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Buy Local or Known Brand + Shipping?

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    Buy Local or Known Brand + Shipping?

    so i'm still looking at all the possibilities in the situation of buying from afar in the 'ol U.S.A. and buying local in the 'ol U.S.A. I found a local fab shop that produces some fine looking stuff and I can pick up and pay no shipping. They are quoting a 120-gal. modded propane tank-style smoker for base price of $3K; 150 gal. starting at $3,800. The quality looks very good and reviews are also very positive. it is on par with other base models as far what's included. they make small, backyard cookers, to very large trailer smokers, in addition to other creative metal and iron work, and are a small, family-run biz.

    On the other hand, I can shop a fine-looking 24x48 LSG for $3,285 + CA sales tax + $650 for shipping. Another great American, family-run biz, but mucho shipping because it weighs mucho.

    Maybe my question more so is what can go wrong buying local? If all the the welds are solid with no leaks and the shop has a trusted record of quality work, is there much difference between the much reviewed LSG models (or other reviewed models) and a locally-manufuactured smoker? can they run the smoke tubes wrong? or discombubbulate the smoke box so it won't smoke right? Are your standard (and I mean EOS standard, not COS standard) offset smokers re-invented wheels or is there some magic to them that makes one in someway better than another?

    please let this marinate and reply as needed.


    I would expect Ahumadora could help you.


      I can attest to the quality, artisanship even, and functionality of the LSG offset. They offer quite a few upgrades and accessories and they seem obsessed with perfection. As far as the shipping, while not cheap I considered it a one-time cost that fades from relevancy rather quickly.

      That said, if I had a local, reputable fabricator I would have given them strong consideration. I think it simply boils down to a gut decision for you. Looking forward to your selection!


        A question for you: what about future accessories and support? Is there potential for better customer service with the local shop or well priced custom accessories that LSG may not provide?


        • latenight71
          latenight71 commented
          Editing a comment
          Some excellent points. local guy will make what i want but doesn't have any set accessories to add on later if desired. the customer service would be there for certain. i do need to get some more relevent customer reviews though other than "beautiful smoker", "great craftmanship" and look for "smokes meat like well-oiled machine" perhaps! Thanks!

        • IFindZeroBadCooks
          IFindZeroBadCooks commented
          Editing a comment
          Or you can simply ask them for a cool feature like slide out grstes if you want?

        • latenight71
          latenight71 commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, all are built to order so i can ad slide out grates, shelf, insulated fire box, griddle on fire box, etc. just adds to base price.

        I don't have a stick burner, but I would give the local guys a good look. Check references and stuff. And compare specs as closely as possible. I would lean towards buying locally just to support the neighbors if the product is close in quality. And the shop is there - if you have a problem, just drive on over
        Last edited by klflowers; April 9, 2021, 12:32 PM. Reason: I said and the reputation is there - makes no sense. I meant they are local...


          I second (third?) the local shop provided they can give you the upgrades you want.

          As for the ability for someone to mess up an expensive offset, yeah it's possible. There is some maths 'n' physics involved that can have a pretty dramatic impact on performance.

          I had a offset that I bought second hand; the welder did a great job on the welds and overall fabrication, but the design left a lot to be desired and me scratching my head at the reasoning behind some decisions.


            Here's the crux of the issue as I'd think about it... do you know the design of the local shop is good? The LSG has a vetted, well reviewed design and it's known to perform well. The local product... is local, so you won't have all of the reviews the LSG has gotten. All that means is the you need to find some, well, local reviews of it. If it is a good design and good workmanship/build quality then sure, go local.


              Why don't you see if you can find a local comp pit master or bbq restaurant owner who will comment on the design?


                If I had a deck that could support the weight, I’d have a Shirley Fabrication cooker in a heartbeat, but alas I’m sticking with what I’ve got. There are a couple of reasons I’d rather deal local, it supports the local economy & they’re right down the road should I need something. Given, they’re located in that God-forsaken city of Tuscaloosa (War Eagle), I can’t help but appreciate solid craftsmanship.


                  This is the local guy i'm looking at. he has built offset smokers for a lot of local catering outfits, including Heritage BBQ, which recently opened a brick and mortar in south Orange County. i really dig the patina look. it matches my smoking jacket perfectly!



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                  • rickgregory
                    rickgregory commented
                    Editing a comment
                    See, in your shoes, I'd go talk to a few of his customers not only about quality but about any idiosyncrasies the smokers have. If it sounds good, I'd go with it. Much rather buy local if I can.

                  • Ahumadora
                    Ahumadora commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Looks to be a pretty standard design made from an old compressor tank. I could suggest a few minor changes to improve it. Example change out the 3" casters for bigger ones, so every time you hit a pebble it doesn't stop. Fold a 1" lip on the hotplate so grease doesn't run everywhere.

                  Rather than focussing entirely on why you should buy it, think for a moment about how you would sell it to a stranger. Not many potential buyers of a used smoker will be likely to find much value in the fact that you bought it locally ... but will instead be thinking pretty much exclusively about how well it works. If pure performance and functionality of the local product is enough to make the sale, then without question, go for it. If not ... a "Known Brand + Shipping" might be even more worth considering.



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