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Smoke EZ or Cajun Bandit BBQ Stacker (for 22.5" kettle)?

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    Smoke EZ or Cajun Bandit BBQ Stacker (for 22.5" kettle)?

    So now that I'm getting an extra kettle tomorrow, I have/want to decide what to do with it. One of the options is going full-time smoker - either with the Smoke EZ or the BBQ Stacker. The main downside with both of these is not having a side door like the original Cajun Bandit conversion kit had.

    The Stacker consists of a stainless steel ring (height unknown), a second cooking grate, a charcoal ring and a heat deflector for $159, plus $35 shipping.

    The Smoke EZ is a 14" tall black powder-coated ring with handles, a hanging rack, a water/drip pan, and a fire ring. It doesn't include a cooking grate. It's $199 from Firecraft, which has free shipping (and it's just a few miles from the house so I could pick it up).

    Despite what either manufacturer might say, I'm sure I will have situations when I'll need to add charcoal or wood - like when I do a 13 lb brisket and don't crutch. So those handles on the Smoke-EZ would probably be useful.

    Any personal experiences with either? Any thoughts on why I would or wouldn't need a heat deflector?

    (Or should I just get a rotisserie kit? )

    Last edited by The Burn; December 15, 2014, 10:50 PM. Reason: (Edit: The Firecraft website says the Smoke EZ is 14" tall, but the photos I've seen in various places look much, much bigger than that)

    #2
    Clean up the kettle, resell it for $60, and stretch your budget a few dollars for the 18.5" WSM. That's my vote

    Comment


    • The Burn
      The Burn commented
      Editing a comment
      Certainly a little stretch - turn my $20 into $60, and then need to find $40 or so more than the Smoke EZ. I'll do a separate post on my clean-up, but I think if I were reselling, I might need to get new grates.

    #3
    Originally posted by Pit Boss View Post
    Clean up the kettle, resell it for $60, and stretch your budget a few dollars for the 18.5" WSM. That's my vote

    Or a PBC

    Comment


    • The Burn
      The Burn commented
      Editing a comment
      No, I said I want a Smoker, not a Cooker :-)

    #4
    Better yet, sell your kettle for $2K, then get yerselffa nice ol' stickburner! That shouldn't be a problem, should it?

    Comment


    • DWCowles
      DWCowles commented
      Editing a comment
      Great advice Huskee...stick burner is the way to go

    • The Burn
      The Burn commented
      Editing a comment
      Definitely want one some day - after I win the lottery

    #5
    Keep the kettle and get yet another smoking device. I'm not bias I love them all.

    Comment


      #6
      Originally posted by Jon Solberg View Post
      Keep the kettle and get yet another smoking device. I'm not bias I love them all.

      Says the Weber fanatic. lol

      Comment


      • Jon Solberg
        Jon Solberg commented
        Editing a comment
        Who? Moi? lol lol lol

        Well I'm trying not to be bias

      #7
      I would recommend a Smokenator. Pair it with a Party Q and you can smoke just about anything. The Party Q is an option but not absolutely necessary

      Comment


      • The Burn
        The Burn commented
        Editing a comment
        I've already got a Smokenator. And a Vortex. And a set of Mavericks. I've thought about automating, but it's the manual nature that I like.

      #8
      If you already have a kettle then I'd do what Pit Boss recommends: sell one and buy an 18.5" WSM. The door notwithstanding it's better in many ways than the Smoke EZ and the Cajun Bandit. You can also add one of those Vortex things to your kettle ($40-$50) for small batches of "low and slow" and break out the WSM when you want to cook for a larger crowd.

      FWIW, I don't use my kettle much now that I have a Weber Smokey Mountain. If I had to trick out my kettle, I'd add a Vortex and a Cajun Bandit stacker. When comparing the Cajun to the Smoke EZ you get the stacker, a charcoal ring, and the heat deflector plate with shipping for about $185. No handles though. From what I've read both designs work really well for extended cooks but there are some reports that it's hard to regulate temps on the lower grates. I like the ring you get with the Cajun better than the small ring and small bowl design you get with the Smoke EZ, so the Cajun would be my pick. But, I'd add a water pan on the second grate to collect drippings and to diffuse the heat a little and would only cook on the top grate. The bowl on the Smoke EZ doesn't look like it would hold much water and there's no heat barrier between the bottom grate and the coals.

      I wish my WSM didn't have a door. I've never had to add charcoal in the 5+ years I've owned my cooker and I've made everything from ribs to whole chickens to turkeys to 8-10 lb. pork butts. The ring holds a lot of charcoal and the water bowl preserves your fire nicely. But the door design sucks. It lets in a lot of air, is flimsy, and isn't really big enough to make adding charcoal an easy task. Harry Soo recommends replacing it with one made by Cajun Bandit.




      Comment


      • The Burn
        The Burn commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah, I've got a Performer with a Vortex and a Smokenator. I'm sure if I bought a WSM, then I'd end up wanting to buy the Cajun Bandit door. I can't imagine being able to get through a 12-hour cook without adding charcoal, wood or water, but maybe that's some mechanics that I still need to work on.

      • Beefchop
        Beefchop commented
        Editing a comment
        Wow. 12 hours! I've never had to cook anything that long but the 22.5" WSM would probably give you a longer cook and the larger door would make adding charcoal a little easier than it is with the 18.5" version.

        I conserve heat by foiling the water pan (dry), by building a small fire and by using good damper control. I know that I've squeezed a good 8-10 hours out of one ring of charcoal on a good day, and could probably do better with a BBQ Guru and one of those silicone insulation jackets they sell for the WSM. I'm expecting even better efficiency now that I'm living down south where the ambient temps are higher. Sounds like you've got all you need to make your kettle sing!

      #9
      the cajun bandit door looks like THE way to go... I would definitely get that if I had a WSM (someday)...

      http://cajunbandit.com/wsm-parts-mods/

      Comment


        #10
        I do have a cajun bandit door. If your running an 2008 or older save your money. Cant speak for the 2009 and newer.

        I ran the old door from 2005 till I saw Harrys seminar. I ordered it that night. I was good without it.


        Just my opinion after doing a few dozen cooks with it. I almost took it off and put the old one back.

        I have to say the Cajun Bandit was awesome to deal with. Lightning fast to ship. Great communication. This seller gets an A++++ ( oh wait this isn't EBay is it)
        Last edited by Jon Solberg; December 16, 2014, 07:52 PM.

        Comment


          #11
          Thanks all, good thoughts and comments. This will marinate in the background for awhile. I've certainly been happy using the Vortex and Smokenator on the Performer, and I can always fall back on my GOSM, so I may get a rotisserie to use for chickens and tri-tips. We shall see

          Comment


          • Beefchop
            Beefchop commented
            Editing a comment
            The Performer is a nice set up. I have a friend who uses his so much that he buys a new one every 5 years. He has the rotisserie and RAVES about it. If you like cooking whole chickens then you'll like the rotisserie.

            Something that may help? How much capacity do you need? If you are going to BBQ a lot of meat then I'd say forget the accessories for the kettle (b/c they aren't going to do much to give you a lot of cooking space but they all do a nice job of turning your charcoal grill into a respectable smoker) and go with a dedicated smoker. 18.5" or 22.5" WSM.

            Stew on it and let us know what you decide. Good luck!

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