Horizon Smoker® 16'' Ranger Backyard Smoker
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 grill / smoker is extremely well made. In the 20 years before I bought this grill, I owned 5 different grills. 4 years after I bought this, it looks just as good as it did when I bought it, and with simple maintainance, I think that it will continue to look great. It is so sturdy and well made that if a car were to run into this smoker, I am sure the grill would be fine, but the car would be toast!.
This is not a grill for someone who just wants to cook an occasional burger. in fact, even if you are going to be grilling large numbers of burgers, steaks, sausages etc, this will be overkill. There are many grills out there that have as large of a grilling surface that cost MUCH less. Where this excells however is as a smoker. If there is a form of food that you can think of smoking, this baby can do it. From beef and pork roasts, picnic hams, venison roasts, and full turkeys, I have smoked them all, and they turn out wonderful. If you need to cold smoke items, just put them in the vertical smoker and they can be smoked as well. From cheeses, to making my own bacon and smoked sausage, as well as smoked fruit, if it needs cold smoke, you can do it easily with this smoker. (heck, I even smoked a lasagna in this bad boy!)
The only problem I have with this smoker is it's weight. Even once I got it home, just pulling it out of the garage to use it is a job! This thing is one HEAVY BEAST!!! However, because it is made with such a heavy gauge of steel, it maintains it's heat well in all but the coldest weather. Still, if you aren't in shape, plan to leave this in one place once you get it home.
This is not a product for someone who is only going to use it occasionally. For it to be worth the price, you will have to use it frequently. But if you are an avid smoker/griller and you enjoy cooking for large groups of people, this is a wonderful product that will give you may years of enjoyment!
October 26, 2012
Awesome Product Performance
I bought this smoker at the Pearl, MS store for Christmas. I have to say that the quality and the ease of using it is amazing. First, we seasoned the smoker over a 4 hour period with oak and a spray down of Pam olive oil 1/2 way through.
We have turned out ribs and brisket over the past few weeks.
The secret to this unit is its triple use. Typically, the firebox on the end provides a grill, the center horizontal cooking area is for smoking/barbecue briskets, porkbutts and ribs (200 - 300 degree) and the vertical chamber is for cold smoking (curing) 100 - 200 degree) bacon, cheese wheels, sausage, poultry, deer meat and others.
Remember, this unit is designed to use a combination of hardwood charcoal and seasoned hard wood in combination. The secret to a good fire is using about 3-4 lbs of coals and 12 or so 1"x1"x12" pieces of hard wood kindling. With both dampers on wide open, fire these up and watch your temp rise! After the coals are good and hot and the kindling has burned to coals, throw on 2 good split pieces of hardwood logs (1/4 each), close the top outlet damper to 3/4 and the inlet to 1/2. Allow the temp to stabilize near 200-250 and leave it to "cruise-control." Stoke with about 2 lbs of coals and a piece (1/4 log) when the temp drops.
Love this smoker and the food it puts out. Remember, you can always finish up your stuff in the oven because once meat reaches 140 it doesn't take smoke any longer.
If you are thinking about this unit, BUY IT! Worth every penny to see the smiles on my family's faces after biting into dad's smoker creations.
This one is nearly 600 pounds. The only disadvantage is getting it out of the pickup truck and onto the back patio. Bring LOTS of help!
December 27, 2010
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