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KickABuck
12-11-2009, 05:58 PM
Hello all...

Long time follower, first time poster.

Love the board, great information and wonderful characters.

I'm a great fan of BBQ and just recently moved into my first home so I now have a place to put a pit, and am in the market to buy one.

I'm looking for suggestions on something around the $500 range... nothing mobile yet, unless I can get a steal. But any recommendations for a starter?

I'm in Austin TX and curious if anyone knows any pit makers that might be in my range.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks!

KickABuck

Northsider
12-11-2009, 07:01 PM
I've never owned a Weber Smokey Mountain but I would if all I had to choose from is the thin walled pits from Academy I'd go with Weber all the way.. You can also check on Craigslist in your area if you just gotta have a stick burner .
Check them out..http://www.weber.com/grills/?glid=8&mid=121

These smokers have a big following so they're a proven winner...Good luck..:thumbs:

Oh and Welcome aboard, head on over to the new member introduction and say hi.:)

totally smoked
12-11-2009, 09:25 PM
Wsm 22 1/2..I'd buy one in a heartbeat but the wife said "If you drag one more smoker / grill home without selling the other 8 I'll whoop your A.sss". And you'll have a hundred bucks left over to buy something to cook. :D

I've heard nothing but good about these things and wait a day or to and check back here....many testimonials to come I'm sure..Good luck :thumbs:

gsmith
12-12-2009, 08:15 AM
ditto on the 22.5" wsm you will love it and like ts said you'll have enough money to buy some meat to smoke on it.

Half Fast BBQ'n
12-12-2009, 10:45 AM
Great to have you with us, KickABuck.

For your price range, I would agree with Northsider, TS and Glenn. Many folks swear by those, and produce some quality food.
There are offset pits sold by Academy and a few other places. I bought a 20" diameter Oklahoma Joe for that many years ago, when they made the pits from thicker materials. I don't recommend them anymore because I don't like the quality. But, what can you expect for $500 these days :shrug:
I wound up wishing I had gotten a "real" BBQ pit, after cooking on the Okie for a couple of years. That is when I bit the bullet and ordered my Gator Pit. Never looked back and regretted that :D

There are many good pit makers out there. You can "google" for bbq pits made in Texas and you will see. Do your homework, check prices, workmanship, and shop it around. My choice was Gator Pit.

From my experience, I recommend saving your $500 and adding some to it each month until you can get a custom quality 24" diameter pit. You won't regret it. Remember, you get what you pay for.

Don't be a stranger.

Texas 1836
12-12-2009, 10:59 AM
Great to have you with us, KickABuck.

For your price range, I would agree with Northsider, TS and Glenn. Many folks swear by those, and produce some quality food.
There are offset pits sold by Academy and a few other places. I bought a 20" diameter Oklahoma Joe for that many years ago, when they made the pits from thicker materials. I don't recommend them anymore because I don't like the quality. But, what can you expect for $500 these days :shrug:
I wound up wishing I had gotten a "real" BBQ pit, after cooking on the Okie for a couple of years. That is when I bit the bullet and ordered my Gator Pit. Never looked back and regretted that :D

There are many good pit makers out there. You can "google" for bbq pits made in Texas and you will see. Do your homework, check prices, workmanship, and shop it around. My choice was Gator Pit.

From my experience, I recommend saving your $500 and adding some to it each month until you can get a custom quality 24" diameter pit. You won't regret it. Remember, you get what you pay for.

Don't be a stranger.

That is good advice.

DarylCincy
12-12-2009, 11:25 AM
Yep my budget started at $500 for a pit and I looked for a couple months and decieded to save up....about $2000 more dollars original plan was a 20"dia but final plan was a 24"!
I would say if up want a upright cooker the Weber 22" is a good choice for just under $500 or build a UDS out of a 55 gal drum for under $150 would work to, but if you want a off-set dont waste your $500 save more, Gator Pit makes some nice 20" models for around $1000-1500 range,24" dia. models around $1900 and up.
save save save!

cappy
12-12-2009, 04:17 PM
Another vote on the WSM. Unless you're buying a heavy offset that's designed to work (as opposed to being a knockoff with all kinds of issues like leaky seams/heat loss, insufficient smoking space that causes bad hot spots on half the smoking area, tiny firebox, thin steel, etc.), the upright WSM is an excellent choice.

It does what it's supposed to do very well. I don't think an inexpensive offset would be anywhere as easy to use, nor produce consistent, good results. They are very popular for a reason.

Ranbo
12-12-2009, 09:43 PM
You might want to jump on this at Amazon then.

http://www.amazon.com/Weber-731001-Smokey-Mountain-Cooker/dp/B001I8ZTJA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1260672042&sr=8-3

A 22 1/2" WSM at that price is great. I have one and a 18 1/2". Great cookers.

KickABuck
12-12-2009, 10:58 PM
Thanks everyone for the recommendation on the WSM.. I think that may fit my need right now.

I've been researching and there are many, many positive stories from it's use. And as many have said, I can save some money and by extra meat to smoke. :)

As I'm new to smoking my own BBQ, I think I'll try this on for size and if I'm worthy.. maybe step up to something bigger when I need to share the love more.

I'll be sure to let everyone know once the smoker is in hand.. and look for more pictures and updates as I scratch my itch...

Thanks all.

KickABuck

gordo
12-13-2009, 04:23 AM
Welcome to the forum KickaBuck..

One thing you might think about is building a UDS out of
some 55gal drums...for $500 you might be able to build a couple of them

Many cookers have had some good results, from what Ive read,
Think Buckeye on this forum posted about building one...

Have seen many post about how to go about it on several forums,
Just an idea...:idea:

SpongeBob
12-14-2009, 09:27 AM
I dont have a WSM but hear lots of good things about them. Probably a good starter smoker and see if the BBQ bug takes hold. If you find you don't like Qing you wont have spent alot of money although you could always resell a custom pit pretty easy without losing to much. Moving forward would definately go with a custom pit. Also 24" diameter. There is a huge cooking difference in 20" vs. 24" for meat arrangement and load capacity. (learned the hard way) You will also find saving up and getting the 1/4" thick custom pit is well worth the wait.

Hcj3rd
12-14-2009, 10:44 AM
I have a WSM 22" and I swear by it. Fire it up and it will hold 225 for 8 hrs easily. Highly reccomend one. I bought mine on Amazon for a little over $300 with free shipping. Good luck with whatever you choose.

Big Ron's
12-14-2009, 11:55 AM
Keep saving a little more and you can try Gator pits budget line, Tejas Smokers and Pits By JJ. They all have starter smokers that are budget friendly. The WSM 22" is a very good option as well.

PitBull
12-14-2009, 01:16 PM
You might want to jump on this at Amazon then.

http://www.amazon.com/Weber-731001-Smokey-Mountain-Cooker/dp/B001I8ZTJA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1260672042&sr=8-3

A 22 1/2" WSM at that price is great. I have one and a 18 1/2". Great cookers.

That's actually a pretty good sized smoker. It didn't occur to me that it is the same size as my webber grill, only a double decker version. :) I wonder how thick the metal is??? Anybody out there have one?

mw
12-22-2009, 11:02 AM
Check out the Char Griller with side fire box .... HEB, Lowes, Home Depot. Probably around $200,...... good cooker for the price.
It will definately get you started and it's a pretty good cooker for the money. You can burn charcoal and or wood.

It's big enough to use in competion cooking (1 chicken, 2 ribs, 1 brisket), light enough to haul in the back of a pickup, and great for the backyard.

With the leftover cash, get some meat and get to cookin'.

joe arras
12-22-2009, 11:18 AM
If I had it to do over, I would get a WSM to start. I bought the El Cheapo offset from Home Depot. WHAT A PAIN !!!!!

Buckeye
12-22-2009, 01:49 PM
If yer price range iz $500...I'd go with a 18.5" WSM ($250-$300 depend'n on where/who ya git it from) and also like MW sed, git a Chargriller w/side firebox (approx. $120 + $50 for firebox). This way you kin have tha best of both werlds. Both shood last a long time if proper care iz taken in cleening out an storing them. My chargriller lasted bout 8 + yeers and it wuz negleckted.

PitBull
12-22-2009, 02:26 PM
What Buckeye said. The 22" is on sale right now on Amazon for $322.00 and free shipping. Right now I'm really liking the one I bought. It just chugs along at 250 and doesn't require hardly any tending. Check out that link that was posted earlier.

BluDawg
12-23-2009, 12:44 AM
Weber Makes good stuff but the WSM needs some mods to get higher temps for chicken.For $300-400 I think that it should be more controllable. I just finished building a UDS today that I call J. B. as a tribute to my friend James B. who passed recently. I had it up to 450 deg and it will hold 225 for hours and is extremely controllable. I ot less than $100.00 in it and it has the same cooking area as a 22" WSM. $2-300.00 buys a lot of meat, fuel, and beer. I put up some pictures of J.B. tomorrow.

Over Dunn
12-23-2009, 03:11 AM
More and more Quers are getting into barrel (UDS) cooking; backyarders and comp. cooks. Whether building yourself or buying ready made(Big Drum Smokers.com), if you check out other forums (Pickled Pig, for one) you'll see the pros moving to the no-waterpan bbqing on the barrel, especially in the ribs and chicken catagories. $500 will get you a 23"er, delivered to your door step from BDS. Something to look into. JMO.:stirthepot:

OD

Txngent
12-23-2009, 12:19 PM
I like big steel Texas pits! Stating the obvious, as you Q your goal will be to have a Gator, Lonestar, Klose... etc. (listed in my preference). With that said, if you want to start with a steel pit in the price range goal I would recommend looking into a LyfeTyme 16" diameter offset. (I know it is a 16" and most would say go no smaller than a 20"... but we are thinking starter). They also have the 20" diameter as you would think... more money. I've sold against the brand here locally and don't mind saying they are nice. Your getting 1/4" rolled steel and pretty good base quality.

What you get with a steel pit..... longer life as well as resell value. If you do a 5 year window of time, the steel pits seem to still be up and smoking with no rust outs. Ultimate goal is to advance your cooking skills and upgrade equipment along the way.

bigwheel
12-23-2009, 01:13 PM
Good point on the chicken cooking Dawg. I take my little midget ECB with the holy firepan any old day. Swear that little baby get so hot have seen times it spin around past hot and back into the ideal range on the far side. That make em cook so fast their eyes is still blinking when the thigh hits 175 and time to pull em off. Temps depend on whut a person feed it too of course. In the world of shotgun chokes it would prob be classed as cylinder bore:)

bigwheel

Weber Makes good stuff but the WSM needs some mods to get higher temps for chicken.For $300-400 I think that it should be more controllable. I just finished building a UDS today that I call J. B. as a tribute to my friend James B. who passed recently. I had it up to 450 deg and it will hold 225 for hours and is extremely controllable. I ot less than $100.00 in it and it has the same cooking area as a 22" WSM. $2-300.00 buys a lot of meat, fuel, and beer. I put up some pictures of J.B. tomorrow.

KickABuck
12-30-2009, 07:04 PM
Well an update.

Due to last minute Christmas delays, I missed the deal on the WSM sale on Amazon. *sigh*.

However.. I was driving around my new neighborhood here the other day, and noticed about 5-6 pits on trailers, that obviously haven't been used in years. I'm talking broken, tilted, flat tire pits. So I was thinking I might go a door knockin and see if someone might want to unload one on the cheap.

So my question is this. What should I be looking for in terms of weathering that would help me determine if the pit is salvageable or not? Also, is there a way to recondition the outside of a pit if it's been neglected and sitting in the elements for quite some time? If that makes sense.

Thanks!

gordo
12-31-2009, 04:50 AM
You can pick up some good deals, just looking and asking...

Check for burn out or rust out in firebox, also check for warped doors, both firebox and main pit...if its 1/4 inch stuff should last a long time, like 58' Buick bumper..!

could have it sand blasted, or just work it with a grinder and steel brush and repaint..

Good luck in your search, Buddy of mine found one several years back $500. went on to win several GC with it...:)

UpTop
12-31-2009, 12:06 PM
If you take the water pan out of the WSM it works similar to a UDS you can get the temp up pretty high...

redneck cooker
12-31-2009, 04:58 PM
If I were gonna spend $500 for a started pit , I would buy the Weber Performer, you get the 22 1/2" with auto ignition, a nice table built aroung it and its on wheels, great cooker for the money...:twocents::roflmaoha0:

Big Ron's
01-01-2010, 12:28 AM
If I were gonna spend $500 for a started pit , I would buy the Weber Performer, you get the 22 1/2" with auto ignition, a nice table built aroung it and its on wheels, great cooker for the money...:twocents::roflmaoha0:

I saw on another forum Lowes has them for $199 on clearance reg $299.