Stumps vs FEC?


Ryan Ko

TVWBB Super Fan
I know this is the Weber site, but I respect everyone's opinion on here and wanted to ask about this. I have a 22.5 WSM now and have gotten to the point where I need more capacity. I am thinking of getting another 22.5, but the thought has occurred to me about getting something different. I like the low maintenance of the FEC and Stumps. Anyone have an opinion on the two. Or maybe something different?

Don Dukes

TVWBB Member
Ryan -

I would do plenty of research before you jump to a new style of cooker. I recently added a Traeger in January and should have added a Weber 22" instead. The Traeger turns out good food but it requires 2 things. One is that you have to change your cooking process as pellet grills don't produce much smoke at higher temps so if you are doing a HH brisket cook you would need to cook the meat on a smoke or low temp setting for an hour or 2 prior to cranking up the temps. Secondly, pellet costs can be expensive. We don't have a major pellet supplier in the Houston area so getting decent pellets (not Traeger) costs between $1 to $1.25 per lb with shipping included (can be less if buying 1000 lbs - $0.50). The Traeger uses about 1 lb per hour. I can certainly bbq for less on a WSM (not to mention the cooker is roughly 1/2 the price).


J Reyes

My brother has a Traeger, he had a hard time getting a smoke ring on his meats.

Recently it had a mechanical breakdown of some sort that required an expensive fix (maybe the thermostat-not sure).

Anyways he just bought a 22 WSM, and the Traeger is a dedicated chicken cooker.

Another option is another 22 WSM, Cajun Bandit, or even a Ranch Kettle with an auto controller device (Guru, etc).

I know Rocks Bbbq has a Stoker on a vertical Stumps. He's pretty good to talk to about it.

Jim H.

TVWBB All-Star
Pros - FEC & Stumps have more capacity, and by being better insulated, are very fuel efficient.

Cons - COST. Both are expensive. For the cost of the least expensive Stumps model, you could have several 22" WSM's.

I know of one BBQ restaurant owner/comp. BBQ'er who would talk you out of buying a Stump's because of his bad experience. Never heard anything bad about any FEC. Seeing as how I am a mere backyard cook with big dreams (and no budget to back it up), I would stick with another WSM and maybe invest the difference in some sort of automated temp controller. If you absolutely had to have something different, look for an offset smoker. Now there's a whole different discussion, which I will leave up to others about the pros & cons of offset smokers.

Just my .02 worth.

Steve Whiting

TVWBB All-Star
No disrespect to anyone but I sure wish members could answer the question as it was put to us. Ryan is asking for our opinion regarding FEC vs Stump cookers. He is not asking us to tell him he should get another WSM. He already has one and is looking for something different. Now to your question Ryan I have seen the FEC 300 and Stumps cookers both recently at a couple different BBQ comps and I must say I was impressed with the Stumps. I do not like pellet cookers for several reasons but the most important was already mentioned. A smoke ring and decent smoke flavor are hard to achieve on them. Do a lot of research and decide what is important to you.

Matt Lahm

TVWBB Member

Both are fine cookers, and will turn out excellent product. I have owned an FEC-100, and a Stump's Prince. Like any products in this world, they both have pro's and cons. As for other brands to look at, Superior Smokers makes a cooker similar(gravity feed)to a Stump's. I had a Superior Smokers SS-2 and preferred the Stump's, your mileage may vary. Backwoods Smokers(BWS) are another option, in the last few years I have owned a BWS Fatboy, BWS Chubby, and currently cook on a BWS Party.
Without knowing what you are looking to do, spend etc..hard to give much in the way of a detailed response.
Feel free to contact me if I can be of more help.


Gary N

TVWBB Member
I currently have 2 Stump's Prince's. I also have a WSM 22. I had a Superior SS-2 also. I have never had or cooked on an FEC or any pellet smoker so I could not offer any input. I love my Stump's smokers. They have different sized smokers so the capacity varies. I have 2 Prince's as I cater and compete with them. The Stretch and Classic are both larger than the Prince. They are all very well built and easy to use. With a Guru I can get 15 hrs of burn time (225) with 12 lbs of briqs. At comps or overnight cooks, just set and just about forget. Holds temps like a rock.
I love my WSM 22 also and use it for my personal home cooks a lot. For ease, quality, and low maintenance, Stump's fit the bill for me. I also preferred the Stump's over the Superior. FEC's and Stump's are 2 different types of smokers so it does depend on the application you want them for.
Good Luck with your decision.
To be perfectly honest, I don't see much difference at all between them. Sure they use different fuels but both are insulated cookers. You can get flavored briqs and you can also get flavored pellets. When I say flavored, I mean that you can get hickory, cherry, etc briqs and pellets.

To me the biggest difference is that the Stumps CAN be automated, the FEC IS automated. If the power goes out at comps, the Stumps can keep going, the FEC is done. That may not be the deciding factor for you but it is something to think about.


Steve W

New member
Ryan, I have WSM's and an FEC 100. The FEC is great for capacity and ease of use. Ive done 14 8 pound butts at once and the taste/texture was great. The FEC uses about a pound of pellets per hour @ 225 deg. It holds enough pellets for a 20 hour cook no problem. Just set your temp and thats it. Minimal ash to clean up afterwards. Smoke ring is actually a product of heat and your rub reacting together and yes you do get a good smoke ring with an FEC if thats important to you. Smoke flavour is also there and can be increased/decreased by how you cook and pellet type. Agreed you can get more smoke from a WSM but you can also oversmoke on a WSM. Dont think you can with an FEC. Sorry no very little about Stumps. Hope that helps

Rick Kramer

TVWBB All-Star
Hi Ryan. I've cooked on both the Stumps and the FE. I really, really like the FE's. There is a difference in the amount of smoke flavor an FE will impart compared to a charcoal/wood burning unit. But it's a difference that I like. It's never oversmoked and there are simple tricks to add more smoke flavor to an FE cooked product if you want it. Trust me when I tell you that with or without using the added smoke flavor tricks that the FE will produce an excellent smoke ring. Not sure where that rumor comes from. The main things I love about my pellet burners is the consistancy, ease of use, and simple clean up. Obviously the FE has more moving parts which does mean more things can break down. But they rarely do. Most issues with FE's are usually with new owners trying to figure out how to use it.
So far as the Stumps go ... the one I cooked on had a neat concept (gravity fed w/guru) and cooked pretty well. It just seemed cheaply made. They have since switched owners and builder so I do believe the newer models are much better built. If I were looking for an vertical cabinet style charcoal/wood unit I would definately look into the Backwoods smoker line of cookers.
Russ, although you are correct that the FE needs power to run ... do you really know of any FE user that hasn't been able to finish a comp because they were using an FE when the power went out? Most teams ... FE users or not, and if they're planning ahead, will have backup power. Be it a simple inverter system or a generator. Just sayin ...

Ryan Ko

TVWBB Super Fan
I have seen the backwoods smokers. How do they work? I am wondering about burn time and how much attention you have to give to them. I want to be able to set it up and let it do the cooking like my WSM.

Rick Kramer

TVWBB All-Star
I'd say it's a bit more work than the WSM, but once you get it dialed in that's where it stays. Depending on how you're cooking with it, (Guru, lump, briq, model, preheat) you can get extended cooking times out of it. With my competitor and the way I cook, I could get 8-10 hrs out of one load of charcoal (18 lbs?) But I usually reloaded at 6 hrs. If I didn't use the water auto-fill option (which is nice), I'd refill the water at the 4 hr mark. Backwoods use an airflow sytem that runs the smoke up through the inner walls of the smoker and releases it to the cooking chamber from the top, pushing the smoke down towards the exhaust flue in the lower section of the cooking chamber. Again, depending on the size you're talking, there is some temp differential from top to bottom, but not bad. Of course they do have a convection option that evens the temps out quite a bit. Hope this helps!

Ryan Ko

TVWBB Super Fan
Thanks very much for the info. There are just way too many different options/manufacturers. I am having a terrible time trying to decide which way to go. I really like the fact that I can get 15+ hours out of my WSM without reloading. I don't use water so I don't have to refill that. I am not sure I would like having to mess with water. I also wouldn't like having to refill the charcoal every 5-6 hours. It is nice to be able to sleep soundly knowing the cooker will be ok. Maybe I should just get another WSM and be done with it. LOL

Rick Kramer

TVWBB All-Star
Didn't mean to scare you away

I'm like you in the sense that I prefer to cook dry and I needed more capacity. Out of all the cookers I've used or have assisted with, I would have to say that, by far the FEC100 is my favorite go to cooker. It's user friendly, it's cheap to run, it's dependable, can cook in any weather, cleanup is a breeze, and most importantly ... their customer service ranks right up there with Weber. If I had to sell all but one of my cookers, I would keep the FEC.

Terre Hooks


If you get serious about a Stumps-like cooker, I urge you to check with DW Kountry Cookers.

They are similar, but a little better, IMO, probably slightly less expensive.

Rick Kramer

TVWBB All-Star
Just curious Ryan ... why wouldn't you go to Peoria Custom Cookers? They build one heck of a cooker. Good enough for the current KCBS and Jack Daniel's World Champion! A little pricey maybe but you wouldn't have to pay for delivery. Which is usually a bunch no matter who you buy a cooker from.
I have 2 Stumps 223's. Ryan, the weight is HUGE on the Stumps some 675lbs each so keep that in mind. I like the Stumps, but since Stump sold the Co I don't have anything good to say about new owner. (My opinion) Also, keep in mind that the FEC is NSF and the Stump is not. I think my next smoker will be a FEC 100, espfor catering etc because of the NSF and the Health Dept likes that. Don't get me wrong Stumps is fine, just depends on your application and funds.

Dale Perry

I have been around many FE100s and those who have them love them. And they win alot.

Ryan, look at a Spicewine. We love ours. No electricity needed and weather does not matter to this cooker. In the end, research all you can stand and get what you want.

Ed Cardoza

This is right up my alley. I purchased a Stumps Baby model last year, and absolutely love this cooking machine. I recently purchased a Stoker for it, and have to tell you we are enjoying some of my best cooks ever on this unit. It is easy to operate, hold five pound of charcoal and will cook at any temp you want. I have done over nighters on it, and just topped off the charcoal prior to going to bed. This past weekend she cooked non-stop and with tremendous results.
Is it expensive? Yes, but like with all products, you get what you pay for. I strongly recommend this unit to anyone who enjoys cooking with smokers and doesn't mind the initial investment and the time it takes to build these units. You might want to visit their forum and read up on them prior to making your decision. It is very much like this site in terms of the knowledgeable people that are eager to help.