Pecos Vs. Oklahoma Joe Smokers: Which Is The Better Choice?

If you’re in the market for a new smoker, you’ve probably come across two popular brands – Pecos and Oklahoma Joe. Both produce high-quality offset smokers at reasonable prices. But which one is better for your needs?

In this detailed comparison, we’ll look at the construction, features, performance, price, and other factors to help you decide between the Pecos and Oklahoma Joe smokers. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of the pros and cons of each smoker.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeaturePecos SmokerOklahoma Joe Smoker
Construction10-12 gauge steel16-18 gauge on lower models, 1/4″ steel on higher models
Cooking Space150-190 square inches1,060-1,750 square inches
Temperature ControlVery good, great insulationGood, more leakage on lower models
Smoke OutputExcellent smoke retentionGood, some smoke loss on cheaper models
Ease of UseVery easy, minimal adjustments neededEasy, some adjustments required
Warranty2 years1 year
AssemblyStraightforward, 2-3 hoursEasy, 2-4 hours
AccessoriesCompatible with various upgradesCompatible with various upgrades

Overview of Pecos Smokers

Old Country Pecos Smoker

Pecos Smokers are manufactured by Old Country BBQ Pits, which has been producing heavy-duty offset smokers since 1999.

The Pecos smoker has a classic offset firebox design with the cooking chamber on one side and the firebox on the other. The standard models come in three sizes – 108, 150 and 190 square inches of cooking surface.

The construction uses 10 to 12 gauge steel for thickness and durability. The cooking grates are chrome-plated for easy cleaning. Other features include a thermometer on the cooking chamber door, large wheels for mobility, a mesh basket for charcoal or wood, and multiple dampers for heat control.

Overall, the Pecos line offers well-built offset smokers with plenty of cooking space at a reasonable price point compared to similar models. They are a popular choice for backyard barbecue enthusiasts.

Overview of Oklahoma Joe Smokers

Oklahoma Joe’s has been making affordable offset smokers since 1987 and offers four smoker models – the Highland, Longhorn, Bandera and Rider. They are now manufactured under the Char-Broil brand.

Like the Pecos smokers, Oklahoma Joe models have a classic offset firebox design and range from 1,060 to 1,750 square inches of cooking space on the main chamber.

The Oklahoma Joe smokers use heavy-gauge steel construction, with the higher-end models using up to 1/4 inch steel. Porcelain-coated wire cooking grates provide ample room. Standard features include multiple dampers, a temperature gauge, large wheels and a mesh charcoal basket.

For the price, Oklahoma Joe smokers offer large cooking capacity with solid construction. They are easy to use for beginning backyard barbecuers.

Key Differences Between Pecos And Oklahoma Joe Smokers

  • Construction and Build Quality

A smoker needs to hold up to years of outdoor use and high heat. This makes construction quality one of the most important factors.

The Pecos uses 10 to 12 gauge steel for good thickness and durability. The smoke chamber is well-insulated and seams are tightly sealed.

Oklahoma Joe smokers use slightly thinner 16 and 18 gauge steel on their lower cost models. But their higher tier Longhorn and Highland models boast 1/4 inch steel, which is excellent thickness and durability.

When it comes to build quality, both brands produce solid, tight-fitting smokers that feel sturdy. Oklahoma Joe offers thicker steel on their premium units. But overall, Pecos and Oklahoma Joe are comparable in construction quality for their price points.

Advantage: Draw

  • Cooking Space
Oklahoma Joe Smoker
Oklahoma Joe Smoker

Cooking capacity is another key consideration when choosing between the Pecos and Oklahoma Joe.

The Pecos 150 offers 150 square inches of primary cook space. The larger 190 model provides 190 square inches.

On the Oklahoma Joe side, cooking space ranges from 1,060 square inches on the Highland model to 1,750 square inches on the extra large Longhorn unit.

If you plan to regularly smoke for larger groups, Oklahoma Joe takes the advantage with their bigger models like the Longhorn and Bandera. These provide enormous cooking capacity.

But for most backyard needs, even the entry-level Pecos 150 has ample space at 150 square inches. The differences come down to how much total area you need.

Advantage: Oklahoma Joe for larger cooking capacity, Pecos for most backyard purposes

  • Temperature Control and Smoke

Temperature control and smoke management are where offset smokers really differ. The Pecos and Oklahoma Joe each have multiple dampers to control airflow and heat.

Experienced owners say both brands can hold low and slow temperatures pretty well for solid barbecue results. However, the Pecos seems to have a slight edge in heat control thanks to its superior insulation and tighter seal.

In terms of infusing smoke flavor, the Pecos pulls ahead again. Its insulation helps the smoker hold in more thin blue smoke. The Oklahoma Joe models lose some of this flavorful smoke through thinner construction in their cheaper models.

Advantage: Pecos

  • Ease of Use

For beginning smokers, ease of use is key. You want a smoker that doesn’t require babysitting or complicated adjustments.

The Pecos and Oklahoma Joe models both get high marks for user-friendly operation right out of the box. Their similar classic offset design makes temperature regulation and wood or charcoal management straightforward.

Both smokers have multiple dampers for good heat control without much effort. The Oklahoma Joe models do require a bit more monitoring to maintain temperatures compared to the Pecos.

For true set-it-and-forget-it smoking, the Pecos is slightly simpler to operate. But Oklahoma Joe also does well in this regard for the price.

Advantage: Pecos

  • Price and Value

Affordability is one of the main reasons people choose Pecos or Oklahoma Joe smokers. But which brand offers better value?

The Pecos 150 retails between $500-$600. Their larger 190 model runs $700-$800.

Oklahoma Joe smokers range from $400-$750 depending on the size. Their Highland offset, comparable to the Pecos 150, costs around $500.

When it comes to price for cooking space, the Oklahoma Joe offsets provide a little more value, especially their larger Bandera and Longhorn models.

However, Pecos smokers frequently go on sale for $100-$200 off retail pricing, making them a stellar deal. Considering their higher-end construction and smoker performance, Pecos offers better overall value.

Advantage: Pecos

  • Warranty and Customer Support

A smoker is no small purchase, so you want to make sure your investment is protected.

Old Country BBQ Pits backs the Pecos smoker with a 2 year warranty. This coverage is decent for offsets in this price range.

Oklahoma Joe smokers come with a shorter 1 year warranty. Some users report issues getting support, but this seems to depend on the specific retailer.

For customer service, Pecos smokers again have a slight edge with generally positive reviews of Old Country’s responsiveness. Oklahoma Joe service can be hit or miss depending on where you purchase.

Advantage: Pecos

  • Common Issues

Even well-built smokers can develop problems, so it helps to be aware of potential trouble spots:

Pecos Smokers

  • Occasional air leaks around lid or doors
  • Issues maintaining temperature in windy conditions

Oklahoma Joe Smokers

  • Thinner metals warping or rusting over time
  • Significant air leaks from thinner construction
  • Temperature fluctuations in cooler weather

While no smoker will be 100% problem-free, Pecos smokers seem to avoid major issues if proper care is taken. Oklahoma Joe models may require a bit more TLC over their lifespan.

  • Ease of Assembly

Putting together a large smoker out of the box can be intimidating. Ease of assembly is important to consider.

For the Pecos, owners report the units go together smoothly in 2-3 hours on average. The instructions are clear with all necessary hardware included.

Assembling an Oklahoma Joe is similar, with owners citing 2-4 hours for completion. Instructions are decent, though some report vague spots. Replacement parts ship quickly if needed.

Overall, both smokers can realistically be built in a Saturday afternoon with an extra pair of hands. Pecos instructions seem slightly more straightforward. But assembly is manageable on both brands.

Advantage: Pecos

  • Accessories

One bonus of the offset smoker design is accessories add a lot of functionality. Useful add-ons include:

  • Extra cooking grates – Increase cooking space
  • Charcoal baskets – Improve airflow for cleaner smoke
  • Temperature gauges – Monitor multiple areas
  • Seals/gaskets – Reduce air leaks

The most popular accessories are compatible with both Pecos and Oklahoma Joe smokers. This helps enhance their versatility.

It’s worth budgeting an extra $100-200 for upgrades. Top picks are additional cooking grates and charcoal baskets to max out cooking capacity.

Advantage: Draw (accessories equally useful for both)

Overall Winner?

Based on this detailed comparison, is there an overall winner between the Pecos and Oklahoma Joe smokers?

Old Country Pecos
Old Country Pecos

For cook space alone, Oklahoma Joe takes the advantage thanks to their larger models like the Longhorn and Bandera.

These are the best choice for massive backyard barbecue gatherings.

However, when taking all factors into account, including construction, temperature control, smoke output, ease of use, warranty and accessories, the Pecos smoker comes out slightly ahead.

Pecos smokers are built incredibly well for their price. They excel at heat and smoke management right out of the box. This makes them our top pick for most purposes, especially beginners new to smoking.

That said, you can’t go wrong with either brand. Oklahoma Joe smokers perform nearly as well for less money. They are an excellent budget-friendly option.

The right choice ultimately comes down to your specific needs. Use this comparison to weigh the pros and cons before deciding between Pecos and Oklahoma Joe for your ideal smoker.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How thick is the steel on the Old Country Pecos smoker?

The Pecos smokers use 10 to 12 gauge steel depending on the model. This equates to around 1/8″ to 1/4” thickness for good durability.

Who is Oklahoma Joe owned by?

Oklahoma Joe smokers are now manufactured by the popular grill brand Char-Broil after they acquired the brand in 2018.

How thick is the steel on the Oklahoma Joe?

It ranges from thinner 1/16” (16 gauge) steel on the more affordable models to 1/4″ (4 gauge) steel on the high-end Longhorn and Bandera units.

How do I get more smoke from my Oklahoma Joe smoker?

1. Use dry wood chunks rather than soaked – drier wood smokes better
2. Keep temperatures low, around 225-250°F
3. Limit air flow to stack by closing dampers
4. Add a charcoal/wood divider or box to burn fuel more slowly


Whether you choose a Pecos or Oklahoma Joe offset smoker, you’ll gain an incredibly versatile, competition-quality smoker for your backyard at a reasonable price. Both are great options.

We hope this detailed comparison gives you all the info needed to select the best one for your barbecue needs and budget.

Happy smoking!

Ralph Wade

Hey...Ralph is here! So, did you find this article useful? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. If not, please tell me how I can improve this article. Your feedback is always appreciated. Take love :)

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