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Introduction and a request for help

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    Introduction and a request for help

    Hello from Southeastern Pa, excited to be a part of this community. A little about me and then a doozy of a first question. I have been grilling for about 15 years and smoking for about five. I currently have a Weber, three burner gas grill and a cheap, Masterbuilt ~$100 smoker that I’ve had for about four or five years. The smoker is electric and is on the smaller side. I’d call it more of an outdoor oven than a smoker – cooks fine, just doesn’t really impart much smoke flavor at all. So I’m ready to take the next step and invest in something better. Therein lies my question – what should I upgrade to? Here is what I am looking for/ some details:
    I have a family of six and occasionally have a few more people over
    I’d like to cook ribs, butts, chicken/ turkey and work my way up to a brisket
    Flavor is my main goal in this search/ purchase, my Weber is newer, so I am not necessarily looking to replace it for general/ high heat grilling – unless of course that makes better sense.
    I’m ok with some attention, but don’t want to be handcuffed to it either – as mentioned, I am somewhat new to smoking.
    Budget, I don’t know – I’d like to get the best bang for my buck, ideally keep it under $1,000, all in (thermometer(s), cover, accessories can add up quickly).
    I was set on the Big Joe III until I saw the price and read some reviews about how it was limited due to its lack of two zone cooking.
    Then I got to reading recommendations and reviews of the PBC – seems to be a good solution, but wonder if I can still follow recipes geared towards flat cooking surfaces? Can I wrap ribs or a brisket in the PBC – is that still necessary? Is the larger model capable of cooking at lower temps? Any other cons?
    And I guess one last part of this very long question – if I can pull it off, is the BJIII worth the extra ~$1,500 (plus accessories like the Joetisserie)?
    Thanks in advance!

    If your willing to come to the dark side, the camp chef smoke vault 24 would fit your bill. If not a WSM for charcoal, or one of those goofy pellet popper (joking there) can produce fine meals. For me, I have the camp chef for small cooks, and from there the get way more expensive.


    • theroc
      theroc commented
      Editing a comment
      Welcome from southern California. And +1 for the smoke vault 24. I got mine about 8 years ago as a "temporary" first smoker. Still using it and haven't found a reason to replace it!

    Welcome to THE Pit, from Houston! Glad to have ya!

    If you haven’t already, check out this link. Great information and reviews/rating for all kinds of cookers. https://amazingribs.com/ratings-revi...smoker-reviews

    You will get all kinds of great recommendations here in very short order. You may want to start by considering what type of fuel you want to use. I use an Oklahoma Joe offset stick burner. Mine is a much older one that is made of 1/4” steel. I also use a Weber Kettle, which is very accomplished as a smoker.

    Good luck picking a new pit! We look forward to seeing what you end up with and some of your cooks!


      Welcome to the Pitmaster Club! Given that you are good with the Weber, I would go with a PBC, they are great for most things smoked. You can easily cook foods just the way you would using any other cooker. And you can hold a lot more of it. The capacity to the footprint is pretty hard to beat.

      Generally, I hang meats in the PBC. And I don't really wrap at all, unless I am in a big hurry. When it gets to that point, simply wrap the brisket or pork shoulder up and throw it on the grate that is included with the barrel.

      You really can't run the PBC at "lower temps" but anything under 300 F is pretty much the same to me. The only difference I have found while cooking BBQ between 225 F and 275 F is that 225 F takes much longer. So I am totally fine cooking at the 275 F or so. (Where the PBC likes to hang out)

      As for the Big Joe III, is it worth it? To me, yeah it is worth it. I own three Kamados because they are fun and they are extremely versatile. You can smoke, grill, bake and do just about anything else. They are guaranteed for life against most things and they are a blast to run. They are also fantastic for cold weather cooking. In Minnesota, I need that! The only real draw back is cost. However, I like to use this quote, "The pain of a high price fades far quicker than the sting of poor quality." KJ is high quality and they stand behind their product. I am not saying PBC is cheap by any means, I have 3 of them, but they should not really be compared to the KJ because they are so different. If you buy the KJ, you will be buying quality and something that will last you for a long, long time. If you already have the grilling set up with the Weber and you are cool with that, go with the PBC. If you want a more versatile cooker to add on to your collection, I would go big and get the KJ.

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      Keep the smoke rollin’



        Welcome to the best there is in BBQ. A little trick with your gas grill is you can put some wood chips in aluminum foil over to the side. Light them on fire. And create more smoke. there is also a smoke tube you can purchase, that holds wood chips again light on fire and more smoke you will receive.
        I had one of those outdoor electric cabinet cookers. Used it 3 time's sold if for half what I paid. Hated the thing. You will find smoker reviews on here. as will as member's recommendations. Max does a great job with writing up the reviews.


          I’ll give you a few to check out. Weber Summit Charcoal. The king of versatility.

          Slow and Sear Kamado.

          big green egg with woo ring and kick ash basket.


            So.. a lot will depend on how much you smoke (how often, but also how much meat). You can start, if you want with a Slow N Sear which is basically a basket for your weber with a water reservoir. Works well, but if you want to smoke in the weber you need to make sure the lid seals well, etc.

            If you like the idea of a dedicated smoker (or something that can act as a smoker in addition to the weber at least), The PBC, KJ and Oklahoma Joe's Bronco are all getting good reactions here. Then there are stick burners.

            Budget $1-250 for a thermometer depending on what you want in one.


            • HouseHomey
              HouseHomey commented
              Editing a comment
              Miscad What he said.👆 I have 2 kettles, a 26&22 both with SnS and spin grates. I LOVE my kettles. For A small amount you have a smoker/athermometer. SnS and 4’probe maverick. GAME CHANGER! Then save and consider a quality product like Spinaker said. That KJ is awesome!! That kettle with SnS products is fun and make delicious foods. Meanwhile cash the checks, cook some food and do your homework. You won’t be sorry.

            You can run a PBC or WSM at any temp you please with a thermostatic controller. You can get a PBC and a controller and fan for under $1k. So that would hit your volume mark and being charcoal should hit your flavor mark. Of course the PBC will run around 275-300F stock and you can dial in a WSM manually as well. Here’s my testing with the PBC...


            the gasser I’d keep for high temp grilling.

            lots of other options also. Take your time and read reviews.


              Huntington Beach welcomes you and your kettle.


                Welcome to the pit from Southern Illinois!


                  1st welcome from Western Massachusetts. Nice Aviator (I think). I have a Kettle and SnS. It serves me well, but for what you stated your cooks are, it would not suffice. I suspect a PBC or WSM will meet your needs. I'm looking to expand and as much I love my Weber's, I'm leaning to PBC. My biggest challenge is getting it here and my wife not noticing.
                  Last edited by RichieB; February 8, 2020, 09:04 AM.


                    Welcome to the Pit from Minnesota.


                      Welcome to The Pit. I don't have anything new to add.


                        Welcome to the Pit! I’ve been using an offset smoker for 30 years, but over the past couple of years have done most of my smoking on a Weber Performer Deluxe (kettle) with a Slow ‘N Sear (SnS). It can go 8-12 hours on a load of charcoal for long smokes, and is a great charcoal grill as well. If I wanted more space I would consider the PBC or a Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). All of those are a lot cheaper than a kamado. But you will only get 2-zone on a kettle type cooker. A lot love the 26” kettle with the SnS.


                          Welcome from southwestern PA! I love my PBC, don’t have anything to add to what they said except that Noah and his wife (they own the company) are great to talk to for advice. He literally gives you his phone number and you can chat directly with him. Or at least this is the advice I’d give to someone who didn't have Gritty as their avatar!



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