Radar Hill 20" Smoker Review

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borneogoat
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:57 pm
Location: Hobart, TAS

Radar Hill 20" Smoker Review

Post by borneogoat » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:12 pm

It's been a while since I've posted much; too busy cooking rather than internetting! When I was researching my new BBQ Baby, I couldn't find much info on Radar Hill Smokers. So this info is for anyone contemplating their BBQs. Note: I'm not related to Radar Hill in anyway, just a happy customer.

A few months ago I received my Radar Hill 20" BBQ and I'm one happy smokey customer. Before I get into the smoker itself I should mention the pre-sale & pre-delivery service from Rob was excellent. He promptly and enthusiastically answered my extensive list of niggling emails and even called personally for the complicated questions. I wanted a few modifications and he incorporated them easily. Of course there was a few weeks wait for delivery, but that is entirely to be expected and he was true to schedule.

When she arrived it was well packed to avoid shipping damage. Strapped down hard on a pallet with bubble and plastic everywhere it needed it. Only one small scrape on the chimney and it's nothing more than normal wear & tear would result in. I had custom green paint job on mine and it's a very striking sight. My first impression was that I had purchased the love child of Bridget Bardot and a Sherman tank! Beautiful, curvaceous, and yet a kind of machinery masculinity. For the first couple weeks my partner was slightly concerned with the amount of time I would spend standing in the yard staring at my new love. The care and time put into the build is apparent everywhere. All the welding is very clean. Corners are nicely rounded over, no sharp edges anywhere. The build is heavy-duty and I suspect it will out live me by long shot. It weighs in at around 270kg and required some serious bloke-power to get it off the street and into my yard. A small note, it took about 3-4 cooks for the paint to fully cure. On the first couple cooks the metal would get hot and the paint a little soft in some places. Just the nature of the paint and by cook #5 it was hard and durable.

I've fired her up about a dozen times now. A good mix of short'ish (1-2hr) and long (4-10hr) cooks. Pork ribs, beef short ribs, chicken wings, whole chickens, turkey drumsticks, beef chuck, sausages, pork shoulder, etc. Each time I cook I'm fine tuning my technique for this smoker. All of my cooks have used Redgum lump with hickory chunks in the charcoal insert. The food has consistently had a nice smooth smokey flavor and the best smoke-rings I've ever pulled off. The trick for this grill is keeping the chimney open completely at all times and controlling the fire via the firebox vents. Don't try to tweak the temperature by closing the exhaust a little, it creates temperature swings and has you running out to check the temp every 10mins. Keep the exhaust full throttle and the temperature hits a nice stable plateau (235F/110C) with the firebox vents both open around 25-50%. Then just feed a couple handfuls of charcoal and smoking chunks every 30-60min until dinner is ready. There is a temperature variation between the top/bottom shelves and the right/left side of the BBQ. It's not a huge variation and standard behavior for an offset smoker. I've used it to my advantage to help the timing of meats that take longer/shorter. I had Rob put a few holes in the each end of the cooking chamber to feed my digital temperature probes; a necessity in my experience for good temperature control. The only improvement I can think to suggest is an option for a cover to keep her clean and rust free. I'm having one made currently, but it would be nice to have one straight from the "factory".

It is worth mentioning the price. Yes, it was an expensive investment. But I'm comfortable with the price I paid vs what I got. Before I settled on Radar Hill I investigate getting something made in the USA (I'm a sepo by birth, Aussie by choice!). After adding up the cost of building something of similar design/quality overseas, heaps of freight $$$$, and taxes & fees upon arrival I didn't see an advantage. Your mileage may vary.

Downsides? Not much. My UDS, Big Steel Keg, and Webers are probably going to get lonely and sullen from disuse. My partner says I can't buy anymore BBQs for a long time. I can live with that...

In summary, it is a very well built and handsome BBQ that cooks wonderfully. I would definitely purchase another Radar Hill, if I ever needed one. But I wonder if Rob is going to build himself out of any repeat customers, because I can't imagine myself needing to ever replace this sexy beast!


borneogoat
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:57 pm
Location: Hobart, TAS

Re: Radar Hill 20" Smoker Review

Post by borneogoat » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:33 pm

Not having much luck loading attachements, so here is Photobucket link....
http://s16.photobucket.com/user/borneog ... 8.jpg.html

Davo
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Re: Radar Hill 20" Smoker Review

Post by Davo » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:52 pm

Hi Borneogoat,

Mate, that is a beautiful unit....jeez i wish it was in my yard but thats not likely to happen anytime soon.
I seen some Radar Hill & Silver Creek offsets at Port Macquarie BBQ WARS comp last March and i reckon they are right up there with anything imported....we have some great fabricators in this country.

Posting pics from photobucket, you need to copy image link then paste into post....give it a go.

Cheers

Davo
Moderator/ Admin

Weber Q320
Weber Performer Kettle
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yakabot
Posts: 621
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:40 pm

Radar Hill 20" Smoker Review

Post by yakabot » Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:37 am

For those who hate external links as much as me, here's a screen shot of the pic that Borneogoat posted. Hope it's okay to do this.
Image
Secondly, nice looking unit and great write-up. But I'm not seeing the green part? Maybe doesn't show on my phone properly?

Edit. Is it a real dark green, because I can sorta see that now I've looked again.

borneogoat
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:57 pm
Location: Hobart, TAS

Re: Radar Hill 20" Smoker Review

Post by borneogoat » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:14 am

Thanks Yakabot for putting up the pic. I'm going to try again on this post. If it works you'll see it is a dark'ish army green. Specifically Stove Bright Forest Green, but every picture of that paint on the net shows a slightly different of green!

Image
Image

Davo
Forum Administrator
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Re: Radar Hill 20" Smoker Review

Post by Davo » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:14 am

Yeah you can definitely see the Green in it now with the sunlight on it....very nice.

Looks as though Australia might one day challenge Texas with their offsets....seems to be weapon of choice downunder.

I'd love to have one but I don't think I'd fill it up with meat these days......no-one to cook for except the Mrs :lol:

Cheers

Davo
Moderator/ Admin

Weber Q320
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Weber WSM 18.5

yakabot
Posts: 621
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:40 pm

Re: Radar Hill 20" Smoker Review

Post by yakabot » Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:51 pm

Can definitely see the green when on my PC.
My only dislike about your new rig, and it's not just yours, but most manufacturers, is the stupidly small crappy little wheels on one end. Even shopping trolleys have bigger wheels. I know you can lift one end and use the good big wheels, but why can't they put decent wheels all around? The wheels on my tri-fire are like washing basket wheels. Hate them.

borneogoat
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:57 pm
Location: Hobart, TAS

Re: Radar Hill 20" Smoker Review

Post by borneogoat » Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:11 pm

I was a little concerned about the casters on the left-side. However, in practice they work well enough. I rolled mine up bumpy pavers with no issue. Mine won't be moving around all that much, so I'm fine with them. I did consider, but didn't actually ask, requesting big wheels on both ends. I'd bet Rob would do it, if you requested it... They'd definitely look the business even if you don't really need them!

KBBQ
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:27 am

Re: Radar Hill 20" Smoker Review

Post by KBBQ » Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:05 pm

I see in your review you are using charcoal as your main fuel with wood chunks for smoke, is there a reason you are not using wood as your main fuel? My understanding of an off set is you start with a good chimney of charcoal as a base the burn wood to go on with great review thanks

borneogoat
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:57 pm
Location: Hobart, TAS

Re: Radar Hill 20" Smoker Review

Post by borneogoat » Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:05 am

Offset BBQs generally use logs, but some people use lump charcoal. I currently use redgum lump charcoal for a couple reasons. First and foremost, it's what I'm accustom to from using other BBQs. I also have a UDS and Big Steel Keg which are charcoal (lump or briquette) only. I want to get familiar with the BBQ without trying a new fuel simultaneously. I had Rob make a charcoal basket (see pic) and I believe he said he uses this sometimes himself.

Second reason I use lump, is I don't yet have a reliable supply of logs from a good cooking species. All the firewood around here is of random varieties. When I ask what type of wood, I get shrugs and vague description of what it "might" be. I don't really want two cubic meters and $500 worth of firewood sitting in my limited garden space that makes acrid or otherwise bad tasting food. I don't even have a fireplace to use it up! If I could find a local source of tasty cooking wood (e.g. fruit wood, redgum, gidge, etc) I'd be on it instantly. I do have a potential future source of olive wood, but it will need time to season. If anybody in the Hobart area has experience with obtaining "tasty wood", I'd love some advice....

And lastly, lump has a couple of advantages over logs. It burns consistently due to uniformity and regular sizing. Also, I can pack the firebox and it will stay steady for hours. Whereas logs have to be continually fed. So even after I find a source of logs, I may still use lump at times.

Image

KBBQ
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:27 am

Re: Radar Hill 20" Smoker Review

Post by KBBQ » Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:21 am

Great answer thank you


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