finish a bit quicker.
          Click image for larger version

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          Comment


          • Razor
            Razor commented
            Editing a comment
            Couldn’t agree more. I fiddleded more than I really needed to when I first started. Idle hands do the work of the devil unless you’re running a WSM. I wasted time trying to stay +/- 10 degrees because I thought that was critical.

            Everyone needs a good thermometer to monitor food temp. Spend another $60 (if you’re using Thermoworks products) and get a fan and you can literally go 14 hours without touching a thing. There is nothing out there that even comes close.

          • Steve R.
            Steve R. commented
            Editing a comment
            I don't understand the "fiddling" comments either. Right out of the box, crappy stock door and all, I set the vents about like I would on a kettle and was amazed at how steady it ran. I ordered a BBQ Guru adapter to use my PartyQ with this thing, and now I don't know if it's even worth the trouble to install it.

          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            Steve R. about the only time I use my Fireboard Drive and Fan anymore is if I'm doing brisket and don't want to worry at 3 AM about the WSM being steady.

          #12
          I agree with ecowper on this, as much as I covet a PBC (although my mcs for it has waned a little). It took a little effort to learn the vent settings, but once I figured it out, it was set and forget. After I got the party q, it got even easier.

          Comment


          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            BFlynn that’s an idea! If we all lived around a cul-de-sac each of us could have two cookers and if they were all different we could swap and share!

          • klflowers
            klflowers commented
            Editing a comment
            BFlynn, ecowper, count me in!!!

          • willxfmr
            willxfmr commented
            Editing a comment
            A commune based on the principals of cooking the flesh of dead animals. Count me in!
            I nominate Brother FireMan as our first Raji.

            *edit* And then the moron saw how old the thread was... Need more coffee. Sorry.
            Last edited by willxfmr; December 20, 2020, 11:19 PM.

          #13
          @pnavarre pretty much covered it for me. PBC Select package, then if he takes to it you have other accessories to buy for birthdays, etc.

          Comment


          • HawkerXP
            HawkerXP commented
            Editing a comment
            ..., ..., ...!

          #14
          A couple thoughts in my head. If I don't get them out, they'll die a lonely death.

          ​​​​​​1} I've cooked on the WSM and the PBC. Both crank out tasty food. Hanging ribs seems to make them cook faster. So PBC or a hanger for the WSM will speed up the rib cooks.

          2} learning curve isn't too steep on either. If I can figure it out, anybody can do it. Give him a membership here too. That flattens the curve a lot.

          3} there is also an Australian smoker that looks like the WSM and is less expensive. jfmorris was looking at them. Might be something to consider. I'm blanking on the name.

          4} buy yourself one of each. Give him the one you like less.

          The bronco is also probably a good choice but I can't bring myself to buy or cook on anything that says "Oklahoma" on the side.
          If it was a {ANY other State} Joe Bronco, I'd buy one..
          Last edited by BFlynn; September 19, 2020, 02:31 PM.

          Comment


          • surfdog
            surfdog commented
            Editing a comment
            I love it...especially number 4. But having already owned a 22” WSM, I might be biased...perhaps because there would be zero learning curve. LOL

          • Soonerpop
            Soonerpop commented
            Editing a comment
            BOOMER!

          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            It was the Fornetto Basso smoker, available at Lowes for $189:

            https://www.lowes.com/pd/Fornetto-Ba...ker/1000714230

            It's basically a knockoff of the 18" WSM, but adds a few things like hooks for hanging stuff right out of the box. I don't like the fact that the hangers are on the bottom of the lid though...
            Last edited by jfmorris; September 20, 2020, 07:18 AM.

          #15
          I've owned both the WSM & PBC... if you're only considering those two cookers, then the PBC wins for ease of use hands down. The WSM was my first charcoal smoker and I grew frustrated with all of the tinkering (truth be told, I just wasn't ready yet). If you think he is not up for the tinkering that is required, then I say go with the PBC. If he takes to it, then he can add something else that will give him more control like a WSM or a more expensive drum like a Hunsaker or Gateway.

          Comment


          • Steve R.
            Steve R. commented
            Editing a comment
            My take, as someone who has also owned a PBC and WSM. Starting from scratch learning how to operate a smoker, PBC might be the way to go, since there is very little in the way of setup that you have to learn beyond just following the instructions. If you are already a Weber kettle owner, those skills easily transfer to the WSM. I recently bought a 22" WSM and was surprised by how easy it is to dial in the temp and have it run steady. And that was before I added a Cajun Bandit door.

          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            kenrobin okay, I get that. I am pretty experienced and I’ve got good examples where I was “tinkering” with the WSM ... basically I was chasing temps, as you describe. I think the hardest thing to learn, no matter what you are cooking with, is to not chase temps.

          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            Steve R. What really surprised me is how easily I could dial in 240F on the WSM 22. I was very prepared, given what I read from Meathead’s review, to be challenged trying to keep a reasonable temperature. On my very first cook I was running at 240 without a problem. The key, I firmly believe, is a bit of research and NOT following the lighting guide that comes with the WSM.

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