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Trying to Make a Decision on an Offset - Need the Pit's Help in narrowing it down

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    Trying to Make a Decision on an Offset - Need the Pit's Help in narrowing it down

    Hi all!

    I am in the market for an offset smoker. I've done my research, found a wood source, and am ready to spend the time with it (Plus for the days I don't have time, I still have a PBC and a Grilla OG). I also am taking a BBQ Class this month to do a practice run on an offset to make sure I'm 100% on board (for the class it'll be on a Meadow Creek Barrel Smoker or the SQ36)

    I am completely overwhelmed with the options available to me. I know I'd like to make an investment in a nicer offset, so not looking at any COS. I'm also looking at Patio models that are easy to move (good wheels) as while I have space, I don't have enough space (or a strong enough marriage) to bring home something that takes up a driveway or side of the house. I've narrowed it down to the following:

    Meadowcreek (The advantage here is that there is a local dealer and they seem pretty awesome)
    - https://www.meadowcreekbbq.com/catal...rbeque-smoker/
    - https://www.meadowcreekbbq.com/catal...rbecue-smoker/

    Northern Smokers/Sling N Steel/HBT Smokers (The Northern Smoker is practically local, and they all seem to be made by HBT in Alabama)
    - https://www.northernsmokers.com/stor...hub_Model.html
    - https://www.northernsmokers.com/stor...8BRib_Box.html

    Workhorse Pits (Just seems awesome and has all the bells and whistles I think I want, but not local, so shipping and such)
    - https://www.workhorsepits.com/product-page/1957

    Lonestar Grillz (this was my original choice before I realized there were options closer that I could go test out and physically go see)
    - https://lonestargrillz.com/collectio...-offset-smoker
    - https://lonestargrillz.com/collectio...-offset-smoker

    M1Grill (Not my first choice, but if for some reason I need something with a small footprint, it's on the table)
    -https://mgrills.com/products/2019-m1

    So I know the members of this group have all sorts of pits and opinions, so happy to hear what people think, love, hate, and see if it can help me narrow this overwhelming choice down.

    #2
    Other than mobility, do you have any other requirements?

    What were the key features that led you to this shortlist?

    What do you like best and worst about your current collection that this offset should avoid and/or address?

    And, maybe because I haven’t heard of all of these builders (Northern Smokers primarily), how important is customer service? Have you called them up to see how responsive or helpful they are to a few questions? PBC and Grilla being pretty famous there IMO.
    Last edited by IFindZeroBadCooks; July 29, 2021, 02:05 PM.

    Comment


    • Baltimorelger
      Baltimorelger commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the feedback! These are all good questions to consider and I'll take my time to think about them. As far as customer service, the Meadow Creek dealer has been awesome. I haven't had a chance to reach out to Northern Smokers yet, as I was hoping to have some times available on my end to schedule a visit. At the same time, I don't know if anyone can compete with PBC or Grilla (as I've never experienced support for anything like they provide).

    #3
    Well, I have the LSG 24x40 and absolutely love it!! It is a versatile cooker, supremely built (functional art, really), plenty of accessories and add-ons, and rock solid once tuned and understood (like all of them).

    They're not cheap and shipping was a bit spendy ($550 to Nor Cal), but this is a lifetime, legacy cooker and anyone who owns one stands behind them 100%. Chris and company are great to work with and very responsive, knowledgeable, and courteous.

    There are A LOT of very fine quality offsets all over the country and choosing one is a labor of love. Good Luck!
    Last edited by CaptainMike; July 29, 2021, 02:12 PM.

    Comment


    • Troutman
      Troutman commented
      Editing a comment
      I have an idea. Why don't you come to our Meat-Up in October, you can do a side trip to the LSG facility and see for yourself !! Love to have ya !!!

    • Baltimorelger
      Baltimorelger commented
      Editing a comment
      HA! I am so jealous whenever I see the posts from the time you guys are having. If I was closer, I'd definitely attend. I'm hoping that once my work travel kicks in again, I can sneak a visit out to TX this year (and maybe some side trips to eat and look at pits).

    • CaptainMike
      CaptainMike commented
      Editing a comment
      I totally get that, it is a leap of faith. I will say that when it got here it exceeded my expectations and even their excellent reputation. The fit and finish, the welds, the design, the ease of use, truly a superior product. Not trying to sell you on it, just sharing my experience.

    #4
    I’ve never heard of Northern Smokers. Their patio model looks low to the ground. I recommend seeing them in person before you order it jus to make sure I’m wrong.

    Comment


    • Baltimorelger
      Baltimorelger commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, they really made the list because they are local and I figured I could drive out one day and check them all out. (seem to be a distributor for HBT smokers) and they have versions with wheels higher up.

    #5
    LSG!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment


      #6
      One thing I wanted to flag on the Workhorse that really caught my eye is that they use grate-level smoke stack, which is what Franklin uses in his smokers. It seems like a really thoughtful feature that the others (I'm pretty certain) do not have.

      The whole thread is quite good, but the comments on the grate-level smoke stack are on post 19.

      https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...a-stick-burner

      Comment


      • Baltimorelger
        Baltimorelger commented
        Editing a comment
        Awesome. Great point of consideration. I may be wrong, but I feel like one of the Meadowcreek options has this as well.

      • CaptainMike
        CaptainMike commented
        Editing a comment
        My LSG is at grate level. Check out the brisket I did in the latest edition of Hot From The Pit. One if the best briskets I've done.

      • IFindZeroBadCooks
        IFindZeroBadCooks commented
        Editing a comment
        That would be worth checking on the Meadow Creek.

      #7
      I liked the versatility of the LSG firebox, the different levels, the larger firebox allows me to put splits next to the basket to dry and it has a removable lid. Chris (owner) at LSG told me a 24" series will use 50-80% more fuel than a 20" series. It is a long wait (4 months ish) after ordering to get delivery although many of the custom pit makers have extended lead times now too. Good luck with whatever route you decide.

      Comment


        #8
        I’ve also found it helpful to price these smokers out on an apples to apples basis and factoring in shipping costs as some options are standard with one brand but extra on another. Given there is like a $1500 price range here that might help clarify the decision one way or another. If you share those numbers with us, we can definitely give you an opinion on value.

        Comment


        • Baltimorelger
          Baltimorelger commented
          Editing a comment
          Most seem to be in range, but if I can pair it down I’ll put some prices up to share if I’m still on the fence.

        #9
        If you can get the Meadow Creek smokers, which I know are good, locally (i.e. pick it up or have low cost delivery), that would sure be a factor, since you know many of the other smokers may incur a $600 freight charge to reach you (thinking Lone Star here). Not sure I like the Northern Smoker option so much, looking at it on that webpage anyway. Meadow Creek just has a nice variety of smokers, and basic offsets for under $2000. With the others incurring the shipping charges, I think I would lean towards something you can get through that Meadow Creek dealer that is local...

        Comment


        • Baltimorelger
          Baltimorelger commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah, I’m thinking Northern is coming off the list. Meadow Creek definitely is a strong contender though some of those Texas pits are real beauties.

        • IFindZeroBadCooks
          IFindZeroBadCooks commented
          Editing a comment
          Wheels seem like an option for even the cheaper 2-wheeled ones so maybe you can convert them to four?

          https://www.meadowcreekbbq.com/catal...rd-bbq-smoker/

        • IFindZeroBadCooks
          IFindZeroBadCooks commented
          Editing a comment
          Meadow Creek confirmed the 4 wheels:

          “If you are wanting to order your cooker with four wheels, you would want to get the "8" casters on stand" option in the customization options. That way we would build it with a slightly shorter stand with casters on the bottom.”

        #10
        no need to keep looking. check it out.
        Lang BBQ Smokers

        Comment


        • Baltimorelger
          Baltimorelger commented
          Editing a comment
          Well, northern smokers came off, can’t hurt to have another great option😄

        #11
        Franklin and KBQ aren’t on the list? Good stick burners aren’t cheap, but you’ll probably have it forever, so don’t settle and save for whichever one you decide you really want. For something you’ll potentially have for decades, what’s a little wait and shipping hurt? If you have any questions about your long term commitment, you could start with an Old Country Brazos.

        Lot’s of love for LSG here in the pit, I see workhorse get a lot of love other places (and LSG too). If I were ever to buy a nice stick burner, they’d get my first looks. I don’t see if happening though unless I move, I just don’t have a good place to store wood away from the house where we are at. Good luck making a decision and can’t wait to see pics when you get one.

        Comment


        • CaptainMike
          CaptainMike commented
          Editing a comment
          Completely agree with this. While most of us are cost conscious, after I started my research it occurred to me that value was more important than cost and that if I were going to make this investment then costs like accessories, add-ons, and shipping were irrelevant. You only have to pay for it once.

        #12
        Well I think I have swayed enough Pit Members to purchase an LSG. I can definitely answer any question you might have regarding them.
        Also if you would like I would be more than willing for you to come up to my place to see mine. Yes it’s a bit of a hike but considering what you’re looking for it might be worth it.
        The one I have is a 24x36

        Comment


        • Steve B
          Steve B commented
          Editing a comment
          Not sure if you’re complementing or insulting me
          CaptainMike 😁😂

        • CaptainMike
          CaptainMike commented
          Editing a comment
          Definitely not an insult, my friend! Your advice was integral to my decision, my Master......

        • Steve B
          Steve B commented
          Editing a comment
          Don’t make me wet my pants @CaptianMike 😂😂Although that would put out the fire. I am no master. Maybe pretty good but definitely not a master.
          But many thanks for the accolade my friend.

        #13
        II don't know what your budget is, but I am looking at the Meadow Creek smokers, and I'll be honest - the only one in the < $2000 range is the SQ36, and to me, while it has a nice second level grate, the grates themselves are too small - 14.5" deep x 35" long. I've been using a small offset for years that has a 22 x 34 grate (body is 24 x 36), and often wish it was bigger. A 14 inch deep grate is pretty shallow, front to back.

        The TS70P is deep, but has a very SHORT body, and to me, for that price, you just are not getting a lot of capacity for the money.

        For an offset, I think there are some better options, such as the Lang and LSG, that will give you more capacity for your money. I like the Lang 48 patio models personally.
        Last edited by jfmorris; July 29, 2021, 08:50 PM.

        Comment


        • IFindZeroBadCooks
          IFindZeroBadCooks commented
          Editing a comment
          Good point. The most I've ever done on ribs has been three.

        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          IFindZeroBadCooks if you are spending $1500 to $3000 on a cooker, you want it to be big enough to handle whatever you are going to throw at it in my opinion. I just don't like that 14" dimension on the smaller Meadowcreek, as that's the size of a tiny PBJ or WSM14. I think something that is at a MINIMUM 20 inches deep would be what I would want.

        • Baltimorelger
          Baltimorelger commented
          Editing a comment
          These are really great points. Since I am limited by my backyard area, I likely will be sticking to a smaller patio unit. If we ever move (which would be many years from now, maybe a bigger thing would be an option).

        #14
        Thank you everyone for all your help! I had the morning off and was able to really sit down and do even more research. I also was able to measure my spaces outside and really get a feel for what I can fit out back (unfortunately our yard is weirdly hardscaped and there are multiple gates to contend with, so I have some space/access constrictions, especially as my wife vetoed me "taking the fence down"). This factor alone helped eliminate a few options and the SQ36 felt a little too small to dive in with.

        We're down to Lonestar 20x42 or the Outlaw Patio! The deciding factor is going to be if I can find a dealer that will ship an outlaw patio smoker to Maryland. I found one that is online (most other seemed to be in-store only), and am waiting to hear back from them.

        I'm hoping once I have that detail, I'll be ready to make a final decision.

        I know we have some huge Lonestar fans, but curious if anyone has an Outlaw Patio and can share their experience.

        Comment


        • IFindZeroBadCooks
          IFindZeroBadCooks commented
          Editing a comment
          I doubt anyone here will complain about another LSG owner joining their midst. Congrats on the new purchase!

        #15
        No love for the M1? I ended up ordering (and waiting) for the M36. Lots of cooking real estate but a small enough footprint for my city lot backyard. The versatility tipped the scales in favor of this beast.

        rob

        Comment


        • Baltimorelger
          Baltimorelger commented
          Editing a comment
          The M1 is a beautiful machine but the heart wants what the heart wants.

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