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What Smoker to buy?

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  • HandsomeDave
    Club Member
    • May 2017
    • 43
    • Gig Harbor Washington

    What Smoker to buy?

    I have kind of a unique opportunity/problem, and once again I am turning to the folks in the Pitmaster Club for some advice. I have been smoking for probably close to 15 years, but always with Charcoal. WSM and Pitbarrel. Tried a Traeger and hated it. It didn't last two weeks and I got ride of it. I have smoked meat for a number of office potlucks and have gotten a rep at the office. So, now we are have a company wide event (160 people) and the boss wants me to cook the lunch, and is offering to buy me a smoker large enough to handle that large of a cook. I am thinking I would need at least 100 pounds of pork shoulder before trimming and cooking. Any ideas on what kind of smoker could handle that? Or should I tell him to hire a caterer?
  • Jerod Broussard
    • Jun 2014
    • 9122
    • East Texas
    • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
      Weber One Touch Premium Copper 22" Kettle (gift)
      Slow 'n Sear for 22" Kettle
      Weber One Touch Premium Black 26" Kettle (gift)
      Slow 'n Sear XL for 26" Kettle (gift)
      Weber Smokey Joe Gold
      Weber Rapid Fire Chimney
      Maverick ET-732 White
      Maverick ET-732 Copper
      2- Auber SYL-1615 fan systems(Awesome!!!!!!!!)
      Thermoworks Thermapen w/ Back light (gift)
      Thermoworks Timestick
      Cambro Model 300MPC110 w/ Winco SS Pans
      B & B and Kingsford Charcoal
      B & B Pellets

    $$$ constraints??

    Like would a ~$5800 Ole Hickory CTO be out of the question?


    • Ahumadora
      Club Member
      • Oct 2015
      • 1650
      • Pilar Buenos Aires, Argentina

      Find someone local with a big pit and hire it for the day. Unless you can wrangle it where the company buys it and you continue to use it when you want


      • gdsim1
        gdsim1 commented
        Editing a comment
        Not sure where you’re located at, but if you’ve got a HyVee supermarket near you... they’ve all got massive smokers that they use to cook and peddle bbq meals, and I believe they rent them out.

        However, if boss man is offering to buy YOU the smoker (ie it’s yours after the purchase, not the company’s), remember EVERYTHING is a negotiation... 😈
    • Spinaker
      • Nov 2014
      • 9961
      • Land of Tonka
      • John "J R"
        Instagram: JRBowlsby
        Smokin' Hound Que
        Minnesota/ United States of America

        Dexter (Beagle mix)
        Kinnick (American Foxhound)

        Big Green Egg (Large) X2
        Blackstone 36" Outdoor Griddle 4-Burner

        Broil King Keg
        Karubeque C-60
        Kamado Joe Jr. (Black)
        Lodge L410 Hibachi
        Pit Barrel Cooker
        Pit Barrel Cooker 2.0
        R&V Works FF2-R-ST 4-Gallon Fryer

        Weber Spirit Gasser
        FireBoard (Base Package)
        Thermoworks ThermaPen (Red)
        Thermoworks MK4 (Orange)

        BBQ Dragon
        Big Green Egg Plate Setter
        Benzomatic TS4000 Torch X 2
        Benzomatic TS800 High Temp Torch X 2

        Bayou Classic 44 qt Stainless Stock Pot
        Bayou Classic 35K BTU Burner

        Digi Q DX2 (Medium Pit Viper Fan)
        Dragon VT 2-23 C Torch
        Eggspander Kit X2
        Field Skillet No. 8,10,12

        Finex Cat Iron Line
        FireBoard Drive
        Lots and Lots of Griswold Cast Iron
        Grill Grates
        Joule Water Circulator
        KBQ Fire Grate

        Kick Ash Basket (KAB) X4
        Lots of Lodge Cast Iron
        Husky 6 Drawer BBQ Equipment Cabinet
        Large Vortex
        Marlin 1894 .44 Magnum
        Marquette Castings No. 13 (First Run)
        Smithey No. 12
        Smokeware Chimney Cap X 3
        Stargazer No.10, 12
        Tool Wizard BBQ Tongs
        Univex Duro 10" Meat Slicer
        FOGO Priemium Lump Charcoal
        Kingsford Blue and White
        Rockwood Lump Charcoal
        Apple, Cherry & Oak Log splits for the C-60

        Buck 119 Special
        Dexter 12" Brisket Sword
        Next Major Purchase
        Lone Star Grillz 24 X 48 Offset

      Know what your upper limit is will help. I would look at a, insulated cabinet smoker. You can fit a lot of food on a unit like that. I would look at something like the Back Woods, Mixon Cabinet smokers.

      Or you could go old school and get a big old pull behind. Like the Lang


    • RonB
      Club Member
      • Apr 2016
      • 11043
      • Near Richmond VA
      • Weber Performer Deluxe
        Pizza insert
        Smokenator 1000
        Cookshack Smokette Elite
        2 Thermapens
        lots of probes.

      Click image for larger version

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    • Troutman
      Club Member
      • Aug 2017
      • 6503
      • Republic of Texallence

        22" Weber Kettle - Red Premium Limited Edition
        6 Burner Weber Summit Gasser
        22" and 18" Weber WSM Smoker
        18” Jumbo Joe
        36" double door Lyfe Tyme offset stick burner (SOLD !)
        Pitts & Spitts Pellet Pro 2436
        Classic Thermopen
        Thermoworks SMOKE
        Fireboard Pro with Pit Viper fan
        Grill Grates
        SNS for the 22" Weber kettle
        A-MAZE-N Smoker 12" Tube & Tray
        Weber stainless veggie basket
        Weber stainless fish basket
        Weber stainless rib rack
        Phat Mat cooking mats
        Barbestar BBQ Cooking Gloves
        For Beef (brisket, beef ribs, large clods/roasts) = 100% mesquite, oak or hickory
        For Chicken & other fowl = competition blend, cherry/oak/hickory
        For Turkey = 100% hickory or competition blend
        For Pork Shoulder = mesquite, oak or hickory
        For Pork Chops or Ribs = 100% applewood
        SOUS VIDE
        Anova Immersion Circulator 900 watt & 12 & 18 quart Rubbermaid containers with hinged sous vide lids
        Generic Calphalon non-stick cookware set of pots and pans
        12" & 14" All-Clad Stainless skillets
        Cast Iron 12" skillet by Victoria
        La Creuset Cast Iron 7 quart Dutch Oven - Yellow Round
        La Creuset Cast Iron 7 quart Dutch Oven - Cherry Oval
        Old Revere Wear Copper & Stainless Pots (handed down)

        JA Henckels 15 piece Stainless Knife Set
        Victorinox 12" Fibrox Pro Slicing Knive
        Victorinox 6" Curved Boning Knife
        Set of Dalstrong Japanese Steak Knives

      I was thinking the same thing as Spinaker. Think about a large size vertical cabinet. You could score a nice one for around $3,000. I'm thinking 80#, or 8-10# butts would do the job and easily fit into a vertical. Your problem may be actually getting a nice high end cooker quickly enough to pull it off. What kind of time frame you looking at? Perhaps a stick burner rental may be out there to fill the need.


      • HandsomeDave
        Club Member
        • May 2017
        • 43
        • Gig Harbor Washington

        I am not positive but I am thinking that about 2k would be the upper limit of what the company would be willing to pay. For the right smoker I would throw some of my own money at it also. So, probably around 3k would be the top. Time is an issue, I only have about 3 weeks. This may sound like sacrilege but what if I smoked the butts before hand, pulled them, vacuum sealed and froze it until the day of the gathering? I have three smokers and could easily smoke around 50 pounds at a time. I've never tried that before. Could be OK, or it could be really bad.


        • Steve B
          Steve B commented
          Editing a comment
          Good advice Huskee

        • PaulstheRibList
          PaulstheRibList commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, cook more than one round and refrigerate. No problems with that. I would refrigerate whole and then pull when you rewarm, if possible. I have warmers, which makes rewarming so much easier. So your plan of cook, pull, vacuum bag and rewarm would be best if you don't have dedicated warmers. In a vacuum bag, you can rewarm in a regular oven just fine.

        • Murdy
          Murdy commented
          Editing a comment
          Often when I smoke a butt, it's only my wife and I eating, so we end up freezing some of it, it reheats fine.
      • jfmorris
        Club Member
        • Nov 2017
        • 2144
        • Huntsville, Alabama
        • Jim Morris

          • Weber Genesis II E-410 w/ GrillGrates (2019)
          • Weber Performer Deluxe 22.5" w/ GrillGrates & Slow 'N Sear & Drip ‘N Griddle & Party Q (2007)
          • Weber Genesis Silver A w/ GrillGrates (2002)
          • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
          • Lodge L8D03 5 quart dutch oven
          • Lodge L10SK3 12" skillet
          • Anova
          • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
          • Thermoworks Dot
          • Thermoworks Thermapen Classic
          • Thermoworks RT600C
          • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

        I smoked 9 butts - 74 pounds precooked - using a small offset and 2 kettles, for a party of 80 people, and pulled and packed in foil half steam table pans with foil lids the night before the party, and reheated in warm oven and served from crockpots. We would replenish the crockpots from the pans in the oven. No one complained and I got s lot of compliments. And with 80 folk we ate about 5 of 8 butts. This was a lot of 20-somethings, about half of them guys, as it was my oldest daughters engagement party. Oh, we also had about 20 pounds of chicken wings but those were gone in 20 minutes! All of those frat brothers of my now son in law can pack it in!

        I think doing it ahead is fine. A WSM 22 can probably handle 8 butts, and is a lot cheaper than any decent offset. Maybe just add that for the capacity you need?


        • RonB
          RonB commented
          Editing a comment
          Maybe two WSM 22s or two PBCs?
      • HandsomeDave
        Club Member
        • May 2017
        • 43
        • Gig Harbor Washington

        Thanks for the replies everyone. I am liking the idea of cooking ahead of time. Just the logistics of finding, buying and learning to use a smoker with that capacity in the amount of time I have is kind of daunting. There is a slightly used Yoader that I could pick up for about 2k a couple of hours from here. It is tempting but the thing weighs 800 pounds. Jeez what a beast! I keep wondering what I would do with it after the picnic. The event is at a park, so there won't be any ovens available. PaulstheRibList what kind of warmers are you talking about? I have a WSM 22, WSM 18 and a pit barrel so I think I could do enough in two cooks but it would be way easier if I froze it. That way I could do the cooks over a couple of weekends.


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          With the 3 smokers you have you ought to be able to run 12 8 pound butts at once. And since they cook twice as fast on the PBC, load it up a second time with 2 more while the WSM’s roll along. 14x8 is a lot of meat, and you could do it all in one day.
      • HandsomeDave
        Club Member
        • May 2017
        • 43
        • Gig Harbor Washington

        jfmorris I smoked 6 butts overnight last night pulled them, vacuum sealed and froze them this morning. Part of the problem with doing all of them at once is just space considerations in my kitchen and refrigerator. I froze a couple of smaller packages and I am going to test reheating by dropping the package in hot water. We will see how it turns out. If I don't like it I may end up doing them all at once the day before and storing in some coolers.


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Sounds like a workable plan to me!
      • klflowers
        Club Member
        • Sep 2015
        • 2271
        • Tennessee

        Good luck and let us know how it goes. Great to be asked to cook for an event; scary at the same time.


        • HandsomeDave
          Club Member
          • May 2017
          • 43
          • Gig Harbor Washington

          So I have smoked twelve butts so far. The smoking part is easy. It's all the prep and pulling that is killing me. There has got to be an easier way. Instead of pulling the pork I am thinking about dropping a concrete block on it. Smashed pork. Is that a thing?
          Attached Files


          • NapMaster
            NapMaster commented
            Editing a comment
            You should by a small chipper used to grind limbs, etc. Aim the discharge chute into an ice chest. Should take about 1 minute for 12 butts. Make sure you remove the shoulder blade before you run them through.
        • HandsomeDave
          Club Member
          • May 2017
          • 43
          • Gig Harbor Washington

          I like the way you think NapMaster! I started looking and found pork pullers that you use with a drill motor. I just ordered one and will try it out on the 6 butts I am going to smoke Saturday. Fire, meat, smoke & power tools. Is this a great country or what!


          • HandsomeDave
            Club Member
            • May 2017
            • 43
            • Gig Harbor Washington

            We had the event today and everything went well. I smoked 18 pork shoulders and it ended up being way to much food. We also served 80 hot dogs, beans, coleslaw, chips and cookies. Needless to say no one went home hungry. So, I ended up pulling the pork and immediately vacuum sealing and freezing it. Then reheating it by dropping the bags in hot water for about 30 minutes. We used 3 turkey fryers and it really worked well. The pork was tender and moist. It honestly tasted like it just came off the smoker. Will definitely use that method again. Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions.


            • lostclusters
              lostclusters commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks for including us on your journey. It was quite a learning experience.
          • Jared49
            Club Member
            • Oct 2016
            • 83
            • Appleton, WI
            • WSM-18.5"
              Green Spot
              Blues Hog

            I’m glad to be part of this group, quite the array of problem solvers. I know where to go for any ‘Q questions I come across.




            Meat-Up in Memphis 2020

            Join us in Memphis for our Meat-Up! Space is limited to 400, secure your spot by booking early! Click here for details. (https://amazingribs.com/memphis2020)
            See more
            See less
            Meat-Up in Memphis

            T-Shirts & More T-Shirts & More
            Order men's and women's T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, Aprons, Mugs, Caps, Tote Bags, Flasks, and more, all imprinted with the Pitmaster Club logo. There's even a spiral bound journal where you can make notes on your cooks.

            Cool Embroidered Shirt Cool Embroidered Shirt
            This beautifully embroidered shirt is the same one Meathead wears in public and on TV. It's wash and wear and doesn't need ironing (really!), but it is a soft cottonlike feel. Choice of four colors and both men's and women's.

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            Digital Thermometers Are Your Most Valuable Tool And Here's A Great Buy!

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            G&F Suede Welder's Gloves

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