The Bottom Line
Pitmaker hit the barbecue world like a very smoky bolt of lightning, bringing an amazing line of products and loads of energy. For many years the guys behind this company built smokers, but by going out on their own they were able to build a better smoker and to do all the things they love, cook barbecue and make outrageous equipment. These guys know barbecue, having won the 2013 World Food Championships barbecue category in Las Vegas.
This charcoal/wood smoker is amongst their smallest offerings and with a starting price around $2,500USD it isn't inexpensive either. It is, however, very well built and extremely efficient.
- Solid, handmade construction
- Highly efficient smoker
- Good temperature control
- Wide range of customizable features available
- A certain learning curve to temperature control
- 1230 square inches of cooking space on four expanded metal cooking grates
- Double wall construction with 2-inch insulation
- Painted carbon steel and stainless steel construction
- Custom paining available
- Multiple mounting options
- Runs approximately 8 to 12 hours on a full load of 8 to 9 pounds of charcoal
- 400 pounds total weight
- Made in the United States by Pitmaker
Guide Review - Pitmaker BBQ Safe Smoker
There are barbecue pit makers who only casually cook barbecue, and while they are more the exception than the norm, the guys at Pitmaker compete on the barbecue circuit at the highest levels.
It really shows in their smokers, even this relatively small version of the traditional box smoker. The construction quality is excellent and the insulation and sealed doors make it amazingly efficient. They claim that this smoker can be run on a pound of charcoal per hour, though it will take a lot of practice to reach this level.
The Safe Smoker has 1230 square inches of cooking space on four racks, which is enough space to smoke up to eight briskets (depending on size). While this is listed as more of a patio sized smoker it is more than enough for the average cook.
There are a number of custom options that can be put in this smoker, including a complete custom paint job (something Pitmaker is very good at). Of course these options will drive up the price rapidly, so be ready with the check book.
On the most basic level, this is an extremely insulated box with high temperature gaskets and tight locking doors. This means that the airflow is very restricted and once this smoker gets hot, it stays that way. There is a definite learning curve to this style of smoker so don't plan on having a big part the day it arrives. It is best to research the best method for getting it up to temperature and holding it there.
Ultimately, this is a smoker for the very serious barbecue fan. Once you have mastered how to use it, you can count on it working perfectly every time. Because of its insulation, outside weather conditions are pretty much meaningless and it can be relied on to perform regardless of the conditions. The capacity is large enough to compete with or do some small catering, but consider the capacity limitations before making any investment.