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Need Help Deciding - Oklahoma Joe Bronco (maybe Pro) or Masterbuilt Gravity 560

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    Need Help Deciding - Oklahoma Joe Bronco (maybe Pro) or Masterbuilt Gravity 560

    I've been in the new house for a month, Memorial Day is here, and even though I said I wouldn't get a new cooker this year, the quarantine has triggered the MCS in a massive way, and the yard space wants new stuff.

    I currently have: Weber Genesis 330 - gasser. Grilla OG Grilla - Pellet Pooper

    I am wanting to have some fire and narrowed this down from about 8 options to just two (maybe)... the Oklahoma Joe Bronco (maybe Pro, maybe not) and the Masterbuilt Gravity 560.

    The Gravity appeals because everyone seems to be loving theirs, it's not that big a leap from the Grilla to the MBG, and I dig it. The downsides are that it's another cooker that plugs into the wall (quarantine has me thinking a bit like a prepper), and the built quality.

    The OJB(P) appeals because everyone seems to be loving theirs, I dig the flexibility of the thing, like the idea of hanging, seems solid, and would be a decent cooker if a short term apocalypse hit (smiley here). Downsides are: I dunno. Maybe not as easy to use as the MBG?

    Any rate, I thought I'd toss it to the field. I know good cooks here who have one or the other... can anyone sell me one way or the other? Should I have a poll... yes... I will have a poll. But please, explain the vote.

    Thanks folks... big step for me as this was part of why I wanted to move here in the first place.
    21
    Masterbuilt Gravity 560
    38.10%
    8
    Oklahoma Joe Bronco
    61.90%
    13

    The poll is expired.

    Last edited by Potkettleblack; May 22, 2020, 03:22 PM. Reason: Stupid poll messed up

    #2
    Fixed the poll.

    Comment


      #3
      So I look at these things as tools to accomplish a purpose. HOW is secondary to me (but perhaps not to you). So my first question is... why? You currently can sear on the gasser and smoke on the Grilla. What would you want out of a new cooker?

      I'm actually comparing these same cookers in my head and leant to the MB because it can do both things (quick cooks, sears etc and long smoking sessions) in one. But since you can do both of those now... what would you use this for? Answer that and I think you'll find your new cooker.

      Comment


      • Potkettleblack
        Potkettleblack commented
        Editing a comment
        I think some of it is the perpetual MCS. But bigger smoke flavor, novelty and a wee bit of charcoal envy.

      • rickgregory
        rickgregory commented
        Editing a comment
        MB then. I don't have one yet but I say that mostly because sounds like it can get to a high temp quickly so I can use it to grill steaks, burgers, etc AND smoke. The Joe attracted me for the set and forget quality - once you get used to a setting, it sounds really easy to just set it there and smoke away. But I don't get the feeling it is as convenient for quick grilling.

      #4
      If you didn't already have the Grilla, I would vote for the Masterbuilt. I feel like there is some overlap here, and that a pure cord-free charcoal smoking and grilling experience may be a better 3rd cooker for you. Coronapocalypse and all you know...

      The other factor is, reviews notwithstanding, the fact that most Masterbuilt stuff I've looked at over the years, including my son in laws electric smoker, seems pretty flimsy. I think you will be replacing the Masterbuilt in 5 years, as the electronics or something will break, and a replacement part won't be available. The Bronco is pretty much an indestructible hunk of metal.
      Last edited by jfmorris; May 22, 2020, 03:51 PM.

      Comment


      • Porkies
        Porkies commented
        Editing a comment
        The masterbuilt I bought was also flimsy metal and pieces were loose from the start. It still works, but it's kind of scary.

      • Uncle Bob
        Uncle Bob commented
        Editing a comment
        Admitting my bias and lack of first hand experience with the MB (but respecting the reviews and comments here) there ain't nuttin' flimsy about the Bronco. The only weakness, component/structure wise I can come close to criticizing are the steel wheels rolling directly on the axle. Even with greasing there is a hint of resistance. A set of roller bearing hand truck wheels for $30 could remove that objection in a hot hurry.

      #5
      My review of the Masterbuilt is below.

      https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...ity-560-review

      I have also attached my extended comments on build quality.

      https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/forum/charcoal-cabinet-smokers-and-gravity-feed-smokers/misc-ab/848380-camp-chef-v-masterbuilt-gravity


      I
      assume you have seen Huskee’s excellent review as well where he gave it Platinum.
      Last edited by zero_credit; May 22, 2020, 04:50 PM.

      Comment


      • Potkettleblack
        Potkettleblack commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes. I wouldn’t have been considering it without Huskee’s review. And I read yours as well.

      #6
      @Potkettleblack, I noticed you were paying close attention to some of the posts on the OJB and know that FishTalesNC and myself are quite taken by it. And I haven't had any experience with the MB unit other than the various commentary noted above. @zero_credit seems to be the most excited of the admittedly limited number of owners I've been exposed to. What I found interesting about his pros and cons, there's an almost total overlap to the OJB except for speed of initial temp built and grate size. The Bronco is "only" 18ish inches round, but, it can realistically operate with two grates at once, doubling the size, depending on the size of the pieces being cooked (5" clearance between).

      I admit I'm a lump over briquette guy for no particular reason other than lump is better for my tastes and style of cooking. Near as I can tell the MB won't do lump, so that would be a deal killer for me. As for the noted versatility I'd happily go head to head in a competition on that point. The Bronco is amazingly adaptable. I'm somewhat surprised by some of the negativity on this forum toward the Bronco but would note that it's usually from folks who've never worked with it. In most cases they bring up objections that are unfounded in real, first hand usage. Perhaps that's due to the Char Broil parentage, but then, MB doesn't exactly have a glowing rep in that context either, even though users seem mostly pleased with the Gravity. The Bronco, any bias either way aside, is stout. It didn't get to 140# by using tinny components. It's not super portable as a result, but does move fairly easily on a patio surface despite my comments above. It functions as a hanging cooker, a flat grate cooker, I posted up a Vortex use the other day, and am looking to try it as a domed pizza prepper. It smokes, it grills, it does the dance of the seven veils (okay, I just made that one up). And it will do briquettes, lump, and even mini splits. The fuel basket allows dual zone cooking, and the fuel height is usefully variable. And as for your prepper potential, no electricity needed...……….just fire. As for the question about the Bronco Pro, I haven't used one myself, but design/hardware wise it is the Bronco, just bigger. The near double size fuel basket being the possible biggest bonus. I've seen where folks "complain" that it's a bit more than double the price of the Bronco without being quite double the size at the grate. That's true except...…….I suspect it's a marketing thing. The Pro, as a somewhat comp to a UDS, competes with the Hunsaker, Gateway segment. Those two are in the $800-1000 price bracket, so at $700 the Pro compares favorably on the price point. The Bronco has a different niche, against the PBC et al who are at $3-400. Marketing matters.

      It's too bad that there isn't some sort of rental market that offered the whole range of cooking devices so that someone in your position could just try each one first hand to see which satisfies your operational style and desires instead of your having to decipher which of us bbq nuts you align with functionally.
      Last edited by Uncle Bob; May 22, 2020, 06:20 PM.

      Comment


      • zero_credit
        zero_credit commented
        Editing a comment
        Excellent post. Thank you.

        I will say the MB does lump just fine but the Royal Oak tends to burn though fairly quickly. I have B&B charlogs now and expect great things from this lump.

        Also would add that you can get a battery pack and make the MB wireless.

      • Uncle Bob
        Uncle Bob commented
        Editing a comment
        zero_credit thanks for the lump clarification, I didn't recall seeing anything but briquettes used.

      • Potkettleblack
        Potkettleblack commented
        Editing a comment
        Lump seems to burn faster regardless of the cooker, due to the irregular fit versus the order of briquettes. Dunno if that’s just less fuel per quart or better air flow.

      #7
      Unclebob -dammit now i'm undecided again.

      Comment


      • HawkerXP
        HawkerXP commented
        Editing a comment
        PBC, PBC, pbc……………….…..

      • rickgregory
        rickgregory commented
        Editing a comment
        "Just to give you some focused impetus, I did some sockeye a couple weeks ago, with some alder chips for smoke......…………...………...just gonna say, Ivars on Lk Union wouldn't stand a chance in a cook off. LOL"

        sigh. Dammit.

      • Potkettleblack
        Potkettleblack commented
        Editing a comment
        Uncle Bob: I think you guys aren’t a cult due to lack of numbers. Get a couple more members and you, too, can be a cult.

      #8
      IMO you already have an automatic temperature control cooker. Get a wild Bronco and tame it down.

      Comment


        #9
        I voted Bronco because I think you answered your own question Potkettleblack . Go unplugged and make it sing.

        Comment


          #10
          When I saw the title with your ugly mug there was the immediate thought of, he’s out of the condo, yessir. And, yer talkin about gettin a serious piece of equipment there. Good for you! You sure are one happy man. I don’t have a horse in this race, though I was most impressed with Huskee’s write up. Congrats on which ever you choose.

          Comment


          • Potkettleblack
            Potkettleblack commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks Fireman. Yes, free of the condo and all it’s woes. On to the woes of single family home ownership outside a major metropolitan city. I haven’t been mad about a dollar spent yet. And man have there been dollars spent.

          #11
          The MB is a much more versatile unit, go low or go high, it can do both. I have also noticed that MB has been increasing there quality over the last few years as they redesign and introduce new products. It has been a gradual improvement but it has been there.

          On the other hand if you put a Pit Boss fan and controller, either new Guru or Fireboard on the Bronco you can do about the same as the MB. But, again you will need to be plugged in. Limitation is that the new UltraQ is limited to 500 degrees. The Fireboard has a max temp of 572 degrees. These temps are for the probes especially the ambient air probe.

          Comment


          • Potkettleblack
            Potkettleblack commented
            Editing a comment
            Interesting point. Above 500, do you really need to know the temp? I mean, in the Meathead framework it’s 225, 325, and Warp 10, right?

          • Polarbear777
            Polarbear777 commented
            Editing a comment
            The higher the probe is rated, i suppose the more margin you have for not wrecking it with transients, startups, misplacements.

          #12
          Tough call. I love the barrel (PBC in this case but been eyeing the bronco) for capacity and ease of hanging. For things I want to set flat, 18” round is limiting. So is the capacity of the MB. I’d seriously consider the larger OKJ Pro. A whole packer brisket won’t fit neatly horizontal in the 18” barrel and I don’t like hanging big stuff that can get tender enough to fall.

          a controller on the bronco will make it do anything you want and the build quality is likely there.

          The only shape downside to the barrel is horizontal space. Running two grates, the lower one gets more IR effect so you have to rotate stuff on grates.

          the other Barrel pain is top loading/adjusting with smoke directly out the top into your face. Annoying but manageable.

          as others have said, the bronco will likely long outlast the MB.

          Comment


          • zero_credit
            zero_credit commented
            Editing a comment
            I’ve had a PBC for about four years. It was excellent and getting and holding the temp between 225 and 270. The temp control within that range was very very good. If I wanted to grill burgers or steaks or could never get the temp high enough to do them well. I freely admit I am probably messing something up despite using different amounts of coal and messing around with the little slider.

            When I mean temp control, I mean the ease of setting the MB to 225 to do brisket, and then 700 to sear.

          • zero_credit
            zero_credit commented
            Editing a comment
            In short, I only need 13 minutes to get to 700 and hold it there, 400 degrees hotter than I was ever able to get the PBC over four years. Again, I freely admit I was probably messing something up with the PBC and it’s not really expected to operate beyond 275 for long periods of time, which is fine. But I just have better temp control with the MB.

          • Potkettleblack
            Potkettleblack commented
            Editing a comment
            Zero: that is highly interesting to me. The leap from smoke temps to Sear the Living F temps.

          #13
          Ha. The poll is close to evenly split. I guess we aren’t helping...

          I guess also more parts to fail on the MB.

          Comment


          • Potkettleblack
            Potkettleblack commented
            Editing a comment
            My wife suggested the poll and then as I report to her says you’re not helping. But the discussion is helpful.

          #14
          While I don't own either, I have looked at both personally and from a build standpoint, the OKJ is way higher on the scale. Very heavy duty. I also don't like having to use electricity for an outdoor cooker so that alone would make me go to the Bronco. I almost bought one but I have several PBC's so I didn't pull the trigger.

          Comment


            #15
            'll do to you what others have done to me..........more to think about. If you're considering the MB560, this builder T&K Smokers https://www.tkbbqsmokers.com/ was recommended by someone on here, I just can't remember who. They make gravity feed, regular cabinet, and offset smokers. They seem like quality units and they're in Indiana so shipping will be less. Of course more $$.

            Comment


            • Potkettleblack
              Potkettleblack commented
              Editing a comment
              Those look very nice, but both excessive to my needs and more than I could justify to She Who Knows Better Than I, Ms. Florist. Since the smallest of their Grav or Reverse flow is more than I will need anytime soon.... not worth the effort on talking it up for Ms. F. But very nice ideas.

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