Horizon Smoker® 16'' Ranger Backyard Smoker
Built like a tank but with a lot of holes
I purchased this smoker at Bass Pro Shops near Colorado Springs just two weeks ago. After spending nearly 2K on this smoker and a convection plate I must say that I am quite disappointed in the craftsmanship in the main lid and the door. The door on the vertical chamber is the worst. Theres a fairly decent sized gap in both the door and the lid when closed causing significant heat loss and smoke. I understand that these should not be airtight but this is well beyond normal as they should not be so bad as to have to try and fill the gaps with foil and constantly monitor the temperatures, especially with a smoker of this cost and caliber. The temperature gauge on the main chamber is 35 degrees off as is the one in the vertical chamber which is off by 32 degrees. Both checked with a ThermoWorks Pro Digital.
The Smoker weighs 570lbs and it took renting a truck and paying 4 guys to unload this monster so returning it is an option I would like to avoid at all cost. I am awaiting a response from Horizon on what they will do to fix the issues. I will update my review when Horizon reaches out to me. Customer service from what I've read online isn't their strong suit so if I don't hear black from them with a good solution I will have to return this smoker.
March 16, 2014
I had been interested in a Horizon smoker for a while but dreaded ordering one as they are built one at a time and it can take a while to get one. When I saw the ranger that I was wanting at Bass Pro I jumped on it. Here are some things you need to know if you get a Horizon smoker, THEY ARE HEAVY it took 5 men to unload mine from pickup to deck. Bass Pro was great on loading it. If you have to order one that is not in stock Horizon will add any accessories you want , the guys at Horizon gave me the #s I needed for the items to give to bass pro. YOU WILL NEED a convection plate, a charcoal box and another thermometer on the hot side of the lid on any model to even out the temps so you don't have to rotate meat and loose temps with the lid open. I had the plate and the box made local for $70, on the thermometer I bought and extra from Bass Pro and drilled a hole and bought a stainless nut to hold it no problem. The Horizon website and the guys there will do what every it takes to help you. This is a great smoker that will never wear out. You are done also with the mods I listed this smoker becomes a dream to operate. If you are wanting a one time top of the line smoker you have found it
September 3, 2013
Great Smoker Worth the $$$
I did lots of research before purchasing my next smoker. After years of using a Weber Smokey Mountain, I decided to take my smoking to the next level and get a horizontal offset smoker.
Everything I read said that Horizon smokers were the way to go. The heavy gauge steal and build quality are clear. The weight alone tells you something as it was not easy to unload. I routinely walk through the big box hardware stores and shake my head at the flimsy offset smokers they sell. This is not one of those smokers, this is the real deal.
After seasoning the grill with some Pam olive oil spray and hickory wood, I broke it in with four racks of ribs. Since then, I've done countless ribs and a brisket. The best so far has been its performance with pork shoulders. I got four 8-10 lbs. shoulders on it and they came out unbelievably good.
I'll warn you that it is a little tricky to operate and it isn't for a novice smoker. The butterfly vent on the firebox works well but it wasn't until I purchased a charcoal basket from Horizon's website that I was able to really dial the smoker in and let it cruise for hours. I push the basket up against the butterfly vent and load it up with lump coal, light about 2/3 of the coals in two chimney starters. Toss the lit coals on the unlit 1/3 in the basket. While the rest of the coals light and the smoker comes up to temp, I light another chimney of lump coal and toss it on the opposite end of the firebox on the bottom. I put a small split of hardwood on top of those coals and off you go.
I would also recommend the convection plate. There are some cold spots that the plate has helped dissipate. Be sure to pick you up cheap small metal bucket to hang from the grease drain as well. I would also advise to put it somewhere out of the weather or get a tarp or cover for it.
One warning, while the smoker is great, the Horizon Company is a small outfit in Oklahoma. After dealing with them over a back ordered convection plate that took six months to ship, I got the impression that costumer service wasn't their strong suit. By gosh, those guys make a great smoker though. You just may have to stay on them and call routinely to get back-ordered items.
Follow the instructions for maintenance and this smoker should last a very long time and bring lots of smiles from your guests.
June 12, 2013
This is a quality smoker. Very pleased with it overall. I would have preferred the 20 inch version, but the 16 still did a good job.
First thing.. This pit is HEAVY. It will fit in a pick up truck bed if you want to save a few hundred bucks on shipping. Let the guys at bass pro use a fork lift to load the pit into your truck with it still on the pallet. The pallet will keep it even and make unloading easier. Guys at San Antonio store did a great job loading it in. Even helped secure it with the straps I brought to give it extra security. It took 4 solid people to get it out of the truck, but I still think 6 would make it much easier.
The pit does leak some smoke, which is a negative, takes a bit of time to heat up, and takes some fire maintenance to keep the temp and smoke steady. The fire box is a bit small and not ideal for grilling at the same time as smoking since the grate is REALLY close to the flame.
I was able to get the upright to maintain a temp of 200 while running the main chamber at 250... It took some work, but it's possible with practice. The upright cooked chicken, veggies, potatoes, and sausage very nicely. The main chamber ran my ribs and brisket and created a nice bark (crust) on my meat. I use a 6x12 pan with water on my hot spot. I place it right next to firebox inside main chamber. It will keep moisture in the pit and act as a boundary for my meat.
I was able to produce a large amount of meat and still had ample room left over. Easily can feed 15-25 people just depending on what you serve.
Been a serious BBQ guy for many years and I can honestly say I am very happy with this pit.
April 10, 2013