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

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!

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

Preview
Winner
18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package
Char-Broil 19202089 Barrel Drum Smoker, Black
Title
18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package
Char-Broil 19202089 Barrel Drum Smoker, Black
Price
$308.96
$412.17
Customer rating
-
-
Cooking space
240 sq inch
284 sq inch
Weight
57 lbs
150 lb
Dimensions
30.3 x 25.4 x 43.3 inch
21 x 21 x 31.1 inch
Extras
8 meat hangers, barrel stand, 2 hanging hooks
temp gauge, 6 meat hangers, 2 grills & option to change to grill
Winner
Preview
18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package
Title
18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package
Price
$308.96
Customer rating
-
Cooking space
240 sq inch
Weight
57 lbs
Dimensions
30.3 x 25.4 x 43.3 inch
Extras
8 meat hangers, barrel stand, 2 hanging hooks
Preview
Char-Broil 19202089 Barrel Drum Smoker, Black
Title
Char-Broil 19202089 Barrel Drum Smoker, Black
Price
$412.17
Customer rating
-
Cooking space
284 sq inch
Weight
150 lb
Dimensions
21 x 21 x 31.1 inch
Extras
temp gauge, 6 meat hangers, 2 grills & option to change to grill

What to Look for in a 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.

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.

Cook Beef Tenderloin Like Billy
Cook Beef Tenderloin Like Billy
 

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.

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!

Cook Beef Tenderloin Like Billy
American-made meat rubs and grilling tools

 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.

Reviewing the Best Drum Smokers

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

Char-Broil 19202089 Barrel Drum Smoker, Black
  • Unique airflow control system and sealed lid allows for...
  • Cooking grate and meat hangers enable a custom smoking setup
  • Oversized charcoal basket holds enough fuel for all-day...
  • Removable ash pan and porcelain-coated components make...
  • Heavy-gauge steel construction ensures durability you can...

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.

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

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.

oklahoma-joe-bronco-drum-smoker
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.

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

18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package
  • Includes 8 stainless steel hooks to hook-n-hang your meal...
  • Included coal basket is sized for the ideal amount of...
  • Unique design makes the PBC simple to operate, producing...
  • Minimal assembly required to get cooking
  • Package includes everything you will need to get started: 2...

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.

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.

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!

pit-barrel-cooker-smoker
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!)

#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!”

pit-barrel-cooker-smoking
Image credit: Pit Barrel Cooker co

Service and Warranty

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 or 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:

18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package
  • Includes 8 stainless steel hooks to hook-n-hang your meal...
  • Included coal basket is sized for the ideal amount of...
  • Unique design makes the PBC simple to operate, producing...
  • Minimal assembly required to get cooking
  • Package includes everything you will need to get started: 2...

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. 

Last update on 2020-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dan-Elle-Meager-Outdoor-Happens-Self-Sufficient-Backyard-HomesteadsAffiliate Disclosure

Outdoor Happens is an affiliate with Amazon and some other companies we believe in. As an Amazon Affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. This article contains affiliate links. We hope you’ve enjoyed this article! Want to read more? Homesteading | Gardening | Outdoor Cooking | Tools | Vegetable Gardens | About OH | Favorite Products 

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