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Gateway Drum Smoker vs Pit Barrel Cooker

Of course, if you want to take your next barbeque party to the next level, you’d definitely want to purchase an efficient smoker. Now, whether you’re a beginner meat smoker or an expert, you may want to consider getting yourself a greatly capable drum smoker. Also known as Ugly Drum Smokers or UDS, these drum smokers are essentially plain-looking barrels containing a fire pit at its lower portion and a cooking area at the uppermost part.
However, you shouldn’t be underestimating these seemingly regular cooking drums. Besides, despite their simple looks, their structure actually lets them cook quicker while still offering you better-tasting meat. With that being said, two of the best drum smokers in the market are the gateway drum smoker and the pit barrel cooker.
This now begs the question: gateway drum smoker vs pit barrel cooker? Which one should you get for your next barbeque party? Fortunately, this guide will help you choose between a gateway drum smoker or a pit barrel cooker. But of course, before making a helpful comparison between these two favored drum smokers, here’s what you need to know first about the gateway drum smoker and the pit barrel cooker.
What to Know About the Gateway Drum Smoker
The gateway drum smoker is a drum smoker model that offers excellent durability and cooking capacity. After all, this drum smoker model includes three pegs, allowing you to extend its capacity for cooking. Furthermore, with a seamless build, a polished outer layer, and adjustable cooking settings, you will surely get your money’s worth with this UDS.
Gateway Drum Smoker
What to Know About the Pit Barrel Cooker
On the other hand, the pit barrel cooker is a classic drum smoker model whose build looks more similar to the old-fashioned drum smokers. It’s usually the ideal drum smoker for beginners due to its simple and easy-to-understand design. In addition, it usually comes with hanging rods and hookers, so you can perfectly cook your meat with ease.
Pit Barrel Cooker
Comparing the Two Drum Smokers Side by Side
So, you are now aware of the basics about these two drum smokers. Next, it’s time for the much-awaited gateway drum smoker vs pit barrel cooker portion. Although both would arguably offer you exceptionally cooked meat, these two drum smokers indeed have their differences that could suit your preferences or needs. Here they are below.

Ease of Use

The GDS:
The gateway drum smoker has an appearance that might make you think it’s a water heater than a drum smoker. However, once you get past its design, you’ll surely get the hang of using the gateway drum smoker. Besides, its included three vents are actually designed for better cooking precision. And with a huge detachable fire basket, you can definitely use this drum smoker for a maximum of fourteen hours.
The PBC:
As previously stated above, the pit barrel cooker is your best bet if you want a drum smoker that’s pretty easier to understand. Other than its simple design, this drum smoker is also easy to assemble, allowing you to start smoking once you’re done doing so. So, thanks to its straightforward operation, you can quickly get optimum cooking results without exerting so much effort.
Build and Accessories
The GDS:
This UDS model is built from sturdy steel and is finished with high-quality paint. The gateway drum smoker is also highly preferred for its portability since it comes with detachable wheels. However, to get the most out of this UDS, you will have to purchase extra grates and other accessories as needed. Since most of its accessories come with an additional cost, it’s not the best UDS for those that have a tight budget.
The PBC:
Despite its straightforward build, the pit barrel cooker is made out of eighteen gauges of premium stainless steel. Combine that with its well-built porcelain covering, and you have a UDS that’s built to last you for a good price. Upon purchase, you already have a complete set, which you can further upgrade by adding optional drum smoker accessories.
To add, the PBC is also a popular UDS choice since it’s easy to clean and maintain. Just simply throw out the ashes after every cooking session, and your PBC will be ready for its next usage.
Cooking Capacity
The GDS:
If you want more space to cook more of your meat, then this drum smoker model is the one for you. Even if you just use one grate for cooking space, you will readily have 462 square inches for all your meat. But if that’s not enough for you, then here’s some good news: the gateway drum smoker allows you to use all three of its cooking levels. Just simply buy two additional grates to maximize the cooking levels of this drum smoker and have a blast cooking tons of meat as you wish.
The PBC:
Although the pit barrel cooker only offers a 30-gallon drum size, you can expect faster cooking times when using this drum smoker. Furthermore, this model also uses a hook system so you can hang plenty of meat for cooking. Moreover, this model also includes 3500 cubic inches of cooking space. So, considering both those factors, you can still have plenty of room to cook all your meat despite its small size compared to the GDS.
Temperature Adjustments
The GDS:
The gateway drum smoker undoubtedly shines in this category. Other than ensuring regulated heat throughout the barrel, this drum smoker comes with two side pipes that allow you to regulate its temperature and smoke. And thanks to its temperature gouge built at the middle, you can easily monitor this drum smoker’s temperature.
The PBC:
Unfortunately, you really can’t do much with the pit barrel cooker’s temperature. After all, the pit barrel cooker doesn’t come with any included temperate gauge. Due to that, trying to adjust the temperature with this UDS won’t be so simple.
Overall Price
The GDS:
Due to the great features that come along with the gateway drum smoker, it won’t be surprising to know that this model is way pricier compared to other drum smokers. Furthermore, with most accessories sold separately for the gateway drum smoker, you would need to shell out more money to get the setup you need. Still, it’s safe to say that this smoker’s sturdiness and high-end construction make it worth the extra cost.
The PBC:
The PBC definitely stands out in this category. After all, this drum smoker is beginner-friendly and also wallet-friendly. And even though it comes at an affordable price, the pit barrel cooker model will still provide you with great spaces for cooking, easy operation, and efficient cooking times.

Final Thoughts – Gateway Drum Smoker vs Pit Barrel Cooker?

Gateway drum smoker vs pit barrel cooker? Which barbeque smoker should you get? Overall, both these barbeque smokers have their perks and downsides. At the end of the day, your best bet among the two drum smokers all boils down to your preferences. For instance, if you’re a beginner who wants an affordable drum smoker, you can always go for the pit barrel cooker. Meanwhile, if you consider yourself a pro and want a drum smoker that’s not too simple, you can opt for the gateway drum smoker instead.