Next Best Thing to an Offset Smoker?

Data_Dan

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Location
Stouffville, ON, Canada
Grill
Ironwood 650, Weber 470S Summit NG, Blackstone 1868
I was going to upgrade my Ironwood 650 to an Ironwood XL but after reading about all of the temperature issues especially in colder climates, I'm having second thoughts. I have since discovered the Masterbuilt Gravity Series XT. Apparently it is a redesign from the 1st generation models which had plenty of issues. It has thicker steel and a better control panel. Masterbuilt Gravity Series XT. It is $800 Cdn. less expensive than an Ironwood XL. It will probably be more work to cook with in terms of lighting it and keep clean and the fuel is more expensive than pellets but if it imparts a better smoke flavour than I think it might be worth giving it a shot. It might be too early to pull the trigger on it so I wait a year to see how it performs over time. When will Traeger come out with a version of this thing?
 
I don't have any experience with the Gravity unit from Masterbuilt, but I've had the Ironwood XL for over a year now and it's phenomenal.

Done everything at all temps...18hr brisket cooks, fish, corn at 500° and on and on...
The smoke flavor is absolutely achievable with some extra time spent below 225°, SuperSmoke on.

So far...bulletproof.
 
My buddy has a masterbuilt and we was cooking for a big wedding rehearsal dinner. We smoked many racks of ribs that turned out great, but after ribs we turned up the heat to cook chicken breast. The whole thing went up in flames. Luckily I got the chicken off before damage was done to them. We couldn’t stop the fire, it burned until all the grease buildup was gone. It also burned sensors, plastic handles etc. it was junk. I found out they have had these issues. But the smoke flavor on the ribs was good, not as good as my egg but good. Actually my 780 Pro turns out some great ribs, I use a smoke box and two smoke boxes I modified. Really easy on my Traeger, better flavor on my egg but more work and more cleanup. But I’ve cooked hundreds of racks of ribs on my 780 that people couldn’t believe was cooked on a pellet smoker. Many butts too. It’s got a learning curve but once you figure how to make it work for you, you’ll love the Traeger. Consistent every time.
 
My buddy has a masterbuilt and we was cooking for a big wedding rehearsal dinner. We smoked many racks of ribs that turned out great, but after ribs we turned up the heat to cook chicken breast. The whole thing went up in flames. Luckily I got the chicken off before damage was done to them. We couldn’t stop the fire, it burned until all the grease buildup was gone. It also burned sensors, plastic handles etc. it was junk. I found out they have had these issues. But the smoke flavor on the ribs was good, not as good as my egg but good. Actually my 780 Pro turns out some great ribs, I use a smoke box and two smoke boxes I modified. Really easy on my Traeger, better flavor on my egg but more work and more cleanup. But I’ve cooked hundreds of racks of ribs on my 780 that people couldn’t believe was cooked on a pellet smoker. Many butts too. It’s got a learning curve but once you figure how to make it work for you, you’ll love the Traeger. Consistent every time.
I think the newer version has solved the flare up problem by redesigning the manifold in the bottom. The Gallery Backyard BBQThat is one of my concerns with what I've seen so far in the 1st gen smokers. I still don't understand how the whole thing doesn't burn up with the charcoal stored directly above the fire box with a fan blowing the heat into the cooking chamber. To shut it down apparently you close the air intake and the controller shuts down the fan. What happens when the power fails and the the fan stops blowing during a cook. The air flow is still there. Will it continue to burn but straight up into the charcoal storage bin? I like the idea of this thing but I'm going wait until next year before I do anything. There isn't enough info on the internet yet about it.
 
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I was going to upgrade my Ironwood 650 to an Ironwood XL but after reading about all of the temperature issues especially in colder climates, I'm having second thoughts. I have since discovered the Masterbuilt Gravity Series XT. Apparently it is a redesign from the 1st generation models which had plenty of issues. It has thicker steel and a better control panel. Masterbuilt Gravity Series XT. It is $800 Cdn. less expensive than an Ironwood XL. It will probably be more work to cook with in terms of lighting it and keep clean and the fuel is more expensive than pellets but if it imparts a better smoke flavour than I think it might be worth giving it a shot. It might be too early to pull the trigger on it so I wait a year to see how it performs over time. When will Traeger come out with a version of this thing?

Although you live in Canada, your location in Stouffville is further south than many places in the States. You are only about 100 miles/160 km north of my location outside Chicago. There are many people who live much further north than you do who cook with Ironwoods in winter. The IW has double walls in the cook chamber other than the lid. That helps retain heat. Although no custom fitted insulation blanket is available for the Ironwood, it is possible to cover it with a welders blanket to retain heat if necessary, but unless you want to cook on the coldest winter day, it might not be needed.

If you lived in Northern Ontario near the Hudson Bay where temperatures can reach minus 40C/minus 40 F upon occasion, then you might have some difficulty.
 
Although you live in Canada, your location in Stouffville is further south than many places in the States. You are only about 100 miles/160 km north of my location outside Chicago. There are many people who live much further north than you do who cook with Ironwoods in winter. The IW has double walls in the cook chamber other than the lid. That helps retain heat. Although no custom fitted insulation blanket is available for the Ironwood, it is possible to cover it with a welders blanket to retain heat if necessary, but unless you want to cook on the coldest winter day, it might not be needed.

If you lived in Northern Ontario near the Hudson Bay where temperatures can reach minus 40C/minus 40 F upon occasion, then you might have some difficulty.
I've never had any issues with my IW650. I've done pretty much everything on it during the winter. I use it at least 3 times a week! We never use our kitchen oven! I've cooked a brisket at -20C. It used more pellets than normal but it held it's temperature. The newer Ironwood XL seems to have some problems getting to and staying at temperature based on some posts here. I hardly ever go above 350F in any of my cooks. I do anything requiring searing either on my Weber Summit or my Blackstone griddle. The ideal situation would be to have both my IW650 AND the Masterbuilt XT but you know who would not like it. I think I might have her convinced that I need to upgrade the IW650 because the grandkids are getting bigger and soon they will be at the age when we will barely be able to afford to feed them so I need something bigger. I have just enough room on my porch to add it to my repertoire.
 
I've never had any issues with my IW650. I've done pretty much everything on it during the winter. I use it at least 3 times a week! We never use our kitchen oven! I've cooked a brisket at -20C. It used more pellets than normal but it held it's temperature. The newer Ironwood XL seems to have some problems getting to and staying at temperature based on some posts here. I hardly ever go above 350F in any of my cooks. I do anything requiring searing either on my Weber Summit or my Blackstone griddle. The ideal situation would be to have both my IW650 AND the Masterbuilt XT but you know who would not like it. I think I might have her convinced that I need to upgrade the IW650 because the grandkids are getting bigger and soon they will be at the age when we will barely be able to afford to feed them so I need something bigger. I have just enough room on my porch to add it to my repertoire.

My wife and I live 1000 miles from my granddaughter, so most cooks are just for the two of us. I wish I had grandkids nearby.

When I purchased my Ironwood, I paid extra for the IW885. Yeah, I could have gotten by with the smaller grill, but having extra space is great. I always cook enough for several meals at one time and freeze the excess to be reheated sous vide.

I did the same thing when I purchased a gas griddle. I got one with 4 burners. Having extra space and multiple heat zones is nice.
 

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