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KBQ versus LSG 20" offset

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    KBQ versus LSG 20" offset

    Hope everyone is doing well and staying safe! So, I have been researching the LSG 20" for several weeks now had decided that was the one for me. But then I remembered, I forgot to look into the KBQ! For anyone who has the time to help, I'm looking for a comparison. Here are a few things I've learned about both. It seems like the KBQ is much easier to get and keep good smoke throughout the cook, and it puts out the same quality product as an offset. When done correctly, you have to add wood every 20-30 minutes for the KBQ, and 45-60 minutes for the LSG. Downside of the KBQ is that it's a dedicated smoker only. But if I need high heat grilling or set-and-forget low and slow, I have a WSM with a fan controller. I also have a RecTec. Even still, the fact that on the LSG with the right accessories, I can do everything on it, is very cool. And learning fire management on the LSG looks like a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. I wish I knew ahead of the purchase if I had the patience for it. As you can see, I'm in a fun quandary

    Thanks. Any help would be much appreciated!

    #2
    Just asking questions -

    With a Rectec and WSM...... What's your motivation for a new smoker?
    What can't you do on one of those that the new smoker will add?
    Which one of those options best fills the desired capabilites you're trying to add?

    Or just buy them both and scratch that MCS itch

    Comment


    • ofelles
      ofelles commented
      Editing a comment
      BFlynn You started out kind of sketchy. But you finished strong. 😁

    • Smoking77
      Smoking77 commented
      Editing a comment
      BFlynn I've always been told that an all wood fire makes truly the "best" bbq. I'm looking for that!

    #3
    Plenty of members in the LA area with KBQ's. Offer to bring the meat and maybe one will let you come over to see a KBQ in action. Maybe even some LSG owners as well.

    Comment


    #4
    You can cook pretty hot in the KBQ. I have mine up to 425 F in the cooking chamber with a good coal bed. It does a great job on wings at that temp. Although, it is not true grilling over an open fire, the taste is fantastic. I ran mine this weekend for the holiday. I cooked two briskets and two pork shoulders. The flavor is nothing short or fantastic!

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    In the long run, the KBQ might be easier. It is portable, you can fit a ton of food in a small space and it is stainless. The upkeep is probably less to.

    That being said, I want to get an LSG bad. In my very humble opinion, they make one of the best offsets I have seen. I would love to have one. There is just something special about having a huge hunk-o-steel on your patio.

    Comment


      #5
      Spinaker Great to hear about the KBQ getting to 425. Nice to know I can cook chicken hot-and-fast on it. Like you said though, the LSG is a beast. And wow, that food looks amazing!

      Comment


      • Spinaker
        Spinaker commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks!

        The convection action of the KBQ really helps with the chicken skin too. And you can build some awesome bark on briskets and pork shoulders.

      • EdF
        EdF commented
        Editing a comment
        As another KBQ owner, I agree with Spinaker

      #6
      MCS is real. I have it, even though I keep telling my self that I’ve got that under control; however, empirical observations and evidence indicates otherwise.

      I saw one of our fellow pit members jokingly comment that you should get both. He may be right!!!

      First off, both products are very good. They both produce excellent results. It’s going to boil down to several key distinctions and how much you want to control, and for lack of a better word… what your “conditions” allow, or your “requirements” call for. For instance… physical space, buffers around your smokers, surface where you plan on placing your unit, what use will they have, how mobile you need them to be, when and where will you run them and how many people you plan on feeding.i.e. cocking capacity.

      The KBQ is lighter, easier to pack and go. It’s stainless steel, and pretty much bullet proof; however, you need electricity to run it. Not that it calls for you to own a personal nuclear power plant, it actually needs very little power, but it needs it. So that’s important to consider. Can you run it with a generator? Yes you can. I purchased some solar panels and have made plans of installing them just for the KBQ, but haven’t gotten to completing that project yet. Some day it will be. On the other hand, the Lone Star does not require extension cords nor a power outlet to run. It’s not that easy to move around because of its weight and size. Yes, it has wheels and yes, you can push and pull it around; however, it’s not something you can put in the trunk of a car and go; where as the KBQ has an inherent travel friendliness so to speak. So advantage goes to the KBQ on that front.

      I am trying to find a suitable analogy here, but I’m coming short. The best I can think of at the moment is like comparing a classic piano, with an electronic keyboard. Both smokers can be used to produce top BBQ results, the type your friends and family will always be asking you to keep fixing and sharing with, they are both well built.e.i put together with quality and durability in mind, are fun and rewarding to run. In the hands of a a good pit master, both units will perform like a skilled pianist can play an electronic organ, and vice versa. Both are excellent products!.

      Both are made and sold by their company owners. I believe they are likely family owned businesses, with owners fully committed to their customers, both are prompt and diligent to answer your questions and both have a long list of loyal followers and happy customers. I am one of them.

      One of these smokers is fully mechanical with minimal moving parts, and one combines moving parts like electric motors and thermocouples. If you like electronic gadgets and want to tinker with things like that, then KBQ is perhaps an ideal choice. If you are more of a classic proven tried and true methods type of person, then perhaps the LSG is more suitable.

      I’m going to try my best to answer your questions, and add a few comments with what I would have liked to have asked someone with experience of owning and using both of these smokers.

      You are mentioning something about which one is easier to get… It would be the KBQ.
      I first purchased the KBQ, it arrived via FedEx two or three days after paying for it. Lone Star Grillz had a 3 month waiting time. I went in knowing this, and sure enough… 3 months later, a 1.500 pound large crate was siting in from or me with a smoker in it.

      As far as cost, the KBQ is perhaps initially more affordable, but I’m not so sure that’s true in the end. The LSG has more capacity per se, therefore it requires much more heavy metal fabrication and material, so the cost of course is more, but if you think of it in terms of capacity, cooking capacity… it probably balances out. So it’s perhaps a tie. I’m not sure I know much about the 20”model you are referring to. I have an LSG 30” offset cabinet, so it’s probably a bit larger than what you have in mind. My LSGs fabrication is TOP NOTCH… heavy, well built, and it will outlast any cooker I own.

      Ability to keep a good smoke throughout the cook box…. I’m going to say that’s a tie. If you keep the KBQ fed, and you keep your LSG fed, they both will keep good smoke throughout the box. There are some finer points to digest here and where the pit master plays a prominent role. You can control how clean or how dirty your smoke is when running your KBQ. It’s a matter of preference, but also a matter of adjusting and keeping poppet settings in your firebox. In practice, they aren’t just set and forget. With intense heat and repetitive opening and closing of the fire box, the poppets on the KBQ will tend to move on you. In the beginning, you probably will not notice the poppets moving on you, but after you take the first bite of whatever you cooked… If it’s a bit too smoky, you won’t forget to keep an eye out for poppet positions in the future.

      Some seasoned KBQ pit masters have devised ways to set and forget their poppets. It works, so I too have implemented that practice. Specifically, I use some metal clips. I run mine set to bottom poppet always open and top poppet closed. That yields a milder or sweeter smoke, which is what my family and I like and prefer.

      Poppet tending and setting, in my personal opinion, is a KBQ pain point that doesn’t exist in the Lone Star. So while you didn’t specifically ask about this finer point, I would give the advantage to the LSG on that front. On the LSG, you can control smoke flavor and intensity with wood selection. That’s equal for both too.

      Puts out the same quality product as an offset…
      Generally speaking, I agree wholeheartedly. They are both excellent BBQ output producing units.
      Now, let’s dive a bit deeper and look at some finer points. These are just my personal observations, so here we go. You can fit 4 briskets in the KBQ at the same time. I haven’t done it, I won’t do it either. I’ve done 3 briskets, or 3 pork shoulders at the same time tops. Do all 3 large cuts come out of the KBQ the same way? No. The lower brisket, or pork butt gets the drippings from the top 2, so the top one, as far as nicest bark is concerned, will be the one you placed on the most upper grate. This is just me, not saying that’s a rule or a given, but I prefer them all coming out like if they were placed in the same top grate. So, on these finer points, I would grant the advantage to the LSG. I can easily fit 4, maybe 5 briskets on the top shelf alone and they all would come out free of drippings. If you do one or two briskets at a time or 2 pork buts at a time, that’s not a big deal. I believe the term 60 in the KBQ comes from its capacity to cook 60 lbs of protein at the same time. Not sure if that’s why it’s called c-60; regardless, I don’t know just because it fits, that’s a good practice to do. Both smokers need breathing room so to speak, but more so the KBQ because of its internal geometry, heat and smoke management system and grate configuration. Keep in mind that the bottom of the KBQ cabinet sits a few inches above ground level. I’m getting older and find it easier to get things in and out of the cooking chamber and check on fixings with more ease when using the LSG. As far as a conversation piece, hands down that’s going to be the KBQ. It’s like having an equipment that defies intuition, and maybe even physics and combustion. Of course, it doesn’t, but it seems like it at times, specially after tasting some fine BBQ.

      On the height thing, some fellow KBQ pit owners have made carts for their units to lift them up a bit, plus make it even easier to move around. I haven’t.

      Feeding wood, yes… both require it. Which one is easiest? I’m going to say, in my personal opinion, the LSG. The KBQ with some planning, can be simplified as well. What do I mean? Well, if you have your wood splits cut to size and ready to go, the KBQ is easy to feed. It performs best with the lid on, that’s my opinion too. The design on the KBQ lid, in my opinion, could be improved. It’s not easy to handle a hot lid with a small metal ring on the top. You can get good at it with practice, but it’s not as easy as feeding the LSG. Also hot, and also carries the same warnings. Hot surfaces that can burn big time. So, careful tending and full awareness is required 100% of the time when using either one of these units… in any case, I would give the advantage the the LSG here. They burn about the same amount of wood, maybe the LSG a bit more, it’s larger too, but not a significant difference as far as wood appetite when compared pond for pound of wood vs. cooked output. You can run the LSG with charcoal only if needed, with a few wood chunks for flavor. Not sure the KBQ is designed for that.

      KBQ is only a dedicated smoker…. Not sure I agree with your statement here. The KBQ brings a grate that you can put on top of the fire box to cook, sear or grill a steak. So, it’s a grill too. Yes, it’s small in surface area, but it does it, and it does it very well. Now, the LSG also has that, and it’s actually larger. The fire box includes an adjustable expanded metal grate, which you can use to hot sear. Something note worthy, the LSGs fire box includes a flat griddle too. People use it to fix pancakes, bacon, or rest a cast iron Dutch oven or cooking pot, some have used a flat stone to bake pizzas, so the advantage in my personal opinion on this category clearly goes to the LSG; however, they are both versatile and not just dedicated smokers.

      You did not ask this, but to cold smoke cheese, I use the KBQ. Put some lit wood pellets in the firebox and let the unit do it’s thing. There isn’t enough heat to compromise the cheese, so it gets a pretty nice cold and gentle smoke. On the LSG, not sure that’s doable. Will have to try that some time soon. Now, I get that’s not as common of an application, but it’s one important to me, so I give the KBQ the cheese advantage.

      Work involved… In my personal opinion, the KBQ requires more attention. I find the KBQ is faster producing finished products. Tending to the LSG is easier in my opinion. It’s easier to place items in and take items out. Both units are capable of occasionally spitting out an itti bitty lit coal here and there, but that’s normal on the KBQ, where as it’s more of a sporadic occurrence on the LSG. If you have pets, keep a strict buffer around your KBQ, or if you are like me, I often walk around barefoot, you will quickly learn not to do that when running your KBQ.

      These are just some of my personal observations in an attempt to address your questions. These are based only on my personal impressions and hands on experience after owning both units. I still own them, I still use both, I like both very much and I just want to give you some objective responses, my personal thoughts only, to help you decide. I don’t think there is a right or wrong smoker choice.

      If you have an elevated wood deck, and you need to place your cooker on top of that surface, the LSG weighs more and the structure must be able to hold it safely. I would not place a KBQ over a wood deck period. If you want to bring your cooker with, then the KBQ may be convenient for you. If you want capacity, then the LSG may be best. If you have a limited wood supply, then the KBQ may be best. If you only have access to charcoal and a few chunks of wood for flavor, then LSG is right for you.
      Hope this helps.
      Cheers,
      Ricardo

      Comment


      • Greygoose
        Greygoose commented
        Editing a comment
        Could you repeat that ??!!!!
        Excellent perspectives

      • BFlynn
        BFlynn commented
        Editing a comment
        The only "wrong" smoker choice is to not get a new smoker.

      • Smoking77
        Smoking77 commented
        Editing a comment
        BFlynn Truer words have never been spoken.

      #7
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      An LSG is something I've been eyeing for a long time. But I'm so happy with this bad boy I will resist. Definitely excellent smoke flavor. I love cooking on it.

      Went to my 1st comp and this pit was a Saturday Night Live "What The Hell Is That Thing ?" skit all day. (Showing my age).

      I was 30 seconds late in my turn in so not officially judged "Ugh!" but two KCBS judges that were competing tasted my food and Loved it along with several other competitors that were wowed.

      Be aware In speaking with Bill Karu getting your rig as hot as stated above is not to be expected the thermostat isn't set to go that high, but obviously in some cases it does.

      Comment


      • Smoking77
        Smoking77 commented
        Editing a comment
        That looks fantastic! Sorry about the competition, but great that everyone who ate some loved it!

      #8
      Ricardo Same here. Wow is all I got. Thank you so much for taking the time to give this detailed, hands on explanation of both cookers. So so so helpful. I see myself reading this several more times as I try to decide. I've asked this of a few other LSG owners, but I'll ask you too. I think I have a place on my back patio for an LSG, but if not, it would have to go into the garage. How easy/difficult is it for one person to move? I would only have to move it about ten feet, but it would have to go up a small 3/4 in step.

      Comment


      • Ricardo
        Ricardo commented
        Editing a comment
        It’s not super difficult for one person to move and maneuver, it’s heavy and in my case, it has a high center of gravity, so I would handle the step-up or drop with both front and rear wheels set to address your 3/4” step at the same time. I built a small concrete slab for my LSG, took it’s wheels off, and have it set on it.
        Last edited by Ricardo; July 7, 2020, 06:49 PM.

      • Smoking77
        Smoking77 commented
        Editing a comment
        Good to know, thank you.

      #9
      No dog in the fight, but the KBQ folks around here rave about the quality of the food that comes off it. And have for years.

      Comment


      • Ricardo
        Ricardo commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, we actually do rave about it. It’s a pretty good smoker indeed.

      #10
      For me, electricity is a bit of a deal breaker so I'd go with a stick burner.

      Comment


        #11
        I have a KBQ and an LSG 24x48. I love both. If I had to pick one over the other, I'd choose the LSG.

        The flavor on both is excellent. I believe you can get a more smokey flavor from the traditional stick burner but that is because it burns slightly more dirty by its nature. The bed of coals cleans the smoke so well on the KBQ that it can be quite subtle at times.

        If you don't ever plan on taking the smoker with you somewhere, I'd suggest stickburner. Mine stays in the back yard, however, I love the ability to take the KBQ with me for company cook outs or on camping trips.

        It ultimately becomes a matter of preference. I've achieved amazing results hanging meat with tie wire in front of an open camp fire, smoked amazingribs in a weber kettle, and I've done the same in more expensive cookers. I guess...I really have nothing in the way of advice to give you other than to say....You'll love either decision!!

        Comment


        • Ricardo
          Ricardo commented
          Editing a comment
          Agreed!!!

        • Smoking77
          Smoking77 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks JakeT!

        #12
        I want to add that while you can't really grill with the KBQ, you can get an aweome sear with a grate on its firebox.

        Comment


        • Smoking77
          Smoking77 commented
          Editing a comment
          Great to know! Thanks!

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