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Anybody use an Old Country smoker?

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    Anybody use an Old Country smoker?

    I assume the occasional noob to smoking eventually finds Aaron Franklin's YouTube channel and is at least intrigued by the thought of actually burning real wood to cook meat on. At least I am...

    I got my first taste of real Texas barbecue at Louie Mueller's last November when a friend and I went out for the F1 race. I would have loved to stand in line at Franklin's but to make practice and qualifying we had to be at the track before it opened.

    Watching Aaron's videos it looks like he uses an Old Country Backyard Pit(click on the attached link, then "Backyard BBQ pits" and scroll down to the bottom of the page) and I was wondering if anyone here had any experience with them.

    Last edited by billg71; August 15, 2015, 05:22 PM.

    Hi Bill, I purchased an Old Country Wrangler back in May. It's a lot of bang for the buck!

    Aaron uses the "Ranch Hand" model in his "BBQ WITH FRANKLIN" series.

    Old Country pits are sold at Academy. The Ranch Hand is the smallest model and retails for $299. The Wrangler I purchased is $499, has more cooking space and much thicker metal.

    If you want to know more, just ask! I'll help anyway I can.


    • SteveFromLafayette
      SteveFromLafayette commented
      Editing a comment

      Hello buddy! The Old Country Wrangler works very well for me. It's made of much thicker metal (11 gauge steel) which is 1/8" thick if memory serves.

      There's nothing flashy or gimmicky about the pit whatsoever. It is devoid of bells and whistles, so what you're paying for is the heavy duty materials.

      The expanded metal grates all slide out if needed, even the one inside the firebox. The firebox is rather large, holds plenty of fuel.

      There is a heat deflector plate built on the top of the opening where the firebox meets the smoke chamber.....but it doesn't eliminate hot spots in my honest opinion. I'm researching tuning plates to try to even out the temps in my pit.

      The smokestack is very, very nice. It's wide, drafts great and is perfectly
      positioned (at grate level).

      The Old Country smokers do not include thermometers. There's a square nut screwed into a hole halfway up the smoke chamber door, which is meant for a thermometer. I disregarded that hole and used a 1" hole saw to cut my own hole at grate level. I ordered a Tel-Tru thermometer as per Franklin's recommendations and installed it very easily with a lock nut which secures the thermometer in place from inside the pit.

      This pit holds temps very well. The firebox isn't insulated though, so it uses lots of wood. Sticks easily catch flame if they're cut small enough. I burn post oak and pecan mostly, aged about a year.

      The pit has started to rust slightly around the firebox top door. The heat just gives it quite a beating I guess. It's very minor though. If it gets worse I'll take a wirewheel on a 4" angle grinder and brush it out, then re-paint it.

      As far as maintenance goes, there's a 1" hole at the bottom left of the smoke chamber that serves as your grease drain. I would like to install a ball or gate valve there eventually, but there's no rust there at all.

      Lastly, clean-up is a breeze. Here's the way I do it:

      1 - Finish cooking your meat and set aside to rest.
      2 - Fill up the firebox with wood to get to 400 degrees.
      3 - Yank open the cook chamber and scrub the grates with your brush.
      4 - Hose the cook chamber and grates to flush out any residue, and steam clean the pit.
      5 - Shut the door and let it dry out and heat back up.
      6 - Open it again and spray PAM on all the cooking surfaces. Treat it just like a cast iron skillet.

      Hope this wasn't too long winded. Keep us updated if you decide to go with an Old Country. Be sure to post pics! 😊

    • Beefchop
      Beefchop commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks so much for the first hand account, Steve!

    • SteveFromLafayette
      SteveFromLafayette commented
      Editing a comment
      Not a problem Beefchop !

    I've seen one that looks very similar to The Good One but the smoke section is bigger than the grill section, which is opposite. Seemed like hefty metal and was less than $500. I've asked Max to chime in.


      I've heard a variety of stories about Old Country, but never seen one up north. If Franklin likes 'em, that says a lot in my book.


      • Beefchop
        Beefchop commented
        Editing a comment
        I didn't see my first one until I moved south. Aaron may have used one because he knows that they are relatively inexpensive and plentiful in the south...he also did a segment where he built his own from a propane tank. I think he mainly uses pits that he builds himself...

      • SteveFromLafayette
        SteveFromLafayette commented
        Editing a comment
        Aaron wanted to show the home cook that his BBQ could be replicated on a relatively inexpensive cooker.

        Aaron used to work for John Mueller. Mueller went out of business, and Mueller's smoker went up for auction. Aaron made a low ball offer not expecting to win. Aaron ended up winning.

        This 500 gallon tank was subsequently named "Number One" and was the sole cooker used to start "Franklin BBQ".

        Once business exceeded capacity, Aaron began constructing new pits from 1000 gallon tanks. They are named:

        Number Two
        Rusty Shackleford (Shorty)
        Nikki Six
        Bethesda (New rotisserie pit)

        Most have 10" smoke stacks, fireboxes made from 250 gallon tanks cut in half with 24" pipe inserts. The small air gap makes them semi-insulated.

      I've had one of the smaller Old Country smokers, I believe it is the "Ranch Hand" model, for over a year now. I'm very happy with it. I have a larger smoker, bit if I only want to cook a single brisket or a couple racks of ribs it is perfect.

      It is not as thick as the "Wrangler" model mentioned above, bit it still holds temperature fairly well and is easy to control. I am far from an expert, but I would recommend one over some of of the other pits I've seen in this price range.


        I've looked at these at Academy. Definitely an upgrade from the COS I have.


          Hey guys, thanks for all the comments! I haven't been around much but I've been keeping up with the subscription notices, lots of good feedback and I appreciate that.

          Now all I need is a bigger patio and I'm ready to move up into the wide world of stickburners...

          Thanks again, best to all!

          Last edited by billg71; February 11, 2016, 06:16 AM.



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