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first smoker

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  • swcomeaux
    Former Member
    • Jul 2020
    • 3

    first smoker

    i'm currently doing the research for my first smoker. at the moment, it's narrowed down to the PBC and Oklahoma Joe's Bronco. would appreciate any comments or direction helping me make the best choice. thanks
  • N227GB
    Club Member
    • Feb 2018
    • 342
    • Fort Myers, FL
    • ...

    Welcome to the PIT!

    There's maybe one or two PBC fans here.


    • swcomeaux
      swcomeaux commented
      Editing a comment
      ty, yeah saw that, number dont lie
  • ofelles
    Club Member
    • Jun 2018
    • 2102
    • Brentwood CA
    • Yoder YS640 on Comp cart
      Klose 20x42 Charcoal Grill
      LSG Insulated Cabinet
      Jumbo Joe
      VacMaster Pro 380 sealer
      FireBoard and Pit Bull fan
      Thermoworks Signal
      Thermoworks Dot
      Thermopen Mk4

    Welcome from the California Delta. Two different types of smoker, both are good. People that have them will chime in soon.


    • Dewesq55
      Dewesq55 commented
      Editing a comment
      Actually, they are pretty much the same type of smoker (barrel/drum.)

    • ofelles
      ofelles commented
      Editing a comment
      Dewesq55 Opp's my bad I was thinking of the OJ offset smoker.
  • Loren
    Club Member
    • Apr 2019
    • 186
    • Texas!

    Welcome from Oregon!

    I'd say PBC; it's pretty foolproof, relatively cheap, can cook a lot (easily 8 racks of ribs), and takes up very little space.


    • Texas Larry
      Club Member
      • May 2017
      • 1505
      • Wilson County, TX
      • Kamado Joe Big Joe 2
        Weber 22” Premium/SNS
        Weber Jumbo Joe/SNS
        Thermoworks Smoke
        Thermoworks 2K Thermocouple
        Thermoworks Dash
        Too many gadgets, accessories, and tools
        Favorite beer: Alaskan Amber

      Welcome from south Texas!


      • Soonerpop
        Club Member
        • Jan 2020
        • 217
        • Plano, Texas
        • Cookshack Smokette 008 (2005)
          Weber 18.5” Kettle
          Weber 22.5” Performer (drop-down shelf)
          SNS Elevated Grate
          Pit Barrel Junior (PBJ)
          Freedom Grill (for tailgating, but don’t do much anymore)
          Sizzle-Q Stainless Griddle
          Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter

          Thermapen (Red, of course)
          Smoke Alarm (Likewise)

          Kingsford Professional
          Weber Briquettes (longer cooks)

          Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
          Coors Banquet (why bother with light beer?)

        Well, I have a Pit Barrel Junior aka PBJ, and I like it fine. Looked at the Oklahoma Joe’s, but ended up with the PBJ. If you look at the number of posts on each of the sites in the cooker channel below, there are about 35x more posts on the PBC site, so theoretically you’ll get lots more free advice here if you get that one.
        welcome and good luck.


        • Brewmaster
          Charter Member
          • Oct 2014
          • 585
          • Santa Rosa, CA

          Welcome from N Caly, I got 2 PBC's and love them


          • cgrover60
            Club Member
            • Mar 2016
            • 397
            • Albuquerque NM

            Well let's see. I have a PBC and have cooked the heck out of it and love it. I have a OKJ Bronco on my next buy list not to replace my PBC but to add some additional versatility such as a wider cook temp range, actual temp control and being able to configure to use for real grilling. Price points and capacity for either are similar so factor that in (or not). So I guess it just depends on whether you want to tweak and fiddle a bit or just set and forget.
            Last edited by cgrover60; July 10, 2020, 03:17 PM.


            • LA Pork Butt
              Charter Member
              • Dec 2014
              • 5432
              • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

              I have cooked on bullet smokers in the past but don’t have any experience with either of the above mentioned cookers. However, I think the Oklahoma Joe has a vent tube that goes up the side of the cooker which I think would help protect it from temperature swings due to gusting winds.


              • Donw
                Club Member
                • Jul 2017
                • 3144

                Welcome from Maryland.


                • Jarin
                  Club Member
                  • Jun 2020
                  • 14

                  Only done one cook on my OKJ Bronco so far but personally I think it should be more versatile then PBC. In time I think I'll prove that. 😋 I want to be able to control the cook temp. You can also grill on the bronco but I love my weber for grilling. Everything I have read on PBC say they run hot no matter what at 275-300. However, they keep in the meat fog, so high humidity helps with the higher temp cooking? I'll leave that to the scientists to fact check...

                  Main thing for me was I found the bronco for $124 on clearance at Walmart. Check their website. I had to set my zip code to match the various stores around me, then refresh and some of them would show a small link for 0 other sellers in your area and that would show the store as having it in stock. First one didn't actually have it but the second one had two.


                  • Mr. Bones
                    Mr. Bones commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Lookin forward to yer OKJ Adventures. amigo!

                  • Jarin
                    Jarin commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Oh, I love experimenting and I really can't find much info on the bronco... So I think I'll be posting all about my long journey to bronco mastery! All the successes and probably many many tasty failures...

                    Got jerky on right now and I'm taking plenty of pictures!
                • RichieB
                  Club Member
                  • Apr 2018
                  • 1473
                  • Western Mass

                  Can't chime in as no barrel here. But, Welcome from Western Massachusetts.


                  • Uncle Bob
                    Club Member
                    • Feb 2019
                    • 392
                    • Salado, Tx
                    • Summerset TRL44 gas grill and side sear
                      RecTec 590 Stampede
                      Weber Performer
                      Cajun Grill Preaux
                      EcoQue Gen 3 wood fired oven
                      Camp Chef Somerset IV 4 burner propane stove
                      Camp Chef FTG600
                      OT QOMOTOP 23-inch Gas Griddle
                      Oklahoma Joe's Bronco
                      Oklahoma Joe's Bronco Pro
                      Oklahoma Joe's Judge
                      Golden's Cast Iron Grill
                      Ooni Koda 16

                    Lots of observations to make, but will narrow it down to only a few that might make the most sense to you. There's an awful lot of cheering for the "home team" out there that will mostly smoke up the air, so proceed with caution.

                    PBC is a good cooker and been around for a longer period than the Bronco so would appear to have more fans. The counter to that is that almost all the folks that will strongly tell you to go the PBC route have never used an OJB. Conversely, many people who will advocate for the OJB have owned the PBC, or it's half brother, the Barrel House Cooker. The OJB fans will generally speak favorably about the PBC experience, but, as was noted above, are now more in favor of the OJB because it gives them nearly all the benefits of the PBC plus some added ones. The only advantage I would yield to the PBC is portability, at less than 50 pounds and easily separated into pieces, it's much easier to haul to the beach or cabin than the 140 lb Bronco. So if portability is important, PBC hands down on that singular point. After that the OJB has far better temp control over a wider range of temps. It will grill as well as smoke in a near identical fashion to the PBC, without having to do any modifications right out of the box. With the easy addition of a second grate it will hold much more food product, again without any modification. It has a hinged lid which makes it easier to deal with, and that lid is "domed" rather than flat which gives 5ish inches of overhead clearance from the grate that can be useful with certain types of cook. Refueling, if necessary is roughly a push as they each have roughly the same needs/methods, though the ash pan in the OJB is more convenient/spacious than the setup in the PBC.

                    As for cost, the PBC is now mid $300 and rarely, if ever, goes on sale. The OJB is $300 list, but Wally World will have "clearance" sales on occasion in certain parts of the country. The stores in my area don't even stock them, so I don't get that benefit, but other parts of the country regularly claim the "on sale" for $184, and even have shown displays down to $84. A HUGE value offer. I think they are well worth list, so any of those lesser prices are a bonus.
                    Last edited by Uncle Bob; July 10, 2020, 05:06 PM.


                    • Jarin
                      Jarin commented
                      Editing a comment
                      If they did have them, would you want one? Taking a quick look around Salado, it looks like three stores south of you say they have 1 in stock for $124.. Of course Walmart's site is unreliable and you should call..


                      Change the zip code to one of the following,

                      Pflugerville, 1548 Fm 685

                      Round Rock, 2701 S Interstate 35

                      Austin, 1030 Norwood Park Blvd

                    • Uncle Bob
                      Uncle Bob commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thanks Jarin, didn't realize they were so zip limiting rather than offering a "near you" feature. BTW, that would be "would you want another one?", and yes, it's tempting since I do use the Bronco more than any of the other 8 cookers on the patio. MCS is a powerful force though......………...

                    • swcomeaux
                      swcomeaux commented
                      Editing a comment
                      thanks, you summarized my thoughts exactly. i like the cooking versatility of the okj , but either would seem to be a good choice. largely, it will come down to my skillset and ability.
                      looking forward to the smoke filled fun.
                  • RonB
                    Club Member
                    • Apr 2016
                    • 12871
                    • Near Richmond VA
                    • Weber Performer Deluxe
                      Pizza insert
                      Smokenator 1000
                      Cookshack Smokette Elite
                      2 Thermapens
                      lots of probes.

                    Welcome to The Pit.


                    • swcomeaux
                      Former Member
                      • Jul 2020
                      • 3

                      WOW! thanks guys fo all the smokey assistance. right now, im leaning towards the okj for cooking versatility ( nothing against the pbc ) , temp management and while it's heavy, i can wheel it around the yard if need be. really dont think either one is a bad choice. will look for one on sale, i did look at one in person at a lowe's this week. what a beast! cant wait to heat it up. thanks for all the helpful comments


                      • Jarin
                        Jarin commented
                        Editing a comment
                        What city/state are you near? I could help look for a cheap one if you'd like.



                    Meat-Up in Memphis 2021

                    SOLD OUT! Secure your spot on our waitlist now. First-come, first-served!
                    Click here for details. (https://amazingribs.com/memphis)
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                    Meat-Up in Memphis


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