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Pit Barrel Cooker vs Oklahoma Joe Bronco Drum Smoker – Best Drum Smoker 2023

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Do you love smoking meat? Keen just to give it a try to see what the fuss is all about? Or have you already got your smoker and it’s not giving the proper authentic flavor you are craving? Well, we’re here today comparing two of the best-rated drum smokers on the market, the Classic Pit Barrel Cooker vs Oklahoma Joe Bronco Drum Smoker!

Hint: If you don’t want to scroll through, I don’t blame you! The winner of the best drum smoker is the Pit Barrel Cooker.

You don’t need to risk wasting your hard-earned cash on a top-of-the-range meat smoker that isn’t going to perform and give you that amazing taste you deserve.

Pit Barrel Cooker vs Oklahoma Joe Bronco Drum Smoker

What to Look for in the Best Drum Smoker

When purchasing a smoker, there are a few things needed to be taken into consideration… They are going to be used outside, so durability and build quality is a massive factor, but there is more. 

Consistent Smoking

They need to be very consistent! Who wants a product that will give amazing results the first time, only to never ever achieve that perfected flavor ever again? Not me, and I’m sure you don’t either.

Smoker Temperature Control

A good drum smoker will make your cooking life super easy by allowing you to control the temperatures within, in turn delivering that well-deserved meal on time, and most importantly, cooked to perfection.

A Drum Smoker Needs to be Affordable

Another thing to remember is that we aren’t wanting to purchase an expensive burn drum… So the smoker needs to last, it needs to be easy to use, and it needs to give you perfect smoked meat that can be cut using the bluntest of butter knives.

Material and Insulation

Typically, meat smokers are made of relatively thick steel. The reason for this is that the steel will moderate any small temperature fluctuations by absorbing heat, distributing it around the cooking chamber, and radiating it back.

Is the Drum Smoker Properly Sealed?

The drum smoker needs to be sealed properly! This has a HUGE part to play when you’re comparing Pit Barrel Cooker vs Oklahoma Joe Bronco Smoker. Any seals that leak will massively affect temperature stability and smoke levels within.

Warranty and Support

These two can be huge factors that can swing your decision on whether to buy the Pit Barrel Cooker or Oklahoma Joe Smoker, and this doesn’t just apply for smokers. Will the company offer any sort of warranty? What’s their reputation like in the market? How long have they been around?

We will cover all of these topics in our reviews further down the page!

Durability Outdoors

Drum smokers need to be able to withstand the weather. The smoker should be primed, painted, and sealed. We don’t want any possibility of rust getting anywhere; not just for our health alone, but for the awful flavor it will taint our precious meat with.

Best Drum Smokers Reviewed

So, now you know what you need, or what you need to look for in your new meat smoker, let’s get on with the juicy part (and we’re not just talking about the meat!)…The reviews!

Two brands, one winner. Who will take the top prize of being the best drum smoker from us at OH? It’s time to review the Oklahoma Joe Bronco Charcoal Drum Smoker and Pit Barrel Cooker.

Oklahoma Joe Bronco Charcoal Drum Smoker Review

Oklahoma Joe's 19202089 Barrel Drum Smoker, Black
  • Precision Airflow Control: Innovative airflow system and sealed lid deliver precise...
  • Ample Cooking Space: With 630 square inches of cooking surface spread across 2...
  • Durable Construction: Crafted from porcelain-coated steel, this smoker is built to...
  • Easy Temperature Regulation: Air intake channel brings control directly to the pitmaster's...
  • Smoking Environment: Designed to create the ideal smoking environment inside the chamber,...
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/11/2024 12:26 am GMT

We’ll start the review with the Oklahoma Joe Bronco Charcoal Drum Smoker.

Featuring its signature airflow control system, porcelain-coated ash pan (coupled with the oversize charcoal basket) and professional-grade temperature gauge with glow in the dark accents, this drum smoker really is one to beat in terms of value for money, especially as it’s priced at around $300.

Bronco Drum Smoker - Key Features | Oklahoma Joe's

Unique Airflow Control System

The airflow control system on the Oklahoma Joe Bronco Smoker is unique and one of a kind. There is a side damper that will allow you to control all airflow entering the smoker.

But that’s not all… There’s also a damper integrated into the top, which allows you to increase/decrease airflow and adjust the temperature to whatever you desire.

Oversized Charcoal Basket

The charcoal basket on this smoker is oversized. Allowing you to fill it with enough fuel to smoke all day! Whether it be charcoal briquettes, lump charcoal or wood! Cooking a lot of meat for a lot of guests? Don’t worry, you will always have enough right there to smoke for hours.

Smokin’ Space in the Oklahoma Joe Bronco Smoker

Worrying about having the space needed for a full house of guests? The Oklahoma Joe Bronco Smoker has 284 square inches of cooking space!

Included are 6 meat hangers and 2 porcelain-coated cooking grates, allowing you to custom tailor your smoking setup. Once you’re all done, you can hang the grate right on the conveniently placed metal side hanger. No problems storing utensils and extras.

Image credit: Oklahomajoes.com

Weighing in at 150 lbs, along with the large wagon-style wheels, it is no problem to move it around the garden on a hot summer’s day.

Once the day’s cooking is done, cleaning up is a real breeze. The removable ash pan is coated with porcelain, as well as the cooking grate. This means less ash sticking and mess-free dumping. Not only will it make it easier to clean up, it will also protect against any rust forming.

Oklahoma Joe Drum Smoker Build Quality

The build quality and temperature stability of the Oklahoma Joe Bronco Charcoal smoker is impeccable for the price range. With reviewers on Amazon saying:

“We have been using lump charcoal and have smoked butts for 12 hours (low and slow) without having to add charcoal.”

“Could tell by looking at the build that the design was well thought out. Oklahoma Joe makes good offsets and other smokers and for 299 vs 400-800+, I gave it a try. This is a great machine! It weighs 150 lb. Solid as a rock, does not leak smoke and uses very little fuel. The finished meats tell the tale.” 

Convert to a Charcoal Grill

If all of the above weren’t a selling point to you, the fact that the Oklahoma Joe Bronco Drum Smoker can be converted to a charcoal grill whenever you please is a huge huge reason to purchase this must-have drum smoker.

Customer service is available with a live chat covering 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist with any problems that may  occur. Standard warranty is 2 years for the grate/emitter and other parts from Oklahoma Joe themselves.

Pit Barrel Cooker Smoker Review

You don’t have the leave home to have the best ribs ever! Cook amazing meat in a Pit Barrel Cooker.


18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package
  • EFFORTLESS: Whether you’re new to outdoor cooking or an expert trying to perfect your...
  • VERSATILE: The cooking possibilities are endless. For the perfect smoked meat, grill or...
  • DURABLE: Each Pit Barrel Cooker is made with a superior-grade porcelain enamel finish that...
  • PORTABLE: Our cookers are made to be lightweight and compact to fit in most vans, SUVs,...
  • THE COMPLETE SMOKER STARTER: Everything you will need to get started: The barrel (33”...
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05/11/2024 03:46 am GMT

Now that we’ve had a detailed run through the Oklahoma Joe Bronco Smoker, it’s time for the Pit Barrel Cooker to shine.

Amazing Ribs has crowned the Pit Barrel Cooker “the best bargain on a smoker in the world.” This could be their famous “hook-n-hang” method being used to create deliciously juicy tender smoked meats.

Just watch this video, it’s really, really great:

Keeping their design a lot simpler, the Pit Barrel Cooker smoker consists of a large 30-gallon steel drum, porcelain-coated of course to keep the bad weather from doing any damage.

Pit Barrel Includes Everything You Need to Get Started

With the Pit Barrel Smoker, you will have everything you need to get started right out of the box. Two hanging rods, your standard grill cooking grate, charcoal basket, a three-point barrel stand and a whopping 8 stainless steel meat hooks.

The cooking area stands at a decent 240 square inches, so plenty of room to slow cook all of that delicious meat.

The Pit Barrel Cooker is Ultra Lightweight

The Pit Barrel co. seem to have taken the gatherings into consideration, the smoker comes with pre-drilled mounting holes for an optional extra smoker-mountable bottle opener!

Not only that, you wanna take it to a friend’s? Transport it to different places? There are no problems at all, the weight has been kept to a minimum on this smoker, totaling a crazy 57 lbs!

Image credit: Pit Barrel Cooker co.

This isn’t the only way that the Pit Barrel Cooker has incorporated gatherings into their product… The charcoal basket can be filled with enough fuel to run for a solid 7 hours and onwards. That’s almost a full 11 lbs bag of charcoal!

With that amount of cooking, you could almost feed the Vatican City’s smallest army in the world! (Fun fact… it only consists of 110 soldiers!)

Pit Barrel Cooker is the #1 Best Selling Drum Smoker

Being crowned as the number one best selling drum cooker on the market, and creating a unique vertical cooking experience, the smoker sells itself lives up to its name simply by reading customer reviews. One user said:

“The Pit Barrel Cooker (PBC as I call it) is SO easy to use and best of all: repeatable, consistent results. It just works and works well.” 

While another user said:

“This is sheer bliss for those who like to smoke meat in large amounts. The flavor, especially on the ribs, is far better than I have ever tasted and I’ve been eating ribs for decades!”

Service and Warranty on the Pit Barrel Cooker

The flavor you can get on your meat cooked in a Pit Barrel Cooker is unreal – you’ll have to try it for yourself!

Customer service from the Pit Barrel Cooker company is top-notch, with constant email service and phone service running 11 hours a day, 5 days a week. Responses are typically super quick and helpful, with one customer getting their questions answered in a mere 10 minutes.

The standard warranty covers 1 year of defects with the smoker, and also an in-warranty rust-through policy. Meaning if the barrel is rusted through fully, it’s fully covered. However, surface rust, unfortunately, isn’t covered by said warranty.

Winner: Pit Barrel Cooker vs Oklahoma Joe Bronco Drum Smoker

Now it’s the time for my long-awaited recommendation. With all info covered, the choice I would make would be the Pit Barrel Cooker smoker. You can’t go past 915 excellent reviews on Amazon (and counting) and 635 5-star reviews on their own site!

Winner for your chicken dinner:

Living the life with a Pit Barrel Cooker! You can take it anywhere – tailgating, camping, a party! See it at Pit Barrel Cooker

The Pit Barrel Cooker is super lightweight, comes with everything you need to get smoking straightaway, and there’s something to be said for being crowned “the best bargain on a smoker in the world” by Amazing Ribs.

Both drum smokers are excellent, you can’t really go wrong, but for the bargain price, this is the one I’d go for. 

What is the Pit Barrel Cooker?

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