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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    South of Peculiar, MO
    Posts
    6,735

    Default Leaning toward a Stoker

    I talked with John at Rock's Bar-B-Que this morning, maker of the Stoker smoker temperature controller. Great guy.
    We discussed what I am looking for in a temperature controller and what is available in the Stoker line. The big advantage of the Stoker is expandability. It can be configured to control an infinite number of smokers. The Stoker is primarily designed to work with charcoal smokers, but WILL work on a stick burner also. The issue with stick burners is the length of burn before you have to add fuel. The Stoker actually increases the time between adds and will about double burn time. How the fire box is loaded plays a big part also. He said average 4 hour burn between fuel adds, depending on what temp you set for the smoker to run at.
    The Stoker increases the length of time a drum will run on a load of charcoal because there is no air flow through the drum except when the fan is running. When it turns off it closes a gate and stops air flow.
    Anyhow, I'm looking to control two drums at a time or a drum and a stick burner together. The difference is the drum uses the 5 cfm fan and the stick burner would need the 10 cfm. But that is not a biggie, just an extra fan.
    We also had a conversation about painting smokers silver. He's an engineer and jumped right on that, a new silver convert. Said he had never considered anything like that. Told me he really likes the science involved.
    Anyhow, he's looking at putting together the package we discussed and will be getting back to me in a bit. I'm figuring about $450. Jane will kill me. But you only get to go around once.
    "If you can't smell smoke it ain't a barbeque joint" peculiarmike

    TQJ Plankowner

    "Life's tough.....It's even tougher if you're stupid."
    - John Wayne

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Ruskin, FL
    Posts
    6,290

    Default

    That sounds like a really cool controller. I hope you get it soon, I'd love to see some data on the drums with the stoker....how much more efficency do you think can you get?
    ~Brian~
    BBQ Jones comp team
    KCBS Member
    KCBS CBJ

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    South of Peculiar, MO
    Posts
    6,735

    Default

    He told me his drum goes 12 hours with the Stoker on it. I told him mine will go 24 hours easy with a ball valve controling air flow. That fried him.
    It all comes down to the size of your charcoal basket, and mine is big. No idea what size his is.
    So I'm thinking the Stoker on my drum could be real interesting. Like a week burn maybe.



    Ok, maybe not.
    But it should increase burn time a good bit.
    "If you can't smell smoke it ain't a barbeque joint" peculiarmike

    TQJ Plankowner

    "Life's tough.....It's even tougher if you're stupid."
    - John Wayne

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Carthage, MO
    Posts
    10,055

    Default

    That almost sounds like locker room talk to me. One man comparing the size of his stuff to another man's

    Mike sounds very interesting and I too would be interested in whether it helps the drums, hurts their performance, or doesn't really make a difference.

    We need some baseline info to campare it to though. So if you get it we have to have two identical smokes for comparison
    Plank Owner ..................
    I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
    Posts
    1,964

    Default

    Hope you like the new toy Mike
    ~Mike~
    www.buttloversbbq.com
    Big Green Egg - Large
    Backwoods - Custom Party
    FEC 100

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Tulsa
    Posts
    950

    Default

    Mike, Thanks for sharing. I remember talking about the multi-unit control capability with you. I really ought to think about it with my 2 or 3 drum runs.

    I will ask some heat transfer folks I work about silver paint, too.
    Glen
    Large Charcoal Vertical & UDS
    Blue Thermopen
    www.coltecconsulting.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Tulsa
    Posts
    4,976

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by peculiarmike View Post
    Anyhow, he's looking at putting together the package we discussed and will be getting back to me in a bit. I'm figuring about $450. Jane will kill me. But you only get to go around once.
    I mean what is a little money? You only get to spend it once, huh?

    Do you think that 10 CFM will be enough air flow to maintain a clean fire, or are you planning on burning c'coal with it?

    I was very impressed with the efficiency of the Piggy up at Grand, but I wonder if 10 CFM would be enough to maintain a good stick flame.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
    Posts
    1,964

    Default

    Just curious, why did you choose the Stoker over the new BBQ Guru that can control two pits? Cost? Reputation? Just curious
    ~Mike~
    www.buttloversbbq.com
    Big Green Egg - Large
    Backwoods - Custom Party
    FEC 100

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    South of Peculiar, MO
    Posts
    6,735

    Default

    This whole thing is like the old Ford-Chevy deal. Some like one, some like the other. My brother and I used to drag race and were into stock cars a while. Our drag cars were a 46 Chevy pickup and a 70 Vega sedan delivery. The stock car was a 69 Pontiac GTO Judge. They all did the same thing, went fast. And cost a LOT of money. Fun though.
    In this case I like the Stoker. First, better name.
    I like the fact the Stoker fans have a gate that completely shuts off air flow into the smoker when they turn off, burns less fuel. The Guru does not do that.
    And the Stoker is infinitely expandable, you can keep adding smokers (I doubt I will, but). Guru is not. If at some point I decide to go techy (maybe), I can set it up with my computer and control the smoker(s) from it. Can't do that with the Guru. Free software upgrades are available that really take the Stoker to another level techy-wise, allow you to map your smoker performance and save it. And while talking John told me he has developed a program that links with Twitter (whatever that is) to provide control over your smoker from wherever you are. He's getting ready to release it soon. Not something I would use, but some will I'm sure. (probably while driving)
    I went through the Guru on-line "build your guru" thing. To get close to what I can get with the Stoker would cost $538 (CYBERQ II) and I would still only be able to control two smokers and would not have the sensor/food probe for a third smoker. Nor would I have the proper adapters for the drum fans.
    Bottom line for me - the setup I'm looking at will control 3 smokers - two drums and a stick burner, any combination, if I desire. The Guru will not do that, I would have to buy another Guru for the third smoker.
    Stoker - about $450 complete *** Guru - $538 and still short a sensor & probe and couldn't use them if it had them, plus short two adapters, plus buy another Guru.
    My .
    "If you can't smell smoke it ain't a barbeque joint" peculiarmike

    TQJ Plankowner

    "Life's tough.....It's even tougher if you're stupid."
    - John Wayne

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    South of Peculiar, MO
    Posts
    6,735

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokyOkie View Post
    I mean what is a little money? You only get to spend it once, huh?

    Do you think that 10 CFM will be enough air flow to maintain a clean fire, or are you planning on burning c'coal with it?

    I was very impressed with the efficiency of the Piggy up at Grand, but I wonder if 10 CFM would be enough to maintain a good stick flame.
    We talked about that. My fire box is 16X16X21 and he recommended the 10 cfm fan. 10 cubic feet per minute is a pretty large amount of air being forced into the fire box VS what is naturally drawn in through those small openings below the door that keep the fire burning just fine. I was concerned about them providing enough but they work fine. Guess it's try it and see.
    "If you can't smell smoke it ain't a barbeque joint" peculiarmike

    TQJ Plankowner

    "Life's tough.....It's even tougher if you're stupid."
    - John Wayne

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