Southern Pride makes gas-fired commercial smokers, which burn a little wood for flavor, and offers cooking tips to its customers.

For one of its larger machines, the XLR-1400, which has a capacity of 72 briskets, the recipe for "Texas style brisket" says cook 12 to 14 hours and use a total of two 4-inch by 12-inch logs.
That's for a "heavy smoke" taste, the recipe says.
A couple weeks ago, we got into a good discussion on this blog about real Texas barbecue and whether it could ever be cooked with gas. We still say no and offer Southern Pride's recipe in support.
More than 850 pounds of brisket, 12 hours, two sticks, lots of gas. That's not Texas BBQ.
Baby J McKenzie, who runs Baby J's in Palestine, told us on a recent tour that he uses a cord and a half of wood a week.
What Baby J uses in a week would supply an XLR-1400 -- cooking once a day, 365 days a year -- with "heavy smoke" flavor for about a year and a half.


Photo by Chris Wilkins

Chris Wilkins

13 years ago

Marshall Cooper passes this along: "click the following link to see Southern Pride's statement, " ....... there's no need for special cooking skills, no need for constant attention, no need to spend extra money training employees to cook your meat for you.............."

Well my BBQ loving friends, there's nothing more to say. You get what you pay for.....!


13 years ago

Ah, bullshit.

We have a Southern Pride at my restaurant (500 lb capacity) and we use short split logs. We usually use pieces about 10-12" long split to about 3 inches or more wide. Everything gets PLENTY smoky -- as smoky or even moreso, if we want, than you'll get in Lockhart. And there are no creosote flavors or anything like that if you use properly seasoned wood. The Southern Pride we have has convection and keeps the smoke circulating across the meat nicely.

It does take skill, but less than if you have to keep a fire going and the temp even. It also takes less skill to run an all-wood pit that has a controlled dampener and thermostat. So the hell what.

I know a lot of BBQ hounds fetishize all wood, old-style pits. I have those same tendencies. But truth is it's wasteful and unnecessary and no basis for bragging.

Bragging comes from vigilance and commitment to good BBQ, which can come from a variety of pits and heat sources. The biggest problem for any commercial operation isn't the cooking so much as the holding, keeping the meat from being overcooked, dry, or getting a soft bark. The palate and passion of the pitmaster is going to reign supreme in any of this.


13 years ago

So big shot, if your Q is so damned good cookin with gas why didn't you tell everybody the name of your BBQ joint and where it is so we could check it out?


13 years ago

Extramsg - holding is the biggest challenge of a restaurant? How long have you been in business? What is the name of your bbq restaurant? What happened to quality, flavors and consistency? You are either cooking too much meat at once on your automated gas oven, or you don't have enough business because your BBQ tastes like gas or you do not know how to stagger and manage your pit .....

Wood pits produce the best BBQ!!!

Marshall Cooper

13 years ago

Southern Pride BBQ man, your comments are interesting and I would sure like to come to your Q restaurant and try your BBQ sometime. Where are you located?

Gary Jacobson

13 years ago

I applaud your passion.
However, I think there are a couple of weak points in your arguments.
1) Wood is a renewable fuel. Not gas.
2)_Cooking with wood, constantly monitoring temperature throughout the night, seems much more difficult than cooking with gas: i.e. set the temp and go home to sleep.
That, of course, still leaves the matter of taste up to debate.
We'd love to sample your stuff. Can you tell us the name of your joint?

Curtis Maybin

13 years ago

Nothing like the aw natural wood cook'in. At least you are all having fun. I put nothing but wood in my Ceramic Grill

Thanks for the discussion

Marshall Cooper

13 years ago

Well it sure looks like "extramsg" was trying to blow smoke up us that he doesn't have with his gasser! He has faded for some reason. Defeated? Wonder what he spent buying and installing his gasser?

BBQ Snob

13 years ago

For those wondering, 'extramsg' is a blogger and deli owner in Portland. They do their own pastrami (from whole briskets) which is cured for several days, smoked in a Southern Pride, then steamed for several hours. I tried a sample last weekend when he was here in Dallas and smoking with an electric cookshak. The results were impressive, but comparing smoked brisket to pastrami is like comparing sausage to salami.


13 years ago

Pastrami and BBQ brisket are different, for sure, but I have made BBQ brisket many times in both an electric Cookshack and a Southern Pride (and by more traditional methods). eg, we do a BBQ day twice a year (4th of July and Labor Day) at K&Z where we serve about 400 covers of Q along with our usual deli stuff.

I personally own a Cookshack. But before K&Z opened full-time in its current location, we spent two years making it in a barrel smoker with a firebox. Once a week was deli, once a week was BBQ. So I'm very aware of the differences in the products they produce. (And it's probably worth noting that I'm a KCBS certified judge and have judged events, have eaten at many of the major BBQ joints in the country, have written articles surveying BBQ in the NW, etc.)

The question I have for all of you, though, is whether you've done the same? Daniel, have you ever tested it? I know a couple people there in Dallas that would probably be happy to lend you their Cookshacks for the testing. Do the same rub, meat, wood, and temp and blind taste the difference?

Personally, I find the most difficult issue for some of the electrics to be a good bark, since some max at 250 degrees and are so small the humidity is very high inside. However, I've had no problem getting really nice barks on pork butts. And the Southern Pride we have has convection fans and can go hotter than 250, making bark easy enough to produce.

But the issue here was smoke. Truth is it's VERY easy to make BBQ smoky in an electric or gas that uses chunks or split wood. Why don't more places do it Texas where smokiness is such a traditional component? I have no clue. Why do so many places have shitty sides, chewy ribs, and undercooked or dry meats? None of that is a matter of the equipment either.

Daniel, you had the pastrami and the stuff I made was a hell of a lot smokier than what I got at Lockhart a couple days later. And that smoke flavor had to compete with the cure flavor. (Normally I'd make it less smoky but I was using pecan, which I hadn't used before, and so used extra thinking it might be like a fruit wood rather than the oak I usually use.)

I think it would be worthwhile to stop echoing some know-it-all's professed expertise on some BBQ forum or blog, passing it down like oral history that's more myth than science. No more unearned snobbery based on faulty logic about all-wood vs wood-electric vs wood-gas.

Bruce Tomaso

13 years ago

It's like comparing a drum machine to Mick Fleetwood. Can a drum machine sound credibly authentic? Sure -- especially if you don't really know what you're listening for. Can it fool people in a side-by-side comparison? Probably. But is it the same as Mick Fleetwood? Of course not. And it's foolish to argue otherwise.


13 years ago

I don't think ExtraMSG would disagree with you, Bruce. See his response to Marshall's comments (that unfortunately disappeared during last week's Blogger meltdown) in the subsequent thread.

Kevin Archer

11 years ago

Southern Pride owner for 6 year !!! I have two XLR1400's ... One on a trailer and One with rack extensions to hold 2000 lbs of meat !!! No other smoker can compare to the shear quantity of food I can cook at one time. Simply too many positives to list!! There is no doubt in my mind that there is no taste deference. Minus the sweat lol ... Keep your recipe and temp the same ... Add more wood for more smoke !! Less wood for less smoke ... We try to balance the Smoke / Meat / Sauce together so that no component overpowers the other.

*** This is not a smoker to win trophies with ... It's a smoker to pump out a consistent product 365 days a year that taste the same every time !!



10 years ago

Anyone talking trash about a Southern Pride smoker doesn't now what they're talking about and/or has never cooked on one. They are the "Cadillac" of commercial smokers. Quality, consistency, flavor, what more is there?

Coby Poluk

4 years ago

If you're going to cook why wouldn't you cook with the best?

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